It feels so quick sometimes – it seems like the winter children just arrived, and I was hearing news of first hugs, first taste of a hamburger, and of course, as kids do, a few temper tantrums. We worried constantly, “How are the children doing? What if someone falls down and breaks something? What if a family misses their flight to the airport”? For us, the journey is removed from the daily tasks and struggles that our host families courageously take on, but it’s deeply personal. I’ve met each one of these faces on the interview trip, and their future weighs on my mind when they return home. But the work for orphans never ends, and now, I’m pushing on into China to meet the group of children who will hope and wait for the next few months to meet a host family, maybe a forever family. The team in Texas is working daily to help the children of the winter program find their family, so it’s my privilege now to move forward to meet, fall in love with, and find a family for the children who still wait.
It was a 5 am start this morning, and Shanghai was wet and drizzling. We took a ferry last night into the city, and the lights were all around. It’s a decidedly beautiful city, but I’m more excited about the mountains here in Dabu, a “small” rural town that doesn’t see many foreigners. You may want to rethink your idea of rural, though, because in China it means a town of only…500,000 people! The sheer size of China always catches my breath – you never get used to the number of people pressing up against you, and when you get back to the States, you sometimes forget yourself and stand too close to someone in a line. I’ve also discovered that the new latest craze in China is to pop on some latex gloves and chow down on chicken. Fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken wings – doesn’t matter. One lady on the train pulled out her gloves and chicken from her purse and just started eating. It’s probably no different than some of the things we do in the US, but it was still novel for me.
Tomorrow, our trio will head out to start the first rounds of interviews. Our guide, Veronica, has been amazingly helpful throughout the process of finding children and guiding us through the maze of people and cultural differences. I’m also happy that Celese is back – she’s been willing and able to serve as our interview trip doctor for the past two programs, and she’s done an amazing job. Her knowledge not only of the children’s needs but of life in China and the adoption community is vital to helping us get good information for each and every child. I’m excited but reserved; it’s difficult to come back time after time to fall in love with each and every child, knowing that I can’t help each one. But I’m ready – it’s a hard road worth taking, and tomorrow I’ll wake up and begin the work to help these children on what has been, for them, a long journey to home.
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