Thursday, May 31, 2012

The SWI Visit Part 2

3 weeks ago we visited the SWI (Social Welfare Institute) that we thought Sweet Pea was living in.  It turned out she lived in a home with her Nanny and 4 other babies and her Nanny's family.  But still this is the place that she would come for paperwork, doctor visits, and for the pictures they sent us while we were waiting.  At the time I did post a bit about the visit itself, but I had not yet sorted through the photos.  So here are...some, a very small some really...of the photos I took that day.
It took us awhile to find the orphanage as my guide wasn't sure how to find it.  Finally the assistant director came out to meet us.  She hopped in the front seat with our guide and directed the driver.  I took many photos of the city as we wandered the streets.

During the visit, though I took many pictures, there are many shots I missed because I was so focused on staying close to my baby and I wasn't sure exactly what was allowed.  But here is Sweet Pea immediately upon being reunited with her Nanny.
It was the first time we'd seen her that upset.  We've seen it since...usually at the doctor's office.  I don't know what she was feeling at all, but I know it was hard on all of us.  And it was hard to leave her in her Nanny's arms crying.  But I'd told myself I'd let her hold her and she took off to the kitchen to feed her.
But our guide and the assistant director didn't give her a chance.  
The hall outside the kitchen.  I was so focused on Sweet Pea and asking about my friend's baby and baby rooms that I didn't look at the rooms on this floor or the signs.  I didn't take wide angle shots of the area.  I only took pictures of Sweet Pea and her Nanny in the director's office.  I'm not sure I have one single good shot of the director, though I do have several of the assistant director.  I didn't ask the questions that now flow through my mind or the ones I expect Sweet Pea may someday have.  I guess this is why some urge you to wait to visit the SWI on a Heritage Tour...when the baby will remember it.  Certainly I want to do that someday, too.  I just wish I'd been better prepared for this visit.

However...I did get a lot of photos.  The whole picture is just not complete.  But here they are.  I'll try to keep my words to a minimum, but feel free to ask questions in the comments.  I'll answer what I can and would.

The Outside...Everything was under construction.  I'm still amazed we were allowed to visit.

The seat the Nanny tried to put Sweet Pea in while she prepared the bottle.  I held her instead.

The room I THOUGHT was Sweet Pea's since the Nanny made the bottle in it.  On the right is the door to the hall and a small room with running water, possibly bathroom.  On the left is a door to the balcony.  There were 4 babies here.

Oak and the Assistant Director.  They'd finally tracked us down.  Oak and Huckleberry apparently looked in all of the baby rooms looking for us and found us in the last one.  I only saw the inside of 3 of the rooms that held babies.  This was the third floor of the building we were in and the floor had 6 to 8 rooms of babies.

Ummm, I look crazy here, but I was just feeling a little overwhelmed and a lot unsure of what to do and what was allowed.
One of the other baby rooms on the floor...Labeled Baby Room #3

Baby Room #3's Balcony (and Huckleberry)
The 3rd floor had rooms all down one side of the hall and a balcony basically the length of the building on the other side of the hall.  
Then the 3rd room we visited (we went back to baby room #3 to take more pictures after spending time in this last room.)  Here Sweet Pea's Nanny continued to feed her her bottle, everyone was talking, and I finally decided they didn't seem to mind what I took pictures of.  This room was labeled Dry Room, but it was now housing babies and a Nanny.

The Balcony of Dry Room #3...Clearly the Nanny's washed the kids clothes in the little washroom each room had and hung them on their own balconies.  There was a lot of windows and light in the whole building. 

The view from the balcony.  I don't know if it was part of the old SWI and remodel or something else entirely.
Then we left.  We went to Sweet Pea's finding spot and I took several pictures until someone seemed to be getting upset and my guide rushed us away.  Then I took more pictures as Oak was holding the sleeping Sweet Pea as we drove out of town and back to Nanchang.  Basically it was the small city of Yugan with a village on its edge, then rice fields and rivers and countryside until we got back to the large city of Nanchang.
Couldn't help thinking this could have been Sweet Pea's life in an ideal world. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

To me Memorial Day is often just an extra day off for my family to do things together and maybe to think about the people I'd lost in my life.  But this year, it is also the day my friend starts the ceremonies to lay her hero husband to rest...who gave his life in Afghanistan Friday, May 18th.
He willingly laid his life on the line...and paid with his life...for my freedom, for the privileges I (and other Americans) have in this country.  The freedom and privileges my Sweet Pea received on Wednesday, May 16th and SnapDragon sang about in his school performance Thursday, May 24th.

He leaves behind his wife, a baby girl (only one day younger than my Sweet Pea), and many family members and friends.
Please pray for baby K and her beautiful, sweet Mama.  Also, their extended families.  Plus the family of the other young father killed that day and those injured and their families.  Plus others who have been lost and those still serving and risking their lives...for me, for you, for us.
Words cannot adequately express grief...or thanks, but I pray that for me Memorial Day is forever now a little bit more than a day to go to the zoo.

P.S.  Thank you, Major Awesome.  We miss and love you.  Stay safe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Week Pictures

I still have so many pictures from China to share...the Forbidden City, the Pavilion in Nanchang, and the Folk Art Museum to name a few.  However, I am still very tired, and I wouldn't have even looked at pictures today except our Social Worker needed 6-8 pictures for our one week post placement report.  Since I'd did the work, I thought I'd share them with you, a few.  I'm going to have to work at getting more "family" girls still dominate my photos.