Update on Our Five-Year-Old Orphan

Settling in

When the small boy arrived at the orphanage, staff members decided to call him “Kim Chol.”  Chol’s nightmare began back in October of last year. The Chinese police had discovered that his parents were North Korean defectors, so they arrested the two and handed them over to North Korean security officers for repatriation, but the five-year-old was left to fend for himself.  See our earlier report on Chol

During his first several weeks with us, Chol spent every day expecting his parents to return for him. Gradually, however, he has adjusted to his parents being gone and has adapted himself to the new environment. He quickly developed a liking for candies and chocolate pies. He is also excited by toys – especially toy cars. They make him smile. And although he is too young to put it into words, he seems to really enjoy having elder “sisters and brothers” at the orphanage, who share similar backgrounds, and who treat him like their little brother.

However, Chol still needs the matron beside him when he goes to bed.

When he first came to the orphanage, he could not eat by himself, but he quickly saw that he is not really eating alone because he is surrounded by his elder sisters and brothers.

Chol enjoys playing with his elder sisters and brothers at the orphanage

Chol enjoys playing with his elder sisters and brothers at the orphanage

One thing about Chol that concerns the matron is his short stature and poor build, probably caused by malnutrition when he was a baby.  Normally, he would start kindergarten in March, but since he is much smaller than other children his age, the orphanage has decided to wait until September, when they expect him to have grown taller and gained a little more weight.

We believe that Chol was deeply traumatized when his parents were suddenly taken away and didn’t return.  He is still afraid of strangers, and he still immediately hides behind the matron whenever he sees a stranger visiting the orphanage.

Someday, someone will have to explain to Chol why his parents suddenly disappeared, and the matron is already wondering when the best time for this would be.

No one at the orphanage knows his real birthday, so they decided to use the date when he will enter kindergarten. Thus, his new birthday will be September first, and he seems really excited about starting classes.