Thursday, November 25, 2010

China Day 7: Sara Jane's Orphanage Visit

If you told me a month ago that I would be eating spicy beef and pork, bamboo shoots, bok choy and steamed buns in Hunan China on Thanksgiving Day, I would have called you crazy. But that's what I did. I didn't even miss the turkey and stuffing at all. The only thing I did miss was my hubby who is on the other side of the world!

Most of our Thanksgiving Day, including our "feast", was spent in Ping Jiang, Hunan. This is where Sara Jane’s orphanage is located. Although this was her assigned orphanage, she was fortunate enough to be in a loving foster home for most of her little life. We had the opportunity to visit the orphanage and the city of Ping Jiang today, and like everything in China it was an adventure.

We traveled through the rural countryside of Hunan where we got to see first hand what life outside of the big city is like.  We passed rice patties, farms and small towns. We saw where some of the poorest and the richest people of the province live. It was an interesting journey.

Once at the orphanage, which wasn’t that easy to find, the director answered Jan and John’s questions about Sara Jane and her first (almost) two years of life. He showed us around the orphanage which has been transformed into a kindergarten for the orphan children.

All of the children of the Ping Jiang Children's Welfare Institute have been placed in foster homes, so there are no children living at the actual facility. Despite being old and a bit run down, the building was adorned with colorful decorations and children’s projects and filled with the sounds of children’s voices.

Jan and John got to see Sara Jane’s finding location in Ping Jiang as well as got a feel for the surrounding area. It was quite an eye-opening experience. It was eye-opening for Molly, as well. I think that she is processing a lot in terms of her own adoption and orphanage experience. She asked questions, and I tried to give her explanations, but with her adoption, there are so many questions for which I do not know the answer. It will be interesting to see how she handles her own orphanage visit next week.

This is our last full day in Changsha. Tomorrow we depart for Guangzhou on a high speed train. The train stops in Changsha for 3 minutes. That means we have 3 minutes to get 3 adults, 6 children and a mountain of luggage onto the train before it departs (we carry our own luggage right onto the train—oh joy). This is sure to be an adventure! Wish us luck…..

A rural Hunan town.IMG_4533

Harvested rice patties.IMG_4536

One of many small shops in Ping Jiang.IMG_4557

Not something you'd see in the States, but very common in China. Yikes! At least put a helmet on that kid.IMG_4560

View of the rooftops from an orphanage window.IMG_4575

Ping Jiang Children's Welfare Institute.IMG_4589

Playground for the Institute.IMG_4582

Molly said, "Mickey Mouse in China? That's just crazy!"IMG_4590

Jan  and baby Sara Jane.IMG_4578

Our group on the steps of the orphanage.IMG_4583

The Ahern Family standing at the gate of the orphanage.IMG_4592

Jan and sweet Sara Jane.IMG_4596

A view of the street in front of the orphanage.IMG_4601

KFC Ping Jiang style. Pick your chicken and this lady will take care of the rest.IMG_4603

Our Thanksgiving table.IMG_4606

John, Jan and Sara Jane.IMG_4607

Luke, Trey and Mark showing their best bad boy pose.IMG_4609

Anna and Molly.IMG_4613The van driver and me.IMG_4611

Vicky, our guide.IMG_4612

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home, especially to my husband. I miss you and love you lots.!

1 comment:

K~ said...

Thank you for posting the pictures of Ping Jiang institute. We brought our daugther home in Jan 2009 and our agency would not allow us to go to the orphanage. I have searched and searched the internet for pictures to show her. She was also in a foster home but in the background of one of your pictures the young Chinese man is the same man that came to visit us in Chang Sha. I would love to have copies of the pictures of the orphange and Ping Jiang as we never got there. My PM address is: Thanks for considering this. Your children are beautiful. Thanks! Kindel