We were fortunate and were able to tour our daughter's orphanage. We arrived around 2:00 and immediately a group of children around 3 or 4 years old came running out to the vans we were riding in. They were very exuberant in telling us hello (in English) and Ni Hao. There was a caucasian family leaving the orphanage as we arrived, we were told they were missionaries who volunteer at the orphanage several times per week. We were greeted by the Director, a very lovely woman (who's name I did not get). The orphanage was basically 3 stories high and built around a central court yard. There were swing sets and playground equipment in the courtyard. Our tour began on the first floor, this is where the older children slept. The oldest children slept four per room and the rooms were all very neat and clean. Volunteers had painted various scenes in each of the rooms. One was painted like a tree house with trees and vines on the walls. It was very cute. Next we were taken in to see where some of the special needs children stayed. We were told these children had "arm and leg deformalaties" To my very untrained eye these children had more mental retardation type symptoms than deformed limbs. Some of the children were playing on the floor and some were sitting in chairs but NONE of the children were tied up and NONE appeared to be mistreated. Still it was sad to see and I know I gathered my Charlie up a little closer.
After being taken to every room on the first floor we headed up to the second level. This is where our daughters had been just a few days earlier. Our daughters rooms consisted of a sleeping room which had about 20 baby beds. I asked and was shown which had been Charlie's bed. The playroom was quite large and nice and there were a few toys for the children to play with. There was one little girl with a cleft lip who had the most infectious grin. Most of the children were in walkers and boy could they make those things fly. One little tike tried to escape to the balcony/hallway while we were there. We were shown the kitchen area and bathroom area for this age group, all were very clean and neat.
The younger babies (about 6 months to 1 year) were in a similar suite of rooms next door and the youngest babies were next to that. There were some tiny babies who couldn't have been more than a few days old in the nursery. I'm guessing there were around 30 or 40 tiny babies in the nursery. Next to this is where the sick babies were. I just basically stuck my head in this room as I was carrying Charlie and didn't want to expose her to any airborne diseases and I didn't know what types of "sick babies" were in there. My sister did spend some time in there and she saw one baby who was hooked up to oxygen and had "a tube in her nose" I didn't see this, but am assuming she was being fed via the nasogastric tube. On the third floor was another suite of rooms and this is where the "head sickness" children were kept. These children appeared to have ceribal palsey (please excuse my spelling). The children were sitting in very nice and large stroller type seats. They were being fed while we were there. Again the situation was sad, but the children did not appear to be mistreated. Also on this floor was the laundry, there were some very large washing machines. Very few places in China have or use dryers and the "orphanage flags" (diapers) were flying in the breeze.
There were absolutely no closed doors, we were allowed to see anything we wanted to see. We were also allowed to take all of the pictures and video we wanted. I never saw any sign of abuse or neglect, you could tell the staff really loved our daughters and had their best interests at heart. I was very happy to know this.
After this we went to the office side of the orphanage and were taken to a conference room. We were given HOT tea and our paperwork. This consisted of our daughters Chinese passports, adoption certificates, certificates of abandonment and birth certificates. According to Chinese law Charlie was now offically now MINE!!!
A side story has it's beginnings that day at the orphanage. When we first arrived I mentioned there were several children who came running up to us. One of these little girls attached herself to my sister. Linde the baby magnet picked her up and carried her throughout the entire tour. The rest of the little girls group went off for their activities, but the nannies and orphanage director allowed her to stay with us. In the conference room she sat on Linde's lap and looked at the pictures of Linde's two bio children and my other daughter. Linde would tell the little girl their names and she would say the names back to Linde. It was so sad when Linde had to turn her back over to the director. Linde did ask the director for the little girls name. We asked Mr. Gu if there was ANY way we could take her home with us, there wasn't. I emailed CCAI and again, no luck (we didn't have much hope there would be, but you know the old saying.....nothing ventured, nothing gained) When we got back home, Linde contacted CCAI and Great Wall both of whom made inquiries into the little girl, unfortunately we don't know what happened to her. However, this little girl planted a seed in Linde's heart that has grown. This summer Linde and her family will travel to Yue Yang in Hunan Province to pick up their daughter Hannah.
The next day we flew to Guangzhou and were met at the airport by Raymond, one of CCAI's Guangzhou reps. We were told that the day before there had been massive flooding in the streets because of the monsoon that had hit. What timing, we flew into Hong Kong to perfect weather, flew to Kunming and while we were there a monsoon hits the Hong Kong/Guangszhou area. Because of the after effects from the monsoon, the weather was MUCH cooler than usual (yeah that broke my heart.) We stayed at the China Hotel which was next door to a Mc Donalds and right on top of the Hard Rock. Guess where we ate almost every meal???? Raymond did organize a group meal for us at the Jade Palace which was just a few doors down from McDonalds. It was here that I put the best thing I've ever tasted into my mouth, an eggplant and shrimp dish that was just to die for! If I ever make it back to Guangzhou I'm going to make myself sick on this. We completed our paperwork at the US embassy, shopped till we dropped and headed home.
The trip home was a nightmare. We flew Singapore Air again and when I went to lay Charlie down on a palate at our feet the stewardesses had a cow. On United they had given me a boot box to lay Julie in and she slept a great deal of the flight. Not so with Charlie. I had purchased an extra seat, but Miss Flippy Floppy needed her space, she had a really hard time settling down to rest. We arrived in San Francisco around 7:00 in the evening, we cleared customs without any problems, BUT there were no connecting flights home. We could get to Dallas or Denver, but not on home to Oklahoma. We had already booked a hotel room, so we caught the courtesy van and off we went. We checked in and crashed! Around 3:30 am I woke up to that really foul smell I'd grown to know so well, Charlie had had another blow out (at this point I'd been double diapering her, but she'd still have blow outs.) Oh my poor little baby, the vomiting was not getting any better and the diapers .......yuck. We got up and gave Charlie a bath and gave her another bottle, but we were pretty much up for the day. Our flight was scheduled to leave around 8:00 for Denver BUT they cancelled it. Oh joy oh boy I had my entire family meeting us at the airport, I called home and told them we'd be a couple of hours late. We were soooooo tired and just wanted to get home. Charlie was sick, we were out of clothes, and about out of diapers. I brought 3 outfits (plus the "get off the plane outfit") and 2 blankets to get us home. We didn't even make it out of the San Fran Airport. Charlie blew out her last outfit on the plane. We landed in Denver and headed to the bathrooms, you haven't lived until you've done laundry in the Denver Airport. They have those wonderful automatic faucets that turn off after a preset amount of water comes out, then of course the hand driers turn off after a certain amount of time. Charlie was running around in a diaper and Linde and I were trying to dry a couple of outfits and a blanket. Needless to say we blew the fuses in every dryer they had! United Airlines felt so sorry for us they bumped us up to first class on the Denver to Tulsa leg of the flight. We arrived in Tulsa and were the first one's off the plane. I heard my Aunt say "there they are" and I heard my daughter Julie say "mama" in her sweet little voice. Julie was placed in my arms with Charlie and I just broke down and bawled. I was sooooo happy to be home. My little family was complete.
I called the pediatrician the next morning and was told to "bring that baby over now." Charlie had bilateral ear infections that were almost ready to rupture. She was placed on antibiotics and given another medicine to put in her ears. Almost immediately the vomiting stopped, she continued to have loose stools and blowouts for months (she was tested for parasites but fortunately did not have any, I did become very good friends with my bottle of bleach!)
Within a week she was a different child, my cranky daughter was gone, she was replaced by the sweetest little girl. Her appetite was huge. She ate almost everything that was put in front of her. She quickly filled out and lost that peeked look. Today she is a delight. 99% of the time she is smiling and laughing and she had a sense of humor that won't quit, she is quite a little tease. I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful little girl.