Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bao'an & Zhuhai SWI visits

We spent about 9 hours in a van today traveling to Mali's orphanage & another group member's orpahange. AMAZING experience. Mali was excellent all day. A little fussy when we visited her orphanage, but maybe that was to be expected. Anyway . .

The Nannies & director of the Bao'an SWI ran out to greet us. They were very happy we decided to visit. The building is beautiful, very clean. It seems very affluent considering it's an orphanage. They took us all around to the different rooms of children (grouped by age). When Mali saw her favorite Nanny (one that we had not met yet) she got really excited & practically jumped into her arms. So cute!! We saw her bed, too (toddler bed, no crib). The other babies were all being fed (one spoon) as they wheeled around in walkers.

At first, the staff members were nervous about us taking video & pictures. They said only of Mali. I know 2 other families (online) who are waiting to pick up their daughters at Bao'an, so I asked about them. Things kinda changed at that point. They knew exactly which children I was referring to & from then on they allowed us to video & snap pictures of all the children. They even brought one of the kids out to us. I recognized both from their pictures online & was able to video & send pics to their Mommies. It was great. On the way out, they (again) asked me to e mail pictures (to the orphanage) every 6 months & to please visit if we go back to China in the future.

Next, one of the Nannies jumped into the van with us to help us locate Mali's 'finding spot'. This is the spot where she was abandoned. It was hard to find . . .the nanny jumped out to ask for directions about 8 times before we finally found it. It was a beautiful spot. It really made us all feel like Mali's birthparents wanted good things for her. (No pictures posted of this as I wish to respect Mali's privacy). It was very emotional for all of us. We had to leave after only a few minutes b/c it was just too much for us to handle. Mali stayed in the van (per our guide's request). I would've felt uncomfortable bringing her out.

Then on to Zhuhai, where another baby in our group was from. We recieved the same hospitable treatment there. There were a bunch of older kids that seemed to help out with the little ones. They bombarded Dr. Jerry when we arrived screaming, "Santa! Santa!" (hehe) We played for a bit with the video camera & chatted with the kids. I would've taken any one of them home. There was one little boy who came to me & sat in my lap. He also sat in Dr. Jerry's lap for a while, too. It melts your heart right on the spot. SO sad. This particular little boy has a heart issue. He was really little for his age, his lips were slightly blue, and his little sandals were on the wrong feet. It's amazing how these kids live. They are taken care of well in the orphanage & well-loved, but they can only do so much for them. The conditions are really poor. There isn't anyway you can visit a place like this & come back the same person. We are truly 'changed'.

Next, we stopped by to visit (the other baby's) finding spot - which was a public place & much easier to find. Then back to the hotel. Long ride, but Mali slept most of the way.

Mali is showing more of her personality every day. She ate an enormous bowl of chicken congee for dinner. She waved 'bye' to the nice lady who came in to turn down our beds for the night, & she almost had fun in the tub - just a few tears.

We're off to the museum tmrw.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's heartwarming to hear your account of how hard they're working to keep up with these kids. I'm so happy that they let you know where they were found - I can't imagine ever having to make that choice, and now that you have Mali, I'm certain neither can you.

Your arrival home is not soon enough, I hope you're enjoying everything there because it is definately at our expense back here - you are missed.
(Well, actually I just want to see the baby, you can stay :)

Hugs to Stinky and Vomit Face
from your loving "Aunt Cleo"

See you at the airport!!!!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a mess after reading this post. How wonderful that you got to visit her home in China and to get a picture of her BEST NANNY! These pictures will be so important to Mali and you. And the little boy who came and sat on your lap...........I really got choked up! The sqeaky shoes are too cute!

Kimberly Evans

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stories!!!!!!!!!! She is the cutest.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

What an amazing day you had!!! Glad to see that everything is going well.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Ford & Alyson said...

You were so good to be able to get the orphange's staff to let you take pictures of the other children for the "waiting" families. I hope to connect with someone the same way when we get our referral (months away from that!). Love your stories. Take care of yourself! She's a cutie - and strong too!!

6:28 AM  

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