Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zhengzhou Day 4--Orphanage Visit

Visiting the orphanage was important to us, as it is the only chance we'll have to see where John lived and how he was cared for during those first years. We were able to visit Rebecca's orphanage also, and it was an eye-opening experience. Not every family gets the opportunity, so we are grateful to have been able to get some glimpses into our children's pasts.

I was nervous about today because I knew it would not be easy for John. I prayed that it would not be too traumatic for him. He had a tough time on Gotcha Day with just a couple of members from the orphanage staff, so seeing his caregiver(s) again would likely be pretty emotional. It took us a little over an hour to drive to Kaifeng. We were able to travel with another family that adopted a child from Kaifeng this week as well. When we arrived, we were greeted by the orphanage's adoption coordinator. She was one of the ladies that brought John to the adoption registration office on Monday. He clung to me when he saw her. I thought that was progress because he certainly wanted her on Monday! We were led into the office and met some of the other staff. The adoption coordinator told us a little about the orphanage, that it housed 230 children and what services they were able to provide for the children.

We then walked back outside and were led across the driveway to the gate of the children's homes and courtyard. We were quickly greeted by John's nanny. He went immediately to her and he was so happy to see her. He didn't want anything to do with me after that. We visited the first room on the right, which was the room of the other child whose family was with us. There were several children in this room. I wish I would have counted, somewhere around 10-15. There was also a small room with very tiny premature babies. One was getting an IV. There was one just inside the larger room, lying in a small crib, covered with layers of quilts. It couldn't have weighed more than 2 lbs, if that. No oxygen, no IV's. It was in some respiratory distress, just from what I could gather from looking at its neck. I wouldn't expect this little one to survive. I had to fight back the tears. I wanted to whisk it away and take it to the nearest hospital for care.

We then walked back outside in the small courtyard and walked a few steps across to John's room. There were many children and babies here as well. I would say the average age was a little higher in this room but there were still some small babies here. Overall, this was a "healthier" room. There was a little girl in a walker with cerebral palsy, a little boy with Down's Syndrome sitting in a chair, a child with albinism, a girl with scoliosis, and a little girl with a scar on her chest (I assumed to have a repaired heart defect), among some of them. I gave John's nanny some lollipops to pass out to the children. They all seemed to enjoy them. John had been "sharing" his food and candy with me until now. Now he refused to even look at me.

They showed us his bed and told us a little about his daily life. While an orphanage is no place for a child to grow up, I felt like the staff here truly cared for the children. I know that John was loved. He was cared for. Because of that, he will love us back some day. Several times I even noticed tears in his nanny's eyes.

Now came the really hard part. The parting. The nanny led him out of the courtyard back to the driveway area. She told him what was happening, that I was his mama, and Billy was his baba, and he was to go with us again. Not what he wanted to hear, I'm sure. I was motioned to take him. Screams, lots of screams. Lots of tears. A way more visceral reaction than he had on Gotcha Day. He fought with all his might to be released from me so he could go back to his home. I went ahead and got on the bus so he could at least be out of sight from everything. Nothing would calm him. Not a drink, not a toy, not candy or food. He wanted nothing from me. It was heartbreaking to watch him grieve so. The loss he was feeling was immense, more than I ever imagined. To keep myself calm I had to keep reminding myself that I was not the one who abandoned him. I did not put him in this orphanage. He cannot stay here. He needs a family.

After what seemed like an eternity, the others boarded the bus, and our guide came back to help me. She spoke to him in Mandarin, and offered him some of the food that the nanny sent with us. He was able to calm down some after this and the crying subsided. Before long he was laughing with us on the way back to Zhengzhou. This evening has gone well also. I thought we might have to start over, but he still seems comfortable with us. He's even letting Billy holding him more.

I write this to remember this time. But my fervent prayer is for others' hearts to be opened to helping the hopeless of this world. We ARE responsible. We ARE called. We live a LAVISH lifestyle while many suffer. Maybe it IS my fault that John was abandoned. Maybe his family could not bear the financial hardship of caring for a special needs child. Maybe they loved him and wanted a future for him. If we continue to do nothing, nothing will be done.

View as we entered Kaifeng--so much smog
Sleeping on the way to the orphanage

 Road to the orphanage

Main gate to the orphanage
 inner gate to the orphanage

not happy to see the orphanage adoption coordinator (right). Our guide (left) is explaining to him why we are here.

Entrance to the courtyard where the children's rooms are.

So happy to see his nanny again.

John's picture on the wall in the first children's room.

John's room
 giving kisses to his friend

 Walking out of the courtyard with his nanny, for the last time.

1 comment:

Our Journey to China said...

Thank you so very much for sharing your journey with us! Oh, how I pray for you all. :) I long to go back to China. Prayerfully, some day. I am so thankful for your heart and love!