Sunday, February 12, 2006




Orphanage visit today

Today was a very emotional day for me. We loaded up in a van and drove the three hours south west to get to Yang Jiang city. We pulled to the side of the road where we met up with the high heal wearing, scooter driving director of our orphanage. We had seen her at both the gotcha day and also the day after when we finalized our adoption at the civil affairs office. It was totally different seeing her in the city. When I say city, I mean it. It was a big town. Everybody was on scooters and there were a ton of tall buildings. Not at all what I expected. You could see where there were very wealthy neighborhoods and where it was downtrodden in the neighborhood where the orphanage was.

We followed the director to the Social Welfare Institute, called this because it is also a home for the elderly, not just children. We were told before we left that we wouldn’t be let into the building. We were able to walk past the building into the back. There was a set of stairs that was over hung with bougainvillea. We ended up in a big stone patio area. It had a basketball court and a cement gazebo type structure. When we walked up the stairs we could hear babies crying and see some of the older residence sitting just inside the gate. When we got to the patio, we could see a few nannies and babies from the bared windows on the forth floor. A woman I met on the yahoo group for our orphanage had asked me to get pictures for her of her daughter she is waiting to pick up. I asked the director if we could see her and a nanny brought her out. The nanny held Gywnn while we held her baby and took pictures. I ended up taking Gwynn back from the nanny and she left, only to find out that she was Gwynn’s care taker. I didn’t even get to say thank you to her, but I did get some photos of her when she was holding the other baby.

After about 15 minutes it was time to see the finding spots for all of the girls. Most of the babies were found just steps from the door of the orphanage and one was even found at the steps of the orphanage just two doors down the street. Gwynn’s finding spot was a little further away. We walked down the side road that the orphanage was on and had to cross the very busy main road that ran through town. My life flashed befor my eyes as we played the ultimate game of Frogger!!!! Horns were blasting, scooters were racing by. At one point I was stuck in the middle of the street squeezing my eyes closed praying just to see myself on the other side of the road.. They pointed out a white pole in the middle of the street right outside a beauty shop. I totally lost it. I couldn’t help myself and the director had to look away so she wouldn’t cry. I have tears welling up in my eyes just writing about it.

Some people say that they throw there babies away her in China, but it is so much more complicated than that. Gwynn’s mom wrapped her in a towel, in the early hours of the morning put her three day old baby where she knew that she would be found. I can only imagine the tears I shed today were nothing like the ones she has cried for her baby!!!

We went to the last finding place of my friend Carolyn’s baby. They had told her that her daughter was found in the Martyr’s cemetery. She was quite relieved to see that it was more of a shrine, not actually were they burry people. And they have a market in the cemetery.

We made huge scene while we were walking around. In a gate of a house two little girls came running out to see us and seemed almost scared out of there wits. Most people looked at us with confusion, and some didn’t look all that happy to see us Americans with there babies. Most they just looked at us, slacked jawed and curious. One man on a scooter actually stopped while driving by to hold Gwynn’s hand and smile at her. I don’t think many westerners come to there town.

We were treated to lunch by the Orphanage director and had a wonderful real Chinese meal. I got to sit next to the director and ask her questions through our guide. She told me Gwynn was a HUGE baby when she was brought in, almost 9 pounds at 3 days old. Also that she was very sweet and always a good baby. She knew the little things about every girl and it was obvious that she loved them all, and they were very well taken care of. She said that there were 40 babies at the orphanage and 30 nannies. Most girls had there own caretaker. It is no wonder that all these girls are so healthy and right on track developmentally. I can’t explain to you how lucky we are.

We wrapped up the day with the three hour bus ride home, along with a stop at a local store so the bus driver could buy a knife. The area is known for producing quality knives. Given the opportunity to shop, we all jumped off the bus and ran in. I grabbed what I hope to be good sewing scissors; we will see when I get home. (Don’t worry mom, I got a pair for you)

We left at 9 am this morning and returned at 6:30 pm. We are starving and I am emotionally drained. Our take out just arrived and I am ready for this day to be over. It was an amazing experience. Not at all what I thought it would be. I wouldn’t change a minute of this day, and I hope to remember them all.

4 comments:

The Waters said...

You must be so thankful that you got to see this part of Gwynn's history. What a day! Where's the kleenex?

Michele

Kristine said...

Your pictures were great today and it's so good that you were able to go back to where she was found and have her in your arms. That picture will be so important in her life later for her to know that you were waiting for her...and that your heart was there with her when she was abandoned and that you were there physically almost a year later. God has blessed all of you and I know that He will bless her mother with a sense of peace somehow and let her know that her little girl is loved by you and Brad.

Whew. What a day.

Kristine

Sam said...

Andrea,

There was no way for me to explain or prepare you for today. It's been 2 months since Kieren was placed in my arms and our visit to JiangCheng. My heart still aches when I think about it. The visit is something that changes you inside. There is no easy way to explain it.

Today, as Kieren was Christened, I remembered what a Chinese friend told me. There is no word in the Chinese language for abandoned. The closest meaning is "left to be found".

Sam

Sandy Caesar said...

I don't even know if you are home yet. I've been praying for all of you every day. The story you told grabbed my heart. What a blessing to be where she was found and to know that history of hers!! I can't wait to see all of you!!
Sandy Caesar