A Visit to the Orphanage

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We just returned from our trip to visit the orphanage where Meili spent the first 16 months of her precious life. It is located about 120 miles east of Nanjing in a city named Jiangyin. The experience was deeply moving and I (Steve) am glad Tracy insisted we take the rare opportunity to take this visit. We were warmly greeted by the entire staff and spent around an hour conversing through our great guide “Shane” with the Director of the orphanage. The Chinese people are so very wonderful and take serious the adoption of their children to foreigners. We have been asked many times over the last 4 days if we were going to do everything we can to take good care of Meili from officials and orphanage staff. The most important part of our trip was the unique opportunity to ask whatever we wanted of the director and Meili’s brief time with them – so, of course, we did! They had with them the entire file of Meili and the first thing they showed us was the exact piece of paper that was left on her the night of her abandonment…

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It is a simple note scrolled on a torn portion of the local newspaper. They told us that judging by the quality of the writing, the parents were probably not very well educated and most likely a part of the migrant workers who inhabit the city looking for a better life. They could not give us the clothes or blankets she was wrapped in due to the fact that they were so old and ragged – they just fell apart. She was discovered about 3:30pm on December 17th in the shrubs directly in front of the guard house in front of the orphanage…

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Tragically, it was the middle of December and she had been left there sometime during the night. This part of China gets very cold during the winter months so she was left in a bundle of rags in the harsh elements for quite a long time. Others would wonder how she survived being just born the day before but knowing what we already know of Meili – it was a little of her fighting spirit (which is always on display) and a lot of God keeping her safe for us. Meili really is an amazing little monkey and greatly enjoyed seeing her nannies again. She recognized them right away and flashed a smile in their arms that we were able to capture…

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Before leaving, they allowed us to take a picture with the orphanage director in front of the main sign and gate…

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After our visit, we were treated to a very formal lunch with the director and it was wonderful! For as skinny the Chinese people are (please forgive the stereotype), they sure eat well and a lot! :) I was proud of myself because they had an extra spicy dish of chicken that Tracy and I were able to eat as much, if not more than our local hosts…

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What a wonderful experience and we are both glad we took advantage of the opportunity. We are getting ready to head out to take in one last night in Nanjing because we leave for Guangzhou in the morning for the final leg of our journey. Going to miss China but looking forward to heading home soon…