Saturday, April 3, 2010

Visiting Yangjiang Social Welfare Institute

Lily with Mrs. Wu

The girl on the right is the one being adopted by the famiy in the states. The girl next to her was found and brought to the orphanage just a few weeks ago.

Lily on the playground at the orphanage

the family with Mrs. Wu and the orphanage director

the view one direction down the road from the orphanage

the view the other way

The spot where they found Lily on the day she was born. It used to be the gate to the orphanage.

the girls with their new Barbie's.

Today was Lily's turn to see her city and her orphanage. First, let me say that it truly was a good day and I am gratefull for them allowing us to visit. Oh, by the way, Guangdong Province has a new policy and to visit an orphanage you have to pay 800RMB (app. $130 USD).

Yangjiang City has a population of about 2 million...according to our guide. Yangjiang City is known at the "cutting capital" as many cutting tools are made in Yangjiang. It also is close to the ocean so their is some tourist pull to the east. When we drove down the alley I was surprised that the gate to the orphanage was no longer there and major construction was beginning to happen. Lily was found at the gate of the orphanage. Just beyond the gate was a rather lengthy drive/walkway to the main building of the SWI. Currently, there is only enough width for two cars in front of the building. We were told they are building a new facility for special needs children. Like most Social Welfare Institutes in China, Yangjiang houses orphaned children, special needs children, children/adults with developmental disabilities and the elderly.

There was not much of a celebration or fanfare with our visit. There were no gifts given to Lily, but they were kind. We first met Mrs. Wu, the Assistant Director...maybe. It was at that time that I spotted the little girl that will be adopted by a family that contacted me to try to get some pictures. I don't want to share much without mom's approval, but I will have to say it was a special moment for me to give her a small gift from her family, a picture of them where I pointed out who was mommy and daddy and to take a few pictures of her. I threw in some dum dum suckers and later was thrilled to see her willingly sharing with the other children and the two adults with developmental disabilities. I sent the mom some photos so I know they will be a blessing to her and her family. Actually, the blessing was mine!

I also was asked to look into how a little girl, age 2 1/2 was doing. They were not going to allow us into the baby room, but decided to let me in. Tom followed. All of the babies were sleeping and I got a few pics of the little girl. She is certainly a cutie! Someone I know is advocating for her and would like to find an adoptive family. Lisa, feel free to post in comments on where to go for that information. I'll leave it up to Lisa if she wants to share her special need. I got a quick count of babies on my way out...about 34. When I walked out of that room I had the same emotions when I walked out in 2004. These babies were probably between nine months and maybe 3 years old. I'm not sure why they are still. I'm not sure if they are in the process of being adopted or not. I was really sad leaving that room....really sad. But like I did in '04, I held it in until I got off the property.

We then went and sat in the large meeting room with the Director and Assistant Director. I wanted to meet with them and yet I just wanted to get out of there! We had a nice conversation about some of the families I know through the yahoo group. We also told them that our travel group gets together every year and nine of those children are from Yangjiang. Two families from our group gave money to get something for the orphanage. We were encouraged to not get anything to large, so we simply purchased a lot of fresh fruit, fruit candies and an assorment of other snack foods. We gave those to the Director prior to taking a photo with them.

We then made our way to Lily's finding location.....where the gate would have been about a month ago! I took a few photos down the alley each way. We jumped in the van and headed to KFC for lunch. We were quite the attraction there! After lunch we headed to a local store to purchase an assorment of cutting tools made in the city; two sets of kitchen knives for the girls, a few daggers, pocket knives, nail clippers. I also bought a tea pot for my sister Karen...for her 50th birthday...a little late!

We then returned to Shamian Island where we had dinner at Lucy's. Lucy's is one of the few places still open on the island. There are only a handful of shops open right now, which is strange. We then returned to our hotel where we found three Barbie "Going Home" dolls in our rooms! I'm not sure if it was a mistake or not, but everyone was pretty psyched. These Barbie's are unique to the White Swan. It's your typical blonde, skinny Barbie holding an Asian baby. Each of the girls have one from their adoption trips. Now we have three more. We are going to donate one to raise money for Tim and Tara Williams as they are raising funds for the adoption of their third child. We were in the same travel group when we adopted Lily. I'm not sure how I will sell it...either give it directly to them or put it on ebay. I know, in better economic times, they sold on ebay for $200.00. Anyone want to offer that price now? It's yours if you do!

So, today was a good day. Sad in some ways, but still very good! We are so grateful that God put Lily in our family! She's been a blessing to many...and I'd like to think that the emotions I had that day in the Yangjiang SWI in 2004 is what challenged me to join with others in our church to start and adoption/orphan care ministry. I'm thrilled to be part of a church that recognized the importance of caring for orphaned children across the street and around the world. So, the Pahls' have started the paperwork to adopt from China. Who's next?

Tomorrow we take a break from things and will attend church on the island and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! We are so looking forward to that! No, the Easter Bunny did not travel to China with us, but the real meaning for Easter did! We celebrate Him tomorrow! Hope you celebrate Him, too! God bless.


  1. Reading your post and seeing the pictures of today brought back lots of emotions.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


  2. I loved that the sweet little girl so willingly shared her candy with the others....hoping the director was seen sharing the fruits and candy, too!!! :)

    Seems to be the same director, ahh, I remember him.... :(

  3. This has been so enjoyable "traveling" with you in China! I am very thankful that in 2004 we have pictures of the gate and also with Daddy in front of the gate...a little sad to see no gate now.
    Really glad you were allowed to visit YJ especially for Lily to see!
    Don't forget to get that red couch picture...this time minus a couple crying babies!
    Love, Sam

  4. We are enjoying every step of your journey! We will be heading back to China in the near future and appreciate all the details!! Your family is beautiful both inside and out. HE HAS RISEN! Happy Easter in China.

  5. Thank you so much for posting about your trip and especially these photos of Yangjiang. I've emailed you before (We live near Springfield.). My daughter Kieren is from the SWI next door to YJ. She is from the JiangCheng District SWI. We adopted Kieren in December 2005 (first group to adopt from JC). It's incredible to see the changes being made in Yangjiang and to be able to share them with Kieren! Have a safe journey!

    Sam @ Just Keep Swimming

  6. Hello!

    We returned to China with our daughter in January of this year. Meiduo was adopted from Yangjiang in 2007 at the age of 2yrs 10 months. We did not get to the orphanage the first time, so it was good to go, but I was glad to leave. Thanks for your blog; I don't seem to have time to blog and we just lost all our recent china photos (and are paying to get them recovered from hard drive as we speak!) so it is great to have your photos. We recognise some of the staff. We were not allowed to go into the buildings, and the director did not meet us. It was so quiet that day, and I guess the babies were asleep, but it is interested to see that you counted so many. It is a sad place. Our daughter is an amazing girl. We wish you and your family all the best, and if I get that blog up I will let you know,

    Josie Wilson in Perth, Western Australia