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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Her orphanage - Shangrao CWI

Mimi is growing up in a orphanage.
That word stings.
I mean just the word conjures up images hunger and doing without, coldness, fear, hunger, and lack.  Not the kinda of place anyone wants a child to grow up in.

Papa, Livy, and I had the opportunity to visit Tess and Jude's orphanage in SaiGon.  That visit, although brief, changed all 3 of us forever.  We saw school children in their classroom, just like any other school kids except no one is waiting in the carpool line to ask them how their day was.  We saw the small "baby room" with row after row of sterile metal cribs, each with a baby... and no mama love.  We saw caretakers who were spread as thin as the formula in the baby bottles.
We walked out of the Thu Duc Orphanage and never saw the world the same way again.

We are hoping to visit Mimi's orphanage on this trip too.  It is very unusual for adoptive parents to visit the China orphanage that their child came from, but we know there is a slight possibility of visiting Mimi's orphanage since other families before us have been able to arrange it.  We'll make the request to visit when we get to China, and pray our guides can arrange it.  If we're lucky enough to get permission to visit, it is likely we will be able to meet our little pot sticker's foster parents!  Fingers crossed.  We know this would be an incredible link to Mazie in the future.

We know a bit about Mimi's orphanage already.  It's located in the southeastern China province of Jiangxi.

What struck Papa and I first when we saw pictures of the orphanage, was the size of it!  And in additional to looking very large it looks very modern.  It has several sponsors including our agency.  
Entry/lobby of orphanage.  The only thing better than the mural are the chandeliers!

But here's the really amazing thing about this orphanage... the thing that has us tickled pink! 
The orphanage was rebuilt and had a grand reopening September of 2010.
Photo taken at the grand opening.   This photo is priceless to us as it shows the extended community at the orphanage.
We're pretty sure Mimi is in the back row on the lap of the woman in pink., the smaller bald baby.
We're also confident that that her foster mama holding her and her foster dad on their right.  
They built a building with 13 individual apartments inside of the orphanage for "group home families" to live.  Currently there are 8 individual apartments on the grounds of the orphanage being used.  Each apartment or "group home" has a married couple who are foster mama and foster papa to 5 orphaned babies.  Each apartment has the sitting room, kitchen, one big play room, two bedrooms, (one is for the children and one is for the parents) and two bathrooms. 
Living room
kitchen in a "group home" apartment
The foster parents are the sole caregivers to the 5 little ones in their charge.  They eat all their meals with their group home family and sleep in the group home.  The children stay with their group home parents, foster parents, almost every day, for 24 hours. They live together like a regular family. 
One of the bedrooms with 5 cribs in a row for each baby
This whole "group home" concept is just amazing!  For us it's the jackpot of orphanages!  It's the best case scenario as far as orphanages are concerned.  A permanent foster family who can love on our little one and show her what a family feels like!   No rotating care givers.  Bonding and attaching is taking place!  
To Papa and I, everything else is secondary. 
playground at the orphanage

Now this setup is no guarantee that our little Miss Mimi is getting the TLC she deserves.  But it certainly is a good sign.
We've seen first hand what happens when this love and attachment and TLC doesn't happen.  When bonding doesn't happen and needs are not met.  We've seen first hand what happens to one's soul. 
Every single thing is secondary to this child, our new daughter, being consistently loved on and provided for right now. 
But don't get me wrong... it's still an orphanage.  

***most of the photos taken by 2 families that visited the orphanage when adopting their daughters in 2011.


  1. Wow. Just wow. We were not able to visit Shu's, and part of me wishes we had, but I know it looked absolutely nothing like this. :( I'm truly glad Maizie has had a better start...and what a blessing to have all those photos!

  2. OOOOO!!! Love it!! Can you email me the picture of the kiddos and their foster parents so I can hunt for Abbie? I am not able to get a very good look on the posted picture.

  3. Hey! Me too! I want a picture. when I copy and try to enlarge it everything just gets blurry. Our Renee has to be in there somewhere also! So exciting!

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  5. Wow! That is amazing and your Maizie is so blessed to be there! What a wonderful beginning is being offered to her!

  6. Oh, Nancy, this just makes me cry. I'm glad Mazie has such an amazing set-up for an orphanage...

  7. The photos are actually of the new Shangrao CWI on which construction began in 2009. To the best of my knowledge it was unofficially completed spring-summerish 2010 and officially opened September 2010. This is the third Shangrao CWI building and by far the nicest orphanage I have ever seen. The previous building was an old hotel and there was another building before that.
    If you get to go, I would love to know who slept on either side of Elspeth. Took a photo of the row of cribs, she was in the middle but never thought to pay closer attention to whose bed was on either side. Sigh. Blame it on stress of the visit.

  8. LOVE the group home concept within the orphanage - hoping there's been love and attachment so that Maize knows love; what it feels like to be loved and to love! That is such good, no, it's such GREAT NEWS!
    Praise God for such news!
    now go and get her!

  9. I've never heard of the family home concept, thats wonderful! Bless the people who care for the babies and children, both foster and orphanage workers. They are truly amazing.

  10. And soon, soon, SOON she will be in her forever home. This certainly does seem like a wonderful place for Mazie to have been, but nothing compared to when she's with YOU. SO SOON!!!

  11. Our waiting dd is in a new orphanage as well (opened July 2011) - it looks far as orphanages go. They have therapy rooms & pools - classrooms, etc. But as you said, it's still an orphange :(

  12. Wow, you are right... this is amazing!

  13. Sounds wonderful! We were lucky that in Lang Son, each caretaker had 1 or 2 babies to take care of. Jacob was in a baby room until he was 3-4 months old and then 1 woman took care of him until we traveled for him when he was 14 months old. He was attached to her and transitioned SO well to us. Hoping the best for your new little one.

  14. I didnt realize that is how a group home worked!! How are the foster families compensated? Do they get their room paid for? Thats a GREAT set up!! And you know that BOTH parents have to be on board since they are being so closely monitored by the orphanage staff!!

    I just love it and have lots of hope for your sweet girl's care!


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