Sorry everyone, I was unable to blog for the last several days in china.
I've had a chance to reflect on what an incredible day we had at the foster care station. I loved meeting all of the children. It is over whelming to reach out and touch the hand of a child who is waiting for a forever family. All these children are cared for and most came with a caring foster parent, foster grandparent or foster aunt. Those who didn't, came directly from school in their school uniforms( so cute)with officials from the foster care station. They'll smiled, laughed and were ever so cute. The other thing that was great about this day was meeting children who are matched with families. These children are bright, articulate and just beautiful. To hear more about these children register for the Gladney asia waiting children's webnair on Dec 1st.
Once Gongzhan and I got on our flight, we flew 3 hours to Harbin. This is in very northeastern China. We arrived there around 10 pm. We were met by Rocky and Susan. Rocky would help facilitate travel/photography for the next several days, Susan is an official in the province with the CCCWA. We stayed in an older Russian inspired hotel that was very beautiful. The next morning we were met by Susan who took us to see a center for the treatment of cerebral palsy. There was some very good treatment going on. There was also a nice mix of Easter and western treatment going on. I was impressed and would have liked to have more time there.
After this, we took the van for a trip to Jiamusi social welfare institute which is about 3 and a half hours outside of Harbin - very close to the Russian border. It is a large orphanage that is clean, newly refurbished and the children I saw were very well cared for. They have many new rehabilitation rooms and are beginning to build a rehab program. I was able to greet many children and work briefly with some really cute boys.
Following our time in the orphanage we had a meeting with the officials, orphanage director, and staff. This group was so welcoming we really felt connected to them. We left the orphanage in Jiamusi and checked into a beautiful hotel where we were treated to a banquet by a provincial official. What a beautiful welcome - the food was great!
The next morning I was off to the airport for a flight to Beijing. I was a little nervous about the Jiamusi airport thinking it was so small. I was convinced it would be a 6 passenger propeller plane. If everyone does not know, I am afraid of flying and it's a miracle I fly to china. The plane ended up being a jet and I got to Beijing fine. Checked into a familiar hotel and spent the afternoon shopping. Off to bed by 8 then to the airport the next morning at 5:00 am.
Also, it is national adoption month. Support, think of and pay tribute to everyone in this process. Birth mothers, foster families, adoption case workers, orphanage caregivers and all the children waiting for forever families. They are in my heart today and always.
I forgot to update you all on Edna. Edna Gladney traveled to Harbin and rode in the van with us to Jiamusi. You can see her picture at the airports in pudong with gongzhan and Jiamusi with me. It was edna's choice to stay in china. She skipped the return journey home with me. More children to see, more orphanages to visit. Truly living out her reputation. You go Edna!