There are things worse than jet lag. Being tied to a firm travel schedule and vomiting all day trumps jet lag by far.
Today was the orphanage visit. I started getting sick at 5 am, and I almost decided not to go to the orphanage. Zhou told me that I should see a doctor there, so I went and toured along with the rest of our group. Without going into any more detail re: my stomach bug, I will say that I probably graced every bathroom at the facility and leave it at that.
As soon as we walked into the orphanage, I began tearing up. The thought of my baby, my beautiful baby, having to be left shortly after birth for reasons unknown, hit me as hard as the thought of leaving one of our bio kids.
Zhou took us to the reception room where we met Miss Tang, the orphanage director.
She is a wonderful woman who obviously cares very deeply for the children.
We went to a baby room first. They have humidifiers running, so it is very warm and humid where the babies sleep and play.
We met Caleb’s main caregiver. When she saw us coming she immediately rushed to us. I’ve always been weird about passing my babies off, even to immediate relatives, so when she came for Caleb, my mama bear instinct kicked in, and I nervously looked at Kevin. He handed Caleb to her and assured me that it was totally fine. It must be so hard for the nannies to love the kids for so long and then watch them leave. It foolishly broke my heart a little to see how excited he was to see them, but it’s a silly notion. I’ve been in his life for a few days. Sure we’re a lot of fun, and we have a seemingly endless supply of puffs, but we’re chopped liver compared to the women who loved him for the his first year.
There must have been 6 or 7 nannies that flocked to Caleb. He was clearly loved. They each held him and played peek a boo and sang to him. I think he is used to a lot of attention!
We saw his crib. His name plate had already been removed to make room for another baby.
Next we saw the older kids who sang us a song. They were excited to see us all, and they wanted to take pictures with us. I won’t lie. I cried a lot in this room and felt pangs of guilt for not bringing some of them home.
I want them all. I didn’t grow up envisioning myself as the mom of a big family. Now one of my favorite things in the world is sitting on the couch with a pile of kids around me. Our couch is big, but I pray that if it is God’s will, the couch will be crowded, overflowing with arms and legs and love.
We left Xuzhou that afternoon by bullet train back to Nanjing. Since we were only gone one night, and we were returning to the same hotel, Zhou told us just to take an overnight bag and that the hotel would check the rest of our bags in a secure location. We all had a good laugh when we returned to see our luggage standing in a corner with a net thrown over it. It was blocked off by two posts and a velvet rope like at a movie theater. Perhaps they had just moved it out for our convenience, but we all thought it was hilarious anyway.
Kevin went and picked up McDonald’s for the fourth time. You think that you won’t get tired of Chinese food, but you do very quickly. And then you just want something that feels like home. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I ate a McDonald’s hamburger in the US. We facetimed the kids for a few minutes and we all went to bed early.
As much as I miss the kids, I don’t regret our decision for them to stay home. This is a hard trip. As I told Annalise, “This isn’t Jamaica.” This isn’t a swim with the dolphins trip. So far, we have stayed in three cities in three different hotels, living out of unpacked suitcases, doing our laundry in the bathtub, and pointing at menu items in restaurants. I’m really looking forward to home.
On day eight, we will fly to Guangzhou, where we will spend the rest of our trip.