WHEW! I have been so busy! I have finally completed almost all of my packing. When I weighed my suitcase today it weighed 60 pounds!!!! So I had to add another suitcase so we wouldn't go over the weight limit of 50 pounds. Emma and Meilynn are sharing a suitcase and I have Lily's things in a smaller one. Mike will have one and mine was so heavy because I am carrying the traveling pharmacy, office supply, shampoos etc, laundry, snacks, female products, and so on! The girls are seeking a lot of attention due to the fact that I have not been able to give them the normal amount. And you know what that means. They are getting the attention they want by misbehaving. My room was a mess during the packing, but now it is almost back to normal. Here is a glimpse of the mess.
The other day we got the Fed Ex that brought our paperwork for our trip. We had not seen our Travel Approval yet, so we were thrilled to have another picture of our Lily as a baby. I rotated the picture, but for some reason it did not do it here.
I also got my quilt squares all together and I plan on sending them off tomorrow.
I had the girls do their valentines so they could leave them on Wednesday for their class.
I put copies of our passports in our suitcases.
I did run out to buy a few things that I missed the other day.
I am really tired and need to get into bed. There is so much to say, but I need to go to bed. On the Lily's Orphanage Yahoo Group a family that had adopted several years ago took a vacation in China and visited Yangjiang where Lily is from. They paint a pretty bleak picture. Which makes me happy that we are going to get her now. I don't know if she even knows about us or if they are preparing her. Some orphanages do a great job of this and some don't. Here is a little of what the family wrote about Yangjiang.
We went to Yangjiang SWI on the Saturday, when the guide arrived. It had been very touch and go that we would be allowed to visit at all, so we were happy that it happened. We were not however met by the director, but by a woman who was familiar to me from photos (not Ayi Tan, who has retired. I think the same woman travelled with my daughter and another girl to Guangzhou when we adopted. I will forward her name when I can find the email from the guide. Apologies. I was not sure why the Director did not come. We were met at the gate, and it was very quiet. The orphanage is located in an outer area, and in a older part of town, well off the commercial strip.
It is hard to quantify these things, but I guess I can say there were no shocks. It was smaller than I expected, in a more occluded part of town. We were not allowed inside the rooms, which was very disappointing. Our guide had been to YJ once before. She said that overall it was not one of the more welcoming, open places. I felt that too. The woman who met us was quite pleasant, chatty, but could not really answer my questions. The outer area was empty and clean. Bleak would be my word. I tried to look inside and saw a couple of toddlers in the room that I identified as my daughters from other photos. It was dark in the rooms. When we were leaving I looked into the areas where the clothes were being washed. It was dark and cold. The woman who showed us around said they had about 100 children, but there was no evidence of that at all. She told me that they did not foster. She said there were few (no) babies. She said that most of the children had disabilities. There were a small group of older children outside, smiling, shy, while we were there. Our daughter spend the whole time trying to talk to them (in English and a few words of mandarin) and teach them paper scissors rock. It was awful to see them there.
No one said they recognised xxxxxx, and she did not recognise anyone clearly. She said she remembered things, but I am not sure. She was happy to leave. My son (9) was of the opinion that it was 'not too bad'. Like us, he was just trying to get through it.
It was not a place that celebrated our daughter's return in the way that I might have expected had I not read what others had said and also taken on board our guides words. For our daughter, this was okay. In fact, I was glad at the time that she was 'lightly present' and had to float about it a little to get through it.
When we left we walked along the road for some time and came to the park which backs onto the orphanage, called Beishan Park. On my daughters finding ad at least two other children were abandoned there. It is a very busy 'square' with gates, opposite the police station. It was easy to see why children might be left there to be quickly found.
My husband and I had thought before we travelled back to China that we would like to stay longer in our daughters home town. We had planned to travel to the Silk Road Museum 40 min away, which is supposed to be amazing. But to tell the truth, it was a difficult town for us all and I was pleased to leave. It felt like a very tough place to make a living. That is much more evident than in Guangzhou.
It had been a long trip there to YJ, and we had a very cold hotel on a relentless thoroughfare, and our children were tired of travelling and the noise and chaos the street was stress enough without the obvious issues of returning to the orphanage.
The visit laid the groundwork for our families' understanding of the reality of our daughter's first years. Her experience now has a shared reality for us all, and it has given us an emotional base for communicating with her about what she went through in the first years of her life and how that affects us all. We also have the pictures of her mother, father and brother and of her, with us, which matters to her immensely.
There has been so much questioning in the last year or two around international adoption. I now feel with utter conviction that at nearly three, my daughter did not have a good future in the Yangjiang SW1. I simply wish she had not had to spend so long there. I know from her anger that she had been very afraid there, no matter how clean and functional it was.
On the issue of fundraising, I asked our guide to communicate the groups desire to fundraise. She offered up that it was no good giving toys. Some families bring toys, she explained, but they never get given to the kids because they are too dangerous as the children might swallow them or whatever. I presume the supervision is not considered good enough to allow toys. It seemed too difficult to pursue the idea of different kinds of toys. Large balls? There was no signs of play at all in the place. I asked if they needed anything. She said no, they had all they needed. Which is I am sure her just being pollite. But she did say that their washing machine had been bought through fundraising, and that the best thing would be to allow them to purchase what they need, and they would provide receipts and pictures. Which seems the best idea.
Such a sad account. It left me very sad.
On a lighter note Emma continues to say some of the cutest things and I don't want to forget them.
The other day I made French Toast for both of the girls for the first time.
I asked Emma, "Do you like the french toast?"
She replied, "I like it but not as much."
Then I said, "You don't like it?
and she said, "Yes, but not as much as candy"
Then a little later she told me she had a dream. Here is her conversations.
I had a dream. i dreamed about the little mermaid. i dreamed she brought me little mermaid cloths, a treasure bag, something to make your hair turn red and something to make you big, and she brought me a bra.
My little girl is in a hurry to grow up. She always talks about how she cannot wait to be grown up so she can choose her own clothes. (What she means by this, is that everyday she wants to wear a skirt, tights, and "up-sleeves", and although we live in California, it does get cold here) The first thing she does when we get home from anywhere is change into a skirt and short sleeves. I forsee trouble in the teenage years.
Oh, and in response to Lily's best friend, yes, we do know who is adopting her and they should be going just after the Chinese New Year. They do not live close, but I hope we can let the girls stay in touch. I have been in contact with her Mother.
Good night! Good night Lily, we will soon have you in our arms!