It was a hot and dry summer morning. I can feel the warm breeze irritatingly caressing my parched skin. Thanks to the lofty trees for their enormous leaves saved me from the scorching heat of the midday sun. As I walked towards the white building, the atmosphere greeted me with warm smiles. I was with Bryan. He was profusely sweating as he hid behind me while walking to cover himself from the painful heat. Finally, we are at the main entrance. We are now at Pattaya orphanage.
It was Bryan’s first time to visit an orphanage. A woman in her mid-30s greeted us as we entered the receiving area.
“Good morning!” the receptionist said.
“Good morning,” I replied while handing out two bags of used clothes. “We want to donate these to the orphanage.”
She received the bags, quickly scanned what’s inside them and said, “We will clean these clothes first and give them to the bigger kids.”
“We want to have a tour.” I politely asked.
The receptionist also turned out to be our tour guide. She said that there are many abandoned children taken care of by the orphanage. Some were given out by their biological parents because they cannot afford to raise their child.
“What happens when they reach 18 years old?” I asked.
“Some go to college. Others prefer to work,” she replied.
The conversation continued until we reached the building for infants and toddlers. We were asked to wear face masks and our body temperature were also taken. Taking pictures were not allowed inside the building. As Bryan and I were walking through the hallway, children from across the room were peeking through the large windows and extending their feeble hands, asking for physical contact. We went inside. Obviously, all of them started hugging us. Bryan was surprised. We had 10 minutes to be with a group of 15 kids of ages 2-4. One kid was suspected to have special needs. When it was about time to go, most kids pulled our legs and resisted. We exchanged our goodbye messages as we quietly left the room.
Our tour guide then brought us into the infant room. There were approximately 10 sleeping babies in that room.
“How is the adoption process?” I asked our guide.
According to her, a team of social workers at Pattaya Orphanage intensively evaluate the foster parents on their capability to raise a child. Based on experience, there were guardians who were declined and there were some who passed the standards set including home visitations, interviews, financial capability, and psycho-emotional factors, among others. Social workers also mix and match the child to foster parents. Foster parents are not allowed to choose the child they want to adopt just by looking at them through the glass window.
Next, we went into a big hall with more than a dozen pictures suspended on the wall. These were pictures of orphans who lived in the orphanage and finished college with the help of foster parents, private institutions, and concerned individuals. Most of these college graduates are now working and are also donating their time, money, and effort in helping the orphanage. One finished theater arts, others finished engineering, and some finished education! Bryan and I were amazed. We were quite teary-eyed.
As our visit was about to end, our guide asked us if we have friends who were also willing to donate and help the orphanage in one way or another. Since Pattaya Orphanage is not supported by the government and is a private institution, she suggested that it needs huge help. Donations such as feeding bottles, milk, diapers, clothes, monetary assistance, food, water, toys, books, and school supplies are greatly needed by these children. Volunteer teaching is also welcome to those who are willing to devote their time in teaching these kids.
The Pattaya Orphanage can be reached through the following contact details:
Email address: email@example.com
Telephone: +66 (0) 3842 3468, (0) 3841 6426
Address: 384 Moo 6, Sukhumvit Highway Km. 144, Banglamung, Chonburi, Thailand, 20150
Bryan and I had a great time during the visit. No matter how hot the weather was, we were determined for the experience molded us to value humanity even more. After a few picture taking, we were ready to go home and share this valuable experience to others.
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