Thursday, May 29, 2014

Orphanage visit

Warning..mama's thoughts of the day = long post!
To begin, one should know that we say that Maisie has been in an orphanage.  But within the large, campus-like setting, she actually lived with a foster family for the past 2 1/2 years.  The children interact and sped their day time with other children that live in the more traditional orphanage setting on campus as well.  That is why we go back and forth in our reference as to where she has lived.

The day was covered in prayer.  I know many friends and family responded to the call for prayers for peace to reign on this trip.  Maisie had already expressed a disinterest to our guide for going back.  Of course we gave her all the reassurance that she would come back with us, she would not stay there and that we were her parents now.  However, as good as she had it as an orphan there, one thing remained.  She had a real family now instead of (to use their term) a  "simulated family"

She warmed to the idea of presenting her new mom and dad to her friends and pass out candy to them which is basically a tradition among the children who get homes to do when they return for their goodbyes.  It was about an hour trip north of the city some pretty, wooded mountain area. We arrived with no panic attacks on her part (sadly these things really can happen).  The children in her group were practicing for a performance for the upcoming Childrens Day festival on Sunday.  They invited her to hop for the song and dance to which she did.  Be still my heart, it was precious!!
Doing her dance - front and center.

Immediately she grabbed her backpack and she was so ready to pass out the suckers.  She was mobbed.  I took the opportunity to snap some pictures of and with children whose parents were waiting for them in the states.  (I am constantly amazed at how tight knit this adoption community is).  She saw me hugging one boy and she about lost it.  She come over tearing us apart to the point of tears.  It happened a second time, so I just decided to play it cool from then on.

We met the father in the cafeteria then they took us down to the family's apartment.  Little Maisie was fine being carried by the foster mom as long as I was 3 feet behind.  The apartment was picture perfect.  It was a humble place to American standards, but something from a fairy tale as far as an orphanage is concerned.

Two girls and two boys are in each apartment with the foster parents.  There are 3 bedrooms one for the girls, one for the boys and one for the parents.  There is a nice little living room, dining area and kitchen.  There is a separate bathroom for the kids from the adults.  The children's bathroom actually had an adorable western style toilet for them to learn how to use.  Little thing like this go such a long way in the transition of adoption.  I keep feeling beyond blessed that Maisie was afforded this life.  My first choice would be that of course evil things like abandonment and orphans would never exist in the first place, but God showed her favor in her desperation.

Foster family with 3 other siblings
The siblings in the family room

 Brother showing me his family that will be coming from Italy for him soon

Cute little bathroom with squatty potty and western toilet

Boys room

Girl's room
Chatting with everyone
We parted ways with the family.  There are no words adequate enough to express our gratitude.  Tears and hugs may be awkward in their culture, but that's the last gift I had left to give.  As we walked back up the hill to the car, school had let out and all the nannies and teachers were going down the road.  Without fail, every one we passed called out her name and asked little questions regarding her new parents.  She must of said hello to 20 or more adults.  She was quite social, and seemed to be be known by all.  Even as we left, she went up to the guard gate and said her greetings.  In the final picture you will see more workers saying their goodbyes to her as well.  We ended with a walk by the lake which Maisie enjoyed.

At the Loving Lake
Many people have hard, emotional experiences going to orphanages and seeing all the children with no home or family to call their own.  I felt blessed on this trip to be able to see the incredible care and feel the love that is afforded to these children.  Best of all, I was able to find a few children, take their pictures and tell them (through our guide) - "Your mommy and daddy can't wait to come get you!!"  It is a blessing to know that these children are finding their forever families however heart breaking it is that they are there.

Loved.  An orphan no more!

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