Friday, September 6, 2013

Welfare Institute of Zhengzhou

Today we toured the orphanage welfare institute where Maddie spent some time before she was placed in foster care.  (When we called it an orphanage, we were quickly corrected by our guide that it's not an orphanage, it's a welfare institute.)  We also brought with us a suitcase and a half of donations given to us by our family and friends.  About 2/3rds of the donations will stay at this orphanage, and the other third will go to the other orphanage in Zhengzhou (on the other side of town).  There were mixed feelings going on throughout our trip.  On the one hand, the conditions are poor.  It's situated on the furthest outskirts of town, near the garbage dumps and some industry.  The roads leading to the orphanage were in horrible condition.  From afar, the building itself looks pretty good, and (as with much of China) they were doing a lot of construction on the building itself.  However, once you go up to the building and in the buildings, you feel like you're in a third world country.  On the other hand, I'm sure the people who are working there are doing their best with the resources they've been given. With roughly 700 orphans to take care of, any institution that depends on charity and government subsidy would have a difficult time keeping up.  Everyone we met there was very nice and greeted us with a Hello.  We went to a specific wing of the orphanage that is occupied solely by CCAI staff and children who will be made available for adoption through CCAI.  There we held some babies, and talked with the caretakers a bit.  In all, it was good to see and have the experience.  I'm sure, with plenty of notice given to the director and a limited tour, we were treated to only the best parts of the orphanage, but regardless it's a decent place that I'm glad Maddie didn't have to spend much time in.  Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's a balmy 80 degrees in the rooms and all the babies are in full onesie pajamas with a blanket over them all.  Auntie Kelley would be going nuts!

Darlene says:
To me, this was more emotional than when we met Madeleine on Monday. 700 orphans, I can't even wrap my mind around that. We saw the "adoptable" babies...the ones that will more than likely have families in the near future. Moms and Dads like Ryan and I that will travel across the world and make a contract with the Chinese government to love these children that have been abandoned. But, we also caught glimpses of older children, kids that have been passed over for adoption. Some seemed completely "normal" while others were obviously low functioning and very special needs. What is going to happen to these children? In a city of 9 million people, and a very elementary social welfare program, it's anyone's guess. Who is going to take care of these children???

Distributing our donations to be divvied up between the two orphanages in Zhengzhou.

The orphanage director (middle, white shirt) doing the paperwork for the donation.

The playground.

This room is for ~6 month olds.

Maddie with one of the caretakers.

I guess it's always Christmas in Zhengzhou

This room was for infants.

A nice sentiment

Uh-oh, Darlene's found a little buddy.

Sleeping quarters for some of the toddlers.

Keegan and Regina testing out the playground equipment.  They give 1 and a half stars.

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