Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Passport Application and Orphanage Visit

Reflecting on Wednesday, June 6th

The main purpose of our drive to Luoyang city today was to apply for Jack's Chinese passport at the Public Service Bureau so that he can leave the country. Luoyang is Jack's "birth" city.  It has a population of 6.5 million people.

We started out early as it is a 2-1/2 hr drive from Zhengzhou, depending on traffic.  I don't know if our driver thought the trip was an emergency, but he sat at 120+ km the whole way there, honking at anyone who dared move into his lane.

Our ride to Luoyang (13 squeezed into it at one point)
 The Public Security building was a mass of people but our guide got us in and out quickly.

PSB in Luoyang where we applied for Jack's passport
She then said we would be able to go to the Orphanage.  I wasn't sure if we would be allowed to visit but the Director who brought Jack on Monday welcomed us and said we could see the room Jack slept in and also the play room.  It is a large building with around 650 children.

Jack's Orphanage in Luoyang

The cribs were placed close together and the bedding was clean (and pink :-). He had a small locker for his "things".

Jack's bedroom at Orphanage (his crib is top right of picture- note lockers on back wall)
We recognized the playroom from his referral photos.  Large rubber mats were on the floor and 2 rows of children were sleeping on their tummies.  They have a fairly rigid schedule due to the fact that each nanny (ayi) looks after up to 20 babies.

Jack finds his old playroom at the Orphanage & peeks inside

Napping babies in Jack's old playroom

The nannies were all dressed in pink and kept calling out to Jack (Zan Shi).  He would go to them but kept looking back to make sure we were right there.  We got a glimpse of the love shown with the limited time the nanny has with each child and that encouraged our hearts that he had experienced love.

Jack's Primary Nanny at the Orphanage

Outside was a small play area.  The orphanage was just off a busy street.  I'm not sure how often it would have been possible to take the children outside.

Orphanage play area

Orphanage bus
After thanking the nannies and Director for taking care of Jack (and Joshua, whose family also made the trip with us), the Director said it would be a pleasure for her to take us to lunch.  She brought 2 of the administrative staff with her.  We had probably the best lunch we've had in China.  I think we counted 10 dishes on the lazy susan and everything tasted good. 

Lunch with Orphanage Director (she is in blue on the right, next on right is our agency's rep Vivian)

When we left the restaurant, the guide told us we would have time to go see both boy's "finding spots", in other words, the place where they were abandoned.  I think this was the hardest part for me.  We drove to the entrance of a beautiful park called Luopu Park.  I would have liked to have spent a day there just soaking it in for Jack.  We just had a few minutes so we had a quick picture taken at the entrance.  Luopu park is the largest park in Luoyang.  It is located on the banks of the Luohe river and has over 20,000 peony trees, which bloom in April (we just missed them).

At entrance to Luopu Park

Wall mural depicting Luoyang City Flower, the Peony
Stephen & Jack at entrance to Luopu Park where Jack was found in May 2010

Our guide told us it is a peaceful place where many go to walk in the evening.  My mind was flooded with questions, which I know will never be answered.  Was he left there in the early evening, his mother knowing someone would hear a baby cry?  Did she stay and watch, or was it too difficult?  Stephen & Joshua's dad Chad were relating to each other during these moments at the finding spots that it's amazing to think that the mothers (and possibly the fathers) were there in the city the very day we visited. As with any abandonment, the police are called when a baby is found and the baby taken to the local orphanage.  It was upon admission that they detected he had a heart defect.

After seeing the park we drove to Joshua's finding spot - the dermatology unit of a hospital.  Again, like ourselves, his parents wonder why he was left there.  The God who knows the end from the beginning has the answers.  Our duty is care for them from this point on, as He has asked us to.

The last stop of the day was at Maria's Big House of Hope which is also in Luoyang.  Many have heard of the Christian music artist, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth who adopted 3 little girls from China.  Many families have been blessed by their generosity.  Their third adopted daughter, Maria died in May 2008 as the result of a tragic accident.  In her memory and working with another awesome couple, Joyce and Robin Hill, who also have been huge blessings to China's orphans, they built a beautiful facility in Luoyang & called it Maria's Big House of Hope.

First glimpse of Maria's Big House of Hope

When we arrived (or tried to arrive :-) at Maria's the road was completely dug up.  We were not going to be deterred by a pile of dirt so we hopped out of the van and climbed over the huge piles of dirt and past the construction equipment with kids under arms :-)  I'm sure we were a messy sight when we arrived in the courtyard.

No obstruction too great to keep us from MBHOH - we climbed the big pile on the right complete with babies to reach the entrance!

Two of the American volunteers, Rebecca and Abby were there to meet us.  They were as excited as we were.

Outstanding volunteers at MBHOH - from left with Jack, Rebecca and Abby
The Chinese nannies immediately recognized the children and came to hold them with obvious excitement and evidence of their love & devotion for the 2 boys.  There is SO much love inside those blue walls :-)

Excited "ayis" (nannies) at MBHOH

We got a tour of the whole facility.  The fifth floor is for palliative care.  Such tender, lovely care these fragile babies receive.  Jack was on the fourth floor so we got to see his crib and his play area.

Jack & Stephen beside Jack's crib at MBHOH
Jack and Stephen in Jack's bedroom area at MBHOH (note the wall decor, which was different in every room)
We saw Joshua's room as well.  The nannies remembered both boys and all wanted to take turns holding them, although both boys wanted to check that their new parents were not going to leave them there, no matter how nice it was!

We met Dr Steve and Mickey from the USA who also have spent a long time at Maria's.  It was a place that was hard to leave.  We saw God's love and care for the orphan there.  Jack had a favorite nurse, Jona (from the Philipines) who was shopping while we were there.  As we were driving off in the van we saw her walking along the road.  The driver slowed down so she could see Jack and the guide let me talk to her on her cell phone.  I'm glad I got the chance to thank her for her special bond with Jack.

It was an amazing day. These boys were loved, then abandoned, then loved again, then placed with strangers, then taken back to revisit some of their past and yet they knew "who" were their forever caregivers.  Remember they had only been with us 2 days at this point.

This experience has not only made our family larger, but our faith deeper and our love stronger.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world....James 1:27 ESV

Living Room / Greeting Area MBHOH

Lobby at MBHOH

Preschool Room at MBHOH

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful that you were able to visit the orphanage, finding place and MBHOH! I am sure you went to bed emotionally exhausted after this day. The picture of all the babies napping just breaks my heart. Tears flowing.