Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our visit to Bengbu Children's Welfare Institute

Last night as they slept.
So Sweet!

This is the model......
for Lily Wen, Chinese Acrobat!!! I love her imagination!!!

Lily at breakfast.

Graeme brightens when his fan club (below) arrives.

He is quite the charmer as he commands the crowd.

One of his Nannies feeding him tofu and rice.

This is the bed he shared with Xue Jie

The children waiting for a snack.

They are trying to figure out how to open the snack.

Just hanging out with his friends.

Open my cookie please!

All three are pointing to the bowl the Nanny dropped.

He has his cookie.

In front of Bengbu Children's Welfare Institute

The Institute

Back at the hotel...after his nap

Big smile for the Mama

He is so precious and we are so thankful to all the people who loved and cared for him at the Bengbu CWI.

Today has been very emotional and eventful. I don't even know where to begin. The first pictures are of Graeme and Lily Wen as they slept last night. I loved seeing their little hands together. They went to sleep early in anticipation of today. Breakfast went well and we discovered that Graeme really likes to eat. He LOVES noodles just like his Jie Jie. When we were getting dressed this morning, Lily borrowed Graeme's stacking cups to pretend she was a Chinese Acrobat like the ones she saw in the show in Beijing. It was so cute that we had to add it to the blog!

With mixed emotions, we got in the van to head to Graeme's orphanage. We both wanted to see where he had spent the last two years of his life and at the same time we were worried about how he would do on the visit. We wanted him to know about the children's welfare institute and to know that the Nannies knew that he was with us and all was okay. Not sure if all of that matters to a 2 year old but we needed to go. We were not able to visit Lily's orphanage because it was 10 hours by train one way from the city we stayed in so no one has visited. This was hard and we always wanted to go. We were given the opportunity to visit Graeme's and just could not pass it up.

Our drive took approximately 2 hours and we saw some amazing countryside. We saw people working in the rice fields and harvesting. We saw yaks pulling plows. It was as if you stepped back in time. I wish that I had asked the driver to pull over to take pictures but the drive would have taken twice as long. Also, I would never want to invade the privacy of the people working in the fields. It was so calm and serene and I would not want to intrude.

We arrived at the orphanage and collected our donations and presents and walked in the front doors. We walked through a lobby where there were many older people who live in the nursing home portion of the institute. They were very curious about our family. We head up in the elevator and were taken to an office. Very quickly, some young women enter the room and you can see right away that he recognizes them...his whole face lights up. At first, he won't allow them to hold him but then he does. We follow as he is escorted to the room where he spent so much time. He again brightens when he sees his little friends. He walks into his room and looks from the Nannies to us and back again. He is quite unsure of what to do. It is lunch time. A familiar Nanny pulls out a bowl of tofu and rice and begins to feed him. You can tell that this is familiar and a comfort. He eats and eats and eats. He moves further away from us and back into the circle of friends that he knows so well. They move almost as one. If one sits on the potty chairs, they all sit. They move together to stand around the Nanny for her to open the snacks that we have brought for them. It is amazing to watch how none of them seperate from the group. They stick together. They are so close. They were his first family and he was happy. We are relieved and overwhelmed. The children are all BEAUTIFUL. It is going to be very had to leave. You can tell how excited the Nannies and children are to see happy they are that he is here with his family.

We share the items from the other families with the assistant to the director. We do not get to see the director as she is in an impromtu meeting with the vice mayor of the city regarding budget. The assistant says she will share the gifts with the director. We let the director know on our adoption day about the donation from our church. She will coordinate with CCAI regarding what is most needed for the orphanage and they will purchase it and bring it to her. I am so glad we discussed this yesterday since we did not get a chance to meet with her today.
Our guide informs us that it is time to go and she lets us know that Graeme will cry when it is time to leave. The visit has gone by too quickly and yet we don't want to linger. We take a moment to thank the Nannies...words just can't express our gratitude. Jane scoops him up and we head to the door. He is screaming and arching his back. As we near the elevator, she hands him to Wes. He continues to cry and it is the most heartbreaking moment we have had with him. I think this cry will last for hours. As we come down the elevator and enter the lobby, he stops just as suddenly as he started. He is still distant though and does not want to be comforted by us. Then, we are in the van going away from all of those familiar faces and friends. He continues to be distant and sad until he finally falls asleep. We worry and yet we know that this is the best thing we could do to help him through this transition. We are flying through the countryside and past the beautiful farm land. It dawns on me that we are taking him further and further from all that he has known and closer and closer to his home.

Lily did well on the visit. She was very clingy and wanted to be held by one of us the whole time. I tried to talk to her in the van about her orphanage as we have done so many times before but she was not up for a discussion so we will save that for a later date. I know that she was emotionally exhausted as she napped later today and slept for 3 1/2 hours.
We are all emotional. I think I would sell everything I own to bring home more children. But then I know, there are more families waiting and their day will hopefully be soon. We have already heard today that some of the children there have families coming soon to bring them home. How wonderful!!!

After his nap, he started to slowly interact more and did not seem as sad. He took a walk with Ba Ba while I slept a little with Lily. When they came back to the room, we played (bottom three pictures) This was the most he has played and interacted with me. He was a joy and delight at dinner. As I am typing now, he is vocalizing up a storm (first we have heard) and laughing out loud as he plays with is sister and Dad. It is hysterical. He is a completely different child and has really come out of his shell. I love the sound of his life and his vocalizations are beautiful.
This day has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. If someone asked would I do it again, the answer would a heartbeat!


Grannymary said...

I cried the whole time I read this. It had to be a very wonderful experience, both sad and happy. This is something you will always be glad you did. Even though he cried you know you are giving him a great life now filled with love. I love all of you so much.

Love, Mom

Brandon Pace said...

Wow! This is sure a great experience. I was disappointed to hear that Lily couldn't go and see her oprahgane and I'm surprised that it was very very far away.

I'm sure that Graeme will adjust to America very well, and Lily is a very strong young lady right there! Wes looked like he's very happy to have a beautiful son right now and both of them have a strong bond with each other! =)

Love you all! Can't wait for you guys to land here in America!

Kelly said...

I know it must be hard for Graeme to leave his friends now but he just doesn't understand fully the great amount of love that you all have prepared to share with him back home. Give him a few more days and he'll start crying for his mama and won't want his sissy out of his sight. God has truly blessed you with a precious gift! And I know that God will continue blessing you all with a close bond within your family. Love ya! said...

Oh, my gosh, Margaret, I just can't help but cry...I could not have passed up the chance to go either; I had forgotten you couldn't go to Lily's. I'm sure it had to be hard on little Graeme, yet so very important for him to go and for all involved - nannies, your fam, etc. You described everything so well! Even though you didn't stop to take pictures of the fields & workers, you'll always have those images in your mind & heart. I'm so happy to be able to share this experience through your blog!!!! With God willing, everyone of those beautiful little children will soon be home with loving families. The pictures are wonderful. Lily is a trip!

Becks from B.R. said...

Margaret I just sent this really long letter and it vanished...I'll keep trying .Love, Kim. I am trying to test right now .

OH MY #6 said...

I have goose bumps.


Waitingfaithfully said...

Just tuned in for my Lily and Graeme "grin fix" and wasn't disappointed! Lovin' the pictures!

So happy that you were able to visit Graeme's orphanage. It really is emotionally draining isn't it? In a good way though . . . it helps to see just how very much they were loved by their first family.

Enjoying your journey!



FHL said...

Thank you so much for sharing your day! I'm so glad you were able to see his SWI...the photos & memories that you'll be able to share with him someday, I have to believe those will be priceless. I was also so moved by how well he seemed to be taken care of and how much it sounds like the nannies really loved Graeme. Such a blessing!

Becks from B.R. said... I amtesting again.They continue to disappear...I am trying it is taking hours!!!!Kim

Becks from B.R. said...

Oh, Margaret...What a blessing!I am crying and smiling at the same time. Graeme will so love hearing the stories of your visit...the happy and the sad. Mary Grace is now old enough to understand how loved she was in her home in China and why she cried so very hard for days when we first became a family. She now loves hearing how she cried and now thinks it is so funny...and says "well I just didn't know y'all yet". She can see the blessing in it...Graeme will too. It will help him to know how loved he was.From the photos I can see how well things are moving along...remember my trick was I was the giver of the cheerios and rice...I am so thrilled he is trusting y'all more and more each day...every day will be better. How blessed Graeme is to have you and Wes as his fabulous parents and "Miss Lily" as his big sister..and how blessed are you all to have Graeme join your family. This was always God's plan.Prayers are answered...I know there are moments of joy and sadness right now...but, I can see in your face today joy...I can see in little ways every time you post a photo of graeme a change...his dream, his prayers have been answered...because of you and Wes.Y'ALL are his Miracle!!! Treasure this time,enjoy every moment...sad and glad...I wish I was there to give you the biggest hug...We love you all, Kim, David and Mary Grace

Chelley said...

Wow! what a wonderful experience, both sad and happy has left me in tears! AGAIN!

Qiuqiu's parents said...

congratulations...he is so beautiful! THanks for sharing all of the wonderful photos.
Love to you all!!

Supermavs said...

I am so so glad for you all that you got to go to visit the orphanage. We found it so valuable to us and our understanding of how it was for Cassie there. You know, after the visit was the first time we got unprompted kisses from Cassie. i think even at such a tender age that they understand a little and it heals their hearts.
Happy for you guys!
Becky (and Cassie)

redmaryjanes said...

What an amazing post! I am so glad that you are sharing so much with us. Kiss little Graeme for me. Welcome to you new life.

Truly Blessed said...

Oh, the orphanage visit -- what a day of emotions! Still, I congratulate you on making the trip, not only the physical trip, but the emotional/psychological trip as well.

I, personally, feel it was the 2nd most important thing we did on our adoption trip with Katie, and I am so glad you were able to do the same with Graeme. Someday you might visit Lily's SWI with her, and that will be good enough.

Miss Lily might have a future as a Chinese acrobat -- I love that she saw the parallels between Graeme's stacking cups and the props the acrobats used.

Loving your journey Miracle family...can't wait for our own!

Ashley and Mike said...

This is a boo hooer post :) I LOVE reading the parts where you describe how the children interacted at the orphanage. It is so comforting to know how loved he was. Just reading the story makes me want to go snatch a couple of those cuties up!!!