23 January, 2014

zhengzhou orphanage

Yesterday we visited the zhougzhou civil welfare institute. This is where Mae was and we learned yesterday that Jovie was here a good bit too. When the orphanage director came with Jovie on gotcha day he saw Mae and immediately knew who she was and remembered how she would get high fevers. He had a ton of pictures of her on his phone and took more of her now. He told us he wanted to share these pictures with her foster mom. He did and she was so happy to see her so big now and doing so well. She said this is the first child that she's fostered that she's gotten to hear about since they left her care. Later he called our guide and asked if her foster mom could meet us at the orphanage. 

I was very torn, I wanted to meet the woman that cared for Mae but I was afraid it would scare Mae. She doesn't remember anything about her to our knowledge. We didn't want to make it a big deal with her but I thought she might try to pick her up and I was bracing myself to be momma bear if anything upset her. 

Sadly, but maybe fortunately the foster mom could not make it there and we did not get the opportunity to meet her. We believe Mae was with her in her home for 5 months before we got her. 
The orphanage has a whole new building than when we were there before- making it twice as big. The new part is decorated really cool with big trees in the foyer, bright colors and has tons of classrooms and activities. The old part is just concrete and sterile looking to me with a few painted pictures on the wall.
This woman was Jovie's preschool teacher and she loved Jovie and walked with us and told us about her.
We went to the old building and visited the Lily Orphan room where Mae was and learned that Jovie spent the first 7 months of her life here as well. Jovie's past has been unknown to us and we are sure glad to put the pieces together. How incredible that the same nannies took care of both of my girls!!! They all knew Ding Juan (Mae) and were happy we brought her to show them. We didn't tell Mae anything about why we were there and immediately she walked into the room and totally unphased said "this is where I lived when I was a baby". The only thing that had changed were the beds were pink and blue, instead of the wooden.
The next thing that happened I was NOT prepared for... I thought Jovie had been with Show Hope the whole time and honestly I wouldn't have even gone to orphanage if it wasn't for the other families already going. They took us outside and around the back of the orphanage and there were tall buildings full of apartments. They said Jovie has been living with a family here. I never pictured anything like this the whole time I dreamed of her. We walked into the home and were met by a woman who immediately started sobbing when she saw Jovie. She starting pulling her out of the carrier... There was no arguing with her! She held Jovie and cried and wouldn't make eye contact with me for a while.
She said she hadn't slept since they took her on Monday. The guide told her not to hold her for long time and so she gave her back to me. Jovie didn't cry while we were there she just looked scared.
Jovie has lived with her for last 3 months. It was great to meet her and thank her for loving her. She said she would sleep tonight knowing she was okay. We went to leave and her foster mom asked Jovie if she could hold her again and Jovie shook her head no (she still took her again) but I was so glad to see Jovie has bonded with me.
Here's all the families in our group that also have zhengzhou babies.
And here is the orphanage director that brought both Mae and Jovie to us on Gotcha Day.
Both of my girls want my lap... You can see here how Jovie doesn't like to share me. There's a little competition here.
Our boy sucks his thumb to fall asleep. And I'm so happy to say he did NOT sleep in his shoes last night!!! And Cody hid them so today when he dressed him he just put on different shoes that we had brought, and he hasn't asked for them back.


  1. Wow what a day! God works in mysterious ways. Every new update you share is better than the last! Jovie and Ian truly look happier with each post. :) And its so cool to see you guys standing next to the one other family we know in China right now.

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  2. Kristen, I've been checking & waiting to see your blog updates ever since your last post - I just can't seem to get enough & I look forward to reading more each day.... It truly has made me so happy to read about the experiences you all are going through & to get to see pictures of everyone. It melts my heart with joy to see you & Cody with ALL of your children. I adore Mae in each photo she's in because she truly does radiate with "sunshine" :) What a beaUtifuL little girl she is both outside & IN! And my heart fills with Love for Jovie & Ian with each word you write about them & each picture you post. You make a beautiful family & I'm so happy I get to be a part of it ;) I cannot wait to get the chance to meet Ian & Jovie~ they are already blessed with the most wonderful parents!! Be safe & I hope you all are feeling better too! So much love to ALL of you!! Xo

  3. So happy for y'all in your travels ! What a story to have that Jovie and Mae had the same lady take care if them!! I am so happy to hear that Ian slept without his shoes! Yay ;) we are thinking of y'all daily and love seeing updates love to all!

  4. what an amazing day for you! I love how God worked out the details and Jovie and Mae were cared for by the same nannies. The orphanage has changed so much! The pictures of Jovie's foster mama were heartbreaking. Such a gift that she received love while waiting for you. I showed Lily the pictures and she recognized the orphanage director from her own photos. I bet Mae is just taking it all in. Look forward to your next update! Almost time to head to Guangzhou :)

  5. This post puts the truth about adoption in a radical light. Thank you for sharing so beautifully how so many people are involved in your children's stories and how their care for your children was a passion to them. But as you have shown so truthfully, those precious caregivers are now grieving. I will make it a point to pray for them too.

    Thanks for closing with that sweet picture of Ian. You know I'm a sucker for thumb suckers. :)


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