As we walked into the courtyard the director pointed to Annabella's wing of the orphanage. A worker looked out and I heard her excitedly yell to the others that Dang Jia Ran was there. They obviously love her and were overjoyed at the chance to see her one last time.
Some things can not be explained, and the feeling I had just before we stepped into what had been her life for the past two years is one of those. I had to take several very deep breaths to keep myself from crying...it was such an emotional experience. I'm so very thankful that we were able to go and see her room, and her nannies, and meet her friends. I'm also thankful that she kept coming back to my arms, and was happy enough to leave with us when it was time. There was an American girl in her room, that is part of a program that neither Greg or I can recall tonight. She was a God send because she was able to communicate with us and tell us just a little about Annabella and her life.
There was one little boy in her room, that just has stolen my heart, and it physically hurts me each time I think of him being there, and of the life he is certain to have. He had only stumps as legs and arms, but was able to sit up on his own, crawl to a toy, and hold a sucker. If they would allow me, I would walk back to the orphanage tonight and bring him home with us.
We were only allowed about 5 minutes in her room, and from what we saw, none of the children had scabies any longer. They all looked healthy, and there were four nannies, and all were holding kids. The room was very tiny, smaller by half than our hotel room. It had 10 cribs all smashed together, and was actually air conditioned, and fairly cool. There were fans mounted on the wall above the cribs, and I guess they use those when the air conditioning is not on. There were only a few toys on the floor, but it is our understanding that the kids go to another room for an hour each day to play. It was so stark and bare, and not at all the picture I had in my mind. I don't know where they took the pictures of Annabella we have, but it was not in the room we were shown.
There is a lump in my throat that just won't go away. I knew that orphanages were bad, and I also know that Annabella has had it sooooo much better than most. If what she had was better, I find it hard to think about the others. You just can not imagine things here. You can't imagine what these children have. I am beginning to better understand how overwhelming we must be for our daughter. The clothes, food and toys that we have given her, are few, but to her it has been like Christmas day times a million. My heart is so burdened, and I feel so helpless. We left all of our scabies meds at the orphanage along with all the other donation items we brought, but I just feel broken because there is nothing more that I can do for them now.
The ride from the orphanage to the Public Security Bureau was a short one, and when we arrived we gave a gift, and our passports and adoption certificate to our rep. She disappeared for several minutes, then came back out and said that we were done. It took just over 2 hours to get back to the hotel, and Annabella cried about half of the way. By the time we got back here we were emotionally spent, and absolutely starving. The buffet in our hotel is very expensive, but we just didn't care and walked right in to eat.
Annabella was starving too, and she ate three bowls of congee, some kidney beans, udon noodles, and steamed cauliflower. She did NOT like the mashed banana, the coconut pearls, and especially the ice cream! She has the funniest face and a crinkly nose when we give her something that she doesn't like. When we gave her a taste of ice cream, she gave us a look that said "what on earth have you given me?" I think she has probably never had any in her life, nor has she likely ever even been given any type of cold food, or dessert. Once she was done eating, I was pretty much done as well, so I took her out of her high chair and held her in my lap.
We knew that she was due for a poo, and had discussed the fact that she was overdue on the ride back from Luo He. Well...she picked right then and there to fill her diaper to overflowing, and pooed all over me in the middle of the restaurant! Greg was across the restaurant when I saw it leaking...well not leaking, more like free flowing rapidly, from her diaper onto my shirt and pants. I looked at him and called to him frantically motioning him to come back to the table, When he got there and realized what was happening... because let me tell you, she was still in the process...he started digging through the diaper bag saying "what can I do?" Suddenly the emotion of the day just hit us both I think, and we just looked at one another, and began to laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We laughed so hysterically that I think everyone in the place was looking at us. We had tears flowing from our eyes, and still we laughed. Because really...when you are in a foreign country, emotionally spent, exhausted, sick, and covered in some of the runniest, smelliest poop you've ever seen, what else can you do? You just laugh.
After we got control of ourselves, we decided that nothing could be done, but to stand up and walk through the restaurant, hotel, and back to our room. So I left Greg with his ice cream, and with bursts of laughter, Annabella and I headed up to the room, and straight to the bathroom where we both stripped down and got in the tub. After I got cleaned up, and Greg, (God bless him,) washed the poopy clothes, we let Annabella play for a nice long time in the tub. After her bath we tried giving her a bottle, but since she'd just eaten, she wouldn't take it. It was past her bedtime, and she really didn't have much of a nap today, so she was wayyyyy beyond tired.
Yesterday we put her in her crib, and she went right to sleep. Same this morning. Tonight she wasn't having any of it! Every time we laid her down, she began to wail, so we just grabbed her and stuck her in the bed between us. She poked a toe out to touch both of us, stuffed her shirt into her mouth, pulled her blanket over her head, and promptly went to sleep. We were able to put her into her crib with only a tiny little fret, and she was out like a light again.
We have been told that we might be able to visit her finding place...the place she was left and consequently found abandoned. After the ride today, I'm not sure if we will both go and take her, or if just one of us will go, but I feel very strongly that we should at least try to go if we can. We will find out tomorrow if it is possible. If so we will either go tomorrow or Friday. Paperwork wise, we are finished here. We wait here just to get all the children's passports, which should arrive by Friday. On Saturday, I believe, we will fly to Guang Zhou where we will have her physical and TB skin test. We will process all of our "exit" paperwork that is required to get back to the US.
It's hard to believe that the adoption process is final. She is officially our child in the Chinese and US government's eyes. So much has happened to get us to this point and today's events, at least the paperwork side of it was really quite anti climatic. I think that as an adoptive parent, having spent so much money, and so much time, having shed so many tears, and spend so many days just waiting for the next piece of the puzzle, you kind of want something more. Like a band, and a parade, and fireworks. It may sound silly, but I mean, really...we just walked in, gave some gifts and some money, and sat for a few minutes. Then we all gathered around they said congrats, you are now officially parents, here's your piece of paperwork, now hurry to take your pictures so we can move on to the notary. It literally took three minutes for the certificates to be handed out and all of us to have a picture made before we were herded out the door. It just felt so....well, I don't know. It just didn't feel like it was anything special at all. But it was. Getting that piece of paper forever officially changed the life of one child. One child who would have NEVER had a chance here. One who would have been homeless at the age of 14, who would have lived on the street and learned to fend for herself from the garbage cans and beg from passers by. One child who is mine. Who will have a future now, who will have limitless love and attention, one child who will hear about and hopefully one day come to know Jesus Christ. And for that I give all my thanks to God. This has been a long journey for us, and though our time here is not yet over, I can already feel the end coming. Soon it will be time to leave the sights, sounds, and smells of China, and return home where Annabella will truly begin her new life.
|The road to Luo He|
|Tollgate into the city|
|Lily Orphan Care Center|
|Painting just inside the entrance|
|Some of the children in the first room|
|Another child in the first room|
|Heading up to see Annabella's room|
|Annabella's best friend|
|See the little sweetheart in the back? He has my heart...|
|More of Annabella's friends|
|Talking to one of her nannies|
|The American volunteer in Annabella's room saying goodbye|
|Heading in to apply for Annabella's passport at the PSB|
|Getting my hair done on the ride back to Zheng Zhou|
|tickles and giggles|
|She's able to drink from a sippy now with a VERY cut up spout|
|after her bath...crazy hair!|
|One cool chick a dee|
|I wear my sunglasses at night...|