Milepost (-2) - 10 Dec 2010 - Our last full day in China.
Today we visited our first daughter's orphanage. It was a bittersweet experience. We went a different route to the orphanage but finally came to an area we recognized, passing a place we had had brunch with the orphanage director and social welfare institute director in March, 2008. Moving on perhaps a half mile down the street to the orphanage compound. We pulled in and entered the orphanage through a different door than we had in 2008.
Presently the director Ms. Tang came to greet us, all smiles. We proceeded up a flight of stairs to the second floor, through a locked gate that protects the children and keeps them inside as well. Moving through the next section we encountered a group of children, most of whom appeared to be Downs syndrome children. There were approximately a dozen children there. Two of them toddled over to us and wrapped their arms around our legs. Later, Ellen, told me that that behavior was consistent with Downs children, but I was unaware of such and found it hard to pry the one holding me loose and move on, leaving them.
We entered a room near the director's office where visitors would greet, the playroom across the way, pictures of various caregivers on one wall, a set of windows facing a courtyard next to which was a bulletin board of various children's pictures. There were several there of our daughter and other children we knew, either from pictures or from actually meeting them.
Once word came that our daughter had arrived for a heritage visit, people came out of the woodwork, happy to see our daughter, how much she had grown. At some point an adoption bookkeeping record was brought out and we saw her name and ours and her picture. We also saw the name and family of a boy we met after adoption at our hotel. Other pictures, most of which I did not see, were brought out of our daughter and other children.
The visit to this orphanage was different than the one the previous week because we really didn't see that many children and because this orphanage had so few available for adoption - not that we were looking. There were plenty of smiles to go around but there were also tears and in some small way, the visit of the previous week was re-enforced.
Moving from the orphanage, we stopped along a street and met the director's mother who had taken our daughter and her roommate to school for nearly two years in her own vehicle. From there we went to the alledged finding place, a park. Afterwards we went to the school of the director's daughter, who our daughter had known and played with. While waiting to greet her daughter, a name was given us, by our guide, of a child who needed a family.