Monday, March 16, 2009

Chinese Coke Tastes Like USA Coke. Chinese M&Ms Taste Like USA M&Ms. Why Doesn't Chinese Fanta Taste Like USA Fanta?

Lily, who works at China Care and knew Reese, and John (our driver)

John and a little girl
This lady worked in the Toddler Room when Reese was there and remembered her well.

Looking at pictures of Reese. All the nannies remembered Reese.

John and the 4 year old he was fond of, as was she smitten with him

Playing ball...

Shoes and socks we brought
Let me start out with one word.


My world is forever changed, as I'm sure it will be more than once on this trip. I've seen another side of life that I knew existed, but had never witnessed. A side of life often ignored, with the hope that ignorance is bliss. My world has changed, and I feel I can't do enough to fix this world I have suddenly been thrust into, this knowledge that has been given me. This knowledge has been given to me, this experience was offered to me for a reason. Now I must figure out what to do with this knowledge, this experience.

Because you can't just walk away from what we did today and feel nothing. Not want to do everything in the world for those kids.

We went to the China Care Beijing Home today. And my world can never be the same. I had ideas, I had pictures, I had a vague knowledge of what went on behind the China Care walls. But nothing can compare to actually experiencing it. To holding those babies. Playing with them, laughing with them, feeding them. Showing them that their life has meaning, that they are loved, and that no matter what happens along this road...some one won't forget them.

The nannies were loving, caring, and obviously wanted the best for these kids. There were kids with spina bfida, clefts, prematurity, hydrocephalus, heart conditions. One little boy was blue, because his heart condition is so severe that doing the surgery to fix it is risky. We're talking life support afterward risky. I held a tiny one year old with a severe cleft lip and I believe palate, and an extra digit on her hand, and she was the sweetest thing. The most enchanting eyes. A happy little girl, whom the staff obviously cares for. I held a little boy with Down's and Hersperger's who has no chance of being adopted because the CC@@ doesn't believe families with adopt Down's babies. He liked it when you clucked your tongue. I played with a little boy who has a catheter in, and I'm not sure what his special need was, other than that. Played ball with him, throwing the ball back and forth. I did the same with a heart baby. I held a baby in my lap and played with him for a good period while talking to Serena.

These children are well-taken care of. And it still broke my heart. I wanted to scoop them all up and take them home. If I could have, I would have in a heartbeat. I'd have dealt with the issues of what to do with them later.

I took pictures of Reese for the nannies to keep. They all remembered Kai Jin. They're thrilled she's doing so well. That she has a family. That she's getting treatment for her birthmark. That she's loved. And I was so happy to see that they remembered her, cared for her, were happy that she was living well and happily. They all shared a fondness for her. Most spoke no English, but the love there was evident. I just pray our love for her was evident through me. I knew, in theory, that she was loved, cared for. But to really see it. To feel it. That made all the difference in the world. I can say with honesty our Reese was not just another child. She was some one. She had a personality, likes and dislikes, and these people knew them. And remember them. None of these children who are cared for for any length of time in China Care Homes are "just another child". They are special. They are unique. They are a person, not a number, or a statistic, or just another mouth to feed.

Our driver, John, was excited to go with us. He wanted to see the "da xing", orphanage, we were helping. And I can honestly say, we have changed a man's life forever. He took pictures with his mobile phone to take home and share with his wife and daughter. He held children, and played with a 4 year old girl who is blind and developmentally delayed. She liked him a lot, and he liked her, and they played for quite some time. He now wants to help the children who are "not lucky". He wants to go back. Before we met, he did not know the word orphanage. He didn't really know about orphans and adoption and such. And now he does. And that's one Chinese person who can go to other Chinese people and say "hey, look, this is what's going on". And like he said, if all 1.3 billion Chinese would give 1 yuan (roughly equivalent to $0.15) to the orphans, that would be 1.3 billion yuan. Which equals roughly

190.1003 million US Dollars.

All to orphans. Wouldn't that be amazing?

It was a truly eye-opening experience. You think you know something, but you can't until you see it for yourself. Serena was telling us why she started doing this. In 1998, she came to China, and she and her husband finally found an orphanage in Harbin to volunteer.

I was inspired.

Serena is also running a hospice, for babies who more than likely will not make it. To make sure they are loved and cared for in that final however long. When the China Care Homes close, Serena will be re-opened and focusing on that. She still has a few kids from when they closed it earlier that we got to meet. There was a girl with an atresia of her liver, who was horribly jaundiced. A baby with spina bfida and hydrocephalus whose shunt just would not work right. It drains out his head and his belly. And another child with bad hydrocephalus who is considered non-operable. She's blind as well, due to nerve damage from the pressure.

However, I absolutely fell in love with a little girl I'll call Precious, as I didn't really catch her name when I asked Serena was it was. She was over a year old, and looked about 3 mos. She was originally considered failure to thrive, but it quickly became evident it was more than that. She has cerebral palsy and something else, they're not sure what. She has recently lost her ability to swallow. So she spits constantly and has a feeding tube. I held her hand, played with those tiny fingers, wiped away her tears, and even held the syringe that held her formula for a time. She had pneumonia a few months back, and they treated it with antibiotics but it didn't kick it. So they decided, well, if this is how she's to go... But this kid fought off her pneumonia. She still has difficulty breathing, but it's not pneumonia. Beautiful little girl. Only God knows how much longer she'll be around, but for now, she's loved, she's cared for. She's warm, clothed, kept clean. And I am grateful for that.

I'll forever be grateful for the job China Care did with Reese. For the people who cared for her, who gave her life meaning, who let her know she was someone, and not having a mom and a dad didn't change that. That her birthmark didn't change that. And I can never repay them enough. It's just not possible.

I have decided I want to become an RN and come back, and help, and help make these babies well, or make their last months, or years, or days, or weeks, as pleasant as possible. To love these children. As a card China Care sent out in 2007 said, "I may not have a family, but I am not alone." And these children aren't. Nothing can match a family, a good family, but to be loved when that's not available, when that's not possible, to be cared for as best as can be hoped for. That is a true blessing.

Thank you, China Care, for caring for my sister, for caring for all these children, and for letting us come visit and let them into our hearts. We will never forget.

We also went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and the Birds Nest, but with China Care...that some how didn't seem as significant. And I'd seen it before. I took lots of pictures, but was China Care.

I'm not putting pictures up where you can identify the children for their privacy. I hope you understand.


Stacey said...

Oh, you made me cry. I'm so glad you got to go to the China Care home in BeiJing. I'm so glad your sister was well cared for there. What an amazing experience you are having. I'm sure your life will be forever changed.

Charlotte said...

Reece's Rainbow, a site helping to adopt kids out with DS has several kids with DS listed from China. Right now Madison Adoption Associate's has a precious DS girl who is under 6 months old ! Hope the ones you saw make it to the site too !



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