I am safely back with my favorite three people (I got back nearly 24 hours ago and I posted this then on Facebook, but I finally got a chance to post it here)!!! Wow, wow, wow, I am forever changed by today. I cannot express how very very important it was for me to go. The trip to the orphanage... I have to think about it more what I have learned. It leaves me speechless. It makes me love Katie more and more, knowing where she lived 2 1/2 years of her life in a metal crib most the day. These precious children... some in the baby room were severely disabled and barely responsive... I took SEVERAL videos of children to advocate for. I thanked the staff all through tears, for caring for Katie (I KNOW that they care about the children, they cannot help that they are very under-staffed and under-funded. It was evident that they were overwhelmingly happy that Katie has a family.) Only 20 of the 120 children from that orphanage get to live in a foster family, only those who are the "easiest and least disabled" get the chance. I know the fact that K got to live in a foster family for the past year and a half has made a world of difference!
Handan Social Welfare Institute
This is the Baby House, where a child can be safely and anonymously abandoned, and out of the elements. (one of only 16 in all of China), so important, as many many babies have died from being abandoned and exposed to the elements. This is groundbreaking!
Praying over and loving on a friends' baby girl... her family is coming in the next several weeks!
The preschooler room!
Katie's crib for the past month, while she waited for us. She sat in that crib, almost all day, for a month. They said she cried for 2 days straight when they took her out of the foster home, back into the orphanage, and then they gave her our pillow with our picture on it and apparently kissed it often and that's how she knew us on Gotcha Day!
Liu Qiu Ge, wearing the dress I had bought but was too small for Katie, This sweetie was abandoned recently. I can't even imagine!) Her only special need: mobility with her legs. I have a video! She is precious!
I know so many families who have adopted and are pursuing adopting children with Down Syndrome, please spread the word on this sweet angel baby!!! In the video I have of him, they first try to convince me why no one would want him... I wasn't listening. He needs a mama!
The HIGHLIGHT of my orphanage trip, hands down, was getting to see THIS child.... I didn't know it, but her foster brother (her best friend from the past 1 1/2 in the foster home) was taken out of the foster home and is back in the orphanage until he gets a family. I AM NOW ON A MISSION TO FIND A FAMILY FOR HIM! Advocate friends, PLEASE please PLEASE put him on your blogs. Liu Qiu Xin (Choo-Shin), 4 years old,... He has "delayed speech/ low intelligence", according to them, but as you can see in a video I posted to Facebook of him, he is an absolute delight!!!
I think our discomfort and sadness in looking at these pictures of orphans is worth the chance that one of these children might find a FAMILY, and therefore a future and a hope. None of them have ANY future here... as previously discussed. The orphanage WANTS them to be adopted and are thrilled when we are able to give them a chance. The last thing they all said to me, with tears in their eyes, after I explained the wonderful deaf school Katie will attend, "You are the right mother for her. We know she will have a bright future with you. Thank you!" I told them, "A BRIGHT, beautiful future, indeed! I truly believe that Katie will live a wonderful life and grow to be a very special woman." The Lord answered my prayer in a BIG way! "Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours!"
Seeing the children in the baby-4 year room only in cribs reminded me just how BLESSED we are that Katie is an affectionate, thriving child. It makes sense now why every single toy, and even brushes and lids thrill and delight K, she barely saw any toys ever growing up. All she really knew was her crib in those years. I want to say, in the past 3 days, Katie has "come alive", she's making tons more eye contact and interacting better and even ran up to give me hugs tonight a few times! She is funny, and makes up simple games, laughs as she runs into the bathroom to peek under the toilet lid every ten minutes (she's not sure what it is, her foster family didn't have plumbing, and it amuses her) and lights a smile when we hug her or pick her up. She's our sunshine girl and we just adore her!
It's an interesting juxtaposition to the videos of the children just craving sensory input, but I came home yesterday in tears, loving Kate all the more, and badly wanting to "make up" for those years! We found one of her favorite activities... listen to her sweet baby sounds, cooing with utter delight at having her feet massaged with lotion... it helps that Cara's favorite activity has always been putting excess lotion on everything and everybody... a match made in heaven! How we LOVE to bless our Katie-bug! She now sees the lotion bottle and starts cooing! Cute she be any cuter, seriously? Loving these two is the most natural thing in the world! (I posted a video to Facebook of it, but here's a picture of Lotion Time!):