Today was our day to travel to Jiaozuo to complete our passport application for Callie Beth and get her passport picture made. It was also the day we were blessed to visit the orphanage where she has spent the last three years of her life.
Jiaozuo is about and hour and a half from Zhengzhou where we are staying, so our guide, Rita hired a driver and we traveled by van to the city. Our first stop was at the orphanage. I wanted to visit there because I wanted to meet all the nurses and nannies in the Show Hope Center where Callie Beth lived to thank them for giving her so much love and such good care. At the same time, I was VERY concerned about the emotional effect it would have on Callie Beth to go back there.
When we went in, everyone was waiting to see her. She had her arms wrapped tightly around me, with her head on my shoulder. It was obvious she was very aware of where she was. Her nanny, whom she had called, "Mama" kept trying to get her to come to her. I really didn't want her to take her from me, because I was afraid it would upset Callie Beth, and start the trauma of the transition to us all over again. Even though Callie Beth never reached out for her, she finally reached out to take Callie Beth from me, and I couldn't refuse her. This was Callie Beth's primary caretaker during her time in the orphanage, and I could only imagine the sadness she must feel knowing she would never see Callie Beth again. It WAS traumatic for Callie Beth. When I reached to take her back, she was stiff, just like she was when she was brought to us on GOTCHA DAY, and she cried. However, it only took a few seconds for her to wrap her arms back around me and melt in my arms again.
The Show Hope Center was SO nice, and all the people were wonderful!!! It was quite heart wrenching to see the many special needs children there, some with pretty severe problems. It was obvious, though, that they are receiving the best of love and care. I spied a little cutie that I think would make a PERFECT little sister for Molly Kate and Callie Beth, but Roger said, "NO!!!!" Actually, I think he thought she was pretty cute, too!!!! (For those of you reading this, PLEASE don't mention to my mother what I said in the last two sentences. She would have a HEART ATTACK!!!!)
It was hard saying goodbye to everyone, but I really was ready to leave. I got the email address of the orphanage so I can share LOTS of pictures of Callie Beth in the future. I also found out today that there was a period of time from April 2010 until December 2010 that Callie Beth actually lived in the orphanage, rather than in the Show Hope Center. She was returned to the Show Hope Center in December 2010, and had lived there since.
After we left the orphanage, we went to finish the paperwork needed for Callie Beth's passport. Other than having to lug her up three flights of steps, everything went fine there, and then we preceded to go to get her passport photo made. This was quite a challenge. Talking about STRICT regulations about passport photos....her eyebrows had to show, which meant we had to find something to pin her bangs back. Her ears had to show and her hair had to be off of her neck. The BIGGEST challenge.....she had to LOOK at the camera!!!!! I was in the booth with her, at first standing off to the side and trying to sit her on my knee to get the picture. That didn't work, so then we tried standing her on the chair. She got tired and started fussing, so we had to step aside to let others go ahead of us. Several minutes later we tried again. I don't know how long it actually took to FINALLY get THE picture, but I really thought we might end up being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the LONGEST known attempt at getting a passport photo!!!
Our last stop before heading back to Zhengzhou was at the hospital where Callie Beth received her surgery for the biliary atresia she was born with. (This condition, along with a congenital vision problem is what gave her the label of being a special focus child.). I asked Rita, our guide, why Callie Beth was allowed to have surgery, when so many critically ill children who are abandoned never receive surgery and die. Had Callie Beth not had surgery for the biliary atresia, she most definitely would not have survived much longer. She said that which babies get surgery and which don't depends on the weight and size they are at the time they need surgery. If their weight is good, then surgery will be attempted. I'm not surprised that even though she was really sick, our sweet chunky monkey was healthy enough for the surgery, and that may be one of the factors that contributed to it being successful. We were not allowed to go into the hospital where she received the surgery. In fact, I had to take a picture very quickly and get back in the van. It is an army hospital, and photographs are not allowed to be taken inside or out.
We were not able to visit the place where Callie Beth was abandoned. It was an hour out of the city in a place called Wen County, and the roads going there are bad. Since she was left in the women's restroom in the pediatric section of a hospital, we probably wouldn't have been allowed to go inside anyway. When Rita said the roads were really bad going there, I asked if it was a poor area. She said it wasn't. In fact, she said that Taigui (I think I'm butchering the spelling) Martial Arts originated there, and that it was a nice area.
SO, today was a chapter in Callie Beth's life that we closed. As we were traveling back to Zhengzhou, she fell asleep in my arms, and as I looked down at that beautiful face, I thanked God for choosing us to be her parents. I know she is so confused being with strangers who don't speak her language. She sometimes doesn't know how to communicate with us, other than grunting loudly, and occasionally having little emotional flares. But you know, I truly believe she already feels our love and with each passing hour feels more comfortable with us. I think she knows, too, that she has a little sister who is crazy about her---and there is nothing cuter than the two of them together!!!!
Thanks to all of you----family and friends---- who continue to pray for us on this journey.....