Thursday, November 02, 2006

Liangping Orphanage Visit

dear family and friends, today was a hard, good day. excuse the lack of caps but I'm on a laptop which only occasionally cooperates...anyway this morning we got up early to make sure we had time to eat breakfast before departing on the bus at 8:30 for Liangping. we drove northeast through miles and miles of terraced hills and brick farmers' homes, every yard of cultivatable land filled with crops in various stages of growth. Unfortunately it was rainy and foggy and cool, so we couldn't film through the foggy windows of the bus, and we couldn't open the windows to film either. we arrived in Liangping about 11am and met the orphanage director and some staff in a conference room. all of the families went on the trip, so we were quite a large group today. after a brief welcome from the director, we toured the facility, both the rooms where the babies lived and the outside areas where the babies were taken to play outside.

the details of the day belong to MeiMei first, but in generalities I can tell you that the babies in Liangping were lovingly cared for by the staff. the facility is over100 years old and has been serving as a welfare institute for the very young and the very old for a very long time. we met MeiMei's nanny, saw where our daughter slept, and got a feel for the place. we were then invited to have lunch in the staff lunchroom, with food prepared by the staff. all of us were served delicious pork dumplings, some fried yam or taro (couldn't tell what it was but it was good) and a glass of milk. then we took a tour of the garden/play area which was really beautiful. we saw the place where some of MeiMei's referral photos were taken and we took a family photo against the same background, sort of bringing things full circle.

there were so many emotions flying around today. All of us were glad we went to see where our babies spent the early months of their lives. In lieu of individual nanny gifts, our group collected donations for the orphanage and we were able to buy them three new washing machines as well as some formula, rice cereal and vitamins for the babies. I think this is a much better use of families' gift-giving resources than so many individual tokens which don't benefit the facility as much. we were glad to give something to the orphanage that genuinely improves conditions there. by the way, if any of this has inspired you to give to charities that help orphanages in China, check outHalf the sky Foundation and americans adopting orphans charitable initiatives. the last thing we did before leaving Liangping was to drive around the city a little bit. it's a pretty town, very clean and prosperous looking, not as big a city as Fuling. There's a mixture of brand new apartment buildings and age-old brick courtyard style homes with tile roofs. we look forward to visiting again when our girls are older. I wished we had time to take a walking tour, it really was a nice town. It was a hard, good day.

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