San Antonio 10/17 @ 1:40 AM
Nanjing 10/17 @ 2:40 PM
Our final day in Nanjing, and our flight to Guangzhou has been delayed twice. Thank goodness we found out this information prior to checking out of our hotel room.
Yesterday while in Xuzhou, we visited the One-to-one orphanage that EAC (our agency) has partnered with to try to get as many children into forever families as possible. I was totally blown away by this place. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful the area where it is located in looks like. There are beautifully landscaped trails and parks. And the building looks so modern and high tech.
This is our 3rd day with Brooks, and he has really taken to Jace.
We’ve discovered, that when Cohen takes a picture with Brooks, it’s best to have him hanging on for dear life, that’s when he laughs and smiles.
Starting to slip…
…starting to find it funny…
…now this is fun!
The entire place was decorated with Mickey ears and Disney characters. I wonder how Disney feels about that.
Inside the orphanage, everything is so colorful and clean. The babies are so well cared for! Brooks spent a little time in this particular orphanage right after he was found, but he was transferred to Beijing for surgery, and stayed in Beijing. Before we took a tour of the facility we had tea in the lobby/waiting room. We mostly just played on the floor and had fun. They had several strange bottled drinks that Cohen and Jace tried (like some milky tea drink??)
It was really nice to see how they handle older children, children with minor medical conditions, and children in need of major therapy and surgeries. In this one facility there are over 300 children, and nearly 100 caretakers. That’s an excellent ratio! (Now they are on shifts and as you know, older kids have fewer caretakers, babies have more…but still great!). The three babies that did stay there recognized their caretakers and were super excited to see them again. It’s a good sign when a baby is happy to go back to their orphanage. Most kids in China don’t have it this good.
We started our tour with the older children’s play room. They had a piano, drum set, art supplies and lots of other fun creative things for these kids to do. They actually sang for us while we were there. I cried. It was so beautiful!
These pictures were taken in the baby rooms. The beds were all occupied by babies with the exception of the 3 beds previously occupied by the 3 babies that were visiting with their mom and dad. There were SEVERAL rooms in the orphanage that looked just like this. If ever you thought, “hum, maybe I should adopt a child from China” this should help you answer that question. There is such a great need for forever families for each of these precious children.
Brooks didn’t remember anyone from this orphanage because he was so much younger when he stayed here. One of the ladies there remembered caring for him and actually tried to hold him. If you look at the second picture you see him putting his head on Jace’s shoulder. This is HUGE in terms of attachment and bonding. This lady probably looked a lot like his caretakers from Beijing (or really any adult he had ever seen before us crazy white people came on the scene). This just shows that he felt safe and comfortable with us, after only 3 DAYS!
Here are a few pictures Cohen took with his camera while we were touring the baby rooms. It’s just interesting to see things from his perspective.
They also had play rooms for the younger children.
In the pictures above, you can see Cohen with his camera. Here are a couple of his pictures.
The orphanage also had a wing where children from the community could come and get services such as physical therapy or minor medical care. The government is also building a new hospital nearby to help handle more severe issues. It was all quite impressive.
At the end of the day though, it is a very sad situation. No matter how many caretakers there are, or how wonderful the facility, these things do not take the place of a forever family…of a mom and dad. In one room we saw babies that were only a few weeks old, lying in a bed, soothing themselves. I was in tears, and I’m crying again just remembering. These babies should be held, they should be getting the constant love and attention that only a mom and dad can give them. I wanted to bundle them all up and take them all home with me, but sadly that’s just not how the system works. It will take those sweet kids months to be placed in a forever home, because of all the government red tape and required waiting times.
Of course, Cohen went with us to tour the orphanage. He has no memory of ever being in an orphanage. We had prepped him as best we could for what we would see there, but there is no way to be fully prepared for that as an adult, I can only imagine what was going through his little head. So, when we left, I asked him what he thought. He said it was nice. I said something like “those babies have so many nice things and such a beautiful home.” Cohen looked at me and said, “Yes, mom, but they need a mom and dad too.” So true, baby. So true.
I left the orphanage with a very heavy heart. I pray that God will allow us to return and take a few more kids off their hands. This process is certainly not for the weak, but in the end, when I look into my son’s eyes, I know that there is no price that I wouldn’t pay, and no amount of paperwork to file, that could get ever in the way of my love for them and the desire to have them home with me forever.
I also pray that, maybe, just maybe, by me sharing my story that you may consider adoption as well. There are so many wonderful children out there in desperate need of a mom and dad.
If you ever have questions about adoption, or anything you see here, please post them in the comments below. I will do my best to answer them.