Visiting the Orphanage

Yesterday we took a day trip that will forever be imprinted on my heart. We went in a van on a 3 hour trip with 2 other families to PuYang City Social Welfare Institute.  This is the orphanage that Hannah was in for the first 2 months after she was found, and was also in for the past 2 months.  The day we met Hannah, we found out that she had been moved from the Lily Orphan Care Center that she had been in in LuoHe, and back to PuYang to prepare for her adoption.

We were greeted with a very warm welcome from the orphanage director, and many of the women who work in the orphanage.  They were taking pictures of us, and seemed genuinely thrilled to see us.  We found out this was only the 3rd time that families had come back to visit the orphanage.  Hannah seemed fine being back there, but would not let anyone take her out of my arms.  I took that as a good sign that the attachment process is going well.  It was a pretty wonderful feeling to have her choose me.  We chose her a long time ago, but she has only had a few days with me. 🙂

They gave us a short tour of the orphanage, but asked us not to take very many pictures. We walked into a big open courtyard that was surrounded on all four sides with a 2 storied building.  There were many doors around the perimeter of each floor, each with plastic hanging pieces instead of doors. They led us to the door of the room that Hannah had been living in.  It was 2 small rooms that were attached, one with 3 metal cribs, and one with 1 metal crib and an adult bed.  They told us that they divided the children into “families”.  There was a “Mama” in Hannah’s house, with the 4 small children.  They referred to the other workers in the orphanage as “ayi”, or “aunt”.  Hannah’s Mama seemed very happy to see her, but laughed when she only wanted to stay with me.  She showed us that Hannah’s bed was the one that was in her room, and when we put Hannah in it, she got a huge smile and began playing for her audience.

The main courtyard

Hannah's "Mama"

Hannah eventually warmed up to her "Mama"

We also saw a small classroom for the older children where they were having class.  This seemed to consist of a group of varying age children who had a handful of toys on a table, that were clearly meant for preschoolers.  They were very happy to see us though, and were excited to sing us several songs.

We then saw a small physical therapy room, where a woman was working with 2 children with some of the equipment.  It was the most colorful and well equipped room that we saw.  This orphanage was obviously a place with very little means, but they clearly loved the kids, and did everything they could for them.

After our tour, the orphanage director treated us to a wonderful lunch in a local restaurant.  Actually, feast was more like it.  There were SO many different kinds of wonderful, authentic, Chinese food.  Some things were easily identified, and some things we had to ask about.  We really enjoyed  some steamed buns with pork and vegetables, roasted chicken, spicy mushrooms and green beans, deep fried sweetened eggplant, and some sort of clear noodles.  We decided to pass on the donkey meat.  It was such a special opportunity to be dining with this wonderful man.  No one at the orphanage spoke any English, so we were so fortunate to have a Chinese speaking father with our group, who was able to translate for all of us.

After lunch, we drove to the “finding spot” for Hannah and our friend’s baby.  It was a really emotional experience to me to be standing where my sweet girl was left by her birth mother on the side of the road.  Many people feel like this part of an adopted child’s story belongs to them, and will not publicly share it.  I absolutely respect and understand that viewpoint, but after some discussion, we have decided that we will tell about this part of our journey.  The first reason is because I know so many people have been supporting us and praying for us for so long, and I think it will give you a more full picture of Hannah.  The other reason is because I am truly hoping that someone out there following my blog will be led down this adoption path too.  I’m hoping that you can see these pictures and imagine a precious child being left there.  I’m hoping that you understand that  Hannah’s story is so far from unique.  It is very much the same as countless thousands of other children.  There are so many children that need homes.  So so many.

Hannah was left when she was about 2 months old.  We weren’t sure the exact spot, but we knew that she was left under a tree at the opening of this small village, which must be down this road.  The dear women from the orphanage did everything that they could to get us all of the information possible, but we will have to be content with the general area.  They were able to tell us that she was left with 2 bottles, a large one and a small one, and a few diapers.  They said that  when she was brought to the orphanage, her mouth and fingers were blueish, which let them know immediately that she had something wrong with her heart.  This very well could be the reason that Hannah’s birth family was not able to keep her.  They most likely did not have the funds to give her the care that she needed.


She was quite possibly left along this road

Saying goodbye to these wonderful people

It was a truly incredible day.  I feel so fortunate that we will be able to give Hannah even these precious little pieces of her history.

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15 Responses to Visiting the Orphanage

  1. Sarah B says:

    Another amazing post. It is a little mindboggling to imagine you might have been standing there in fairly close proximity to Hannah’s birth parents, who must wonder about her every day. It’s almost impossible to imagine a mother leaving her child by the side of the road. So sad. But thank God Hannah seems to be doing so well, and I know she has an amazing future in a wonderful loving family.

  2. Katie R says:

    Sitting here with tears in my eyes at the absolute beauty of Hannah grasping onto you, Emily…and the brief shot of she and Z together. What a blessing to your family and to all of us who witness this joy and love that is going to grow so much more than it even is now.


  3. Paul Osborne says:

    What a beautiful story and your willingness to share it is unbelievable and extraordinary. My prayers go with you through every step of this amazing journey

  4. Kelly B says:

    Sitting at my computer with tears rolling down my face. I am so happy for all of you!! Thank you for sharing this fantastic experience.

  5. Jennifer Jessen says:

    Tears are rolling down my face as I am reading Hannah’s journey to you. She is truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful loving family who is pouring such love into her heart. I am glad you were able to see where she has come from and know her background so well. God is shining down on all of you right now for this amazing journey you are taking. Love you and cannot wait for you to come home!

  6. Stephanie says:

    That was awesome!!! She is so blessed to have you and Jeff and your kids has her new family now!!

  7. Elizabeth W says:

    Hannah sure loves her Mommy!! I am so glad you guys got to make the trip to see both spots that are so much a part of Hannaha’s early life and it is even better to see how she is adjusting to her new life with your family!! We can’t wait to meet her…I watch for your post each day to follow this wonderful journey!!

  8. Mary Evelyn says:

    Wow, this is powerful. Thank you, Emily. See you soon.

    Mary Evelyn

  9. The Church Family says:

    So thankful that she was so well taken care of and protected on her way to you all. I love the way she loves you Emily!

  10. Maggie Buerger says:

    I have enjoyed reading your story about beginning life with Hannah. She is a very fortunate little girl that will surely bring her family much joy. It is good to know that she did well at the orphanage. She has blossomed since coming into your arms. Wishing you all a safe journey home (where the temperatures are beginning to drop).

  11. Dee Foreman says:

    Hi. I found your blog when I was looking around for sites that had Puyang City SWI. We have started the adoption of a little girl from there. I was just looking to see if maybe you had seen her. I can email you a photo.

    Thank you so much.

    Dee Foreman

  12. Melissa Rodante says:

    I am so thankful to see a few pictures from the orphanage. We adopted our daughter last November but were not able to visit the orphanage and it has pained me to not know what it looked like. She was also at Puyang City. Thank you for sharing, if you have anymore pictures from the oprhanage that you are willing to share I would love to see them. Thank you so very much.

    Melissa Rodante

  13. Jan Chapman says:

    Can you please email me. I have a question about the orphanage address. Do you have one? We just got LOA for our 8 year old daughter. I need it for some paperwork and also to send care packages. Thank you so much
    Jan Chapman

  14. ehilimire says:

    Hi Jan. I would be happy to help you if I can, but you didn’t leave your e-mail address! 🙂

  15. Pingback: An Important Piece of Kai’s Story | My Kid Circus

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