Friday, March 9, 2007
A Special Day
Our first day was a special day of mixed blessings: some keen disappointments, gentle Guilin pleasures, memorable moments and one extraordinary gift. We had a good (short!!!) night's sleep and a relaxed breakfast at the apartment, cooked for us by the housekeeper of the complex and then headed out to the SWI with our guide. We met the manager of the children's section who showed us around the outside of the SWI complex, which houses infants, toddlers and school age children. It has a large, cheerful, pleasant courtyard of greenery with a colorful playground. We had three requests for the SWI. The manager reiterated the policy that we would not be allowed to see An Lin, so our first request was denied. That was disappointing, although we had known to expect it. We were also denied our second request to see several children whose parents-to-be in the US are awaiting travel approvals from China. That was extremely frustrating because other recent adoptive parents had been able to gain access and we ourselves were the recipients of their recent photos of An Lin. These families are members of a very supportive internet list that has been very helpful and I had wanted to return the favor by emailing them their children's current photos. Not to be....... Sorry, Sharon, Jill, Pat!!!! Our third request to meet and talk with An Lin's nanny from Half the Sky was met with confusion and it appeared that, too, was not going to happen. A group of nannies gathered around us each telling of their five or six children now adopted abroad. They were so proud of these children. Then we saw Tang Meiyin running toward us. We recognized her from her pictures. We had the most precious moments with her as she told us about An Lin and Chris videotaped her with a message to An Lin to have a good life, a memory of her life in the SWI which she can have forever. We got the most valuable info from her about An Lin's likes and dislikes, how to comfort her. We learned that our new daughter is "very bossy"! Uh oh!! That makes two bossy daughters in our house! Unfortunately, because it was very chilly and misting, few children were outside, so we didn't get to see many at all, although Xing Xing played with those that were on the swings and slides. She is counting the days until her sister joins us. I am happy we all have some time together alone so we can fully experience Xing Xing's first visit back to her native country. It is very moving to see her taking it all in and to be surrounded by her birth culture and people who look like her. She has a crush on Diana, our guide. At home she has many Chinese born children as friends, but only a few adults of Chinese descent in her life. We visited An Lin's finding spot, the plaza of Guilin's north railway station and took many pictures for her for when she more fully learns her story. It was extremely moving to be there. As per our agreement, we spent the next couple of hours buying needed supplies for the orphanage, had a yummy lunch, then rested before dinner and a fabulously theatrical show of dances of the minority groups that inhabit Guangxi Autonomous Region. A very full day!