Saturday was a busy day. On the adoption front it was medical exam day. Each Saturday morning here in Guangzhou, all the children in town for the second half of the adoption process (first half Is what happens in the child's province - for us that was last week) need to be seen at the clinic for a four part medical exam. Sarah's idea was to go to the exam on the later side of the morning as there were two huge groups from two different agencies that would be there and we might miss some of the crowd.
So our first stop was a site seeing one. The beautiful park which is the home of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Simply a beautiful park with amazing banyan trees, flowers, people doing tai chi, families strolling. Very beautiful and peaceful. We tried a stroller for this excursion at Sarah's suggestion. Xiaoting was having none of it at first, but then thoroughly enjoyed the ride - especially if Ben pushed her.
From there we traveled to the medical clinic. Well, we had not beaten the crowd as there was a huge adoption group there. There were also many local citizens there. It was noisy and busy and a bit chaotic with nurses and crying and people in lines everywhere. Made me appreciate our pediatrician's office!
Sarah was able to have us in and out in an hour - she asked if we could jump into lines since we were the only ones waiting with our agency (paperwork with the larger group was all together so for us to jump in was not a problem and no one minded). There are four parts to the exam (as well a a photo) - ENT exam, temp/weight/vision exam, bloodwork (TB test), and physical/review of special need with the physician. We were able to get through each and Xiaoting was so cute and grown up acting through it all. A real trooper. It was hot and noisy yet she was a rock star.
For me, this visit was very emotional. This adoption trip is so much like a glamorous site seeing tour (it's just how the process is here - we didn't choose that) - so different from our Ethiopian trip which felt more like a mission trip - a "rescue" of sorts. I cried nearly every day in Ethiopia. The poverty was everywhere, beggars were coming up to you everywhere you turned, we visited and saw the orphanages with so many children starving for a family - it was gut wrenching. Our experience here is so different. We have seen two beggars. Yes, just two. One in Wuhan with no hands, and one last night with lame legs. Two.
Now we are visiting cities and no doubt the villages might be a very different situation. But there is poverty here. It is of a different kind and without wanting to offend China or Chinese people, I will just say that the poverty is one of the spirit - and of great loss with regard to families due to the rules and strict laws on family size, what is lucky and not lucky, conformity, and the desire for perfection. These things are just a result of the history of government over the years and of a society which interestingly, appears to try to look more western (gone are the typical Chinese scenes - at least in the cities - that one thinks of seeing in China - it is increasingly western looking).
Now back to my tears at the clinic. I looked around at all the special needs kids (today in China most international adoptions are of kids with special needs - some more severe than others - some as simple as a birthmark). There were children in wheelchairs and children with clefts. There were children with deformed ears, missing limbs, crossed eyes, decaying teeth and all I could think of was Jesus.
These children were being healed. No I don't mean they were being healed of their handicaps there at the clinic necessarily, tho many will be after they get home, but they are being given life and hope and family. Most of these children have no idea (like our daughter) of what lies ahead for them and what a gift they are being given. Many of these children were abandoned under sad situations by mothers who lovingly gave them up as they couldn't care for them. But some were abandoned because they were different and thus bad luck or a curse. To see so many families loving on these special needs kids was overwhelming to me and I just couldn't keep the tears from flowing.
The rest of our day was left to exploring our hotel - the playground there, the ping-pong court, the gym. We went to a huge and very crowded (there was a big sale going on there) grocery store to stock up on water bottles and snacks and went on to an early dinner where most of us tried roast pigeon. Having grown up in NYC, this was a bit hard for me to think of doing as all I can think of is those dirty NYC annoying pigeons (I am not a huge bird lover as it is...except when cooked lol). It was actually quite tasty! All in all a good day. Enjoy the photos!