What a whirlwind two days. We started in Shanghai, flew to Jiangxi where we travelled the countryside and now we are in Guangdong. We have met such wonderful people and such adorable babies – what until you see the pictures!
After a night of fireworks, we met with 3 people from the LWB China Chapter in Shanghai. This group of people is so fired up about helping LWB by doing nanny training, PT camps, summer camps and fundraising. We also enjoyed learning about their experiences living in Shanghai.
Soon we were on to Jiangxi, landing in Nanchang, the provincial capital. Our hosts, the staff of the Shangrao Ling CWI, were there to meet us. We travelled 2 ½ hours by van across some of the most awesome scenery I have seen in China. Fields of yellow-flowered rep seed (a plant used to make cooking oil), water buffalo, rivers, and mountains created an absolutely picturesque scene.
Once we arrived in Shangrao, we were met by the orphanage director, vice director and department directors. How very kind each of these people were! We were treated to a delicious meal and then a walk in the park across the street. The entertainment of the night came from the karaoke machine blasting love songs. The orphanage staff and our team fell into fits of laughter when a young man who definitely wouldn’t win American Idol started to croon at the top of his voice. We all tried to convince the vice director and our facilitator to take a try, but as much as they wanted, they thought they would wait for another time.
Our day today started with a shopping trip with the Shangrao Ling director to buy items for the nannies, foster care families, and school supplies for the other Shangrao Xinzhou SWI (another orphanage nearby). We also told the director that we wanted to buy a present for her orphanage, whatever she needed. She brought tears to my eyes when she said she wanted cans of formula. We were certainly the entertainment for the rest of the shoppers as we pushed three heaping carts full of goods through the store.
On the way back from the store, we stopped at a few of our foster care homes. Two of these homes were children whose heart surgeries we had done. Both of these little boys were absolutely adorable! Mao, a two year old little boy, is just so loved by his family. We learned that his foster family has applied to adopt him domestically. In addition to meeting his baba, we also met both of his grandmothers. What love for this child there is in this home!
The second heart child we visited was a very spirited five year old boy named Feng. He was all boy!! He is currently in preschool and will start primary school in June. The orphanage is planning to put his adoption paperwork together soon. This little boy was such a tease, and we had so much fun playing with him.
From the foster homes, we went to the orphanage where there was a room full of toddlers playing. The children were playing on the new play equipment we had purchased for the orphanage at the end of last year.
There were swings, slides, a trampoline, a playhouse and rocking horses. We heard that the kids love this new play area so much that even the foster families bring their kids to play on this new equipment. I loved watching one of the nannies figuring out a way for one of the little girls, who is missing part of one arm, to be able to eat her bag of Kix cereal. She tucked the bag into the loop of her jacket so she would be able to eat like the other children. Both Lori & I were also able to cuddle and give a baby a bottle. Another of the little girls who followed us around was Meng, another one of our heart children. This child had been so blue when we first received her picture. She is now so beautifully pink and so healthy. She watched our every move and was our balloon helper, picking up the balloons laying on the floor.
After playing with the toddlers, we were treated to a delicious lunch made by the orphanage. The vegetables used in our meal were all grown by the orphanage in a garden outside. Our hosts were so gracious, and we discussed many things about the orphanage. This orphanage does many adoptions a year and already many of our medical children have been adopted. I just could see what a difference we were helping to make partnering with this orphanage. We also discussed many new children who need our help. I know that our medical sponsorship page will soon be filled with many of these children we met.
Finally, it was time for the baby rooms. The rooms were filled with adorable, chubby, smiley babies! We were able to see teeny tiny babies in the incubators we have provided for the orphanage and babies in walkers we bought. Babies were all over, cruising around and exploring. Each of the babies were so healthy and loved. We even saw a set of twins, the first children to use our incubators. I just couldn’t cuddle enough of these precious faces. We also noticed how the rooms were set up with 6 cribs in a room and a bed for the nanny. Each room went in had nannies holding babies. No wonder they were so loved. I also loved the way the director interacted with these babies, she was loving on them just like we were and you could tell they recognized her. We also learned that the director is an adoptive mom to two children herself. I could tell she had a great heart for these children.
After our visit to the Shangrao Ling CWI, we went to the Shangrao Xinzhou SWI that was just 7 minutes away. Both of these directors are good friends and the Ling director accompanied us. We discussed the medical children that we have helped, the new children that need our help, and other helpful information about their orphanage. After our meeting, we were able to visit one of their rooms were we saw some more beautiful, chubby babies.
At the end of the day, as we were saying our goodbyes, I told the directors how I felt as if I was leaving old friends. They just showed us so much hospitality and love. I am already looking forward to the day that I can visit again.