Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Orphanage

Today we visited the Kunming Children's Welfare Institute. It was wonderful and it was hard.

As we entered the orphanage, we could hear children in a nearby classroom who were cheering and singing and sounding generally happy.

The building, as you will see in the photos, was beautiful. We were only allowed to photograph the outside of the building. But the inside was pristinely kept. White floors, white tile walls, beautiful wood work around the doorways. All of it clean and even shiney. The first place they took us was to the orphanage hospital so that someone could look at Ms. Bao's rash. We took her into a room with about 4 large, clean exam tables. In the corner, I noticed a.... what are they called? It was one of those things you put sick babies in... enclosed, with spaces in the sides for caregivers to reach in. Does that make sense? It looked like it was in very good condition and it made me wonder what other equipment they had.

They took us to the area they said was Bao's "class." I am not sure what that meant, but I assumed that these were the other kids she lived with. There were two nannies working in the room. One was holding a baby while 6 or 7 more were all roaming in walkers. There was one child under a blanket on a mattress in the corner. Adjoining that room were the rooms with cribs. All had clean white sheets with bright red cherries on them. The cribs were of beautiful wood, very sturdy, and also very clean.

All of the rooms surrounded a central courtyard, and the door to each room opened right out onto the "balcony" outside. When we left Bao's class, we continued around the balcony and saw another group of children out in their walkers on the balcony with their nanny. She remembered Bao. We were so excited.

We walked to another area that seemed kind of like a museum to the history of the orphanage. Li pointed out a few things of interest and we moved on. As we did, we walked out around another courtyard where there were trees, plants, and a swingset. We also passed by classrooms. They were also very clean and neat. Well accomodated with chairs, tables, toys. Brightly colored. One of the parents in our group commented that it was nicer than the day care they used back home.

We came to another baby room, which I think was for younger babies. One nanny held up a boy with a cleft lip to look out at us. We were told that we could not enter. But the nannies came out to us. One of them looked at Bao, and immediately said her Chinese name. I nodded enthusiastically. Li asked the nannies for us if they could remember any traits that stood out to them. The answer Li gave us for Bao was "fussy! She cried a lot!"

We were told that many of the children were not at the orphanage anymore because so many were taken into foster care. We also learned that in 2002, there were 162 children adopted from the orphanage.

We went down to the first floor where they told us the disabled children were housed. We entered a classroom of 5 children. There were two caregivers there. Three of the children were working on their writing. They waved (one of them with help from the caregiver) and they said "hi" or "hello" and some of the returned our "ni hao" as well. Two of them smiled at us with the biggest smiles I had ever seen. The fourth child sat quietly nearby, with a brace on each arm. The last child, a six year old boy, had braces on all four limbs. A man in scrubs was doing what looked like physical therapy with him. Someone asked what the boy was saying. Li explained that he could not speak, he was just saying nonsense.

I couldn't hold back the tears in that room. The children were beautiful. To have those kinds of disabilities is certainly unfortunate but to have no parents on top of that seems so unfair. My heart was aching for them. They were so precious.

When our tour was over, we came back to the lobby at the main entrance. There was a police car at the entrance. A new baby was being dropped off.

As we waited for our gifts to be exchanged, we continued to ask Li some questions. Two of the girls in our group had the surname "Guan" and two had "Wu." We learned that "Guan" is given to the girls who were found in the Guandu district of Kunming. "Wu" was for the girls found in the Wuhua district.

Today was a special day. I held Bao close to me, thanking God that we could take her away from there. But I was also so encouraged to see that they were so well cared for in an orphanage with fantastic facilities.

Before we left, they brought us medicine and vitamins to be used for clearing up Bao's rash.

It was a wonderful day. Thank you, LORD!



Blogger Bill said...

What a cute pic, sounds like things are going along smoothly. I pictured the orphanage as looking rougher than that. enjoy a great time of more bonding with B.

Thu Oct 13, 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Jill G. said...

I was wondering who "fostered" the children there. Are they just other Chinese families? Just wondering? Did Li mention that most orphanages seem to be ran like this one? Or is this a nicer one?

Thu Oct 13, 01:01:00 PM  

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