|Hanoi, Vietnam, 2008. The view from our hotel room.|
When Sunny graduated, for some crazy reason, she opted out. We really were pushing for a trip to New York City, but there were some things going on and the timing just wasn't right for her.
But I think Liv was listening to all that 2 years ago thinking Sunny was crazy-whompus for not taking us up on the offer. Livy, the eternal humanitarian, started dreaming big right then about her own trip.
Where did she want to go?
How big could she dream?
How far could she push the envelope?
Our visits here and here and here solidified something big for her... she wanted to help "the least of these."
Livy came to me over a year ago and told me she wanted to visit an orphanage in either Vietnam or Africa for her graduation trip. I had no idea where to start looking for a trip like that. I know nothing about Africa. But Vietnam has been in my heart and soul since the moment I left, so I started off by narrowing down the search to Vietnam. It was literally months of emails, dead ends and lots of stuff that just didn't feel right. But eventually through one of my Vietnam adoption groups I stumbled on Project Being There. More on them later. Lots more. But for now, I'll say it was the first organization that I looked into that just felt like exactly what we were looking for. A not-for-profit small grassroots organization that just was for the orphans of Vietnam. Honestly, I didn't know if Liv's dream trip to Vietnam was actually going to happen. At all. After all I plan trips like this in advance. Like WAY in advance. Months and maybe even a year in advance. This time it's all getting thrown together in less than a month!
I booked 2 flights this weekend!
Liv and I are going back to VIETNAM!
Livy and I at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sept, 2008.
Livy,12 years old, is holding Jude because Papa blew out his back on day 3 of the trip.
We were very very thankful to have an extra set of hands on the trip. I have Tess.
But get this! That's not all!
We'll be staying in an orphanage and helping out! We don't really even know how we're actually going to "help out" yet, but I plan on rolling up my sleeves and doing whatever they'll have me do. Maintenance. Painting. Playing with the children. Spreading as much luv as I can. Whatever! We're game. We will actually be staying AT the orphanage, sleeping there, eating with the children. I've been told not to expect much... except scabies, lice, 85 degree temps with 85% humidity, and a family of children and their caregivers that do the best they can with what they have and all the love they can muster. Ya... we wanna be a part of that!
So in less than a month, hours after Livy's graduation ceremony to be specific, we're boarding a plane to Vietnam! When we stepped in the first orphanage almost 6 years, I saw how it changed Livy. It changed how she viewed the world and her place in it. She's just 17 years old, and this will be Livy's 4th orphanage visit. I can't imagine and am so excited for how it's molding who she is. Look out world!
If you tune in here regularly, you are gonna hear a LOT about the preparations, my feelings about returning to Tess and Jude's homeland for the first time, what we'll be doing while we're there, how you can help. Ya, I'm gonna ask you for a bit of a favor... for the little ones. I never imagined it would take us 5 1/2 years to get back to this amazing country! But here we go.
Stay tuned... it's gonna be a wild ride!