Thursday, August 21, 2014

Farewell to Wuhan

This is our last night in Wuhan and honestly, while I'm ready to move on I'm also a bit sad for it to end. This is Fang Fang's last night in her home state. She will be moving away from the dialect and foods she knows and loves. She will probably never really be considered Chinese by her original countrymen, even if she moves back. She will also be moving further away from her first two mothers- her birth mom and her foster mom. We don't have a concrete connection with either of those huge figures in her life but still, it feels like another loss for her. It is another loss. Don't get me wrong. We are thrilled to have her, but wish every child could be known from day one by a family and community ready to care for them in every way. That each mom could have that privilege.

We learned that her finding spot (the place where she was left) was at the gate of a medical school about 90 minutes outside of Wuhan. The police in that block drove her to Wuhan for treatment and intake to the Children's Welfare Institute. I wonder, was there a young dad among them who held her on the long and probably painful drive? She would have been so tiny and sick.

Did they rush her in her tiny bundle past this sign to the CWI director's office?
Did she meet them at the hospital, or just wait to send a nanny?
Did the nurses fawn over her? 
We didn't opt to spend a day going to the finding spot with a hired car and guide, partly because she spent so little time in her hometown (two days max) and partly because we'd like to come back when she is older and bring her with us then. Four hours in the car did not really seem the right choice for us on this trip. None of my ideas for posting signs about her really panned out, either. There's not much point when this city is so far from her own. That city may not have been her home, either, as parents often drive a ways before leaving their children in a populated place. They can be arrested and fined for doing that, and in some situations they can't have the medical care they need without relinquishing. It may be a connection severed that can't be fixed this side of eternity and I could cry for her just writing about it.

As it turns out, her surgery and foster care were probably not directly sponsored by any agency, but by a large fund of pooled donations called the Tomorrow Plan, administered by the Chinese government. I found a 2004 article saying World Vision was one of the largest early donors, which I think is pretty cool as I've sponsored one of their kids in Africa since 1999. According to that article, there have been donations of over 8 million dollars to this fund, and from what I understand it's one example of reform in China actually working out for the best for those in need. I hope it continues to avoid the corruption so common in the past.

We watch what we have affectionately nicknamed the "Oklahoma Propaganda" channel, trying to fathom how song after big-production song represents what those in charge want those in the country to believe. We are given such kind treatment on the streets by curious encouraging people, then ten minutes later J is solicited by prostitutes. There are new crosswalks with pedestrian-shaped lights that turn green to let you know that now you can cross... and the cars will perhaps slow down a little bit before running you over. Handicapped ramps and signs are available but the sidewalks are crumbling and there's a curb in front of the elevator. I wish we had more time because I have never been so unable to come to any conclusion about a place or its people.

Made from or made for? It's a big distinction... confusing.
I think I had rather hoped to find out there was a sponsor for our specific child- I realize now as I ramble, the truth is I hoped for a foreign sponsor. Maybe even a specific person like my sponsorship of the World Vision kiddo. There will never be a way to thank the entire Chinese government, and it is so opaque I cannot fathom getting to know who specifically stamped the papers and turned the wheels for her.

We can't wait to take her to a specialist and an adoption doctor. She needs a full workup to be sure we haven't missed anything that could need attention. Talking to the other parents today, this was a common theme as we start to observe our new kids in their more normal states. There are little idiosyncrasies that we'd like to know more about. There are major things, most of which we were told, that we want to understand in every possible detail. There are so many questions, many of which probably can't be fully answered for years.

Has her birth family gone through Wuhan's massive train station?
Are they thinking of her tonight?
If they knew what was going on with her, would they be happy?
Saying goodbye tomorrow means moving on to Guangzhou, where the US Embassy awaits. The hotel is supposed to be nicer, the shopping and camaraderie even better yet. Good things wait for us and for her. May she look back and see the beauty on both sides of this transition, because they will always both be part of her.


  1. It doesn't matter how many moms came before, you are mom now and you always will me.

    Regardless of how many questions she has, some of which she won't even know she has, you chose her and she will always know that.

    All will be well.


  2. She is your daughter now. She has a forever home now. She has a real family. That is all that counts. -- Wade


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