by Sarah Benedetti, Public Policy and Education Intern
In 2012, I had the opportunity to go abroad for a portion of the summer to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I played basketball for a USA team, while also volunteering with and advocating for the youth of Brazil. More specifically, we talked to kids about taking the “higher path,” while also promoting the importance of education, family, and religion, for guidance to make the proper decisions throughout life. One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting a local orphanage. This orphanage was run by an American family, who cared for about 60 children, aging from two years to ten. The experience and memories I have from this part of the trip are truly unforgettable.
Immediately upon arrival at the orphanage, I remember all the children running towards the bus; excited to see the newcomers that they had heard so much about. I remember looking at the kids and just seeing them all smile ear to ear at the fact that they had new friends to play with for the day. What stuck out most to me was a little girl no older than seven, who ran over to me and grabbed my leg, wanting to be picked up. I picked her up and from that point on, she wouldn't let go. She became my buddy for the day; we were attached at the hip. Although, it was saddening to see how little love these children received, being able to give the kids some attention and affection was the best feeling in the world. I really could tell that the kids absolutely loved the interaction. While we were there, we played basketball and a traditional outdoor Brazilian game similar to dodge ball with the children. Honestly, regardless of the game we played, it wouldn’t have mattered, the kids were just so excited to have someone around giving them the attention and comfort they deserved.
After spending a couple of hours at the orphanage, it was time to leave. Having to say goodbye to all the friends we had met was difficult. Hearing them plead for us to stay longer and having them latching onto our legs as we tried to walk away made the departure even harder. At that point I realized that something as minute as playing ball or giving hugs and high fives to the kids made all the difference in the world to them.
Visiting an orphanage was a very humbling experience that made a lasting impact on my life. Volunteering for those few hours inspired my interest in adoption; in hopes of making a difference to kids all around the world. My time in Brazil motivated me to intern at the National Council For Adoption, where I have had the opportunity to help make a difference in more ways than one. These children need and, more importantly, deserve a loving family that they can call their own. Whether it’s through adopting, advocating, or simply just promoting awareness, everyone can help make a difference in the lives of these children. Please join the movement to bring adoption to the forefront, and help children in need worldwide.
Category Personal Stories