This morning we went to visit the Taiyuan Social Welfare Institute.
|Outside the entrance of the orphanage with our tour guide. She spoke excellent English and asked that we tell people about the orphans who need families.|
|The women at Taiyuan SWI who work hard to provide the best possible care for the children in their custody.|
In the In the process of getting Claire fed, given all her medicine, and her shoes on while trying to grab all the gifts for important folk, we forgot the diapers for the orphanage. Oops! Somehow having this baby has turned our brains to mush.
|The gate where Claire was left 8 years ago.|
There are 600 children under the care of Taiyuan SWI. 500 of those are in foster families. The other 100 are at the orphanage.
We met with the director of adoptions. She gave us a brief history of the orphanage. She also gave us all the records they have on Claire. Everything is in Chinese, but I will at least have the information and be able to get it translated.
Claire had to go to the bathroom, so she and I were taken to a part of the orphanage we may not have seen otherwise. Behind a curtain was a dark, damp room with two rusted, chipped sinks. Behind those was a long raised platform with a trough. The child squats with one foot on each side and goes potty. About 10 children can go at once, then a faucet can be opened to flush the results down a hole at one end. The smell was awful. Claire didn't have a clue how to use it and I had to hold her over the area. We at least tried to get everything in the right place.
(Claire hates squatty potties. She refuses to go in unless absolutely desperate. We have opted for using pull-ups this week because we never know when we might find a toilet she can use.)
Our official our took us to the physical therapy room where several foster mothers were working with their children, stretching misshapen limbs or practicing how to stand.
Then we were taken to the baby ward.
Long pause here because I can't think of words to explain this place.
For each child, it is the place that offered their best hope of surviving--
--but it feels so hopeless.
It is a place brimming with new life--
--yet there is an eerie silence.
At New Day, every time I paused to listen, and sometimes when I didn't care to hear, I heard noisy children playing mixed with the sound of babies crying.
Babies cry to communicate a need. They cry expecting someone to come meet that need.
They stop crying when they have learned that it does no good...
Silence. In a place containing 100 children.
The first room held babies just abandoned in recent days. They were tiny wrapped bundles, three to a bed. I'd guess about 10 beds in that room. No adults. Two babies I could see from the window had heads smaller than my closed fist.
The next room had babies a little older. Staring into space. No adults in that room either.
The next room was filled with toddlers. A couple were standing up in their cribs. One smiled and waved as we looked in the window. No sounds. No reaction from most of the children.
One pitiful wave as we moved on.
The last room had adults. Several women were feeding those babies. They were on their backs in the beds. If they could hold their own bottle, they did. If they could not, a nanny leaned over the side of the crib and held the bottle.
No gazing into lovely baby eyes.
No kisses on tiny milky mouths.
The backs of their heads ... so f l a t.
Claire was fine. She seemed to have no memory of this place. One lady came out and exclaimed something in Chinese. I gather that she remembered Claire. She tried talking to her and touching her. Claire pulled away and hid her face against me. As we left, she talked about liking the babies.
I couldn't talk.
So many questions.
What kind of political system causes young mothers to give up their children? What level of poverty keeps them from being able to provide care? What belief system says a perfect child is the only one worth having? Where is God in all this? What is He doing? What should I be doing now that I have seen those tiny faces with empty eyes? Where are the Christians who could be demonstrating God's love where it is so desperately needed?
I'm too tired to even process the events of today. I know that if my heart is breaking, God's is breaking more.
I pray that there will be someone to introduce those kiddos to their first pizza, and take them for walks in the park. I pray that each one will have a daddy to blow bubbles with and protect them from strangers.
|First pizza at Pizza Hut in Taiyuan City, Shanxi.|
|Being a flower in the flower pot.|
|Brave enough to stick her hand in the lions mouth.|
|Blowing bubbles with Daddy.|
|How does this thing work?|
|Only God can make the hopeless stories turn out so beautiful!|