As I mentioned in earlier posts, "people" days are my very favorite days here! While all five of my senses have been engaged in the sights, foods and rich culture here in China, the days that I get to talk to and spend time with people are/have been my very favorite days! These days have proven to be much more physically tiring to me because of the deep emotions they have involved but still the best days!
Today was the day that we would get to chat with Qu Yan's foster mother and see the "social welfare institute" (as orphanages are referred to here in China) and I knew that this was going to be an emotional day for this 'ole Mama......but little did I know how much emotion this day would evoke!
Like yesterday, we were told to meet our translator/facilitator, Sherry at 8:30 a.m. in the hotel lobby. The Xi'an orphanage is about a 40 minute van ride from our hotel.
If you're new to this beatuiful, unfolding story that God is weaving together in our family tapestry, you will want to note that part of our adoption journey is being chronicled on film! Qu Yan's adoption will be part of a film/documentary that is being produced by Dave and Kathi Peters, called FIND ME.
Dave and Kathi have become more then the producers of this very, very special documentary that is being put together, they have become great friends! It's been a pleasure to walk this first part of our adoption travel with this very dear brother and sister in Christ! A lot of what I'm about to write was captured on film and perhaps someday you'll get to see for yourself some of the events of this very special day.
When we entered through the gate, we saw sweet statues of Chinese children on either side of a Chinese woman, and the name of the orphange in Chinese characters is inscripted in gold lettering on the small wall in front of the statues. Funny how this sight was already familiar to us thanks to Dave having filmed this on the original trailer that led us to Lucy Kim!
The orphange's adoption director, is a very, very special lady. Her love for the children at this orphanage is easily seen as is her desire to see the children find families of their very own. I'll refer to her as "Miss R".
Miss R met us at the van (which was parked next to a very nice outdoor playground). She then proceeded to take us on a tour of a portion of the orphanage. One of the many questions that I asked Miss R as we walked into the building was "how many children are at this particular orphange?" She replied 800!!!
The second room we went into was Lucy Kim's classroom! I immediately recognized the one Nanny as the sweet woman who brought Lucy to the Civil Affairs Office to meet us only three days prior. Here was the first place that I was washed over with emotion. The place was not gross or terribly smelly. It had what appeared to be a fair teacher to student ratio and the children seemed content. But sadness still washed over me as I looked at all of these little faces and kept thinking -- none of them has a family of their own!! Our little girl spent many hours of her day here in this very room waiting for a Mommy and Daddy to come and find her just as each of these precious souls are waiting.
Next we went into another building right next door and saw a classroom "in session." The teacher was so very kind to her students. A sense of order was also quickly noted in the classroom. After observing just a few minutes, I saw that she was teaching them to count, then find the cardinal number that matched the number of items they had counted. As a student came up and successfully completed on the board the task given - she directed the other students to clap! (it was fun to particpate with them in clapping!)
The next and final room we visited was the Music Room. In here too, a kind female teacher was teaching the young students a simple child's song while accompanying them on the piano. Outside a male teacher was waiting to go into the music room. It appeared to me that he was going to teach or give a drum illustration to the children.
Next was our visit with Lucy's foster Mom! (Side note - Lucy lived in the orphange until December of 2012. She was then moved into a foster family that is on the same compound - just a building over from the classrooms.) We got into an elevator and went to the 4th floor. The elevator doors opened and we were in a small hallway where immediately to my left was an open apartment door and there stood Lucy's foster mama! (sometimes people will refer to them as their "China Mom"). I recognized her immediately (again thanks to having seen her in the video clip that led us to Lucy). I immediately felt a connection with this woman whom I never met! You see, we had a very special common denominator - a deep love for a beautiful three year old girl! She immediately began speaking to me intently in Chinese -- never have I been soo grateful for a translator. (Miss R was tremendous in listening and translating both sides of the conversation the entire time!!!) I wanted to know everything she wanted to tell me in the most urgent and intense way. I knew we'd only have a short period of time to "chat" about "our" little gem! After inviting us into her modest apartment, she began to make tea. (as I think is Chinese custom) all the while talking. She invited us to see Lucy's bedroom (again we already "knew" this room as a lot of the video clip was captured in the bedroom she shared with two other littles.) Mama was intent on letting me know how sensitive Lucy is and how she took care of her and what foods she likes. It blessed me to have this time with her.
I don't remember who but someone asked her how she felt about having Lucy leave her nest. Ok -here is where another flood of emotions swept over me as I could feel her love and emotions. No language barrier here! She couldn't answer because she was trying to hold in the deep emotions and intensity that answer held!
We promised her we would love and take good care of Qu Yan FOREVER and also make sure she knows about her Chinese heritage. I will also remind her often that her "China Mom" loved her so very much!
We know that we know this visit was a pure GIFT. Not many adoptive parents have the opportunity to see and/or visit their child's foster parent(s).
(Part one of three - China - Day Seven)