I’m not sure I ever imagined how an orphanage would look before I saw pictures of the one I’m at now. I’ve just always imagined they all look like ours.
Our babies’ room has a mural of Bambi, Thumper and some trees on one wall. I’ve seen a picture likely taken in the early 80s where the mural appears, so it’s obviously quite old. There are shelves on a couple walls with piles and piles of clothes. Donated clothes. Past babies’ clothes. Lots of clothes. There’s a changing table under some of these shelves, with storage for diapers and wipes underneath.
Most of the babies’ cribs look as they are pictured above. They’re not attached to the wall, and they have “bunks” for two babies. There are wooden bars that slide down and buckle at the bottom. It’s so cute to see some of them dangle their feet and legs out of the bars while they sleep. The babies sleep on a very lightly padded piece of wood covered in plastic with a sheet over it. We put most of the toys their adoptive parents send in there with them. Many families send a chewable, plastic photo album that is put in there, too. Or, if they send just a picture, we laminate it and tape it to their crib wall.
There are four “normal” cribs, too, which are generally given to the bigger babies or babies that just seem to need the extra space. Right now, one of those cribs is holding two of the smaller babies who have been sleeping through most of the night. The littlest babies sleep in rocking car seats out in the kitchen near the rocking chairs. Since they cry so often, we keep them out of the main bedroom. They move up to a real bed when space is available.
I’ve since seen pictures of other orphanages. One of the adoptive moms has travelled overseas to do orphan care in several countries, and she agreed with me on this: Though not ideal conditions, this is better than most.
And while I’m on it, I can’t help but mention Sweet Sleep. I’ve met the founder and love what they’re doing — beds for orphans!