|By Jennani Durai|
WHEN Singapore Airlines captain Budi Soehardi takes off each month to the United States, 50 children anxiously await the return of their 'Pa'.
Only three of them are biologically his.
The other 47 were adopted by Mr Soehardi and his wife, Peggy, and live at Roslin Orphanage in West Timor.
The 53-year-old was recently named CNN's Hero of the Week for his work with the orphans of West Timor; and on Friday (Oct2), one of its Top 10 Heroes of 2009.
The Soehardis established the home there in 2002, moved by the plight of the orphans of Indonesia's poorest province.
Since then, they have turned down some 6,000 email enquiries asking to adopt their kids, because they have become family.
'We want to give them everything they need with no strings attached,' explained Mr Soehardi.
The two native Indonesians, who have lived in Singapore for the past 11 years, first began work in the area distributing aid to refugees fleeing East Timor in 1999.
But a few more trips there turned their attention to West Timor, where babies were being abandoned due to the influx of refugees from the tumultous east.
'We were very affected by the poverty in West Timor, even though there is no instability there. We wanted give these children a home,' Mr Soehardi explained.