Orphanage and Finding Spot

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Today was a very emotional day – both sad and happy. We were able to visit Ruth’s orphanage and go to her finding spot. We were picked up at 1:30 pm by Richard our guide, after Ruth had a 1 hour screaming fit. We were not quite sure how this visit would go. After surviving an hour in crazy Chinese traffic, we arrived to Huadu and the Huadu SWI (Social Welfare Institute) aka orphanage. On the way there we passed fields, ponds, both poor and nice housing – all high rises, and so much smog – the pollution in China is horrendous. The orphanage itself was nice in some places and sad in some. There was an open area with a play set and trampoline, few bouncy type toys you see in parks. The inside play area had several different ride on toys and there was a room attached with a small type classroom and small toys. Of course, a picture says a thousand words, so we’ll let a lot of that speak for itself.

Yep, it’s a squatty potty! (I now understand why she’s not potty trained)

We were able to meet the little lady going to be adopted soon by Angela from one of my China facebook groups. She was quite sweet, but very unsure of us. Here she is with Ruthie below.

We met a little firecracker little man who is 4 years old and is a boy version of Lucy I’m sure. He has a sad story – an Italian couple came to adopt him and brought him back 2 days later, because they said he has too much problems with his speech. He has a repaired cleft lip, but unrepaired palate, so of course he would have some problem with his speech. He craved the attention we gave him and was quite enamored by the videos of Lucy I showed him on my phone. And here is the little firecracker with me…and a tag along kiddo.

The hard part for me is seeing Ruth being torn away from one of the orphanage staff members that she was close to – Min Chen. She took her home with her at least 2x per week, took her out to eat, etc in order to help her develop a little more. Min has worked in the orphanage for 7 years now, so was there when Ruth arrived. She said she was absolutely tiny and only in the past 6 months has her development increased. In August – at age 2 ½ – she learned how to walk, so that’s why she’s so unsteady on her feet. We asked her if she takes any other children home with her and she said no, just her. She teared up on several occasions. I wonder if she could, if she would have adopted her. She told us at least 10 times to keep in touch and send lots of pictures. We could see that Ruth had this amazing bond with Min and wanted nothing to do with us when she was around. We didn’t push the issue during our visit and let them love on each other as much as they liked. Here they are together.

Min went with us to Ruth’s finding spot and also bought Ruth a kind of egg custard at a bakery just a few shops down from her finding spot. I became tearful when we reached the street she was found on – imagining what her mother felt leaving her there, probably because she felt she had no other choice. If you don’t have money, you simply don’t get healthcare, so many of these babies would die. She was in terrible condition when she was left at 3 months of age, so I feel that she was loved and wanted, but her mother or parents felt they had no other choice in order to give her a better life. Anyone who passed us could have been her mother, did she work at one of the shops nearby or live nearby?? I can’t imagine what her mother felt and how she still feels, but how a mother’s love can go as far as leaving your child in order for them to have a better life. Very sad.

She was left on the step of this optical store. Number 61.

Now, back to the orphanage…..we saw a mischievous little guy about 3 who had a huge scratch across his face. Apparently he got in a fight and it looks like he lost.He loved following us around.

At one point a downs syndrome little boy went and wrapped his arms around my legs and gave me the

biggest grin ever.

There is a small room where all the sick children are kept together and the orphanage doctor was there checking them out when we were there. Apparently due to low staff, the doctor does things that any other worker does – we saw her sweeping, dressing the kids, playing with them. When we came to drop Min off at the orphanage we saw her in her white coat playing badminton.

I knew to be prepared for some really sad cases, as most of China’s orphanages are filled with special needs children. There was a blind child, probably about 3, a child hooked up to an IV who has epilepsy and was leaving on a stretcher, a child with a port wine birth mark across more than half his face, an infant newly abandoned that appears to be in cardiac distress and probably has some kind of brain defect – I don’t imagine her being with us long – and many lying listlessly in their metal cribs. Some were very eager to see us! I went to every single crib and talked to every child that was awake. We were told that children often come to orphanages to die and that they are not listed for adoption, until it’s certain that they are stable and will survive. I wonder how many of these children would be ok today if there was the ability to have good healthcare, or is it better to let nature take its course and let them go to heaven where there is no pain or suffering? We could tell that the staff really did love these children, which was really comforting to see. They were always smiling while working with the children. One funny thing we saw is a big metal wagon – more of an industrial looking thing – with about 6 small children lying in it for transportation. Not sure what they were doing, but it looked hilarious. One little one was trying to climb out.

We have been told than 10% of Chinese couples are unable to have their own children, so they usually get the very healthy newborns found. They are pickier, so often children with easily repairable conditions get overlooked, and are listed for international adoptions. Speaking of international, other than Americans, we have seen an Irish and Italian family on this trip.

HERE WE ARE WITH ALL THE ORPHANAGE STAFF WORKING THAT DAY:

 

Right now Ruthie is in the tub – which she loves. Trying to get some bonding time in  with George, who she overall has not liked. I can tell that it’s really bothered him today, so I’m trying to provide some opportunity for them to spend time together. Besides, I will be drugged on the plane ride home and need her happy!

We had a terrible last night. She’s had diarrhea and we had to wake up 2-3x to take care of business. She only has had 1 bout today thank goodness!! We had a bit of progress in the eating category. She’s a stubborn little thing and insisted on feeding herself breakfast, but is unable to get the spoon straight into her mouth.

Tonight I was worried about bonding again after going to the orphanage, but she’s been the happiest she’s ever been giggling nonstop and even giving Daddy some grins and attention. When she give you’re a grin, she wrinkles her nose up too. Hilarious. What’s funny, is that when I was a baby I did the same thing. She stayed right outside the shower again this evening. Sounds like she’s giving Daddy grief right now so I better take care of our little Ruthie!

(It’s actually Friday morning that I’m posting this and again, a nightmare night – not sure if she is in pain, but after Tylenol she’s still sleeping from 2 AM til 7 AM)

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After a challenging day yesterday, we were rewarded with a smooth morning. Up until this morning, on awakening, Ruth would greet us with screaming. This morning, however, there was quiet and smiles. We took the opportunity to make a quick bottle of rice cereal and formula which she scarfed down in record time. She then had a quick bath to wash off the scabies treatment and got her skin moisturized before dressing. We then went for breakfast which was promising considering that yesterday she barely even ate from the bottle. She even actually fed herself a bite or two of scrambled egg but, probably due to the unusual texture, ended up back on the bib. We have been trying various soft options with varying degrees of success; it will be a slow process.

 

After breakfast we took a stroll in the garden where there is a waterfall and ponds with fish.

After that we went back to our room where Ruth quickly fell asleep.

She’s officially ours!

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We are now the legal parents of Ruthie! We went back to the Civil Affairs Center for adoption this morning, answered a few questions, handed over a few gifts and that was that.  Really quite simple.

Now……we’re having a really hard time. Our sweet little bundle has started grieving terribly and we aren’t sure if she’s in pain or just grieving. She had night terrors on and off all last night and nothing we did comforted her. She woke up screaming this morning, but finally we managed to give her a bottle and she drank about 4 oz. At breakfast she continued to push everything away, but took a few bites of strawberry yoghurt and drank a little apple juice from an open cup. There are lots of adoptive families here and it’s comforting to see the ones who’ve had their children for a week doing fairly well. They give you the look of sympathy and the “it’ll get better”  look, but when you’re in the middle of this, it’s absolutely terrible. Ruth and I both cried together this afternoon (this is Carrie by the way). I knew this would be a reality with the adoption process, but its heart wrenching to go through this. We want her to be happy and when the screaming goes on for 45 minutes straight, it’s hard. We’ve given her Tylenol twice now and she seemed to calm down about 30 minutes later. She’s sleeping right now. When she’s in a good mood I’ll try to take a peek in her ears to see if she has an ear infection. One of the orphanage workers who came yesterday said she just started getting a cold and that she gets sick easily. I haven’t seen real evidence of a cold.

 

 

AND, the fun part (not)…..is that she has scabies and what’s the one thing we forgot? Yep, scabies medication. Thank goodness for wonderful adoptive families who are so sharing and we have our hands on cream now. It looks very toxic, but we need to get rid of those suckers. So, we’ll have a Tucker scabies slathering party later this evening. You have to leave in on for 8-12 hours and then rinse off. So, tomorrow we’ll be sending our clothes off to be washed and getting new bedding.

From me, the medical person, here are some real concerns we’ll be addressing at home: she’s probably never had her teeth brushed and her gums are so swollen and inflamed. We attempted brushing her teeth today and you can imagine what it was like. Due to her ventral septal defect, she’s always been a slow eater and due to lack of staffing (per the orphanage staff yesterday), no one has had the time to work with her to learn to chew. She gets 5-6 bottles of formula with rice cereal daily, along with congee (like a rice, meat soup) and other soft things like egg. She regurgitates everything she does eat – possibly from habit of hunger in the orphanage?? We attempted giving her banana last night and although it was just about pureed, she vomited it up (at least she was in the tub!). She has a grade 3/6 diastolic heart murmur, which is louder than I expected considering her heart defect was supposed to be quite small. I’m concerned that it’s worse than originally thought. However, she is developmentally behind for several other reasons – institutionalization, nutritional deficit, lack of love/attention. She followed this one nanny (or maybe she’s the assistant director??) around throughout the orphanage and she even took her home on occasion. So, it is reassuring that she’s made some bonds and hope she can do that with us too. Its heart breaking that she was in this condition for so long before we were able to come get her. She also is not talking, but she can hear. Of course the worried parents we are we did the clapping thing behind her back to see if she’d turn around. J All in all, she’s about the stage of a 10-12 month old. She toddles like a new walker.

On a better note, she has started bonding with me. She was not happy when I took a shower last night and tried with all her might to get in the shower with me. George had to hold her up to the glass so she could see me and then she was happy. I left the room earlier (to hunt down that scabies cream) and she went to the door apparently and plopped down. Hopefully she’ll start bonding more with George soon – after all he’s the goofy guy who doesn’t stop blowing bubbles for her. Yesterday evening she was soooo sweet, playing with her toys and balloon.

We went grocery shopping after the Civil Affairs Center at “Trust Mart” (really a kind of Wal-Mart) to get diapers that fit (nope, she’s not potty trained), diapers for the orphanage, more formula and rice cereal, snacks and more water. The kinds of food in the stores are quite unbelievable to a Westerner. I think we’ll bring some things back for the shock value and to show we’re not full of bologna. I saw a lady dip a live fish out of the water with a net and they butchered if for her on the spot.

It is apparently safe to brush your teeth with the water here, but I am still using the bottled water. George has used the tap for brushing his teeth twice (I know Patty from church is cringing reading this! J )

Tomorrow we’ll go apply for her passport at the police, but for now we’re sticking close to the hotel and trying to not cause her to be overwhelmed.

Our Cantonese Princess is awake!!!!!  Please pray everything will get better! Bonding, health, and for our sanity.

Meeting Ruth

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Meeting Ruth

After some frustration trying to log in to WordPress, we have finally managed to figure out a way of getting in to post although it is slow and takes some abracadabra.

After a hearty breakfast yesterday morning we went and got a few supplies. We mainly just went for water because tap water is undrinkable and, although the hotel supply bottles, they won’t do so in bulk, and won’t give the bottles directly to you, rather they will contact the service center and have them sent up to you. My first request failed so we had no water one night and my confidence in this system was soon destroyed. I will recommend to the hotel that they put drinking water dispensers at various locations, maybe near elevators.

We managed to resist some temptations on the way…

Shortly thereafter, we went to the Civil Affairs Office to get Ruth and this was our first meeting…

It was immediately obvious how good natured she is. Of course she was obviously overwhelmed with everything and just followed her favorite nanny, refusing initial attempts that Carrie made to make contact. Ruth was very quiet and accepting of contact but reaching out for her nanny at every opportunity.

…she was even less impressed with her new daddy…I have no idea why.

Here we all are with the orphanage workers.

Finally it was time to go back to the hotel to play and chill out. I don’t think child car seats exist in China, by the way.

We were yet to get a smile out of Ruth but after a change into some lighter clothing and cunning application of stinky breath to soapy liquid, there were both smiles and wonder…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blowing up a balloon caused similar excitement.

By now we were getting hungry although Ruth didn’t seem interested in eating or drinking much at all. The girls stayed in the hotel while I went out foraging for some dinner and couldn’t resist the pull of the fare from a fine dining establishment down the street. The menu items sounded so appealing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a hard time trying to eat and trying to get Ruth to eat or drink, it was time for a bath before bed. I am surprised how sweet and laid back Ruth is. She will adjust really well and be a wonderful daughter.

At the Garden Hotel

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We made it through the cattle herd of 2 train stations, been nearly assaulted by a beggar buying our train tickets, but now we finally made it to our last destination. We are at the Garden Hotel and it felt almost like we were in the movies coming in as you’re treated like royalty.

Unpacking we found 2 packages of these masks and cracked up. In general the “Chingrish” here is hilarious.

We tried to do some videoing on the way to the train station, but missed the guy on the moped with 2 huge water tanks. Last night we saw a family of 5 on a motorcycle. Welcome to China!

 

 

 

 

China – Saturday 10th

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Here are the highlights of the day:

1. “Wet Market” aka fish and poultry market
2. Wal-Mart
3. Foot massage aka entire body beating
4. Then jet lag set in…..blahhhhh
Kyle took us to the local fish and poultry market where you could get about anything imaginable and some still alive from the sea – eals, squid, crabs, any kind of fish. (I didn’t appreciate the lady who through a fish back into some water and splashed my entire legs). There were so many kinds of eggs for purchase from what looked like from small birds, to chicken eggs, one egg covered in what looked like dirt. Kyle said that some of the eggs they cook in coal (??? or something like that) and that’s why they were covered in the black stuff. You could pick you chicken or duck out LIVE and they slaughtered and skinned then right on the spot. So glad I didn’t witness that. Still didn’t see dog. Thank goodness. There was every kind of rice and grain imaginable. We also passed a place that sold rice wine and some had snakes in it. Freaky.
After lunch at the old Charles DeGaul ship, we headed out for Wal-Mart where I found some cool things, including a typical baby’s outfit – crotchless pants. (split pants is the official name)
It was only in the past couple of years that there were any kind of disposable diapers here. A lot of the traditional Chinese grandparents watch the grandchildren and the kids are potty trained by the time they’re 1 and 2 at the latest. Amy and Kyle said they make a little whistle noise in the child’s ear and they know to do their business on the spot. I don’t know how they do it with newborns, but I saw the newborn crotchless pants too. One of the funniest things I saw at Wal-Mart was that there were 2 rows of massage chairs and they were all occupied like it’s a social thing to do. And along the children’s book isle, children were sitting shoulder to shoulder each reading. Downstairs there was any imaginable Chinese food you could ever want. Along all the other isles, especially by the beauty products, an employee would be holding a product out trying to get you to buy something. Labor must be cheap here! Speaking of cheap labor, it’s only supposed to be $200 per month to hire a nanny/cook who’ll come in the mornings to cook for the family, clean, take care of the children and do all the shopping!!! But, I can’t say that would tempt me one bit to move here. The kids do learn Chinese quickly though.
So, as I wrote yesterday, we really wanted to try out the foot massage. It’s $9 and you can’t beat that price in the states. Sooooo, yesterday afternoon we went in and got a private room with recliners, a flatscreen TV on the wall. Our tea glasses were never empty. We were all given wooden buckets with I swear boiling water in them. I just about screamed. It took about 4-5 bowls of cold water to cool it down. So, that was the start of the 80 minute torture session and let me say I think every muscle in my body hurts today. It was not just a foot massage, it was primarily a squeezing of every muscle in your body and places you never knew existed. George was quite verbal and had his massage girl laughing most of the time. In hind site, I wonder if Amy and Kyle took us there for cheap entertainment. Actually no, I completely understand why Kyle won’t go there now. The weird part was the flicking on the head, on the legs, popping of the fingers and toes. At the very end they put hot towels wrapped around our legs and then our feet and lower legs were massaged with some kind of oil. Of course none of them wore gloves, so bless the one who did George’s feet. hahaha (just wait til he reads that).
 I had the “Gorgeous foot massage”.
Amy, Kyle, George and I. (Did she find the wart???)
After our massage my body started shutting down and Kyle had to bring me back to the apartment I felt so sick. Then I woke up ever 2-3 hours and had to take dramamine to get back to sleep. I am so ready to sleep through the night…..but then again, we’re getting Ruth tomorrow so fat chance of that.
It was probably in the mid 80’s yesterday and so humid that I could smell myself stink by the end of the day. The massage girl kept wiping George’s sweat off his face. So, I am excited about our hotel in Guangzhou having a pool as I think we’ll be in it a lot.
We’ll be leaving early afternoon by train for Guangzhou – an hour away.
I am bummed that we’re having trouble with the VPN service or else I could put some pictures up. I talked my parents through it all on the phone this morning so hopefully they can help out. I’d love everyone to see Gotcha Day pictures tomorrow.
Thanks to Amy and Kyle for a fun visit!