We are so very blessed and thankful for the wonderful people in our lives. We are uniquely aware on this Thanksgiving day, to be greatful for the gift of parenting. We are in awe of the opportuntity we have to raise these four wondeful children, Trev, Ben, Zach and now Liana.
Today we are in Maoming, a relatively small Chinese city of 3 million. It’s a big mix of affluence and extreme poverty. We are staying in a beautiful 5 star international hotel and not far off this street are shacks and shanties.
Today was a very emotional day as we went to Liana’s orphanage. As we got off the bus, we were approached by very friendly and curious school children; boys who wanted to show off, girls who wanted to see the babies, and adults who are simply intrigued by Westerners in their midst.
Her orphanage, the Maonan Social Welfare Institute, is in an old 8-story building…run-down by our standards, but decent for a Chinese city. After we presented gifts to the orphanage, the assistant director unexpectedly presented our guide, Cordelia, with a gift bag full of baggies of clothes. Cordelia began to cry and had to leave the room and compose herself. When she came back, she told us that each bag held the
clothes our babies were found in. We were all crying as we were handed our child’s ‘finding clothes.’ As emotional as this was to process, this is an exceptionally rare and exceedingly optimistic thing for an orphanage to do.
Liana’s orphanage is part of the Half the Sky Foundation, a charity from the states that assists in providing money and volunteers to come in to nurture the babies through play, hugs, reading, etc. The paperwork that we received on Gotcha Day had also included a simple stapled memory book of photos, information and stories about our child. These gestures demonstrate profound gains in the amount of care and love the orphans are receiving as well as respect and understanding towards the adoptive families.
Our tour included the floor our babies had lived on – we were able to touch and photograph her crib, meet her caretakers, see the playroom and share candies with the older children - it was a blessing to be able to see what the first 9 months of her life were like. It was terribly hard however for all of the parents to see all of the children who need homes, most of all the older special needs kids who may never leave.
What an honor to meet these people, and have a chance to thank them and praise them for their good works.
The orphanage assistant director then boarded our bus and took our entire group throughout the town to see each child’s ‘finding place’. As you can imagine, seeing the very place where Liana was abandoned, was extremely emotional, and profoundly impacted us forever.
We are blessed to have had this opportunity to experience the world where she got her start, and to grasp the reality of her situation. What a gift we have been given in Liana.