Family bonding + the orphanage

Life here in Zhengzhou feels like we are in a little Hoang family bubble with a bunch of other families going through the same motions as us. :) We’d like to say it has been easy but it’s been a little tough. Yesterday after completing our rounds of paperwork to complete and finalize the adoption, we went to Ruthie’s hometown and her orphanage. Since being with us, Ruthie has clung to her daddy with all her might. She calls for him when he is in the bathroom or when he steps out of the room for any reason. She won’t let me hold her or do anything for her just yet. We realized that she has a strong connection to her foster mom so maybe she just wasn’t ready yet.. It still it made us both sad but even more sad for Ruthie for all that she’s been through in this short time. There have been many tears of joy and sadness these past few days. We remember Psalm 121 where the Lord tells us that He alone is where our help comes from.. And how the love of Jesus looks so different than the world.. And to love one who doesn’t love us, is what Jesus calls us to and does for us daily. The love of God overflows and helps us when we have no strength, no strategy. Love isn’t always easy but it’s always God. We are so thankful that God chose us to be parents to this beautiful one.

When we got to the orphanage, about two hours away from Zhengzhou in Luoyang city, we learned that Ruthie had been sent to the orphanage by her foster mom just one week before Gotcha day. When her foster mom dropped her off, she was crying uncontrollably and Ruthie told her not to cry and was very strong for her foster mom. Ruthie told her that she would be okay and willingly followed the caretaker into the orphanage. We learned that Ruthie is one always looking out for others and one who is so caring and concerned for their well being. (Tear!)

When we drove up to the orphanage building, it set off emotions in Ruthie and she started to cry out for her mama. She remembered the day she was dropped off and she thought she was going to be left there again. It was so heartbreaking to see.. But Lam was able to calm her as he held her and stroked her hair. Ruthie even followed Lam into the bathroom because she was so scared he would leave her!

I’ve learned recently through the community of adoptive mamas, that all this is quite normal and that a lot of times children just need time.. Time to trust, learn, and love. For Ruthie, she was a blessed one, to have had the love of a mother for many years of her life! We just pray for this transition (it’s been so much in just these past two weeks!), that Ruthie will begin to understand both of our love for her and that this love would heal up anything in her heart that needs mending.

When we were leaving in the elevator, the door opened on one floor and a bunch of Ruthie’s friends stood there greeting her in her Chinese name, oh my goodness it was the cutest thing ever!

The Luoyang City orphanage has many floors and is huge. Over 500 children are housed there and as we walked by the rooms, we saw babies lying on the floor, maybe 8-10 Babies and one or two caretakers in the rooms. Most of the babies just laid there, some were crawling about. We saw babies put in little wagons being taken to another floor on the elevator and it wrecked us to see. In America, we see babies in strollers but here we saw about 5 babies laying down in a wagon to get from one area to the next. :(Across from the orphanage is a beautiful building with blue skies and clouds painted on it. We were told that this was a baby NICU for severe issues, where many babies pass away. I’m tearing even as I write this. We wish we could do more, we wish everyone could have seen what we saw.. We pray for the caretakers and the children. We are so saddened by the orphan crisis here in China. It’s not that everyone want to throw away their kids with disabilities, more often it’s that they do not have money to pay for the health expenses and know they’ll be better cared for in orphanages where the children would have the chance of being adopted. Please join us in praying. ❤️

Here are some photos from yesterday ❤️

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Gotcha day!

Yesterday changed our lives forevermore! Gotcha day was not only life changing for us, but for over 35 families! They said it was the most families adopting on one day due to a Chinese holiday coming up that restricted the giving of visas and such.

We met at the Adoption Center (I’m sure there’s a more correct name for this building lol) and watched as many babies, toddlers and older kids met their forever families for the first time. There were lots of tears.. From the new parents, caregivers, and the children. But what sweet moments to be a part of!

We waited about 2.5 hours for our little girl. Many families had come and gone and we were literally one of the first ones there and the last to leave. But then we heard that the bus from Luoyang City had arrived and we saw the cute little round eyes donned with a pink outfit walking up the stairs.. She was eating some bread and wouldn’t make eye contact with us. But when we took a photo together, she looked straight in my eyes and said, “mama!”. The caretaker said that she had been given photos of us from our first care package last year and were well aware that we are her parents!

Coming back to the hotel with Ruthie and our first moments bonding with her were so fun. She is a feisty little girl with lots of energy and so independent! Her reports said she is an introvert but she is definitely not. When we gave her a bath, she wanted to wash and brush her own hair. She refuses to wear bows and has a strong opinion on what she wants. We noticed that she doesn’t hug or kiss and will isolate herself on purpose at times. We know that there isn’t anything that God’s love can’t heal so are praying for our daughter, that God would heal her of any heart wounds from up to this point in her life. What surprised us the most is that she has a strong attachment to Lam (but it’s the sweetest thing ever) but hasn’t warmed up to me quite yet. We are sure it takes time to trust and love complete strangers! :) Can I just tell you, there is nothing more heart warming than to hear her laugh, to see her holding hands with Lam while sleeping (and them snoring next to each other). Ahh, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and our sleep schedule is out of whack! So much to share but we’ll end here for now.

Today we visit her orphanage in Luoyang City about 2 hours away and then more family time! Love you all and thank you for your prayers!

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Sad truths + just the two of us

We spoke to a few people today who shared some things about family life and orphans in China. People here do not have siblings due to the one child policy. You know when you are getting to know someone for the first time, you usually ask about family and such. Here, they say, we’re all only children. So bizarre but true! For the future, when young adults marry, they will be able to have two children but no more than that. The government does this in order to control the population of the country. So crazy. The horrors of this policy result in such sad and heinous acts, they cannot be described here.

About orphans.. Almost all orphans in China have special needs or are girls. There is no reason that a healthy boy would ever be abandoned, since boys are held in high esteem in order to continue on the family name. Especially due to the population control policy, boys are highly favored over girls. It is rare that a Chinese native adopts a Chinese orphan because it is very costly for them to do so.. because the selling of children is common and would be even more common if made available to the Chinese. Life here for the Chinese is not easy. Let’s continue to lift this nation up in prayer!

image (3)Some sights/reflections from today.. we saw a little toddler boy peeing in the street and our guide tells us, “It is common, this is China”. LOL. Everyone here thinks we are Chinese.. it seems we are the only Asian American family adopting ~ many are from the US or UK, but none are Asian, interesting! Social media is blocked like crazy here! It’s rainy and a bit chilly in Zhengzhou so we stayed indoors after running errands early this morning. We had a day of rest today.. church via podcast, prayer, journaling, cleaning, resting, eating.. and we realized that today is the last day it’ll be just the two of us! We’ve packed up Ruthie’s tiny bag with a rain jacket and some toys. Our guide says she may cry, as most kids do when first meeting their parents, but it might not be as shocking for Ruthie since we are asian and might look Chinese to her. Feeling nervous, excited, at peace, full of joy.. and did I mention nervous? Ahhhh! Tomorrow, we’ll be a family of three!