Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Earthquakes Hit Close to Home

We are glued to the news about the earthquakes in China. JieJie is from Fuling, Chongqing, and MeiMei is from Liangping, Chongqing. Via e-lists of parents who have adopted from these two cities' orphanages, I was able to find out that both places suffered damage, Liangping worse than Fuling.

The Fuling Social Welfare Institute (Fuling SWI) is currently raising funds to finish building its new facility, and hasn't moved into the new building yet. Director Yang said that she is distressed by cracks in the walls of the new building, and that construction may now be delayed, who knows by how much. Still, the current facility is undamaged as far as anyone can tell, which is lucky, and there were no reports of injuries to the staff or residents there.

In Liangping, things aren't so sunny. We have learned that the Liangping SWI itself is intact, and there were no reports of injuries to the staff or residents (which include children and elderly people as well). Still, there have been fatalities, including children, in Liangping County, which is a very rural county of about 800,000 people. The picture above is of the primary school in Liangping, where four children lost their lives.

If you would like to donate funds to be used specifically for earthquake relief at other orphanages more seriously affected by this disaster, I recommend Half the Sky Foundation, run by an amazing fellow adoptive mom named Jenny Bowen and many dedicated volunteers. Those of us in the China adoption community are used to the word "orphan" being somewhat of a euphemism, a legalism for a child who was abandoned and whose parents cannot be or do not wish to be located (but are presumed alive). The sad fact is that there will be more orphans as a result of this earthquake, and the orphanages in the hardest-hit areas will need resources in the coming days and weeks in order to save lives.

JieJie and MeiMei know that there has been an earthquake and that buildings have fallen down, but we have tried to shield them from too much information while they are so little. We hope and pray that their birth families, wherever they are, came through this ok.

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