At long last, here it is-- our day at the orphanage. It was full of warm welcomes, smiles, surprises, and questions. Lots of unanswered questions, too, but that is to be expected. Longer letters coming soon to some of you (our Travel Group and the families whose photos I carried, in particular), but here is a summary of the day in pictures:
M and P outside the entrance of the big, new, clean, bright Shangrao Orphanage, built just a few years ago:
Our family with the director of the orphanage, with a banner that says, "Welcome to the family of Ling Qian Yang." (Yes, the Christmas tree is still up.)
Phoebe and Miranda's shocked faces after spotting a framed photo on the orphanage wall of us-- yes, our family, back home, eating ice cream on one of our May 25th Family Day celebrations. Pictures of happily adopted kids with their forever families line the orphanage walls, taken from updates that families have sent over the years, blown up and framed.
Miranda and Phoebe got very busy playing with the babies. This one, like many children in the orphanage, has Down Syndrome.
In a surprise that really threw me for an emotional loop, mid-conversation with us the director received a phone call that a baby had just been found and would soon be arriving at the orphanage. Here is the baby minutes after she arrived, with M and P pondering what it all means. That black blanket you see is actually a man's winter coat that someone had wrapped her in.
Here is a foster family who lives in the apartments that make up the heart and soul of the orphanage. This husband-wife team live with and take care of several children and glow with fabulous energy. They pointed out these two babies with pride as "healthy babies" (we would say "non-special needs") whose paperwork is in process and will be adopted soon.
And this is Phoebe's foster mom. She's 69 years old and has a smile that shines like the sun. She has been foster mom to 20 children-- including to one of the other families whose pictures I carried-- all whom she reports as being adopted. She served us tea that she picked and roasted herself, and graciously accepted our thanks for the excellent care she gave to Phoebe.
It was a long and wonderful day! Lots of thoughts about it, really, but I'll save the insights and reflections for conversations when we get home.