Sunday, October 14, 2007

Near and Dear to My Heart

"Holding up half the sky one day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air. "What are you doing?" asked the elephant.The hummingbird replied, "I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall." The elephant laughed cruelly. "Do you really think," he said, "that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?"The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, "Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do."— A Chinese Folktale

Half the Sky

Tonight, Jenny Bowen, founder of Half the Sky, along with Chinese orphans, was voted the choice to carry the torch in the summer Olympics in Beijing. How wonderful is that? This organization has become near and dear to our heart. I encourage you to support Half the Sky's mission to provide nurturing care for orphans remaining in China. Another excellent organization doing awesome things in China is Love Without Boundaries.

Also, I've been meaning to post about this for awhile...several months ago, just days before I was sending a care package of blankets and toys to Leah's orphanage which I thought would be our ongoing way of giving back to her little sisters in her orphanage, I found a very disturbing article on Brian Stuy's China adoption research site about Leah's orphanage that was shut down just days after receiving Leah on May 8th of 2006.

An excerpt...

"Where was this child found?"

....."Officially, adopting families were given to understand that the Youyang orphanage was not providing adequate care to the children and that they were moved for their own protection. Others were told that the numbers of children being found in Youyang was not sufficient to justify a district facility, and that Youyang was closed for financial reasons. None of these reasons, however, stands up to analysis.The Youyang orphanage was located in a mental hospital in downtown Youyang County. It had two baby rooms, one large main room, and a smaller side-room. Ten caregivers were in charge of caring for the children. From February 2004 until May 2006, the Youyang orphanage adopted 110 children internationally, more than many other orphanages in the international adoption program. With little overhead, it would seem that the adoption fees ($330,000) would have been more than sufficient to keep Youyang’s program viable.

Just after Chinese New Year in 2006, representatives from the CCAA Office in Chongqing paid a visit to the Youyang facility. This was the first time any officials had made the 6-hour trip from Chongqing to Youyang, located at the eastern-most border of Chongqing Municipality. Following a tour of the facility, the representatives expressed appreciation of the care the children were being given and praised the general appearance of the facility.

The Youyang staff was proud of these glowing reviews. Three months later, in early May 2006, the CCAA field-office paid another visit, but this time they were critical of the staff and the care. The orphanage staff was stunned, given that nothing had materially changed in their facility in the intervening three months. Four days later, in the early morning, ten vans pulled into the square in front of the Youyang County orphanage.

The vans and personel were from the Fuling orphanage. While many of the Youyang staff slept, they began to load the 56 children into the vans. A serious altercation ensued, and the caregivers stood weeping as the children were taken away. All of the staff watched stunned as the vans drove down the road and headed to Fuling."

Whoa. I know the Orphanage Director and all her nannies adored Leah and her crib mates and they were well-cared for and loved. It was shocking to read that Leah's orphanage was shut down for political reasons and children were transferred to another orphanage in Chongqing and given false abandonment stories. What do you think about that?

Posing with Leah's Orphanage Director on Gotcha Day.


Maree said...

There has never been a doubt in my mind that all the children at Leah's orphanage were loved and well taken care of.

From the smiles on the nannies faces to Leah's precious sweet little yellow outfit, blue socks and cute black mary janes, all told me that someone cared. Her little heart was open, because she had been loved.

I came away from that trip to China with a deep love for the Chinese people. I'm forever thankful.

Lauren and Ed said...

Gosh that is sad. I cannot imagine how the staff felt watching their babies be whisked away. Yet, another change in those babies lives.

sara said...

I cried. It is almost like something has been taken away....My heart hurts for what those children must have felt that morning and many mornings after....and for this to happen so soon after meeting Leah has to make it hit closer to home. Praise God it didn't happen the week before.

4ever 4some said...

What a sad and eye opening story. I too came home from China with a fondness for the people and Ava's caregivers. It makes me so appreciate the country we live in. Doesn't it make you want to hug your precious one a little tighter and not let go?

Jake and Taryn said...

Your post truly brought tears to my eyes. It is so sad to hear of such a good organization shutting down and those poor little girls. I know that especially hits home for you all and your heart must especially ache for the little ones left behind. I am so thankful Leah was able to make it into your arms and into a loving family.

Also, I can't believe that you grew up in Lexington. What a small world! We live in another town in KY, but I too grew up in Lexington. I really do miss it and Keeneland certainly holds a lot of memories for me too!

April said...

We are leaving soon to meet our new daughter who was originally from Youyang. She was moved to Fuling when she was 4 months old when the Youyang closed. Leah is beautiful!