As I said before, yesterday – the day of our passport trip to Jiaozuo and to the orphanage was, in my head, our toughest day – and I’m incredibly THANKFUL because it turned out to be great.
I’m thankful for the snowstorm, in a way, because even though it made for a longer trip (over 2 hours each way to Jiaozuo – watching men and women try and clear the street with shovels and stick brooms…yeah. homemade stick brooms…not kidding) I’m pretty sure the passport office was EMPTY because of it. We were helped right away. Last March, in this office with Philip and Rand and the Patterson family we were in shoulder to shoulder standing room only chaos. And I played the pregnancy card and got to use their bathroom (they probably saw the look on my face when the guide told me the bathroom was very very far away and we’d just been in a van for 2 hours). Our guide said all the officers were joking about how I was the first person to ever be allowed to use their restroom! Thankful!
After the passport photo and paperwork, we raced over to the notary office before they closed for 2 hours for lunch. They were SO KIND and stayed open an extra 45 min. into their lunch break to help us. I remembered it was the same gentlemen who helped us last March except…last March we were in a dismal slum-like building that would make a good setting for a horror movie with probably the worst bathrooms in all of China – 6 flights up. This time we were so thankful they just moved to a brand new, beautiful building.
After the notary, our guide took one family who wasn’t visiting the orphanage back to Zhengzhou and we stayed with our non-English speaking driver and another family to visit the Jiaozuo Children’s Welfare Institute. First, we had to stop and get some lunch…we told the driver a “noodle restaurant” and before long we were all sitting around at table at a little hole in the wall I’m pretty sure most people I know would not try. The menu was entirely in characters so we had a laugh and then told Wen to order something for all of us. He’s pretty consistent about ordering good, flavorful and safe (i.e. no strange meat) dishes. We all ended up with noodles in a tomato broth with egg and some bok choy. The vegetables on top we couldn’t eat because they didn’t seem cooked. I said a little prayer for our interesting Thanksgiving lunch that the probiotic we’ve been taking would help keep us from getting sick…and so far we’ve been fine! Did I mention there was a tub of turtles when you walked in the door of the “restaurant”?
After lunch, it was on to our main goal of the day, to visit Eagles Wings – the floor of the orphanage where both WenXuan and Philip lived. Here we are outside, before we were flooded by a welcoming committee that must have been watching for us at the window all day!
Lou Huan (on the far left) was so kind to show us around – she’s been extremely helpful with both of our adoptions and is one of those people who is so sweet you just want to hug her and hug her. She and her husband (on the far right) gave us a warm welcome yesterday. We are very thankful for them and for the work that they do at Eagles Wings. And we are especially thankful for the care they have given to both of our boys.
WenXuan picked out scarves and I brought some Beautycounter for all his nannys and teachers. We added a photo of him with his email address on the back so anyone who wants to can keep in touch with him!
Also, we made a list of his special friends and Wen went shopping with Wes the other day and picked out some really thoughtful gifts to give to his best friends who he is leaving behind.
This is Xia Li – she has the most beautiful smile – I don’t think it left her face the entire time we saw her. We also remembered her from our last visit and I think she remembered us to0! Wen picked out a pen set for her that he said he knew she would like. She did!
Xiao Xiao (on the left) received a special book he picked out – he said she is always reading books and that’s what she would want. Xia Li and Xiao Xiao are 16 and 17 years old and are past the age of adoption so they will continue to live in the welfare institute. Thankfully they live at Eagles Wings where they are able to learn some independence – they live together and do their own washing, cooking and take care of themselves. They also have jobs during the day at Eagle’s Wings and they get to run a little shop where they find things at the market and sell them in their own “store.”
Wes and I were also very impressed with the girl on the far right – Jing Jing. She knew quite a bit of English and knew all about us and Philip.
Here are 2 of the older boys – Bei Bei and Jin Qiu. They received a watch and a toy sheriff set from Wen. They are both also past the age for adoption but stay at Eagles Wings and learn life skills and have jobs around the office and school.
There were 2 boys who were in Wen’s “room” who he gave gifts to, but I didn’t get a photo – Wen Yong and Fu Qiang. Wen Yong was apparently the one who Wen said was crying when he left on Monday.
This is Wen’s good friend Wen Fei who we hear has a family working to come for her! He chose a barbie for her. She loved it!
After we gave out his special gifts, he took us to his room to see where he slept.
The stickers he had on his bed – I hope this doesn’t give Rand and Philip any ideas!
His group’s living area…
Wen Bo (above) had a sore on has to lie flat – poor guy was so bored. Some of the others were assigned to try and entertain him! After we saw Wen’s living area, we went to give out some treats he brought for the other kids and to see the school and say hi to his teachers… coming up…