This is post 2 from our LWB team in China right now. Nancy and Tracie left Henan and flew to the Fujian province, where they met up with our facilitator Tingting. They immediately set out for JianOu, a town of 500,000 people a six hours’ drive from the Fuzhou airport.
We got here last night around 1am so all of us slept late. We were planning to meet the orphanage at 8.30 a.m. for breakfast, and so we set our wakeup call at 7am. Unfortunately, with jet lag we all slept through it! Tracie called from her room and said that a group of people rang her doorbell from the orphanage. We had to tell them we were still in our pajamas! They had gone to the hotel really early and had been waiting patiently for us to come down, and then when we didn’t they thought they should come check on us. We were so embarrased! But we got dressed in record time and went down to meet with them. They were all so kind!
During breakfast, Nancy showed them the pictures from the adopted Jian’ou babies’ families. They recognized the kids and called out their names with joy as they saw how happy the children are. Obviously we drew the hotel staff over to our table because of our “loud talk” and because of the foreign ladies in such a small town. One guy there, about 40ish or 50ish, looked through the pictures and heard the Jianou people introducing our foundation. He was in tears and kept showing us thumbs up. He went all the way down to the hotel gate to shake hands with us and said goodbye with us when we checked out too, and he kept thanking us for helping the children. What kind, kind people!
We went to Jian’ou SWI after breakfast. This is a little town with 500,000 people, and the downtown area is quite crowded. The orphanage is a 5-story building with an outdoor area where they allow kids from outside to come in and play. We did see a couple of kids playing there with their grandmothers. The orphanage’s children are living in a 3-bedroom apartment on the 4th floor. The rest of the building is for senior people. When we got to the 4th floor, on the hallway, there were these grandmas and grandpas each holding a baby.
They welcomed us with warm smiles. The older children were there as well, and they just kept smiling at us and playing with the babies. They were all so gorgeous!
The kids just seemed like a big family. For instance, when one baby fell from her walker, all the older girls ran up there, the older people all ran up there too. Tracie gave them a little cute skirt.. she even helped put it on on one older girl. She loved it, and she was teasing the vice director to put it on too. From that, I can tell the girls and the vice director got along very well.
The orphanage is most interested in foster care and education. They have several older children who are very smart but who really need to be getting a quality education. We discussed whether boarding school would be an option for these girls, or whether foster care in a city would be an option. The whole orphanage staff was very kind. They are warm hearted people who know each and every child so well.
After our visit, it was time for our long ride into Qingliu….a town six hours away. Our driver was so funny and it made our trip easier. We stopped at a McDonalds to grab some food to take back to the van. We started eating before the driver and he said, “wow…that smells so good!” I told him to eat too but he said he would have to park to be safe. So we found a place to pull over, and he polished off two burgers, one banana pie and a medium coke within 5 mins. He was so hungry from driving us all over! The one thing about this region is that it is just so beautiful on the drive, with mountains and rivers everywhere. The Fujian countryside is just gorgeous.
By the time we arrived in Qingliu, there was a van of people waiting for us, including the director, Civil Affair officials, and even a TV station reporter.
They had brought some babies for us to see, and we were laughing saying that they must be the FATTEST babies in the whole town.. gosh.. one little boy.. his cheeks are falling out!! He is so cute and healthy. Baby “Le”, who we helped with a tumor removal, is so beautiful and was smiling and happy the whole time. There was another 3-month-old huge baby as well. When we said the baby boy must be the fattest one in town, they pointed to this 3-month-old and said “no, it should be this one!”
They are planning to send out all these babies’ files soon as they are all qualified for adoption. We were so happy to hear that.
When we went to the orphanage, we got to see the baby room, and they had all of the formula and cereal we provide them each month set out on the shelves. This orphanage is hoping to renovate another building to take in even more children from the surrounding countryside. They would like 40 more babies to be cared for here. It is a big project however. They have raised 150,000 rmb so far for the project, and are 70,000 rmb short.
After our visit in Qingliu (and a wonderful dinner), we decided to hit the road once more to get closer to the next orphanage we are visiting tomorrow. So we drove another 50 miles or so late tonight and have arrived in the town of Lian Cheng. We have to be on the road tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to get to Zhangzhou orphanage by noon. We are exhausted but loving every moment of being with the kids.