My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CHINA-May 24-ChiFeng-Finding Spots of Children/ChiFeng History Museum/ Travel to Hohhot

Someone was a little worn out from the day before...
(these "jammies" came from the "spa" he and daddy went to.  They insisted both Peter and he wear these into the pool and then keep them.  It was really weird-but they are nice jammies)
The breakfast buffet in ChiFeng was amazing.  A bubbling cauldren of Milk Tea was displayed beautifully with all the add ins beside it.  I neglected to take a picture of it unfortunately, but will never forget it's unique display.

We headed off to the orphanage for day 2 with the kids and staff to find out there was a photographer there for a local newspaper.  He ended up staying with us for the entire day.  Our primary goals for this day were to continue to be with the kids--near them in their environment--and also to go to all 3 "finding spots" for the kids.

Here we were asked to pose for the photographer.
Our first real photo of our 
Family of SIX

Then they took us into the classroom where they plopped a globe in front of Peter without saying anything and we figured out they wanted to take pictures of us pointing out where China is and where  America they could take pictures.  Photo

Another Family Photo...

and Isaac being a goofball for me...
(and the photographer saw it and took some pictures off to the side too--I wonder what he was

As we left the orphanage we were a bit confused as to why the kids had their backpacks with them.  We asked if this meant they were leaving for good and nobody gave us clear answers.  But, as we drove off, both kids got tears in their eyes.  They didn't sob heavily, but both were weepy.  We didn't realize until later that indeed that was it.  They would never return to the orphanage.  Big brother Isaac was quick to put his arm around Emma and give her love and comfort.  She really likes him a lot.
Our first stop was here.
Not much to look at.
A gas station.
We stood across the street from it.
And were told this is where our sweet boy Lucas was "found"-11 years ago.
It was an emotional moment filled with sadness, confusion, anger, some rage, name it.  It wasn't too pretty for our sweet boy.  We don't have a precise spot, but somewhere in this vicinity "south of this petrol station". Near this gas station...a baby was found just a few days old.

A lot of "why" questions.  Confusion..."who would do something like that?"
unanswered pieces to a huge puzzle. 
But, a necessary part of the journey.

Our next stop was a hospital.
Well, it was actually a gravel parking lot near where a hospital used to be.
Here a sweet baby girl was found, on a bench inside the former hospital just tiny and alone with some pretty significant special needs.

We could only imagine the scene 11 years ago.
But here she is today.
The emotions didn't run as high for her because to be honest I don't think she really knows her own story yet. In time it will come.

Building "1" is where she had her first and only surgery as a baby.

Next stop.
A Brickyard. A place where bricks were fired and made.
Now abandoned but we believe 12 years ago it was a place of much activity.
Today, this seems like the most remote place to leave a small child.  Perhaps about 3 months old.  But, information is a little less clear.
He also didn't seem to fully understand why we were there. But, now we at least have the photos to show him when the topic comes up.

Back in the van, suckers were a source of smiles and connection.

Next we tried to absorb just a small piece of the ancient history of ChiFeng- 
Or "Red Mountain" city.
The edges of the city are surrounded by mountains and one side in particular has a vast range that has a redish color to it.

We were escorted to the local museum where we were able to see a small piece of their ancient culture. 

This Jade Dragon is a symbol of the area and is found in everything from statues to jewelry. 
 It was found in this area and used for ancient worship.

fortuately we had an English speaking guide...=) 

I think we wore everyone out...It had been a very busy, emotional, couple of days.
(and as a side note it was HOT outside.  I think we were in the 90's most of the time we were there)

Once again we were treated by the orphanage to another meal.  If this looks like a lot of food, you are right.  This region is known for a variety of meats, but in particular mutton.  So we've been served it a lot over the past several days.
Here are some close ups for all you foodies out there.

This was sweet potatoes, sliced like a thick french fry, deep fried and coated in honey.  Peter REALLY wants me to learn how to make this...

This was rather bizzare, but tasted really good.  It was a hard frozen "dessert".  But, didn't really taste like milk, more like sour cream.  A little sweet, but not much.  And topped with millet.
 I think this was a shredded meat, perhaps Lamb?

After this we went back and packed up the van and headed to the airport.  We found out the kids were flying on the same flight as us to the next destination--Hohhhot- the capital of Inner Mongolia.  We found it amazing that this city of 4 million people had an airport with 2 gates.  So tiny.  No wonder nobody was really concerned about the fact that we arrived 45 minutes before the plane took off.

The next day, Monday, would be our Gotcha Day.  We all got into a van and headed to our hotels. This was the first that Peter and I noticed the kids laughing and giggling like little monkey's in the back seat of the van.  Connections were coming.  And they were beginning to open up more and more.

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