"I have pretty much run the range of emotions the past few days. China is beautiful,and has history that runs so far back...I can't tell you what it was like to stand on the Great Wall, or the Forbidden CIty.
Reese has been a trooper. I don't feel like I adequately prepared her for the situations she encountered in Taiyuan. We went back to the Taiyuan SWI on Friday. My first visit there, and her first time there since she was 2 1/2 years old (or younger). The gates of the SWI are where she was found.
The work they do there is incredible. The number of children they deal with is incredible, but even more so when you realize that this region has a higher than average number of births of "special-needs" children. I was allowed to hold a little baby, probably less than a year old. He had the features of a Down's Syndrome baby, and let me tell you, that toothless grin melted me on the spot. Many of these children are not considered adoptable because their disabilities are mental, rather than physical.
In the last few days I have become more aware of Reese "processing" things. She gets quiet, and you can almost see the wheels turning in her head, as she absorbs the situation and surroundings. I saw this at the SWI, because she didn't become as animated as usual. They were thrilled to see her, and we promised to come back.
I was so sad when we left. I felt like I was leaving so many children behind. It was the the very first place we know of where Reese existed, physically. It was hard to go there, and hard to leave. I didn't know how to resolve the emotions I was feeling. I promised them we would come back before so long.
The next day we had plans to meet a friend from Little Rock, Hannah Brown, who used to be one of the coaches at River City Gymnastics. We don't know Hannah very well, except that we have been more in touch once we found out that she was coming to China to teach English....in Taiyuan. She had mentioned in an email that she volunteers at an orphanage in Taiyuan once a week. I didn't think there was more than one in Taiyuan,but I didn't know, and I hoped we would get more information when we met her.
We met for lunch at McDonald's in Taiyuan. We were sharing our trip to the SWI, and she pulled out her camera to show me a photo of the one she works at....the same one we had been to the day before. She left at 11:30and we got there at 2:30.
On the same day.
At the same orphanage.
I can't tell you how this affected both of us. Here, I wanted some continued connection to Taiyuan SWI, and Hannah is there every Friday. She walks past the gate where my baby was found.
As if that wasn't enough excitement for the day, we had plans to meet the family that fostered Reese for her last six months in China.
I was excited to finally meet them (Monica met them in 2009). Again, more emotions (aka tears). I could not imagine how they felt seeing her again after 6 1/2 years. I could tell they wanted to scoop her up and hug her. They shared stories (through our interpreter) and we shared stories, too. They showered her with gifts, and fruit, and as much love as we could fit into two hours. As we left, I promised them we would not wait so long to come back, and that we would visit more when we did.
It was hard to leave Taiyuan again. We were just getting familiar with the area, had found a little store, were pretty sure there was a Walmart close by (within walking distance, even though our guide said it was "far away").
Tonight, we are in our third hotel in less than a week. They put us in the smallest room they have (seriously-I have stayed in a Motel 6 with more space-no kidding). We couldn't order room service like our guide told us to, because my Chinese is better than their English. We went walking, trying to find fast food or a coke (the one in the mini-bar expired last March, and it wasn't cold anyway). We discovered we can open the window to our room and it is cool enough outside that I hope to have ice crystals in the two bottles I sat on the window sill. We went to the front desk and tried to order room service,and wound up eating american food in the Chinese restaurant. I decided to be proactive about the room situation (the thought of one day cooped up in that little room worried me). I emailed our agency person, and she got in touch with our guide, who worked it out for us to go look at another (bigger)room (same price). We plan on moving tomorrow.
All of this whining is masquerading my intense anticipation and excitement about getting our new daughter tomorrow. I hope she is not disappointed when we get home, and she finds out we don't live in a 3/4/5 star hotel. I hope she and Reese love each other and don't irritate each other to pieces for the next two weeks. I hope she is as happy to have us as her parents as we are to be her parents. "