Sunday, June 3, 2012
Sissy's Life in China
Sissy's orphanage is very unique in many ways. It is located in a "free economic" zone 20 minutes from Hong Kong. Some of the staff actually live in Hong Kong and commute each day. I think one could say it's one of the very best orphanages in China. However, it's still an orphanage no matter how nice it looks, with all the orphanage problems, except they have more financial resources than most.
The building itself is only about 4 years old. It has an indoor and outdoor playground for older and younger children. It also has a rollerskating area for the older kids and plenty of roller blades for them to share. They constantly listen to American-style pop music and have a lot of exposure to Western culture. Some children have spent weekends with an American family there and joined them on outings. Yesterday, Sissy and her group enjoyed a performance at the SWI by a Westerner. Apparently, this happens often. It's almost an innundation of Western info without proper context.
Another rare thing is that there are social workers counselling the children in preparation for their adoptions. I've never heard of this before. The girls are also prepared for puberty using informative videos. They have hours of computer time and all have QQ accounts.
From what other moms have told me about their children from this SWI, all of the above is a mixed blessing. The children are savvy, but lack the context in which to use this savviness properly. For example, getting the children to stop listening to that pop music ALL THE TIME is hard for some. Others have found that their children go onto raunchy websites seeking more of the same kind of music and stimulation. Despite having so many swimming outings, many kids still don't know how to swim and are scared to immerse in the water or will only do so wearing a life vest, even in a shallow baby pool.
An orphanage is an orphanage regardless of how fancy it is, but Sissy's exposures have been quite different and it can make it more complicated or easier in ways I can't begin to predict. But so far, I've had two pictures of her at KFC on different occassions and have heard she's been there numerous times. It's a favorite treat for Sissy and her peers and may be a taste of familiar comfort in the world she's about to enter when she comes home.