Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ridiculously Long Drive and Orphanage Visit

So we survived our ridiculous drive, and God delivered on an uneventful trip. I was nervous because I forgot to put a pull-up on Evie before we left and wasn't sure how well she would do on such a long drive. Well, she could be a poster child for bladder control. We stopped at a rest stop half way but she seemed about as terrified as I was by the horrific smell and dirty squatty potties and refused to go. Apparently her orphanage had a Western potty and she wasn't used to being out and about, because she seemed pretty clueless. Even so, she didn't have an accident the whole ride and waited until,we got to the hotel to go. I had also worried about car sickness, but it was thankfully not an issue. Praise God!!!!! Abby seemed to get sick on every single car ride for months when she fist came home, and I was dreading a repeat.

On the way there our guide explained that Wenzhou is known for being a leader in industry, and that if you meet a Chinese businessman traveling anywhere outside of China, they are most likely from Wenzhou. I know I did not see a single Westerner my entire time in Hangzhou (even the day I spent walking around the lake) but I saw a pile in just one night in Wenzhou.

The Dynasty Hotel was very fancy, but it had NO wifi in the room, which I found preposterous. What about all the business travelers that go there?? Even my rinky dink $60 airport hotel at Narita had wifi in the room. Good thing it was only one night. They did have great room service. I ordered the stir fried beef with chil peppers and it was absolutely delicious. Very worth it for $6 and not having to leave my room. Evie had the packaged ramen again, which she loves. Oh - and the room had an iron and ironing board, so I didn't look like I just got out of bed when I was running errands today (probably for the first time since I got here).

We started off today at the police station to apply for Evie's passport. One of the orphanage directors met us there. That went just fine - we were in and out of there in no time. Then we had the opportunity to visit the orphanage. I had gone back and forth on Tis because I wasn't sure it would be a great idea for Evie to have to go back there. I wasn't really sure how she would emotionally respond. In the end, I decided she was doing so well that it might be nice for her to go there with me and have a sense of closure. Maybe seeing her nannies talking with me and sending her off with me would be reassuring.

I was first of all shocked at the location of the orphanage. It is literally smack down in the middle of the city, crammed in amongst a pile of other buildings. As we drove up a ton of mostly older kids and several nannies were leaving in groups, apparently going out for a walk (or to get them out of my way? Don't know). The building itself was very nice and kept up very well.

First we went into the director's office, where she gave me Evie's immunization record as well as a pillow I had sent her with our family picture on it. It made me very sad because I don't think she had seen the pillow before today and the point of it was to help her get used to our faces. Oh well. I want to keep it because it is ice, with our picture on it and her Chinese name in English AND Chinese engraved on it, but I really don't have room for it. So I don't know what I will do.

From the time we pulled up to the orphanage Evie had been unusually quiet. She wasn't crying but just had the saddest look on her face. We took the elevator up several floors to where she spent most of her time. It was a playroom, the same one from all the pictures of her they had sent me. It was pretty good size, and had plenty of things for the kids to do. There were maybe about 10 kids there all around Evie's age, and about 4 nannies. Everyone was surprised by how quiet she wa because that is just NOT like her. They were talking to her about the fact that she was leaving, so I know she understood and was processing. All in all, I was impressed with how nice the facility was. All along the hallway there were different nurseries with lots of cribs filling each room. Some babies were scooting around in walkers. Sadly, they did not let me take any pictures. If you are reading this and are currently adopting from Wenzhou, contact me and I will be more than happy to share more details with you. I quite possibly met your child today, too.

As we were leaving, my guide is listening to the director talk to the nannies and suddenly turns to me and says "Oh - did you know that she was in foster care?".

"WHAT?????? No, I did not know that. I had zero idea. Please ask the director when she went into foster care. "

"When she turned two"

"She has been in foster care for the last year and a half??????"

"Well, I guess she spends the day here, but then goes to a foster family to sleep each night".

I really wish I had known this. She's having to say good-bye to a whole lot more than her orphanage. At the same time, it explains a lot about why she seems to have skills and abilities much more in line with her actual age than I expected for her having always been in the orphanage. She's had a lot more one on one than I thought. It really shows.

So my poor sweetie remained terribly quiet. We got back in the van, and she sat there looking stoic for a while, then finally shed a few quiet tears. She fell asleep, and when she woke up an hour later, was all smiles again!!!!

During the rest of the trip, she kept talking our ears off. The guide said she kept saying "Toilets smell stinky" and then cracking up. She said this so much that I am now able to say this phrase in Chinese. Highly important language skill. I am glad she's going to fit in with Daddy and Josiah so well. Funny thing is, she hasn't said it away from the van. I think she had said it once and the guide laughed, so it started a whole joke for her.

We are already making progress language wise. She calls me momma, sometimes refers to herself as Evie, and is starting to repeat a lot of words after me. Today I got her to understand I needed her to get my shoes. I think this is pretty cool, considering we have only had two full
days together.

Ok, I'm beat. We're back in Hangzhou at our same hotel. I just spotted Pizza Hut across the street and it's got my name written all over it.


  1. What a blessing to come across your blog! Congratulations on your little girl. She is beautiful. My husband and I just committed to our little boy from the same SWI. Please let me know how I can contact you... I would LOVE to hear more... perhaps you met my little boy!