Day three- a visit to Hope's Past · April 02, 2008

Well- we thought that the worst was over after Monday- we had no idea what we were in for today. At 8 am we departed for a three hour journey to Wuxi Social Welfare Institute- where Hope's story began. Hope was awesome in the morning- attatched to my hip- warming up to her daddy and playing happily with Hannah. She slept alot of the journey- after playing peekaboo over the seats w/ Sharon Rowley's mom and dad- who we just love- what great people. Then we arrived. She just looked confused at first- and then she saw the first caregiver- who swarmed her, grabbing her out of my arms yelling her name-"shi,shi!!" Shi Shi looked- -well, relieved. Like,thank God the crazy people had enough sense to take me home. Her orphanage is beautiful- nicer than most college campuses that I have seen. Immaculate, organized- everything that we could hope for. Before we even got to her building- at least 6 nannies ran out- passing her amongst them. They kissed her face, neck, hands and thouroughly inspected every inch of her. She smiled, laughed, and nuzzled into them. We were there with 5 other families- all of them were walking along with their children- no nannies in sight- we,however, were an entourage. Then the moment of my most intense heartbreak came- they pointed to me and said Mama- she shook her head fiercely and clung to them as if she has never seen me in her life. I sobbed and sobbed- so did Darrin. Then, they tried Hannah- same reaction- so Hannah cried too. The rest of the children waved to their nannies and clutched firmly to their new Mama's hands- Shi Shi was another story- they loved her so intensely- and she them. They told me (through our translater) how intensely smart she was (we already had figured that out)- and they had her sing,do dances and look at her classroom- which honestly was nicer than Northwood. We then went to where she slept. It was little bigger than a large walk in closet- with little "mouse" size beds lining walls to the left and right- filled with napping 2 year olds- 20 of them- one more beautiful than the next. We sobbed looking at their sleeping faces. Hope went right to her empty bed, sat down and started taking off her shoes- like she was late for nap time- all of her "brothers and sisters" were already asleep- her nannies had to explain to her that no she wasn't staying- that Mamma and Baba and Jie Jie were here- and she prommptly started her blood curdling screams- waking a few of the children. Heartbreak- is not a word that could even do justice to how we felt.

We then saw the babies- cribs lining a room the size of our whole downstairs- all with precious sleeping babies-perfect babies. There are just no words, so I won't even try.

We then went to lunch that they had waiting- a feast- all traditional Chinese fare- our first try since we had been there. I was so sick to my stomach, I could barely put down a grain of rice. Shi Shi ate- after not seeing her caregivers in there-she calmed down. Several people came in and out- pointing to her and saying Shi Shi- oohing and ahhing. She didn't seemed as fazed about these people. She just looked sad- and a little depressed.

The day ended with us on the bus- her caregiver standing outside our window hoping for a last peak at Shi Shi. I held her up to the window- the caregiver bawled and ran away- Shi Shi screamed as if her life depended on it, and then passed out cold, and Darrin and I looked at her sleeping face and cried the whole 3 hour ride back to the hotel.

Went to dinner then- and later,as an emotionally spent group we fell asleep.

Today feels like the beginning of a new era- for all of us- we tour Nanjing today- then have a celebration dinner tommorow night, and leave Saturday the 5th for Guangzhou.

I hope you all will continue to pray for us- we sure need it about now.....

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