Tuesday, November 30, 2010

China Day 12: Pearl River Cruise

When we came home form our adoption trip, I took a lot of my favorite photos and put them on a digital picture frame. Molly has stood in front of that frame for hours over the past 3½ years. She has each picture memorized and knows the story behind each one. One picture was from a riverboat cruise. I always tell her that I had to hold her tight the entire ride because I was afraid that she would fall off of the boat.

When I asked Molly what she wanted to do in China she said, “I want to see the Great Wall, my crib, a panda, and the boat that I fell off of in China.” Well, she didn’t get that story exactly right, but tonight she did get to check of the river cruise from her China “To Do” list. And you know what, I was still afraid that she would fall off of the boat.

Remember that lack of OSHA thing here in China? It holds true for the boats as well. There are lots of spots in the railing where a decent size kid could easily fall through straight down into the churning waters. And there are no railings when you go out on the boat dock either. Not one. A kid (or adult) could slip and fall right into the Pearl River when trying board the boat. Yikes!

But we all made it back to the hotel safe and sound. Just in time for mandarin oranges. I forgot to mention these little beauties before. Oh my! Tiny little itty bitty tangerines--easy to peel, seedless, and oh so scrumptious. It is so easy to eat 6-8 of these little gems at a time. Morning, noon or night. And I have. Lots of times on this trip. We need these in the States!


Luke and Molly wait to board our boat.IMG_5019

Here she is. Note the lack of railing on the boat dock. Trey (foreground) was just about at river's edge. Watch out!IMG_5054

Passing another boat.IMG_5030

All the bridges and buildings along the river are lit up for the night.IMG_5022

Molly and Luke sneaking a peek through the railing.IMG_5033

The blurry tower in the background is the second largest tower in the world.IMG_5029

Pretty building.IMG_5037

Lanterns on our boat.IMG_5036

I took this blurry picture for my husband. Look at this thing Tony. Built on prime real estate and 1/4 of the building is bottom floor to top floor atrium. Unused, dead air space. I know how that bothers you. I am sure you would go fill all of those floors in, huh? Just like you want to do to my entry hall! Love and miss you honey! I thought you'd get a kick out of this!IMG_5040

Another pretty building.IMG_5041

And oh, look! Even another pretty building!IMG_5044

The White Swan. Our hotel during our adoption trip.IMG_5045

You can probably fill in this caption. But if not, here it is: Pretty Building!IMG_5048

Mommy holding Molly tight so she won't fall off the boat.IMG_5050

One sleepy girl.IMG_5051

And to top it off a Chinese woman with a monkey on her head. Huh, don't see that everyday.IMG_5060

Mandarin oranges. Tiny little orbs of juicy goodness. Mmmmmmm.IMG_5062

China Day 12: Orphanage Visit

Today we visited Molly’s Social Welfare Institute in Dongguan, Guangdong. It is about 1½ hours south of Guangzhou. The last time we made this trip is was a cold, wet, overcast and miserable. In fact, everything about the trip was miserable. The orphanage felt cold and sterile, there were no sounds of laughter, all of the kids we in cribs. Six hundred children in the orphanage and you cold have heard a pin drop. There were no signs of toys, no stimulating decorations for the kids to look at while in their cribs.

It didn’t get much better when they talked with us. It felt like we were getting their generic speech full of propaganda. Blah, blah, blah. We left feeling as gloomy as the weather.

Needless to say, I didn’t have high hope for today’s visit. But I was pleasantly surprised. The trip to Dongguan was lovely. Dongguan, despite being a factory town, is the equivalent to a Palm Springs or Naples, FL. Stunningly beautiful and obviously full of money. You would not expect anything like this in China. The orphanage itself is also quite beautiful with manicured grounds and granite floors and walls.

We were greeted at the door by a nice young man and woman who answered our questions in a fairly straight forward manner. There are now 800 kids in the orphanage, and this time it seemed to be more full of life. Nannies were interacting with children. Kids were being picked up and hugged. Toys were out to play with in several rooms. They even let us look through our kids files. Amazing. A lot more open than before.

We got to see some pictures of Molly that we had never seen. We were allowed to photograph them, as well. We also got more detailed information about our kids’ finding spots. Although it seemed crazy and chaotic, like everything in China, I felt very positive about what we were able to glean.

Molly did pretty well. For the most part she was lively and personable. When we were busy asking questions both of the kids started getting restless and you could see the anxiety level raise a bit. After talking with the director, it took them a few minutes to warm back up. Molly was eager to give the orphanage the gifts that we brought and show them the photo album that I made for them. She went page by page explaining each picture in English, which was probably not well understood, but I am sure was greatly appreciated by the staff. You could see it in their eyes.

The staff also let us go up and see the cribs in which our kids slept. Molly had a great time running from crib to crib, playing with the babies. I could have taken each and every child home with me. I tried to pick up as many kids as possible and love on them, even if it was just for a minute. On little cubby toddler with albinism stole my heart. 

Many of the kids have obvious special needs, others do not, but each child is absolutely perfect and deserves a home. My heart breaks for them and I pray that they are all on their way to a forever family at some point. If you have it in your heart to adopt, please pick up the phone and call an agency right now. These precious babies need you. Please.

Before we left the orphanage, the kids played on the playground for a few minutes. A couple more pictures outside of the orphanage and we were done. I left with a much more joyful heart than last time.

The only discouraging part of the day is that Molly’s finding spot was too far away to visit. She was found in a remote part of the county. Going there would have added at least 5 additional hours to our trip which was already scheduled to take most of the day. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I told the driver that I understood why we could not visit it today. Next time. I have to remember that this entire trip is a miracle and I am blessed just to be in China with Molly. It’s a huge disappointment not to be able to see Molly’s  finding spot but it’s not going to spoil my trip.

We did make it to Luke’s finding spot, which was near the orphanage. I was able to sit and talk to Molly about what this meant for Luke and how she had a spot of her own somewhere else in China. We talked about what she thought her spot might be like and why she was left there. A good conversation.

Once again, lots of pictures to post.  I will do orphanage pictures in this post and the rest of our day in the next post. Please read both to get a full view of our day.

Only one full day left in China (BOO HOO). I am not ready to leave at all, but every single kid is more than ready. They are all pretty tired and getting on each others nerves. I will miss this place so very much.


Manicured gardens of Dongguan City.IMG_4911

Beautiful new buildings....IMG_4921

and well landscaped streets.IMG_4914

Front gate of Dongguan Children's Welfare Institute.IMG_5013

Full shot of the building.IMG_5014

Front entrance.IMG_5011

Heading inside with a bit of trepidation.IMG_4933

Molly poses for a picture.IMG_4989

Waiting to talk with the staff.IMG_4936

A never before seen photo.IMG_4945

Molly showing the staff the album full of pictures of her and Luke.IMG_4954

Giving gifts to the director and staff.IMG_4957

Two orphanage workers, me and Molly and the orphanage director.IMG_4960

Entrance to Molly's former hallway and room.


Molly next to her crib.IMG_4964

I took a picture of Molly crawling on this window sill in April 2007. Here she is recreating the moment.IMG_4984

Playing on the playground.IMG_4995

Molly and Luke doing something that they never had the chance to do while they lived here.IMG_5000

Final pictures before we left.IMG_5009

Molly and Luke say goodbye to Dongguan.IMG_5007

Monday, November 29, 2010

China Day 11: Free Day in Guangzhou Part 2

During our adoption trip in 2007, we had the world’s best guides. Grace and Maggie were incredible. They always had the inside line—whether it was getting into the medical clinic before it opened, caring for a sick baby, comforting a stressed mommy, bypassing a line at a restaurant, getting us a good deal on pearls, translating documents, or educating us on China. They knew how to do everything and did it with professionalism and love.

We were very fortunate to meet up with Maggie and Grace tonight for dinner. It was so good to see them. I have told Molly so much about them so it was fun to her finally meet them in person. They were equally excited to see us.

We all went to dinner at a dim sum restaurant. Phenomenal. Everything was delicious. I think I ate twice my body weight in little food but it was sooooo worth it. Molly leaned over to me part way through the meal and said, “Mommy, this meal is really good!”  Amen, sister, Amen. Yum.

I really wanted to try something different. Something adventurous. So we got chicken feet. Surprisingly they taste like, well, chicken. Not at all bad. There was also this pork stuff. It looked like (and was) a big hunk of fat. I thought no way is that going to taste good. Guess what? Delectable. Frightening so. I have no idea what my heart and arteries are doing right now. Probably in a state of shock.

It was a perfect evening and one of the highlights of the trip. Good friends, good food, well behaved kids and China.  I feel so blessed.


Grace, Maggie, Molly and me.IMG_4834

Roll out the dim sum cart and…IMG_4829

...let's get the party started!IMG_4830

How many ways can you say yum?IMG_4831

Even looking at the pictures of all of that glorious food makes me happy. IMG_4835

John and I try chicken's feet.IMG_4837

And the verdict is...IMG_4838

Yum, tastes like chicken!IMG_4839

My little noodle girl.IMG_4849

Showing off her chopstick skills.IMG_4852

Love you, and so proud of you my sweet baby girl.IMG_4853

Guangzhou lights up at night.IMG_4854

Neon overload.IMG_4855

It's easy to spot us in a crowd.IMG_4861

The whole gang.IMG_4874

Molly and Maggie.IMG_4875

Grace and Molly.IMG_4877