The heart of Yerevan cannot be easily discovered nor explored. It is not a place I found in a touristy place. It is not either on the streets of Yerevan.
The heart of Yerevan may crash one’s emotions. For sure, it will make ones heart beat again. A kind of heartbeat we may seldom feel. It is a beat out of love from our core as a human being. A beat longing to share more love. A heartbeat hoping for miracles right at that moment for those children.
I found the heart of Yerevan in an orphanage.
Sisters of Charity- Bethlehem Orphanage in Yerevan is a private orphanage established by Mother Teresa that takes good care of children with physical and mental disorders.
We went to attend Sunday Mass and visited an orphanage. I was expecting to see cheerful children. The only information I had is to visit a two-month-old baby with Down Syndrome and other children with special needs.
With what I witnessed, I wasn’t prepared for at all. My heart cried, I wanted to run away. I didn’t felt awkward as the other girl with me felt the same.
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The first two rooms we went are for toddlers. The children look well-taken cared for. They were clean and neat. What’s breaking my heart is their situation. The toddlers have special needs. At the very young age, they look so independent. They are strong. Oh, the children of God.
When we entered the door, a child in his stroller is crying. But he doesn’t have tears. He wanted attention. A caregiver attended to him and he was fine.
As we walk along the hallway, another child is just simply seating on his stroller. His case? A child with a nasogastric tube, a cerebral palsy case.
In one room were another children, cheerful, playful and longing for attention. As special as they are, they have special needs. We played for a while for one child and he was so happy. He cried the moment we attended another child. It is hard to describe what I felt at that time.
The scene in the other room is heartbreaking as well. But the children were calm. Two children were sharing in a big crib. One is awake and wants to play with us while the other is sleeping. One little girl was sleeping soundly.
That moment, I wanted to ask why such situations exist. Where are the parents will be the first question we might think of. We don’t know the stories behind. We aren’t the one on the mother’s shoe. One thing I know for sure, the mother think of what’s best for her child. To leave her baby in an orphanage where she knows the baby will be taken good care of.
This visit happened on my third day in Armenia. Staying in Armenia for more than two months, I was able to visit again the orphanage before I left. I saw a couple who were there visiting the children and the child that they’re going to adopt soon. One girl has been to the US to her adoptive parents as well.
Like the first visit, the children won’t let us go the moment we bid goodbye.