Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 8, SWI visit

Today began like every other: 1 bed, 4 people. God had given me a peace beyond understanding on this day. I must apologize for the delay in posting, but I got really sick when we were putting the kids to bed, and I didn't feel better until now (Sunday morning 8 a.m.) I think I needed to digest the day and gather my thoughts before memorializing it anyway.

I wanted April to take a picture capturing our happiness at the beginning of the day, just in case it wasn't the same at the end. But it was a good day!

This is our work station, complete with duct tape to hold the plug in the wall! We spend lots of time here blogging, reading and skyping.

April posted lots of pictures of the babies inside the orphanage, so be sure to check out her blog. The trip took us to Foshan, the capitol city, then Nanhai district where the orphanage was. It was about an hour's drive. This was our first visit to our children's orphanage so we really didn't know what to expect or even the questions to ask. As I reflect on our visit, I regret not interacting more with the nannies, but I think I was shell shocked, and trying in vain to guard my heart. This is the indoor play area.

These are some of Kaeleb's caregivers. When they saw him they all lit up and began to talk to him. His nickname was Hao Ga (sp??), which we still call him sometimes, but as I mentioned if the wrong tone is used, it means monkey (quite appropriate however).

Clayton is holding Gang Gang (pronounced Gong), whose American name will be Aiden. His parents are coming to get him soon! He was Kaeleb's cribmate and buddy.

At the main entrance of the SWI, which is an elder care and orphan care facility.

This is April, holding a precious little girl who captured her heart immediately. David, where are you??? Do you see the fit?

This woman is the second-in-charge, Ms. Chen I believe is her name. She is the one who handed Kaeleb to us on Monday! As you can see, he was pleased to see her, but just as eager to come back to Mommy ~ thank you, Lord!

This is Aiden again. He has been bathed in prayer, I assure you!

This lady was one of the Kaeleb's caregiver but also a doctor. She looked at the rash on his tummy when we were there.

These pictures are very significant to us: Kaeleb's empty crib, still bearing his name, Hai Zi Hao.

Over all, this visit was much better than I expected. In truth, I didn't know what to expect, but my prayer was the Kaeleb had bonded enough with us that he would not want to stay at the orphanage (not that that was an option!), thinking that was the best choice. I truly sensed the caregivers love the children, and they receive very good care. They were all in their cribs when we arrived, but it was about an hour before their naptime. April posted pictures of many of the babies, and I'll make another post with baby pix as well. There was a newborn in an incubator, a room for babies five months and younger, which we didn't visit. China law says the children must reach six months of age before they are adoptable. I am estimating 14 babies resided in Kaeleb's room, all of which are paper ready but only one has a family! One little boy was toddling around, and we were told he had a family, but when they came for him they declined him because he was so small ~ oh dear! He is perfectly healthy and well developed. I offered to bring him home! There were seven-month old twins who had been there two months, perfectly healthy. I can't even imagine the circumstances which would lead to the abandonment of children I had loved for 5 months! I will post more about the children in a separate post, but for now I will move on to our "finding place" trip.We had the exact address as placed in the newspaper listing the abandonment of this child, requesting the parents to come forward, as is the case with all children left behind. It was very difficult to find because it was a small street. Our driver asked Taxi drivers, motorcyclists and finally went to the police station. Hmmm, men ask directions in China! At this point I was fighting tears out of fear and sadness. I think I was afraid his "finding place" would be near a trash dump or some undesirable place. Not the case at all! We finally arrived at a small village, very clean, but quite frightening. Clayton even asked if it was safe to enter. Rebecca said she was afraid, but I think her fear was from the guard dog, where ours was being enclosed in this tiny place, and perhaps encountering Kaeleb's kin. After asking many people within the tiny village, we found the doorstep where he was placed as a newborn infant, Number 10.
This woman is the owner of this home, and the gentleman to her right is her father-in-law. Her husband found our tiny Kaeleb at their doorstep and called for another woman to help him take the baby to the hospital. They knew he needed immediate care as he was a newborn, still had wet hair and naval. Upon taking him to the hospital, they told the doctors they would like to keep him, but the staff told them they had no right to this baby. Now is when I began to sob with gratefulness ...
... apparently, the following day a young woman in her early 20s and another woman in her 30s or 40s knocked at the door and asked if the occupants had found a newborn baby. She had a different dialect from the local people. Obviously, Kaeleb's birth mother cared very much for him. I am so grateful to God for knitting him in his mother's womb and for her choice to give him life.As this family was excitedly sharing the story with Rebecca, we were drawing more of a crowd, and each person smiled with glee as if they recognized Kaeleb. Several people were talking at once, and we were hungry for information, just waiting for Rebecca to translate for us. This is the walkway between the homes in this village.

It was this gentleman's wife who helped take Kaeleb to the hospital, and he was so happy to see him. He couldn't stop smiling. He immediately recognized our boy, and commented on how big he is.

We asked Rebecca to tell these people thank you for tending to our son, and they thanked us instead. As I reflect on this day, I marvel at God's magnificent plans. His birth mother carefully placed him where he would be found immediately. The family took him to the hospital right away and even desired to love him forever. He was taken to one of the cleanest orphanages in China to spend the next 20 months of his life. I still cannot understand why he was not petitioned for well before God moved us to do so, but for the fact God was holding him for his Forever Family! And the providence: Our visit was on a Saturday when everyone in the village was home. The father-in-law took us to the home of his daughter-in-law, and then they went to ask the older gentleman to join us. Finally, Rebecca said we should say goodbye or the entire village would soon be at this woman's doorstep. What an amazing day! I will treasure these things in my heart and one day have at least some answers for my son's many questions.

Daddy and his boy after an emotionally and physically exhausting day.

Kambry enjoying a juicy orange at the traditional Chinese restaurant in Foshan.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18


Momma Hen said...

I am speechless.
I am astonished and amazed.
I am astounded as I consider how
God has shown us
A love that leaves us
Love to all!
Tami and Chris

Heidi said...

Hi Connie & hubby,

Thank you again for the wonderful pictures of Aiden and to show him a little love. I am so happy you were able to see all the little ones. Your computer setup cracked me up! That was cute. The pictures of Kambry and Kaeleb in bed are precious as well. take care, Heidi

Toni said...

How special that you were able to speak with the family that found Kaeleb! We hired Brian Stuy to find our daughter's finding spot, but he could not.
-another FoshanNanhai parent

holly m. said...

I am happy for your family that the SWI visit went well. I would have been very nervous about it, also. Sounds as if your little Bubs is bonding well to Momma and Daddy!! PTL!!:)

Heidi said...

Connie, I meant to comment on Kaelebs finding spot. How priceless for you to be able to see the people who actually saved Kaeleb. That is very special. Take care,heidi

Kim said...

All we can say is Amazing!! What a wonderful, emotional filled trip you had to Kaeleb's SWI and finding place. It brought tears to my eyes just reading about it...I cannot imagine the emotion you must have felt.
We love the pictures!
Kim and the Smith clan

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie and family,

Wow, the pictures and history you have received through visiting the finding spot are surely a treasure! You had me in tears again. Thanks for sharing this special time with your family. My prayers follow you.

Rachel said...

Wow! Your posts today were amazing and brought me to tears. You are so lucky to have met the family who found your son. And oh, the boy who's family didn't want him because he was too small - my husband and I said we'd bring him home with our daughter later this month.

I'm enjoying your trip adn look forward to reading about the rest of it!


Aaron and Erica said...

This is such an amazing story! WOW! God is so good to provide you with this little piece of Kaeleb's history.

I'm loving reading your blog every day! Thanks for sharing!


Jill and Rick said...

Oh Connie, I'm sitting here crying after reading about your amazing day. Yes, you have been incredibly blessed.


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