Thursday, July 19, 2012

Orphanage Visit



Perking up on the drive to the SWI.


The SWI physician.


SWI director. Serious grieving starting.


My little family with the dirctor and Teacher Yang, who is like the dormitory mother.


Very impressive Sick Bay that was clean and full of equipment, including incubators, bililights, newborn warming tables, hospital beds, etc...


Finding spot was a large market.


Lunch at McD's with Teacher Yang and my guide, Michael.

Today was very difficult for Sissy. She had to say hello and good-bye to her "family" here in China. She was sullen all morning, and I mean SULLEN. It was like dragging around a sack of potatoes all morning, pushing and prodding her to walk with us anywhere. She finally came to life when she caught sight of the familiar area around her SWI.

The visit went very well. The Zhuhai SWI is about the second best in all of China. It houses 160 children in three or four wings. There are railings along all the walls every where, at two heights, for the disabled children, and it has elevators. The building is only four years old. Sissy's room area consisted of a shared sitting room with a TV, then her room on the right that she shared with one other girl. There was another bedroom on the left and a bathroom with two stalls, one with a squat potty and one with a western potty, a sink and a shower stall. The entire place was spotlessly clean. There was a balcony with two sinks at either end and a clothesline where the children, from age 9 onward, wash their clothes daily as part of their normal routine. There is a diningroom for the big kids and a different one for the little kids. All of the big kids, save for one with a medical condition, were away on summer holiday at the countryside. Sissy's school is directly across the street from the SWI. There are several play areas with play structions, badmitton and more. The children are being well-educated and when they age out, they are not turned out, but further educated and helped into a career. If they cannot be helped into a career, a job for them is found at the SWI.

I saw the baby room. I have video. The babies and children's beds are just a piece of wood with totami mat on top. The babies have blankets, but it's still hard and their heads all look pretty weird, but they are in what I call "the awkward baby phase" where they have large heads anyway, from about 6-12 months.

The doctor looks very well-certified and capable. She is kind, clean, and the sickbay is most impressive. They have several large hospital rooms that look like any western hospital, as well as tons of eqipment that looks like any delivery room, newborn warming tables, incubators, bililights for jaundiced babies, etc... Again, spotlessly clean!

Sissy has never heard the story of her finding. I have a copy of the police report and she wasn't interested in standing outside the market and having her picture taken. Her own words, "I haven't heard that story," so it didn't have any meaning for her at all and she had no interest at all in it.

Sissy, sobbed and sobbed when we got back to the hotel. She looked at her pictures and held them close. I think her grieving and settling in process is going to be a lot harder than Jie Jie's. Be assured, she is affectionate with me, but being a teen makes it harder. I found a website, recommened by my guide, that had familiar music and Sissy perked right up at that. We danced and sang - she's good singer - and she was astonished that mama can whistle. She wants to learn to whistle so that she can do it along with one of her favorite songs that had a whistled solo that I've already learned. She likes that I dance and be silly with her.

Sissy does apologize and had excellent behavior at her SWI. I know she'll be find once she understands her knew life and new routine. She is an Eliza Doolittle and I am Professor Higgins. You can see in some of her pictures that her mouth is wide open, catching flies. It's like this all the time. She eats like a camel. Teacher Yang said that all the children eat this way and that they try to work with the ones who've been matched to teach them better table manners, but it doesn't sink in. Sissy also has terrible posture. She slouches terribly and sticks her head out, so that all I ever seem to see is her Adam's Apple of her neck. My guide helped her straighten up on our second day, before I did, it's so bad. I told him I was showing restraint since she was so new, but that I'd work with her on it. She is also going to require bike shorts under all dresses and skirts, which I have with me, because she doesn't have a lady-like bone in her body and sits with her legs open and her skirts riding up.

It's so hard to see her true personality at this early date, but there are glimpses of a delightful young lady here and there. Younger children are more simple than teens so Sissy has many more layers to work through. She does seem selfish and spoiled still and may even have a mean streak that came out toward Jie Jie that was unwarrented. I've explained to her that she must not take out her sadness on her family members and I explained to Jie Jie that Sissy is feeling very sad and scared right now. At dinner last night, Sissy finished, but Jie Jie and I had not. She flopped around on her chair, started playing with her utensils and then started making rude and disruptive noises. She did stop with admonishment, but I had to ask twice.

I'm giving it to you readers completely raw, so take it for what it is. It might sound terrible, but it's par for the course and, again, underneath all this is a delightful, highly sensitive, beautiful young lady, who, right now, is in shock. She wanted to be adopted so badly, but had no idea of the reality of it. She expected Teacher Yang to be readily accessible by telephone and each time the phone has rang, she thinks it's her teacher. She thought we'd visit the SWI again tomorrow even though we all told her it will be about two years before we come back (on my next adoption trip). It's glaringly obvious that she did not have any idea how badly she'd miss her friends and caretakers and way of life. This trip is going to be hard on her because she doesn't seen to have patience or endurance for anything she doesn't understand. After the Consulate Appointment, we are sitting down with my guide and going over the details of travel and what she can expect and how she much behave. I think I will allow him to add some white lies about authorities punishing little girls who don't behave on airplanes because I truly don't think she has it in her to behave on the plane and she is capable of causing quite a raucous. However, I could be wrong since this is the little girl who emailed me to tell me who to telephone at her SWI to arrange her adoption day meeting. That's the girl I know she is inside, not this frightened two-year-old that I'd love to pop into Jie Jie's stroller just to get her moving.

Jie Jie has been amazing through all of this! I knew I could count on her and she's surpassed even my own expectations. She was perfect in the car on the way to and from the SWI, which was 2 hours each way. She behaved at the SWI even though it was swelteringly hot. She makes friends wherever she goes, and had fun playing with a 7 year old girl there. I did get pictures/video of the three children I'd hoped to see and even held the baby that one family is soon coming for. She is an excellent example for her big sister to follow. I am going to try the tactic today of ignoring bad behavior, rather than correcting it, and praising good behavior, and see if Sissy can work with that. I tried it last night when she refused to follow us up a staircase to the next level, just to look around, and Sissy did follow us right up. It was much nicer than me trying to prod her. I don't want her to learn that she gets attention for negative behavior, but it's a fine line because her needs are so great right now and it might be the only way she was convery those needs. I'll try it today and see how it goes.

Please pray for Sissy. This might be par for the course for a teen, but it seems very rough for her. I feel like I'm doing very well, so don't worry about me. Ignore the contrast between my two girls because it's unfair to compare them, especially during these early days. I do know, and it's glaringly obvious on this entire journey, that Jie Jie is exceptionally well-behaved naturally, not just trying to please mama for love or some other SWI-related issue. She sees what has to be done and does it, or at least tries to help, and takes pride in her accomplishments. It's because of this that I knew travelling along with her would be possible and easy. She is finished with her medication and we are celebrating because it really makes her gag. It's pretty awful stuff.

I love watching my two girls together and I'm looking forward to the time when they know each other well and love each other as sisters. One of the beauties of having done this before is that I know this beginning stuff is just that, beginning stuff, and six months from now, I'll know my daughter and be able to be a better mother to her, tailoring myself to her needs and personality, knowing what she best responds to and how to make her happy. I remember going through that the first time and marvelling at it.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Praying for you, my friend, as you get through these first few days and weeks. Tell Michael "Hi" from us and let him help with Sissy. He is great at conveying things to the older kids and they really seem to respect him for it. Can't wait to see you again and meet Sissy, too.

Carrie said...

Praying for your every need. I am enjoying your adoption trip!

Princess D said...

Prayers for all of you.
So glad Jie Jie is all done with her meds now and that she is doing well :)
I too can't wait to see you blogging about your daughters, the sisters, six months down the road :)
Be well!