Her Big Brown Eyes

Orphaned babies at the Lianjiang City Social Welfare Institute in China in 2006. Baby Piper is pictured in the top row, far-right. Courtesy photo

When I was four years old, I found out that my mom was going to have a baby. But, instead of the baby coming from her tummy, the baby was going to come from her heart. I was young, so I didn’t understand how that would work, until a few months later when I traveled to China with my family to adopt a baby girl. From the moment my baby sister was put in my parents’ arms, all four of our lives were changed forever.

L-r, Piper and big sister Zoё. Courtesy photo

Piper knew from a young age about her adoption. She frequently asked questions about her birth mom, where she came from, and who raised her for the first year of her life. We told her about her orphanage, and how she lived with several other babies who were all raised by caretakers.

On Piper’s tenth birthday, she decided to give back to the women who raised her. Instead of dolls and stuffed animals, Piper asked all of her friends to give her bottles and baby clothes. We collected several items for the babies who haven’t yet been adopted from her orphanage and shipped them overseas to her old “home”, Lianjiang City Social Welfare Institute. Thinking back on that moment inspired me to do a project of my own.

I researched the conditions of the orphanages in China and learned more about how babies, such as Piper, grew up in often difficult conditions. Due to the “one child policy” and a cultural preference for boys, millions of children have been abandoned at birth, 90 percent being girls and many being disabled. There are so many babies put in orphanages and there isn’t enough staff to properly handle them all. Orphanages don’t have proper equipment to adequately raise the children, resulting in many babies starving and even dying.

Hearing all of this made me realize how lucky I am to have Piper as a sister and that this situation doesn’t have enough attention directed towards it. I decided to create a website (which is in the planning stages) as part of several projects in an attempt to raise awareness about these orphanages. I have titled this personal endeavor “Her Big Brown Eyes,” because the one feature that all the babies in Piper’s orphanage shared was their big, brown eyes.

I want people to realize how inhumanely these babies are being treated and work with me to help lessen this problem. In addition, I am attempting to raise money to purchase several baby items, like my sister did for her 10th birthday, and donate them all to her orphanage and other orphanages around China. I recently set up a GoFundMe webpage as my first project and my goal is to raise $5,000. I will be purchasing warm clothes, bottles, medical supplies, shoes and other items with the money I raise and send them to Lianjiang City Social Welfare Institute.

Editor’s note: The link to the GoFundMe account is as follows: https://www.gofundme.com/charity-towards-chinese-orphanages



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