"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Friday, March 15, 2013

Orphanage Day

We had a really rough day at the orphanage~ a lot tougher on Kaylee Grace than we thought it would be. It was a hard day for us all. We had been well prepared from our agency of what we would see there and we were so thankful for that. It was a 4.5 hour drive there and a five hour drive back home...so a very long day. We arrived there and were greeted by the whole staff at the orphanage. They were so excited to see her! She just LIT up! She was smiling and laughing and looked so much more alert than we had ever seen her- she clearly recognized where we were. Some of the ladies were telling her to give to them kisses and she would just smile and laugh. She really wanted out of her carrier and kept pushing to try and get out. Rebecca had told me to keep her in and not let the nannies hold her because she thought it would be too hard on her so I kept trying to keep her in it. We sat around in the conference room and asked questions about her finding spot and her first couple of years of her life to try and gather as much information as we could. We found out that she was found at the orphanage gate with some formula and a bottle. She was wearing a diaper and clothes.  She was placed just to the right of the gate and was estimated to be 1 day old when they found her. We had not heard about the formula and the bottle yet. Just the fact that she was left at the orphanage gate and left with food makes us think that her parents cared enough to place her somewhere where she would be found and cared for. It was so strange to be in the town where her birth parents must still live - so many questions came to my mind. We will never know their full story but we know that Kaylee's Heavenly Father never left her side.
The orphanage staff offered us some bananas and "local fruit" which they basically just peeled and put into our kids mouths despite them saying "no thank you" (Kennady cannot stand bananas and one gentleman was so excited for her to eat one that he peeled it and put it into her mouth) ;) She was thrilled about that ;)  Next he peeled the "local fruit" (never seen it before) which looked like an eye ball once peeled and had the boys each eat one (he was so proud of their "local fruit" and he just wanted us to all try some ;). All the ladies kept asking Miko (our guide - Rebecca and Miko are our Lifeline guides and they ROCK!) if they could hold Kaylee (Sui Ting as they call her...sounds like shoe-tang) and Miko just told them "no - she needs to stay with her Mama cause she's been having a hard time".
Next they took us into the playroom and no joke the second Kaylee Grace saw that we were headed in there she started to crawl out of the carrier! She wiggled her arms out and started to pull her legs out too (I'm telling you - you wouldn't believe how strong this little one is!) So I had to let her out in order to not make a scene ;) She got right down and started running (yes, we now know she can run - very wobbly - I thought she was going to fall with every step she took but she didn't) towards the slide. One of the ladies helped her up and she had the biggest smile and went down - over and over. Next they pulled out the "rocking horse" they called it (but it's really just a ride on toy that has wheels) and she got right on and started scooting all around. All of the lady workers got to give her hugs and I took pictures with them holding her. One of her nannies came in to say hi to her. She just had so much fun there! It was SO cute to see but so sad also --- it really showed us how sad and shut down she has been with us. Now we know a little of what to expect once she starts coming out of her shell a bit more!
Then they took us into the crib room where she saw another one of her nannies and some of her friends. They would not let us take pictures there but it was just so sad. Toddlers just standing in their cribs...some were laying down looking at us. It broke my heart to know that they have to do that for 23 hours per day :(  And I couldn't even fully go there with trying to imagine Kaylee just stuck in a crib like that all the time :(  So very hard to see. She was excited to see her friends and when it was time to go back downstairs and we told her to say bye bye to her nanny and friends, she cried so hard and was screaming and arching her back (I had picked her back up by this time to carry her down and she was just shaking her head "no" and crying so hard, thrashing around in my arms.
The orphanage staff had invited us to lunch and we were about to head out with them and I could not calm Kaylee Grace down at all! She just kept screaming and thrashing in my arms - she wanted down and wanted to go to them. It broke our hearts to see her so upset (WAY more upset then when we got her). I could tell it was all just too much for her and Brod looked at me and I could tell he was thinking the same thing - he asked Miko "Would it be horrible if we didn't go to lunch with them? She is just so upset and we feel like we need to get her back and settle her down" Miko agreed. She said "Yes - she is way too emotional - this is too much for her" so she let them know. I was SO relieved! I just knew in my heart that we needed to get out of there!They were really upset we could tell, but we needed to do what was best for Kaylee. They all talked in Chinese for a few minutes and we could tell they were upset - we asked Miko in the car if they were and she said, "Yes - very rude to not accept their invitation but we have to do what is best for the girl and they finally understand that"
So off we went on the long trek back to our hotel.
The staff there was friendly and I could tell they really love Kaylee Grace! They mean well but they just don't have the means to properly take care of the children - this will all be changing more and more as our agency has this partnership with them and they are being educated and given the resources to properly care for these children - I'm so thankful for that!
We were all quiet for about the first 45 minutes driving home - Kaylee was just crying and crying - the deepest groans and cries :(  All I could do was hold her and cry with her and tell her how much we love her. She knew exactly what was going on and she was starting to grieve. I was glad she was letting some of it out but I cannot even explain how hard it was to know she was hurting that deeply and not be able to really explain it to her. She finally fell asleep in my arms for about 45 minutes and when she woke up she seemed to feel a little better. Our agency really encourages the families to take their little ones back to the orphanage as it is a form of closure for them. They seem to really relax after and just know that they are a part of the family and won't ever go back. About 3 hours into the drive I was shutting the window curtain and she started to just laugh and laugh - she thought it was so funny. So we kept opening and closing it for about 30 minutes and she just found it so amusing. I taught her how to do it and she thought that was even funnier!

Some of the farming land as we were entering Suixi County where Kaylee's orphanage is

We're on our way - no car seats in China! Scared me out of my mind with the way this driver was driving - so crazy!

Some of the people of Suixi on their way to farm

We're here - greeted by all of Kaylee's orphanage staff

A picture with the orphanage staff

Very friendly and welcoming

She wants out of the carrier

We asked some of the staff to write letters to Kaylee and our guide is going to translate them for us

They welcomed us into the conference room at first where we got to ask questions about Kaylee and the orphanage 

Keegan is being polite (and brave) to try some of the local fruit that they offered us

Some of the local fruit

Asking question about Kaylee's first couple of years of life

The director gave her a book about Suixi County and the history of it

With the assistant director

Look who's walking!

She LOVES the slide!

Going down!!!

With one of her nannies

This is one of the office workers and Kaylee seemed to know her well and like her 

Here she comes!

I guess this is her other favorite toy - she gets on it and starts scooting away ;)

There she goes!

With the assistant director

Having so much fun!

Going down the slide again!

She also liked this big exercise ball ;)

With Mike our guide

Crawling through the tunnel

Other families who have adopted from Suixi

The Johanson Family at Kaylee's finding spot

Suixi County Welfare Institute

Another shot of Kaylee's finding spot - right where I am standing

The assistant director is trying to comfort Kaylee and tell her it's going to be ok

The view from the orphanage

We had one sad girl when we left
After we left she really was having a hard time - she finally fell asleep and woke up much happier. Here are some videos
She is trying to get some bread into her mouth
Here she is laughing when she pulls the window shade shut and then open

At McDonalds on our way home

Trying to get a piece of bread into her mouth - can't quite figure it out yet and won't let me put anything in her mouth

Getting closer
Overall it was a rough day but we are SO glad we went! First of all, we got to see where Kaylee was from (VERY different than here in the big city of Guangzhou). It is a small farming village - very poor. We could see how someone who had a child who had any type of special needs would be left at the orphanage because they just wouldn't have the means to take care of them there. Secondly, just to meet the staff and nannies and try to gather as much information as we could for her. And thirdly, for her to have that closure and be able to know that she is with us from here on out. She really has relaxed a bit - much more laughing and giggling (still can't get her to laugh with her teeth showing...she keeps her lips squeezed so tight - it's the cutest thing ever). She started walking a little here and there for us (she acted like she couldn't walk before this). Sleeping has become more difficult (but they say to expect that as they start to bond - they are more fearful of falling asleep and having you not be there). She falls asleep on me and I can't lay her down until she is completely out (takes about 45 minutes) and in the night she wakes up several times and whimpers and climbs back onto my chest. I'm thinking she may start to try some foods pretty soon here :) She is very interested in watching us eat!

Our medical appointment was today - I will post later about that...I need to get a bite to eat before she wakes up from her nap ;)

Please pray for Keegan - he is sick :(  Fever, cough and stuffy nose :(  Brod stayed home with the boys today so that he could rest and we started him on his antibiotic so hopefully that will help him feel better and hopefully no one else will get it! We appreciate all the prayers and we continue to feel so lifted up!

1 comment:

  1. Praying for you all. It is amazing to see Kaylee Grace with her family!! May God continue to bless you all. Praying Keegan feels better, too!

    The Hunts :)