When is it my turn to have one of the dozens of orphan babies that I hold every week? It's like a sick joke, "You can hold them and love them, Jessica, but you have to wait." -love, G0.d. Ughhghgh.
Today was amazing. Yet again I am amazed at the way I am provided for over and over again.
Last night I was with friends when I received a text from one of the Chin.ese doctors that I tutor. He said that he was making a visit to the Hangzhou Children's Welfare Institute and wondered if I wanted to join. Well, I make visits to children's hospitals in the area often and thought of blowing him off because I missed chur.ch last week and needed to be there this week.
Something in me ticked though, "don't give up opportunities for your life work and thesis" so I agreed to go.
We met this morning at my gate at 8:30 and taxied to the west part of town. When we pulled up to the gate I had to hold back tears. I was finally gaining access to the new Hangzhou orphanage facility. I have wanted access to this place for about a year now, hoping and wishing and pray.ing that I would one day get to go there because foreigners that are by themselves and live in Ch.ina are not allowed. Especially because I have some underlying circumstances in my Ch.inese past, I am really not allowed. This is something I have pra.y.ed against however, and could not believe that I was actually there!
My friend told me to "keep silent" when we went through the gate, which ended up not being a problem at all. We just walked right in. I clung to his side for dear life, just looking around me trying to take it all in. There I was, at the most renowned facility for orphans in Eastern Chi.na. Finally.
The reason my friend was visiting was because there is a delegation of Ame.rica..ns from Red Thread Charities visiting this week. He is acting as a delegate from his hospital and as a medical assistant/translator. He went yesterday and thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to get me into the facility since there is a troupe of Amer.icans, I could just slide right in and observe. Which is exactly what I did.
The Red Thread team is a group of doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and audiologists from Minnesota, most of whom have some tie to Chi.na through adoption. They all have the desire to give back and do a trip a year in different cities in Ch.ina screening orphans.
The idea is that is an orphan is screened by an Ame.rican doctor in their facility in Chi.na, that that child will be more "adoptable" in the international adoption circuit. There have apparently been some instances in the past when a child was "misdiagnosed" and arrived in Ame.rica with some ailment to unsuspecting parents.
The team is also training the Chine.se doctors in physical therapy techniques and giving suggestions for foster kid's treatment. Many of the kids that we saw today have gingivitis, skin conditions, and external tumors.
I was able to talk to the founder, who is a Chi.nese woman who now lives in MN and met some incredible people who I felt has similar life-goals. It was also fun(ny) to be with such a large group of Americ.ans. I almost felt like I had an identity crisis. When I was in Ame.rica over the summer it was okay because I was in my home environment, here, I was in my Chine.se environment, with my Chine.se friend and was surrounded by Ame.ricans who are loud, wear backpacks and slouchy jeans and sneakers, yell across the table, and laugh from their bellies. Gosh, I love Ameri.ca. But being with a big group of them is overwhelming. haha.
Please check out the charity and support them in any way that you can...through thought or deed. The work they are doing here in Mainland is critically important to the adoption of dozens of orphans each year. What a powerful, tangible way to live.
In other news, here are some photos from this past week:
me, Yvonne, and Hannah getting coffee at West Lake. It is so beautiful it never gets old.
Happy Birthday to Ilan! My new favorite group of people and I celebrated his special day with homemade pizza, cake, improv indoor games, and KTV. Perfection.