M later adopted another daughter from China. She and her husband took the kids for a Heritage Tour back to their cities and orphanages. I took that chance to have her take a photo book I created online back to the Girl's orphanage.
She sent me a nice photo of their reception of the book:
And then, of course, I had questions. So I sent her email with a list of questions about their experience, and she answered. I then asked if I could post the answers on the blog. She said yes, as long as I introduced some anonymity. You know me, I'm good at that!
So here are the players:
M - mother
H - husband
D1 - first adopted daughter, from the same orphanage as the Girl
D2 - second adopted daughter
Also since English is her second language, she asked that I correct some of the spelling or grammar. Also, she answered all this via her iPhone (impressive!)
1) Is the orphanage the same location? Did they move it?
The orphanage is done being a orphanage and is in use as a elderly home since the last 2 yrs. It was a elderly home already when we got D1 in 2005. The top floor was for them and the third floor was for the children. Now the kid's rooms are in use for the elderly and we weren't allowed to take pictures ;-( We did take pictures of the old cribs piled up in the stairway...The elderly home is moving within a few months.. So right on time for visiting the building! The children they had were all in fostercare.
2) How long did you visit last?3) Who did you meet?
We had a visit from a whole morning and long lovely yummy Sichuan style lunch with Director Li (when we picked up D1 she did administration... Now she is the leading lady of the elderly home and the move to the new building.). Director Dai ( who was the director at D1 and Girl's time) is retired and was in a different city when we were there. We also met a nanny who I recognize from a picture from when D1 was a baby and holding her! She also went along with the lunch. And we saw two men who were working as a handyman/cook in 2005. I recognized then from my film in 2005. In total we stayed 3 days in [adoptive city]. Loved it! We went one day to the orphanage , one day the "outskirts" driving around and at night to the square mingling ;-) dancing and so on and one day to shop, walk around see the market, sightseeing down town... Feeling regular life.
4) What did you see there?
We saw the the orpahanage but a different floor. We got to stay in the office and exchange gifts. D1 got a candle chinese like present and a buffelhorn something.
5) Do any of the caretakers remember your daughter?
There were no other caretakers other than that one nanny. She knew D1 and the Girl. Because all the children are in foster care.. The other nannies were laid off. They are working elsewhere and they [SWI staff] didn't know where.6) Do any of the caretakers remember the Girl?
Yes! The remember that whole "group"/room! Especially when they saw the "young" picture (the one you got from me a long time ago) they were both excited of how tall and healthy she looks!
They remembered D1 too and wondered where her chubby cheeks were ;-)7) Do they get many photo updates sent to them from adoptive parents?
Yes they do and they file them. And the had one poster in the hall way.
8) Did they have any questions about raising your kids in their new home?
No not really. They are just curious in a way that they are looking how they live "western-life-style'
They say that the girls are very lucky.9) Did they have any questions about or for me?
No questions.10) Anything else interesting that I didn't specifically ask?
I feel that Beijng/politics/the party is still close in Sichuan. The guide although she was nice.... Wanted to know exactly what doing and was shocked/ scared when she found out H went to the finding spot on his own. Big brother is still watching you ....way different as in the south (D2) we even had a poster hung up with help of the guide to let the bioparents know she (D2) is okay and living in the [their country]. Beijing feels further away there.
What it did for D1.. Most important for us.. The trip made China not something "mysterious unknown" but it has a face, smell, feeling, closure maybe even? She had some "forget me not flower seeds " and threw the out in the orphanage yard. Symbolic, simple but good for her. Not make it all to big but nevertheless good to know where she was born, how the people look, eat and live.
At home she wanted to go right away to all her school, friends, the beach .. Like a confirmation it is all still there. She is also way more helpful in the house. Happier ???
With D2 no change..
Her orphanage was still in use for special needs and is really awful to see how they handle/take care of the kids. All self-soothing behavior .. Sad. I understand her better now.
Additional pictures from the orphanage that D1 and the Girl shared