|Usually one does not post pictures showing children's faces, but this is taken from one of the organisation's own sites. I'm not linking to the site just to further decrease any privacy issues, but this is not my photograph.|
We had a bit of an awkward moment with the girl the Mr. and I were teamed with. He wore a Gundam T-shirt, which drew her attention. We asked if she liked Gundam, and she said that her mother likes Gundam. Then she got a bit sad and quiet and went and sat in the corner for a while. Oops. The other moment I felt bad was after handing out the presents we'd brought. We had one present for each “room”. The kids are divided into rooms by age and gender. The older boys had got air hockey table. One room had boys from two all the way up to eight, so it was a challenge to find something they could all enjoy. I thought I’d made a great choice with an indoor bowling set decorated with Anpan-man, a popular kids’ character. All the other kids were ecstatic about their presents, and the eight-year-old who opened the bowling set was super excited to find out what it could be… but was not impressed when he saw it. “Anpan-man?! Seriously?” He sat down next to his friend and they both looked at it for a while, then he said: “Well, the little kids will like it. I bet they’ll play with it lots.” His friend agreed and they both cheered up, smiling from ear to ear. Imagining myself in the same situation at the same age, there is no way I would have been cheered up by the idea of someone else enjoying a disappointing present. As I stood there in awe of the way they handled the situation, I heard the teacher's voice in the back of my mind: “They’ll just grow up to be criminals anyway, why bother?”
Because humans are more than the sum of their parents' choices.
Because these children are wonderful and special and invisible.
Because they are CHILDREN and it's CHRISTMAS!
You can read more about Japan's approach to child welfare and adoption in these posts: