Loving Lily

Our journey to China to bring a little girl home to her family.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Trip To the Orphanage: A Medical Adventure

I had been looking forward to today all week. It was so important to
me to be able to visit the orphanage and get the chance to possibly
meet Lily's foster parents. We left early for the hour and a half van
ride. Dongguan is beautiful. Meticulously kept flower gardens adorn
both sides of the streets. Our guide said that in the past Dongguan
was a very poor city, but many foreign companies have established
factories there and people from all over the province come to Dongguan
to find good jobs, so the economy has just flourished.

We were greeted at the orphanage by the same two workers, a
well-dressed man and woman, who dropped Lily off at the civil affairs
office. They took us inside an immaculate foyer to a waiting room,
where the foster parents would be meeting us. I have to say that I
immediately noticed with some concern the glass coffee tables that sat
in front of the couches and chairs. Our hands were full of gifts, a
package I had to deliver, baby stuff, and of course two highly active
toddlers who had just spent an hour and a half in the van. It was then
that we were to pay the $3000 orphanage donation, along with her
abandonment ad fee, so we set everything down, and I began to prepare
those monies.

It happened in split second. Neither Rob nor I had noticed that Lily
had climbed up on the couch behind me; we were literally handing over
the $3000 cash to the worker at that exact time. I turned just in time
to see Lily tumble backwards off the couch and hit the back of her
head on the edge of the glass coffee table. It still plays in slow
motion in my head. She began to sob. Rob scooped her up and she clung
to him. The back of her head was bleeding. In a flurry of activity,
people began shouting instructions and our guide was given a cloth to
put to the back of Lily's head. It was bleeding pretty badly. Moments
later, in walks Lily's foster mother and father. What a great first
impression we must have made! She called, "Chang Chang!" and clapped
her hands to get Lily to come to her. Lily looked at her, considered
going to her, but then changed her mind and held on to Rob. I thought
that was interesting. She had been away from them for 3 days--the
orphanage directors had picked Lily up from her foster parent's home
the day she came to us--but she didn't show any emotion or flash of
recognition or familiarity on her face. By this time she had stopped

Then a doctor from the medical ward came in and took her from Rob. I
wasn't about to let them take her without me, so I followed them up a
flight of stairs to the medical unit. I walked past several room of
babies and small children lying in cribs. In one room, a little one
was crying softly, but no one was there to answer her. (She cried for
the entire hour we were upstairs, and then when we left, she had
fallen asleep, alone, sucking her fingers. Very sad.) Lily was taken
to an examining room. Three little people were already in there. One
bed held two very tiny infants, both with IVs in their heads. Their
arms were stapped down to their bodies, to keep their hands from
pulling out the IV's, I'm sure. They looked so pale and listless, and
they were awake, slowing looking around them. On the floor in a walker
sat a beautiful little one who looked to be about 1 year old. She was
also pale and lethargic, and she also had an IV and arm straps. She
had a severe cleft lip and palate. I later knelt next to her and took
her picture (that really made her smile!) and stroked her fuzzy head
and prayed for her. I reached down and held her hand that was sticking
out of the restraints and she clung to my hand. I can still feel the
warmth of her little hand.

Lily laid on the bed calmly as they applied pressure to her head. I
prayed that she would just need a bandage and some ice. A nurse came
in and gave her a shot "to keep the infection away." Then the guide
told me that she was going to have to have a couple more shots and
stitches in the back of her head.

So for the next hour I stood outside the door (I was not allowed in,
but I could watch from the window) while 3 nurses and her foster
mother held her down so the doctor could shave the back of her head
and stich her wound. She screamed until she was hoarse. I cried my
eyes out for her. My guide stood with me the whole time comforting me
with a gentle hand on my shoulder, saying, "It does not matter. " (I
think what she means is "It's going to be okay." but there's a bit
lost in translation!) I asked her if they gave her something to numb
the spot, but she did not know, and I could not go in there. It seemed
to me that she screamed even harder each time they sewed a stitch.

It was the longest hour ever. When she was done they opened the door,
and I rushed in and scooped her up. She was spent. The only way they
could get the bandage to stick to the back of her head was to wrap
gauze all the way around her head like a headband. She looks like
karate kid! She let me comfort her, and laid her head on my shoulder,
even with her foster mother in the room.

When we went back downstairs, we found that her foster father had
left. I was, and still am, so disappointed. I didn't get any pictures
of him or get to talk to him. He had to go to care for the other
foster children in the home. The foster mother did come back and I was
able to ask a few questions. She chuckled as she told me that Lily is
VERY active (yeah, no kidding!) and that after she left, her house is
now very quiet, even with five other foster children! She said her
foster father spent his day chasing Lily around the house. (Now that's
my job! :o)) The names of the other foster children are: Du Chuan,
Guan Qun, Guan Su, Yuan Lu and Guan Wei. If any of you know anyone who
is adopting them, I'd love to be able to stay in contact. I also
learned that her foster grandmother was very special to her, that she
actually slept with her at night.

Denise, I gave the workers your package for Eliza, but because of what
happened to Lily, I did not get an opportunity to ask to see her or
get an update. I'm really sorry. I had so been looking forward to
taking her picture for you.

After the incident, the two very kind workers (who have been there the
entire 8 years since Dongguan CWI was established) took us to a NICE
restaurant for lunch. Seth was unbearable, because it was his naptime,
so I was consumed with caring for him, trying to get him to eat
something, trying to keep him from upsetting the entire table with his
angry powerhouse kicks. I thought for sure that the workers must think
that Rob and I are the worst parents ever. I told them that those of
us who have children from Dongguan (as per my Dongguan yahoo group)
are so happy with the care our children have received and that we feel
lucky and happy that our children have come from there. Our guide told
me that she has visited many orphanges, but Dongguan is the best one
she's ever been to. Mary Jo, I told them that Du Qun lives very close
me and that her family says hi. They were thrilled that Lily and Lia
live near each other, and they remember her fondly.

So now, on top of our sightseeing and paperwork schedule, we have to
take Lily into a local medical clinic every day starting in two days
to have her wound dressed. (I don't see why we can't do it
ourselves...I'm quite capable. I'll have talk to the guide. I know
that I can refuse their treatment--she's my daughter--but I want to do
what is best.) Also, they have given me a powder that I'm to give to
her 3 times a day for five days, "to prevent infection." I'm leary
about it, but mostly becuase no one knows how to tell me exactly what
it is. I asked several times and in several different ways whether or
not they had given Lily a pain killer, like Tylenol, so I would know
if I could give her some, but no one knew how to answer me. But she
didn't show any signs of pain or discomfort, so I didn't anyway. The
day before we leave to fly home, she'll go in to have her stitches

This evening, she has been as active as ever. She hasn't shown any
signs of discomfort, and she has actually started to warm up to me.
Believe me when I say this is not at all what I envisioned our
orphange trip would look like. I thought her foster parents would be
sad and emotional, and I thought Lily would cling to them and cry. I
may be wrong, but I really got the distinct impression that her foster
mother was genuinely happy Lily was coming with us. She held her one
last time and cheerfully said goodbye.

Then on the way home we spotted her bicycling away, with a contented
look on her face. Perhaps she is just not the emotional type. Perhaps,
with 5 other special needs children, her hands are too full and busy
to get that attached to any one of them. Or perhaps she is exicted
about having a little peace in her home without this firecracker of a
toddler there. I don't know.

And Lily has not grieved. It worries me. Was she attached at all to
her foster family? She really did NOT react to them being there at
all. (Of course a LOT was happening to her at the time.) She is
showing signs of attaching to us, especially Rob, but I just feel like
she should be sad. The first day she was really quiet, and I'm
learning that she is NOT a quiet child, so perhaps that was her way of
showing her sadness. Maybe once we get home, she will feel more free
to show her emotions.

So that was our day today. I hoping that tomorrow won't be nearly as
exciting. Rob mentioned to our guide that he has had his head stapled,
glued and stitched so many times that he has scars all over the place.
Lily just fits right into our family perfectly. Isn't it amazing how
often it is like that? Someone must have been ordering our footsteps...

Blessings and love from Guangzhou,


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