Our final orphanage visit was in the city of Xinxiang, in Henan province. We were warmly greeted at the entrance of the city by the orphanage director and her staff. Our van then followed them to the orphanage, where we were led up the stairs to meet some very beautiful children. One of the first little boys to greet us was a five year old boy who is blind. I had seen movies in the past where people who are blind run their hands over someone's face to feel what they look like, but I had never experienced it in person until now. This adorable and animated little boy slowly took his hands and traced every inch of my face before declaring me acceptable looking. :-) He then presented me with a huge kiss so I knew then that he knew how to work the ladies! As we kept kneeling down to talk to him, I was entranced with how he used his hands to learn all about the stranger who was speaking with him. He traced my rings, felt my watch, smoothed his hands along my purse straps. The orphanage director told us how smart he was and that was obvious to us all.
We then were able to meet all 10 of the children that will soon be placed into foster families in a nearby village. Each one was completely adorable. One tiny little girl was lying in her crib and it was obvious that she has heart disease. We ordered an immediate echo to be done and hope to get the results soon. Another little boy who had the cutest grin has a spinal tumor on his back. We are hopeful he can be sent to Shanghai soon for surgery before the tumor would break open, and then he will be able to recover with his own foster family, which will be such a blessing. There are still five children needing sponsorships for our newest foster care program. If you would like to truly change the life of a child by allowing them to leave an orphanage setting and be loved in a home, please visit our foster care page at http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/SponsorFosterCare.php I met each of the children from Henan who are listed, and I know their new sponsors will love seeing their progress reports each month as they completely bloom in a family setting.
One thing that struck me over and over on this trip was how many BOYS are in the orphanages in China. It is such a myth that only baby girls are orphaned. During the special needs training in Fujian, we were asked over and over if certain children could be adopted, and while of course we encouraged them to send every child's file, I felt great sadness in hearing them ask me again and again about different boys in their care and whether there would be a family for them. The sad reality is that often there is not. As the mom of five boys, I still do not understand why it is still so much harder for a boy from China to find a home than a girl. Yet every month we watch as most of the girls on the waiting children lists get chosen while the little boys often wait and wait and wait.
At one point during the adoption training, I told the gathered staff of 58 orphanages that I wanted them to file on every child but that I wanted to be honest with them that boys were so much harder to place than girls, and the collective gasp and then stunned chatter was loud. It is such a sad irony to me that in China, there is an ancient preference for sons, while in international adoption, there is the opposite preference for daughters.
If anyone knows the answer as to why this is, drop me an email. Many orphanage directors asked me privately after the training about it...and I honestly didn't know what to tell them!
Starting on Saturday....news from our cleft trip in Shanghai will begin to be posted. The babies have arrived safely and now we are just awaiting word that our medical team has landed as well. Thank you to everyone who lifts up this mission from November 2-8th. Watch this space for some wonderful stories and photos to come.