Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shenyang SWI Visit

Today we met our guide and headed out to the Shenyang Orphanage where Colin has spent the last few years.  We had several "to dos" for the day.  First and foremost, we wanted to see where Colin has lived and meet his caregivers.  We also wanted to deliver a special gift to a little girl who's new parents are waiting for her in the states.  Last, but certainly not least, we wanted to see if we could get any updated information on two boys who are on the shared list from this orphanage.  I am pleased to say that we accomplished all of this and much more!

We were there at the SWI for about 3-4 hours today.  We received such an amazing welcome.  Ms. Tan, the assistant Director was so accommodating and warm.  We arrived at lunchtime so we went to the "cantine" first and enjoyed some large dumplings with beef and carrot, steamed eggplant & garlic, and corn porridge.  My critique? (For what that could possibly be worth?)  The dumplings were delicious.  I especially like the soy sauce/garlic combo they use as a dip.  The porridge was pretty tasteless.  The eggplant was served cold, so I did not care for it, but Tom loved it.  Colin was right at home and had 5-- count them--5 dumplings (these were big people!  I ate one).  For a thin boy, he has a massive appetite!  It was great to see him eating so well.

Just as we were getting ready to return our dirty trays, George, our guide told us to stay put.  He indicated that the Chef was preparing something special that he wanted to share with us. Huh?  We just ate!  So, we sat there for a bit and then the chef and his assistant emerged and set up a special table with about 8-10 chairs. 

So, apparently, as the details emerged, there were two distinct reasons for this "celebration".  The sous chef that I mentioned before was a student that had finished high school but had not been adopted in time.  He wants to be a great chef.  So, the orphanage staff was working with him to teach him to cook.  There were two TV cameras there (I think they had been there for 7 days and this was their last day).  This special dinner was a fun way to conclude their time. They were hosting a contest of sorts.  The two prepared 4 dishes.  The Directors of the Orphanage and our family were to be judges and taste each dish.  We were told to guess which chef, teacher or student, had prepared each dish and which we liked the best.  Before we began, the chef gave a moving speech about Colin and how happy they were that he was going to have this opportunity of a better life.  George translated each portion for us.  The staff were so warm and obviously loved him and were happy for him. Here is a short video clip of this exchange...

The gentleman speaking English is George, our guide for this week in Shenyang.  I believe the older "chef" may be a TV anchor. George referred to him as "the anchor".

After this time in the dining hall, we were escorted to Colin's dorm and met the lady who was in charge of all the "older children" in that dorm.  She has worked there for 25 years she told us, although Tom teased her that she must have started at age 5 because she was so young.  We got to see his old room, meet his roommate, and tour the classroom and lounge areas.  We saw the trees, swing and piano that we had seen in update pictures received earlier. 

Colin in his dorm room

Colin's bunk

Colin with his roommate

Most special was the album of older photos and written updates that the dorm director gave us.  It was a treasure to my Mother's heart to see his growth and to see such a happy boy.  All his friends made posters for him with good-bye messages and hand prints.  They will be great to decorate his very plain (at the moment) room at home.

On the right, the woman who was in charge of the dorm.  She was very nice!

Here he is with several of his friends...

His caregivers were obviously fond of him.

After we left the dorm, my video camera died. UGH!  So, I had to think fast. I may never have the opportunity to come here again and I promised updated photos to a mom who was waiting for a little girl from Colin's orphanage.  So, we went to Ms. Tan's office and Colin charged the camera on her computer while we talked about these other shared list kids.

I was able to get enough "juice" for the camera to get these pics.  Here I am delivering some special items for a sweet little one.  She was too precious!  Ya'll, when I opened her envelope for her, there was a beautiful card with photos of her family.  When we opened the card, she said, "Mama, Papa, and whatever passes for "sisters" in Chinese! LOL  George was able to get her to do it again so that we could get video of this sweetheart for her parents to be.

Delivering a very special package to this sweetie from her waiting parents
 Lastly, we sought out two special boys who have been waiting for families.  One has Microtia (deformed ears and potential hearing loss).  He was born in 2005.  Ms. Tan allowed us to meet him and take photos so that we might find him a family.  I have to say this little boy was so adorable.  The teachers said he wanted to be a chef!  He was playing chef for us when we visited and he and Tommy played in the pretend restaurant. 

This next little one has fused fingers and some deformity of the feet.  He was born in 2007.  It appeared to my very untrained eyes, that all his knuckles and joints were in tact. So far as I know, he would need surgery to correct the feet and hands, but his special needs seemed very manageable and more than likely, completely correctible.  He was full of energy and seemed happy to play with his friends.  He was friendly and greeted us immediately when we entered the room.

These are both beautiful little boys who had smiles that lit up the room!  Please join me in praying for them and in advocating for them to find loving families who will cheer them on. 

I think has been my favorite day of the trip yet. (Aside from the actual adoption being completed).  It was so nice being able to see a bit of our son's history and to see so clearly that he was loved and cared for by the staff there.  He was one of the lucky ones.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for this very special young man. 

Tomorrow we will receive all of the final paperwork translated into English and then we set out to see more of this big city.  We hope to see the location where Colin was found as an infant, go to see the political statues and then the Imperial Palace in the afternoon.  More later friends!  God Bless,



kimjax said...

How wonderful to know your child was so loved. Blessings, Kim

Sharon said...

Just LOVIN' following along, Angie!! :)

rae'smom said...

Angie, what a wonderful time you had at the orphanage. How cool that they did a cook-off! They really do seem to care deeply for the children.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for delivering Jia's package. You are so very kind! I'm so glad that she knows we are coming for her. She looks so sweet and I can't wait to go get her!


Annie said...

Oh Angie!! How wonderful! What a sense of peace you all must have, knowing what a loving place his SWI is and that he was obviously loved!! Those 2 little ones are SO cute!! Cannot wait to put them on my site!!