At first glance, you might think this place is a castle with its colorful turrets and towers. The sounds of happy children echo through the hallways. The playground is filled with cheerful children. This must be one of the happiest places on earth.

But it is NOT Disneyland. It is an orphanage.

Last weekend, we traveled 5 hours south to visit the Gejiu orphanage. After the difficult week with my patients in Kunming, I was protecting myself as we headed to the orphanage. I had determined to be more cautious when selecting which patients to get involved with. I wanted to stay emotionally insulated.

As we entered the special needs ward, all my defenses were blown away by a three year old girl named Xiao Wei. She climbed right up into my lap acting as if I belonged to her. My heart immediately softened as I embraced this precious little girl.

Xiao Wei helped my heart. Perhaps I can help hers. Xiao Wei has Down’s syndrome, a cleft palate, and a heart defect. We are in the process of determining how we can best help this little girl.

We had a delightful time in Gejiu with our friends, Steve and Kim Wajda. The Wajdas work alongside the local government to make this orphanage a place of hope and joy for these children.

It could be one of the happiest places on earth.

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