There were two days I was the most anxious about regarding this trip to China: the day we would meet our daughter and the day we would visit her hometown. The day we met her was more amazing than I could ever dream. Today we visited her hometown and it went much better than I expected. Many families that adopt from her orphanage are unable to visit the town because it is a 3 hour drive from Guangzhou (where all the official adoption stuff happens). We are so grateful we had this opportunity.
Our agency, Living Hope Adoption Agency, was wonderful in working with us to let us plan this special trip (and a great agency in general, we highly recommend them). We wanted to spend a night in her town to take advantage of a little more time here. It is pretty uncommon for westerners to stay here, so booking things was a bit tricky. Actually, we didn’t book the hotel until we walked into the lobby. When we were matched to her back in February, I began researching Yangxi. It is very difficult to find much online. I wanted to get a lot of pictures of Yangxi for her. I took a ton and will turn them into a photobook for her and our family.
One of the special things about our trip was that we were accompanied by a Love Without Boundaries employee. We are so very thankful to our adoption agency for being so willing to make this happen for us. There were two LWB employees that really helped with The Incubator Project. One lives in the US (thanks Suzanne!) and the other in Guangzhou (Alexa). Alexa coordinated purchasing the incubator, towels and diapers. She has been the main contact in China with the orphanage, but had not visited. It was wonderful for us to have her as our guide and it worked out well for LWB to make a personal visit to the orphanage.
After seeing the tiny one in the incubator, we were taken to my daughter’s most recent room. We were not allowed to photograph the room or the babies, but we were able to get a photo of our Little One’s old crib. The babies sleep on wood boards for a variety of reasons. It is hard to imagine she has spent the majority of her lifetime in that crib. There is so much about her we will never know or understand. Despite how difficult it is to really consider her last year of life, we are so hopeful and thankful for the lifetime ahead we get to spend with her.
It was important to us that the boys see where their little sister spent her first year. A few months ago there were about 42 babies in this room…crib after crib lined up. Now there are about 30. The boys walked among the cribs, talking to the babies and trying to get them to smile. I told the boys I wanted them to soak in every detail. I wanted them to take lots of mental snapshots so that one day they can share stories with their sister. I love that in the future when she wants to hear about Yangxi or about the orphanage, she can ask her big brothers to tell her too.
The boys did really well. Our oldest felt the weight of it all more than his little brother. Their worlds got a lot bigger and I am praying their mercy and compassion did as well. I was so very proud of them.
We spent some time in a small office room asking a lot of questions. I had some specific things I really wanted to walk away knowing and we were able to do that. Her past is a big puzzle and we are working to help her find as many pieces of that puzzle as we can. We got a few new pieces and we will treasure those.
Not sure why this picture is loading so small. Anyway, I caved and bought a stroller. I totally planned on carrying her (wearing her…whatever you prefer to call it) because it is good for bonding and attachment. However, walking hours with a one year old strapped to me is not so good for my back, so we are doing a little carrying and a little pushing. Before we left Oklahoma, we printed out a few different things that told a bit about our story and Little One’s story in Chinese. It has been nice to be able to easily explain things by just showing a paper. We have a few different versions depending on where we are and what we want to communicate.
Through Google Translator, waving arms, and broken Chinese we learned a few people had never seen an American before. In one store, there were literally 4 women with cameras chasing the boys for pictures. The boys were not so thrilled about that game of chase! Here they gave in and posed,
Part of our time in Yangxi was spent visiting lots and lots of little shops. We attempted to communicate with the employees, well Chris attempted more than I did. I had a mission. I wanted to buy 17 items from Yangxi – 1 gift for each of Little One’s next 17 birthdays. I think it will be fun for her to open a gift from Yangxi on each birthday. At this shop I found the gift to give her when she turns 18. I think I’ll print this picture out and include it with the gift.
We really enjoyed our time in Yangxi and kind of wish we were staying a few more days. It is more slow paced than most Chinese cities. Things seemed simpler and the people were very kind and friendly. We hope to return again one day.
Early on in our adoption we tried to find photos of Yangxi online and it was very difficult. Eventually I will add a link to this post that will direct you to a page with so many more photos. If you are looking for photos of Yangxi, and the link is not available yet, please email me. It is a great city.