Just a quick disclaimer before you read much further: I’m not the blogging type, but my wife, who is way more eloquent (and pretty!) than I, and who has also written all of the preceding entries, has asked me to write a blurb about my recent trip to China. That said, here goes!
I had the opportunity to return to China in April to network on behalf of Project Hopeful, a wonderful Chicago-based nonprofit organization which educates, encourages and enables people to advocate for and adopt orphans with HIV/AIDS. The trip was brief, but required a good deal of travel within the country. After visiting a few days in Beijing and then taking an overnight train to Xi’an, my two friends and I flew to Wuhan where we met a facilitator from Lifeline Adoption who then escorted us to the Wuhan Children’s Welfare Center to meet Wu Bi Qi. Don’t ask me how this was arranged; Lifeline somehow pulled it off!
After traveling about 40 minutes and crossing the Yangtze River and the Yellow Crane Tower, we turned off of the main thoroughfare and weaved through the narrow streets of Wuhan. Eventually we pulled up to a gated compound with a sloping driveway which led to a rather substantial white tiled building.
She remained wary of us until one of my friends had the idea of playing peek-a-boo with her. She smiled and laughed and ran to Grant with open arms…so I decided to try that trick too and was rewarded with the same result. I like to kid that she only came to me when I covered my face! She had been eating cookies when we arrived and she offered me a bite of one of them before pulling it away from my open mouth with a great deal of delight and laughter. We began a bit of a relationship there and she even allowed me to hold her for a bit.
We were then permitted to enter the orphanage to see her room. Jennifer allowed me to carry her into the building and down the hall to her nursery room which she shared with some 20 other children—all special needs infants. It was clear, however, that she was the favorite child of all of the nannies. They all gathered round her while she delighted in the attention and in showing them her photo album. I was thanked repeatedly for coming and for welcoming her into our family.
I was VERY pleased to see that Half the Sky Foundation was affiliated with Jenny’s orphanage. In my opinion, Half the Sky has implemented some of the most significant programs to benefit orphaned children anywhere in China. Half the Sky maintains that human contact is of the utmost importance in child development, and trains nannies to hold the babies, talk to them and “love on them” whenever possible. They have also implemented programs which focus on education, life skills development, and medical and rehabilitative care for special needs children. In short, the association of Half the Sky with Jenny’s orphanage was an answer to prayer for us.
The forty five minute visit seemed to pass very quickly and soon it was time for us to head to the train station, but only after goodbyes, smiles—and Hershey’s chocolate—were exchanged. The next time I see her she’ll be a Davidson—and maybe she’ll even recognize me as her daddy!