Friday, February 13, 2009

Orphanage Visit

Ready for the big day!

The Nanny's love her so much!

She is going home next week. (I cant find your email address!)

Saying goodbye...

Buying the air conditioner..for Grace Fellowship

Buying more with leftover money...

Train station where she was abandoned..

We are leaving the place where she was abandoned!

A gift from Jincheng City

When God adopts us, sometimes we still grieve for our past....

First off, I want to say that last night I gave Lily a bath and she said, "Mama, Baba, and Wo Ai ni (I love you!)" I did have to bribe her with bubbles to talk but she did it! She reminds me so much of Hannah Grace, just so sweet and timid. (Sorry Noah, I love you too, but you are NOT timid at all!!) She slept well last night. I did too.

This morning we had an early breakfast and heading out at 7:00am. The fog was really, really bad. Like you couldn't see 2 feet in front of you. Under normal circumstances, I would usually go bananas. But, I know I am right where I am supposed to be, and I knew that God would see us through it. About 15 minutes later the fog lifted. Our guide started clapping and the driver made a cross over his heart! Then, I realized just how nervous everyone had been!!! We arrived in Jincheng in about 4 hours. First, we went to the orphanage. The nanny's came running up to Lily. It was really hard, but I handed her over to them. Actually, she jumped out of my arms to go to them. This was not what I expected. I really expected her to cling to me. NOPE. I really feel like this is more like a foster parent transition. Its actually a good thing. She is definately attached to her caregivers. They love her so much. Ok...let me tell you, we were treated like royalty from the time we arrived. When we stepped out of the van, cameras were flashing and there were news media there. Oh my! The head of civil affairs was there to greet us. It was very, very overwhelming. We were taken upstairs to Lily's room and all the kids were waiting on her. I got a lot of video, but I don't feel right about putting it on this public blog. They all sang to her and told her goodbye. She was totally overwhelmed. I know I was. There were about 30 kids in this small room all staring at me!! I saw a little girl there and she is being adopted next week. I am sorry I can't find your email I hope you are reading my blog!!! Then, they took us into her bedroom. I think there were about 20 beds in there. This orphanage is overcrowded and they are going to build a new one soon. Lily laid down on her bed and I tried to pick her up and she cried. Oh, my heart. Finally, I just picked her up and let her cry. The orphanage was really, really clean. And it smelled good too. Then, they took us to a conference room where fruit was waiting on us and some hot tea. They answered all 35 questions I had written out. The media was still flashing thier cameras!! (Ok, for a split second, I imagined I was a movie star that had come to China to adopt!) That thought went away quickly when I thought about our bank account. :) Then, we went outside and walked around the courtyard where the kids play. Do you notice the statue?? It was in some of Lily's pictures that they sent to us. They do not have a playground. I already knew this, because she had no clue how to slide. They said they play with a ball in the courtyard. Next, we were whisked away to go a purchase an air conditioner/heater as a gift from our generous church, Grace Fellowship. I really can't describe how thankful they were. We did get it all on video and we will share it at church in a couple of weeks. After that, we had some money left over and we asked them to take us to a clothing store. They really were shocked. We bought so much stuff for the children. I felt like Santa. We just walked in the store and said, "Pick whatever you like, whatever the children need." We also explained to them who it was from. They were very, very grateful. We left there and they took us back to the orphanage because they wanted us to see the air unit being delivered. We saw it and they installed the unit in Lily's old room. Then, we went to the Finding Spot for Lily. This is the place where her mother abandoned her. It is recorded in her files exactly where she was found. They took us to the spot. It was hard for me. I can't imagine being in her shoes. What she must have felt like.... We took some pictures and lots of video. My favorite picture of the day was taken at the railway station. Lily was abandoned in the waiting room of the train station. Then, she was taken to the police station and they took her to the orphanage. After that, they took us to a very nice hotel and escorted us upstairs to this private room for lunch. We had a fancy, shmancy lunch. It was very traditional Chinese. I am not too sure what I ate today. Pray it stays down OK. It was pretty yummy. LIly didn't eat alot, she was so tired. They did a lot of toasts and we stood up several times to toast our glasses. Carlton did a toast too. We would just be eating and someone would bust out with a toast. It was very neat. The man in charge presented us with a gift from Jincheng City. It was 2 BEAUTIFUL vases made out of porcelain. I promise it looks like is has 14K gold on it. (I should have taken a pic of them) We were stunned. We told them they would be placed on our mantle for everyone to see. Today was definately worth the trip. Lily is grieving hard right now as you can see from the pic. It is breaking my heart, but I know in the long run, this is what is best for her. Its just really hard to watch your baby hurt like this.

The ride home was uneventful and we are in our hotel room now getting our stuff packed up. We leave for Guangzhou tomorrow. And let me tell you....I can 't wait to get there!!!!!!!!!!!

Before I leave, let me post some things that i learned about Lily-
-she is shy
-she likes to clean and to be clean
-she had one caregiver who really loved her (she was bawling today when we left)
-she likes to play by herself
-she likes to play ball
-she likes noodles, rice
-she does not like animals(poor Piper)
-she does not like stuffed animals
-she takes a nap everyday from 1-3
-she has never used a real potty, just a squatty potty
-she likes bananas
-she likes warm milk to drink

She is having nothing to do with Carlton, I mean nothing. Poor Carlton, he is such a lovey daddy and this is so hard on him. He knows its good, we need her to develop an attachment to me first. But, its hard on him. He wants to smooch on her so bad!!! We know this will come with time.

Off to pack, enjoy the pics.

Love you all!!!



The King Family said...

We pray that your travels will be safe and that Lily will adjust quickly. Bless her heart (and yours), that picture made me want to cry but it is great to know that she has been so loved!!! And oh, how much love she has in store for her!
We love you!
Jared, Sarah, Annabelle and Baby

Lorraine said...

We will be praying for you. I know it's hard to watch her suffer now, but I adopted one with attachment issues, and that is way harder, trust me! She is adorable and I know you can't wait to get her home to her brother and sister.
Just know your friends from the adopting kids with limb differences are praying for you.

Aaron and Erica said...

What an amazing day! I'm so glad that our wonderful agency arranged for you to visit the orphanage. It's so good that Lily was attached to one of her nanny's, but so hard at the same time.

I can't wait for you to get to Guangzhou now, although be prepared to maybe be a little sad to leave her province. It might be bittersweet. You're going to love the shopping!!!!! Do you know yet if you have Rebecca as your guide?

Still praying for you all...


LeighAnne said...


Wow, what a big day. I know you must have had so many different emotions. I am really praying that Lily will attach and grieve properly. I am praying for strength for each one of you. Thanks for the update.

Hugs, LA

The Tucker Troops said...

Your last post made me so express yourself very well and your sweet Lily is beautiful. She looks like she is doing well with you. What an encouragement for us.
God Bless--

Corie said...

What a day...sure was packed with stuff. Praise the Lord for the air conditionor and clothes. I got goose bumpts ready that. That is awesome. I am praying for the hard moments with adjustment, but I know that she is in the most amazing family.

Sounds like some yummy food....probably better you didn't know what it was!

Praying for continued safe travels. Love the blog and all your updates. I can imagine all you are seeing and doing. Most be amazing.

Keri Mason said...

Carlton and Amy,
Your descriptions remind me so much of our Eden in those first weeks. She was in foster care and you're right, it does sound like Lily was attached to her caregivers, which is great for her (like you said) but harder for you right now. I know you know this but let me assure you anyway from a mama who's been there - it will get better. I remember the first time Eden called me "mommy" instead of "mama." And, she wouldn't have anything to do with Gene at first either. By the time we got to Guangzhou she started to warm up a little. Now, she HAS to have one-on-one time with him daily. They have a precious relationship. I am so humbled reading your posts...the Lord is so gracious and faithful. You will never know the number of lives your story and little Lily are impacting through your honesty on this blog. I rejoice with you!! You guys are doing everything right for this little girl, letting her grieve and say goodbye - remember that even though it's so hard. Love you all!
Your sister, Keri Mason

jsides said...

Aimee and Carlton,
Thank you for sharing this journey. I am praying for Lily to have peace and for all of you to have a safe trip.

Chris and Christa Burbank said...

Aimee and Carlton,
I got your travel blog address from Monica Carter. I have absolutely loved reading about your trip and your "Gotcha Day" videos-I just cried and cried!!!!! My husband and I are in the process of adopting. We are using Lifeline and Karla is our Social worker!!!!! May God be with you and your family!!! You are all in our prayers daily!!! Chris and Christa Burbank

Nicole said...

Iam happy you guys had a safe trip to the orphanage considering the fog...I bet it was a great experience to go back and visit Lily's home and friends...I know your hearts must have broke when you visited the train station where she was abandoned..that is so sad..but at least she has been well taken care of by people who loved her and now she is going to have a real family! Poor Lily ...I know she is so sad..My heart is breaking for her..she is grieving so much..and I swear I feel her pain..but in time I know she will be ok. I hope Lily attaches to Carlton soon..Poor daddy...I know you want to love on your baby too..Iam laughing thinking that yall are probably on the front page of every newspaper!! You need to go look around and see if you are in the newspaper and buy one! That is a major keepsake..I can't believe Lily said wo ai ni...She is opening up little by little..Can't wait to see all the video and pics! Love yall

jengallahar said...

What a great experience to be able to go back to the orphanage. You're right. It was very clean. It looks like they love all of the children and do a very good job caring for them. Lily is just gorgeous; and if I may say so...I think she looks like you and Carlton ;o) Funny huh? She is surely where God intended her to be!

Charlliesweb said...

Carlton, please know that our Kaylee was also shy with my husband. It took awhile and all he could do was watch her with me. 24 hours traveling with her screaming and clinging to me on the way home because she wouldn't go to him wasn't fun at all. My point, three months home she gave him his best Christmas present ever, she said Daddy. She had an open cleft palate and only had a vocabulary of three words at the time.

Now she screams 'Daddy's home!!' every night when he gets home from work and jumps in his arms. :)

She will come to you when she's ready. :)

Barb said...

Let's try this again, my computer errored out. I am so amazed at what you are experiencing. The people of China seem so gracious.

I am so glad you were able to visit Lily's former home. It was extremely clean and it is a comfort to know she was well loved and cared for.

It must have been heartbreaking to walk through her abandonment at the train station. She is so blessed to have her life turn out this way especially after such a traumatic start.

I LOVE the picture of her holding hands with you and Carlton!

Cant wait to see the videos and hear more stories about your experiences when you return.

Laura said...

Oh Aimee, I am crying again...I am praying for you and sweet Carlton's heart as well. I am so proud of all of you...precious Lily. So loved...what a story. She will treasure that you took the time to write down every detail of your time with her in China. I can't wait to see her sweet face...yours too!

love you

Misty said...

Thanks so much for all of this...thank you for the truths you have shared about Biblical adoption...Praying for Lily as she grieves, and praying she'll quickly attach to you both.



Shea said...

I'm so glad that you were able to take her back and let her say a proper good bye. I know it had to be so hard for her and gut wrenching for you! But she'll be glad to have those picture and video footage one day. To be able to see for herself how much she was loved before you. I'm so excited she said I LOVE YOU! I bribe my owns kids for kisses and I love you's too at times. :) Enjoy the rest of your time. I know you are anxious to get her home!! Love you.

Tell Carlton to hang in there. She's warm up to him soon enough; he's got a lifetime!!

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing your trip to the orphanage. I am so glad you found it clean and orderly and that you really felt that Lily had been loved. That makes a big difference, and even though she will grieve her loss harder, I honestly believe that in the long run she will have an easier time being able to love and accept her new family. Only one of our daughters was in foster care, and while she had an extremely sad time at first (especially at nighttime), she had an easier and quicker time transferring that love to us. She was 2-1/2 at the time we got her, and she has been with us almost three years. She thinks our family is about the most wonderful thing in the world and is extremely affectionate.

Carlton, when Lily sees the way your other kids interact with you, it won't be long before she will open up to you too. (By the way, I know what it feels like to be the one who is rejected, and I really do empethize with you!)

I'm glad you're almost in Guangzhou. We had such a nice time there, and I think you will too!

Amy said...

I just love reading your story of adopting Lily. Thank you so much for sharing her adoption on your blog. It's just a beautiful story! Praying your travels in China continue to be safe and that Lily warms up to her "Baba" soon. She's just precious!


jill said...

Wow! That's all I can really say. To be able to visit the only place she's known and the place where she was abandoned....I can't imagine how y'all must have felt. I love the pic of you and Carlton with her in the middle. She is SO loved. I pray that the grieving process is easy to handle. I'm sure it's a lot for her to take in. I'm continuing to pray for y'all, and I'll say a special prayer that she'll open up to Carlton. Love y'all!

Green, Party of Five said...

Oh Aimee....Im so glad you got to visit the orphanage, you will never regret your time spent there. I know it was hard, but just knowing that she was loved by one special nanny makes it feel so much better.
Im so ready for you to come home, I feel like you have been gone forever. Please give Rebecca a hug and tell her thank you for referring the wonderful "Helen" to us.
I plan to call you this weekend. I need an Aimee fix. Please give that sweet baby girl a big hug from us and tell Carton that is he doing good. I know he is so ready to hug all over her. Lia is very attached to Mommy right now, but she still loves her Baba!
We love you and blessings to you!

The Ferrill's said...

Glorious day! What holy closure you gave your baby girl by bringing her to the orphanage to say goodbye. And what a gift that you were able to take pictures and video of where she spent her first three years and the people who loved on her. As the years go by, this will become more and more meaningful to everyone. When I saw her little pink bed I just wanted to cry; and then when I read how she laid down in it and cried, oh my heart. It's just almost too much to bear...and you are right: Sometimes we grieve the old life when God adopts us. What a beautiful picture of our adoption into His family. Your little Lily is one brave girl.
My favorite pic is the one of yall walking away from the train station hand in hand, too. Beautiful redemption! I love it!
I am sure you are mentally and physically exhausted from your day and just processing all that is taking place. But friend, rest up! Because you're almost to Guangzhou and you've got to do some serious SHOPPING!!!!!!!! The best advice I received was someone told me that if I see something I like, BUY IT. You will never regret coming home with it, but you might always regret not buying it if you don't! It is so true.
We are continuing to pray for a smooth transition!!!!!!!

jengallahar said...

Aimee~ I just have to tell you real quick that I decided to try some dumplings today. I had never really heard of them until now but your descriptions had me craving them. Well....they are WONDERFUL! They are served with a sauce that is great but I could actually eat it just plain. I got them at Panda (next to Oxford WalMart). They have a steamed and pan fried variety. They are also under new ownership since last year and I believe the dishes are more authentic Chinese. SO...if you are in Oxford, you need to get an order to go. Thanks for the recommendation!!

Jessica said...

What a wonderful day you 3 were able to have today...wonderful and hard at the same time. I am so glad that you guys were able to visit the orphanage. It is so great that you will be able to tell Lily all about it and show her the videos and pictures. I can imagine that the good-bye was hard to do,but I know that it was the right thing to do for Lily to be able to say good bye on her own terms. And how hard it must have been to visit the train station. I tear up just thinking about it, but yet I am so thankful it was documented so well so that you knew.
Continuing to pray for you guys. Praying for Lily's attachment. And praying for safe travel.
love you !

Waiting for Mia Hope! said...

Bless her sweet heart!! I'm sure it was a very emotional day for all of you. I got tears in my eyes looking at the photos of Lily's finding spot. How the hand of God has brought Lily back to that very place with her forever family. Very powerful!

The beds in the orphanages looked so cute and inviting...unlike some of the steel cribs with a hard board in it. I pray that God will heal the hear of the Nanny. I can't imagine. My heart is already aching for Mia's foster family.

What a bittersweet but amazing journey!


Nancy said...

You have documented all of this so well. What an amazing journey! I'm so happy for your family!

Tamara said...

Wow, what a roller coaster of emotions you must have had today! It breaks my heart to know she is sad. I'm glad you could go back to the orphanage it seemed to be better than I had imagined. The train station where she was left, o' my, it gives me chills to think about it. I am so thankful she now has such a wonderful family to be a part of.

Love you

White House said...

my heart ached
1. when she went to her bed
2. when her caregiver bawled
3. for sweet Carlton

.......small glorious beginnings
Nana J