One of the Blue Dragon boys - let's call him Trung - has increasingly been acting out in recent weeks.
Not that he's usually an angel ("he's a character" is what we would politely say in Australia), but Blue Dragon staff have noticed a fairly rapid shift in his behaviour. As each day goes by, Trung has been becoming increasingly aggressive, and throwing tantrums over the smallest problems.
Today I called him in for a chat with our most senior social worker.
We started out by watching a YouTube clip of a cat cuddling a dolphin. Just to let Trung know that this was not going to be a conventional "You've done something wrong and need to be punished" kind of chat. It seemed to work.
Then we got down to business.
We started by asking Trung if he had any idea why he was behaving like this. "You're not usually aggressive like this," we explained. "This is really unusual for you. Any idea what's been causing you to act this way?"
Straight away Trung launched into his justification: This person said that to me; that staff member did this wrong...
But clearly this was not the reason. So we put to him a proposition.
We know that Trung has had some major family issues in the past few months. He's recently had some experiences which have left him feeling alone and uncared for; still just a little kid, Trung has discovered that he'll be growing up without a mother, father, or even an extended family to call on.
Very gently, very tenderly, we put the question to Trung: Does he think that these experiences might be causing him to behave this way now?
Trung didn't need to answer with any words. No sooner had we asked the question than a floodgate opened and the tears started flowing.
Talking to Trung today was just the beginning of what will be a long healing process for him. Healing? Well, I hope so. Maybe it will just be 'coping', but I have to be optimistic and believe that he can get through this. Without a family to believe in you, it's very hard to grow up believing in yourself. We do our best here at Blue Dragon, but I know we can never take the place of a loving family.
Our work at Blue Dragon is so much more than running activities and providing material support. Some things we do just can't be quantified or measured. But those little things we do from day to day, those chats with the kids behind the scenes, really are what Blue Dragon is all about.