Thursday, April 12, 2012

Orphanage Visit

This morning after breakfast, we left for a 2 hour drive to Tangshen, the place where Lydia was born and lived all of her first 2 1/2 years.  We arrived around lunchtime at the orphanage, so we had to wait until they were finished eating and had their afternoon naps.
While we were waiting, we stopped at the grocery story and at McDonald's for lunch.  Lydia had 3 of the 4 bananas that we bought at the store for lunch, but didn't want any French fries or hamburger.  She is quickly becoming a very picky eater!!!  She also ate 4 packets of ketchup.  The driver thought it was so cute, so he went and got her more.  I guess ketchup isn't too bad of a lunch. : ( 
After lunch we went to Lydia's former home.  We met the orphanage director, who had come to the adoption, the principal of the school and some other orphanage officials.  They told us that the kids were just getting up from their naps, so we should wait in the waiting room for a few minutes.  We came up the elevator and just around the corner, they showed a a huge mural that they had.  It said, "Children have a happy day here" in English and Chinese and it was pictures of Lydia from when she was a baby.  I guess she is the "poster child" for the Tangshen orphanage.  The orphanage director had a photographer come and take pictures of our visit.  They said that we were the first family to come back to visit the orphanage. 
We got to meet Lydia's class/dorm mates next.  There were about 18 kids in her age group - mostly boys.  We weren't able to take any pictures in the orphanage of the rooms or the children.  But it was surprisingly nice.  All the pictures that we had received of Lydia were taken at the orphanage.  They have toys to play with, a tv to watch, there's even a physical therapy room for the kids.  Lydia passed out fruit snacks to all of her friends.  One little boy figured out how to open the package and had all the fruit snacks in his mouth at one time.  Most of the kids at the Tangshen Orphanage seemed to have minor special needs - I saw one boy with microtia (deformed ear), another with a missing arm, one who was really thin, but only three in her age group seemed to have any major disabilities.  The orphanage director said that there were six children from their orphanage now who are on the shared list to be adopted. 
After passing out the fruit snacks, Lydia showed us her bed and her play room.  She didn't want to leave me until she saw Wong, her caregiver.  You can tell that they both love each other very much.  Lydia had Wong hold her while we were there and when we got back to the waiting room, Wong set her in a chair and she fed her mangoes. 
We were also able to meet Yu, Lydia's caregiver for her younger years.  Lydia remembered her, but was not as attached to her as she is to Wong.  We took some pictures with the orphanage workers and said goodbye.  Wong snuck out, but Lydia knew that she was going.  She had some sad, silent tears when she realized she was gone.  We walked out the door of the orphanage and went to get into the car and Lydia started screaming.  It was very sad to realize that everything that she knew, loved and was comfortable with became just a memory as she walked out the door for the last time.  We have the email address of the orphanage and we plan to send them pictures as time goes on.  They asked us to bring Lydia back to visit them someday.  We really feel that God had Lydia in one of the nicest places possible for the situation.  I am so thankful that we were able to go there for a visit.
Lydia cried for less than 5 minutes and then fell asleep. 
Tangshen is best know for an earthquake that took place there in 1976...Maybe some of you remember.  It happened at night, so many people lost their lives  - around 250,000 people died in the quake.  We went to the memorial and museum for the earthquake.  They had some statues, some of the original ruins, and a wall with all the names of the victims.  The museum was very well done and had a lot of information about the earthquake and how people responded. 
While we were at the site, Lydia discovered her legs and how fun it is to walk!  She walked up the steps and walked the whole length of the wall.  She was pretty proud of herself.  She has the cutest little swing of the hips when she walks and looks like she's so proud of herself when she does something new. 
One the way home in the car, she was letting Brian feed her goldfish until she realized that she could hold the bowl and feed herself and him.  She wouldn't put the goldfish in his mouth, but she did put them in his hand.  It was so funny...she sorted out all the broken ones to eat first before she ate the whole ones. : )  A little OCD maybe!!!  (BTW - I always do that with my chips and crackers!)
She also discovered that she can throw things.  This was not so good when we got to the restaurant and she started throwing spoons and chopsticks. : (  We enjoyed a dinner of Peking Duck, of which Brian refused to eat the head.  (Don't worry, the driver told him it isn't good anyway. : ))

Her cousins would be proud...eating ketchup right out of the packet!!!

Lydia and Me with her mural behind us!

Lydia and her first nanny, Yu.

LuWei, one of the orphanage workers, the principal, the orphanage director, Wong with Lydia, Yu, me and Brian.

Lydia discovering that walking can be fun.  Her face is sooooo cute in this picture (so enlarge it if you can't see her expression)


  1. I have been looking for this post since I got up. So glad it was here before Dad left for the office. More prayers answered...the orphanage is a really nice place, Lydia did not cry too much, she is walking and the pack mule gets a rest! It seems odd that no one else has wanted to see the orphanage. It will be nice for you to be able to show her pics of her life prior to you. It is nice you will keep in touch. She seems to be loved very much. I need to revisit your itinerary to know what is next. I am not sure I agree that ketchup is an okay lunch. Seems she and Josiah have something in common. Well, Brian, guess you will be watching her sit at the table a lot!!! We love you all very much. One week from today you will all be HOME!! Our Lord is so very good! We will be continuing to pray!! Mom

  2. What a wonderful day for you guys! I have really enjoyed your blog. I am so excited for you all!

  3. Wow, Brian, is that a real smile? So now we know what makes you smile...Lydia! That is something not even Erica could make you do for pictures. It just shows the Joy your daughter is already bringing to your life!(Kind of ironic that most of the ladies in the picture are "smiling" the way you normally do.) :)

  4. I really enjoyed reading about the orphanage visit. Kate was not in foster care so that was not part of Dave's trip at all. I felt so bad for Lydia having to say goodbye...especially to Wong. But it is good that she had this visit.
    Tat mural is so cute and so ironic that Lydia is the
    "ppster child" for the orphanage, I am sure they will miss her.