Wednesday, November 4, 2009
My Work with Mai
In a previous post I told about my work with Hope Home, the Christian residential home for orphans with disabilities. I was matched with Mai, a 13-year-old boy who was neglected and spent his first 11 years in a bamboo cage in a remote village. Mai was progressing very well with physical therapy and receiving lots of love and attention. I looked forward to our twice-weekly visits. However, one day I went to see Mai and he was gone. The staff said that his legal guardian came without notice and took him away. I was devastated. He had spent a year with us and the staff, and he was loved by everyone. Acacia and I had a special bond with Mai and didn’t understand how something like this could happen when things were going so well.
It turns out that the reason Mai’s guardian withdrew him was due to a dispute amongst adults about something that had nothing to do with Mai. I vowed to track down Mai and make sure he was OK. About three weeks later, I saw an ad pinned on an expat news board seeking a volunteer to work with a neglected boy named Mai. I was interviewed by the guardian, who made it clear he wasn’t thrilled with Christians, but I was readily accepted since no one else had volunteered!
I visited Mai at his new “home” and was sad to see his new living conditions. Although his caregiver was very caring, she was also running a daycare out of her home and was taking care of 13 other small children. I know how hard it is to take care of my own two children, let alone a special needs child and 13 others! And this was her first experience with a disabled child. Her home was a very simple, rustic home with a concrete slab for a floor. This is where I first found Mai, lying on the concrete by himself, being taken care of physically, but he was again being emotionally neglected. I continued visiting him twice a week and constantly informed the guardian about Mai’s dismal living situation. After two months, Mai was moved to a new, permanent residential home which was better able to care for him. I am happy to say that Mai has a good home he shares with two other boys and is receiving quality care. I still go out and visit him when possible.
Surprisingly, a few months later I received a phone call from Mai’s guardian. He asked if I could help with finding a Christian assistant at the new home. He said that the Thai caregivers he had hired kept leaving and were not committed to working with the children. The main caregiver said that he should hire a Christian because they had good hearts and would be loving and faithful to the children. Oh, how God does work in mysterious ways!
I am so happy that I was able to be a part of God’s plan for Mai. I was able to act as a neutral party between Hope Home and Mai’s guardian and help assist in his new placement and assure that he was being well take care of. Also, God was beginning to open Mai’s guardian’s eyes to Christianity. Although the staff of Hope Home and I dearly miss Mai, I trust that I was used for His wishes.
Please keep the children of Thailand, especially the orphans and ones with special needs, in your prayers.