Sunday, July 1, 2012

Birthdays, Bye-Byes, and back to Beijing...

I will apologize up front for any typos in this post, as our plane back from China landed at 4:55 am this morning and I am trying to stay up until I normally would so that I can get onto the right sleep pattern as soon as possible. With that said, I realize I may not make sense at times, but wanted to post about the last day of the trip before my memory faded even more than the current state I am in!

For some reason we had a different bus on the trip to the orphanage today. I'm guessing maybe because we had to check out of the hotel and have all of our gear loaded before we left in the morning, so we needed a bigger bus. This was the fanciest bus I have ever seen in China; brand new inside, two microwaves, and two couches that fold down to beds. As much as I enjoyed it, I have to say I felt guilty driving around in it as we passed the poorer regions in Chaoyang as we approached the orphanage. As we pulled up, I wanted to grab the kids and take them for a cruise around the city!

It was fun to see some of the children dressed in their tutus for our annual birthday party. Before the festivities began though, many of us wanted to hang out with the children upstairs one last time, as we knew they would not be coming to the celebration. Josh snapped lots of scenic photos out of the third and fourth story windows, so you can see the beautiful farmlands around the facilities.

Lychee fruit, bananas, nectarines, watermelon, etc., were brought out in plenty to begin the celebration. We sang "Happy Birthday" to all the children and then ate the elaborately decorated cake. They even had such details as "AWAA" written on a white piece of chocolate, in honor of America World Adoption Association, which Visiting Orphans is a branch off of. My birthday wish was that these children have access to this amount and type of food everyday (well, minus the cake). They were so enthusiastic about all of it. Some ate until we thought they would pop!

We did things a bit backwards today, as after we ate cake, we went with the nannies to prepare dumplings for lunch. This year the new administrative director joined in the fun, and created some unique dumplings that demonstrated he is a "master chef!"

I was pleased to be able to hang out with Flower for a bit. I first met her back in 2007, and she now attends a massage school, but is back to the orphanage for the summer. As we said our goodbyes, some of the nannies handed out gifts of bracelets and necklaces. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is through this experience where I truly feel like we mean something to the nannies.

I am excited to say we will be joining up with LIGHT to provide extra nutrition and protein to the children at Chaoyang, particularly those in the upstairs rooms that don't get much. They have a program that has been up and running, but the funds were running out, so was good timing for us to step in. I am hoping we can partner with this group even more in the near future. I have a few more specific stories I want to blog more about later, but for now I must get some sleep. Thanks for all the prayers that went up to make this trip so successful.
*A special thanks to my husband and to Liz Gividen for updating posts in my absence!


Carol R said...

Thanks Toni for making the trip come alive to those of us here.

Andrea said...

Every year I want to join you on this trip! thanks for letting me come along virtually.