Monday, October 24, 2005

The Orphanage Visit










I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Chloe's orphanage today, but I can't yet articulate the range of emotions moving through me as I reflect on the day. Instead of trying to sum up the meaning of the day, I'll simply share what I learned about Chloe. First, Chloe spent all but the last month in foster care on the outskirts of Shangrao City. Her foster mother's name is Xia Shu Feng. When they received notice that she was going to be adopted, she was taken back to the orphanage. Her caregiver there is named Xu Bao Gin, and I'll post a picture of the two of us on the blog. Second, I learned that they called Chloe Yiao Yiao in the orphanage. It's a term of endearment. Third, they said both her foster mother and her nanny are strong women, much like Chloe. Both are about 50-years old. Fourth, Chloe's last name Ling is the name of a beautiful mountain nearby. This name also means soul. I like this because we decided that Chloe would have two last names (just like her mother), so her full name is Chloe Frances Ling Loflin. Finally, they said that Chloe is a very strong baby, and she rarely gets sick.

Right now, there are about 60 girls living in the orphanage and another 100 living in foster care around the city. The orphanage is struggling to care for all of the children because they only get $12.00/month per child. They need more clothing, walkers, money for formula... The Nannies seem very loving, and they deeply care for the children. In fact, it's very important to them that we send periodic pictures of Chloe when we return home. They want to know that she's okay. While the workers are kind, they do not have the resources to provide individualized attention to the children, and the babies spend quite a bit of time on there own laying in cribs.

After visiting the orphanage, the orphanage staff took us to lunch (I traveled with one other parent.) The food was quite good, and we tried many unfamiliar dishes. It was hard to figure out the eating customs, but we bumbled through. I was disappointed when 1/2 way through the meal, they gave us forks, but neither of us used them.

At the end of the day, I'm still processing the fact that in just nine months my daughter has lost her birth mother, spent time in foster care, moved to an orphanage, and now is with her parents who look, smell, and sound like no one she has ever come into contact with before. She is a very strong baby to be handling this transition with such curiosity and sweetness, and we feel grateful to be given the opportunity to parent this little one.

3 Comments:

Blogger KennedysNC said...

Heidi - Chloe will be so happy that you have had this opportunity to gather information from her past. I am sure I can not even imagine the range of emotions you felt during this meeting.

Can't wait to see you all soon!

Love,

AMK

6:27 AM  
Blogger GG said...

Her name is perfect! A strong and meaningful name given to her from her heritage and also 2 of her very special great-grandmothers from both side of her new family. It's very important that we, as a family - Gailors, Loflins, Lindseys, etc, help the place(s) that took such good care of Chloe until you could get her. Only 4 days left! Much, much love, GG

9:30 AM  
Blogger GG said...

Hey, it's me again but only part of this message is from me. I should have said in my comment yesterday the Gailors, Loflins Lindseys and Witchers when I spoke of the importance of Chloe's extended family and what we needed to remember and to do. Some family members in Raleigh are not able to access the blog and so they want me to be the designated "blogger". Audrey and Lee are having great difficulty as are your sisters Amy and Joc. Audrey said Elizabeth wrote a note in her own spelling for you and Chloe and couldn't get in on. Hopefully, they will be able to figure out the glitch and be able to contact you via the blog. So from one set of grandparents, sisters, brothers-in-law and cousins through another grandma - Much, much love and we'll see in 3 days in Raleigh! From, Everybody Who Loves You

7:46 AM  

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