The past few days have been FULL!  Tuesday we returned to the same place that we picked Kate up to finalize our adoption and pledge to never abandon or abuse her. This visit was the one that meant she is ours forever, so we all celebrated a very special day. 
Wednesday we had to go to the Chinese police station and apply for Kate’s passport. I think every adoptive family in China was there because it was packed.  The police station is actually more of a very nice government building…not what I was picturing at all…and no drug sniffing dogs milling about :).  After an hour of waiting, the actual process only took about 2 minutes.  We also took Kate to the pool on Wednesday.  She had been really afraid of water, not wanting a bath or a shower at all.  Not sure what the bathing process at the orphanage was, but it evidently wasn’t pleasant.  We finally got her used to the water at the pool enough to sit on the first step.  By the end of our pool visit, she was letting me pull her through the water and then she ended up loving her Wednesday night bath!
Thursday was sightseeing day and our guide, Miko, said that we were going to visit a traditional Chinese building.  Since she is only guiding us and one other family, we highjacked the trip and asked to go shopping instead.  Guanghzou has this really amazing shopping area called Beijing Road.  I have never seen anything like it. A road packed full of shops with anything and everything you can imagine, plus 4-5 10+ story shopping malls.  You couldn’t go through all the stores in a week of shopping. Kate loves to shop and was quiet and amazed through the whole process. We bought her Chinese dresses and also got gifts for a bunch of people.  Sunday will be another shopping trip and I’m excited.  This girl and her daughter love to shop.
And then yesterday, we visited Kate’s orphanage. I wasn’t going to go, but God had other plans.  One of our guides visited our table and breakfast and mentioned that the driver would also go to the site where Kate was abandoned.  That place is close to my heart and I knew I couldn’t miss it.  So at 7am, David, Kate, and I piled in a van and headed for Quijiang in Shaoguan City.  On the way, I had moments of panic as I realized that we had entrusted our lives to this driver we had never met.  We knew nothing of where we were going so he could have easily kidnapped us and sold us into slavery…lol.  I have a very active imagination.  We drove 3 hours through the most gorgeous terrain I have every seen. Lush, green mountains and valleys dotted the landscape.  Our pictures won’t do this part justice because they were through the van window at 60 mph and it was raining.
We finally got off on Kate’s exit and my heart dropped as I saw the poverty that surrounded us. The building were crumbling, the streets were dirty, but the people…the people were gorgeous…and everywhere.  We entered the city area and drove to the orphanage which looks almost like a storefront in the city. 4 people met us as we exited the van and began talking to Kate excitedly and asking her questions.  She was very reserved, but she would answer the questions quickly and they would laugh!  We have no idea what they were talking about, but it was the cutest thing ever.  You could tell that she was very loved. We went inside where we were greeted with hot tea and Kate was given packages of cookies…which she was super excited about. They all talked and laughed with David and I just looking on with idiotic smiles on our faces…lol.  We loved it, but we sure wish we understood.  Thankfully our guide, Miko, was with us and could carry on conversation for us.
Finally they led us through the courtyard and up to the children’s room where Kate had spent her 2 and a half years.  There were about 20 children in the room…some were laying in their beds, but about 5 of them were in chairs waiting to greet Kate.  There seemed to be several nannies caring for the children.  What caught my heart was infants, about 4 of them, laying in their cribs, quiet as could be but wide awake and looking around.  I had to touch them.  I silently prayed over the babies and then went on to several boys who were obviously mentally handicapped.  I could only touch them and pray that Jesus would comfort and care as only He can.  As we left my heart and mind were heavy with the plight of babies without mommys and daddys.  One little boy, about 4, had just been abandoned the day before.  I just want to know why?  What happened?  What contributed?  How can we fix it?
We ate at KFC with the orphanage office people and they would not let us pay.  Evidently in China it is custom to treat your guests, so we let them.  David couldn’t even buy his own ice cream without the office manager getting upset…lol.  Then we were off to Wushi town where Kate was probably born.  It was raining by then and the street we were traveling was horribly bumpy and muddy. It took about 45 minutes to reach the spot and the town looked more poor than the orphanage location.  We pulled up to a government building and Miko told us we could not cross the street and take pics directly in front of it because the officials might come out and get on to us. So we took many picture from across the street.  I need to keep this part to myself for a while as I am still trying to mull it all over and make sense of it.
On the way home, my thoughts were full of questions.  While in Wushi town my heart just wanted to meet Kate’s parents…to see them…to know why? what made them give her up? what was their situation? Could we help?  I used to think in black and white about this place that gives up so many of their children, but now their are grays.  Poverty abounds. The heavy toll exacted by the government is impossible for many.  Without a healthy body and a disciplined mind, they will not survive.  Without a strong, healthy boy to work hard and care for them in their old age, they will be left on their own without a prayer.  This abandonement is often their only hope of survival in their minds.  Ultimately it all comes back to one thing.  People need Jesus. They need someone bigger than themselves who can work all things together for good.  They need someone who sees the future and is more than able to take care of them.  To be able to trust enough to keep a child that does not fit in the box, they need to be able to trust a huge Saviour.  Jesus is once again, and always the answer…to every question.
Until China finds Jesus…until this world finds Jesus…there will be brokenness, there will be abandonment…there will be suffering. Praise God for redemption!  Praise God for adoption!