Monday, January 25, 2010

a homecoming.

This adventure has been special for our entire team. It has been particularly monumental, however, for my dear friend Regis. Born in Kolkata, Regis contracted polio as an infant. With hospital bills piling up, his incredibly poor mother abandoned him at the hospital. Regis was placed in an orphanage where he lived for three years until he was adopted by an amazing woman. Regis' adoptive mother had just lost her husband in a swimming accident while vacationing in Hawaii. They were in the early stages of adoption. She followed through with their plans, and so Regis' new life began.

A strong desire to return to the place of his birth has always stirred within him. For whatever reason, he had never made the journey. Upon graduation from Washington State University, Regis was accepted into graduate programs at both George Fox and Northwest University. He vacillated for months but ultimately chose to attend Northwest. Three weeks into the program, the trip to Kolkata was presented to our class. He was astonished, to say the least. Today we found ourselves walking into the orphanage where Regis spent the first three years of his life.

What we witnessed was love. The most incredible staff takes care of these beautiful children-the majority of whom are severely physically and mentally disabled. It was a very emotional experience.

We walked into a room where we were greeted by a man with a smile that could light up the world. He was Regis' physical therapist. 26 years later, he is still loving and helping the forgotten children of Kolkata. He remembered Regis instantly, and could recall specific details about his time there. It was a remarkable reunion.

Another woman remembered Regis the moment she saw him. She said he still has the same face. She hugged him and cried as she thanked him repeatedly for coming. After playing with the kids for a long time, we went to the office where Regis was able to go through his file that contains all his adoption papers, letters from his mom regarding his progress, countless photos, and more. We all feel blessed and honored to have shared this experience with him.

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