Of course, I have been spending a lot of time "googling" (who would have ever thought that would eventually turn into a verb??) to learn more about Kyrgyzstan, and as I come across sites I find interesting I will post them on the blog for others to check out.
As an amateur photographer (with the emphasis on amateur!), I found the web site for Damien Wampler to be fascinating. He has many photos of Kyrgyzstan and his first exhibit in 2003 was titled "Children of the Celestial Mountains: Orphans of Kyrgyzstan". Seeing the faces of so many orphans staring back at you has a profound impact. To quote the web site "The exhibit, held at the Frunze Museum in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, featured 74 portrait style photographs of orphans from around the country. I visited 9 different orphanages and shelters over the course of a two month period. The goals of the project were to raise awareness of the conditions of orphanages in Kyrgyzstan, which are greatly under funded, as well as to show the children who live there in a positive light." Check the portraits out at:
http://www.grahame.com/wamplerimage/galleries.html Click on the link and then the thumbnails appear on the left. Click on any photo for a larger version to appear mid-screen.
Another site I found was a blog written by a visitor to the Baby House in Bishkek and her impressions of what she saw there. Her writing touches a nerve, at least it did for me. Here's the link:
Another interesting perspective on Kyrgyz orphanages is blogged about by "The Bone Man", scroll about halfway down his blog page to read about his visit to a couple of orphanages and the kids' reactions. You can find it at:
This last one will absolutely break your heart, and I want to say right up front that this is no longer the case, as photos we have show nothing of the sort. This CNN story is from 1997. However, this photo is from the same town where our son-to-be lives but I don't know if it is the same orphanage or not, as he is currently in a pre-school orphanage and it appears these children might be older. I hesitated to post this, as I don't want to be accused of sensationalizing anything...but I realized that this is what can happen when we...and by that I mean you and I...turn our backs on those in our world who are helpless and in need. I know it is half a world away. I know it is not happening to anyone you know. I know it is easier to say to yourself "There is nothing I can do." But I guess for me, it takes on a different significance. Our oldest son Matthew came home extremely malnourished, in the beginning stage of rickets and by the time we made it home he weighed only 14 lbs at 11 months old. While "T" is actually in very good shape, we compared his measurements with Matthew's and even though he is 8 months older he is 6" shorter and 22 lbs lighter.
For us, children going hungry isn't some infomercial on late night television asking for money for children in far off lands, it is seeing our own son stuff as much food as he possibly can into his mouth as quickly as he can, being unable to stop himself because he has never known what it feels like to have a full tummy. Check out the link that will make you think:
Now, what can you do?