Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 8: Dec 19, Guilin

So what happens when you try and snap beautiful scenic pictures with a 6 year old??? What you cannot see is the tour group that stopped behind me to laugh and giggle which just egged her on more. Oh well. This is real life right here.

One of Guilin's famous landmarks is the elephant trunk mountain. It is naturally created and exquisite to see in person.

The highlight of today was visiting Julia's orphanage and school. I really didn't know what to expect before we went. We knew that she was found at the front gate of the orphanage, but there was so much we didn't know. It was an orphanage for disabled children, and there were many children with Downs syndrome, wheelchairs, missing limbs, and some obvious physical ailments. We found out that her foster family lived a few blocks away, and there was a market between her former home and school. The school was located inside the orphanage.
What I could never have anticipated was what happened when Julia went in the front gate. She was barely a few steps inside the gates when a nurse called her by her Chinese name. She ran to the nurse for hugs and kisses. Word spread that she had returned, and soon nurses and teachers were there calling her name and she ran to each of them with a big smile and received a hug from each. We could not understand most of the words between her and the adults that helped to raise her, but we could see love on all of their faces. The most precious gift we received this morning was to see first hand that she had been cared for, in her foster home and in her school. We didn't need an interpreter to understand as she pointed out her Mama and Baba to each adult that welcomed her.
We were greeted as honored guests, but really we were there to honor them. We had the opportunity that many adoptive parents do not get. We saw how she interacted, and all of the adults in the orphanage thanked us for adopting Julia. But, I am the one who owes a debt that I can never repay to these wonderful, loving people who loved my daughter until I could bring her home.
I am sure that most people who will read this have heard horror stories about orphanages in China, especially for disabled children. We did not experience that. What we saw was a clean, organized, maintained facility and adults who cared for our daughter. Sceptics may say that is all for show, but trust me 6 year old kids don't fake this kind of response. It wasn't rehearsed or coerced. This was love between a child and her caregivers.

And, this is a little girl who got to show off her new Mama and Baba...

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