The daily routine was changed up a bit today as we were able to take some of the children out to a local park. What an experience! The River Stone team, two staff members, about eight “carers”, twenty-six children, ten strollers and one wheel chair boarded a bus intended for twenty people with no luggage. The bus bottomed out a couple of times during the trip. Upon arrival at the park we disembarked, loaded up the strollers and walked with the kids to a nice area. Under the trees the children were fed bananas, cookies and milk. My little boy, Sun Sun, consumed all his treats and wanted more. We snuck him extra milk. Another boy, Ken Ken, who is probably six, had trouble drinking from a straw. Sucking from a straw is a skill he should’ve developed years ago. Cindy patiently helped him drink from the hole where the straw should have gone. He managed to consume two whole bottles of much needed nourishment that way. After snack time we loaded the kiddos on the kiddie train for a short little ride. Some of them were a little frightened by the train but quietly took it all in. The trip home was nuts. The bus arrived already loaded with carers and babies returning from hospital visits. There was no way everyone was going to fit. We packed as many people in as possible and a kind lady driving an Audi offered to chauffeur everyone else back, so seven people squeezed into her car for the return trip. I wonder if there is a Chinese word for “plan better.”
Most of us were pretty worn out by the park expedition so our team leader offered to give us the afternoon off which we all graciously accepted. Later on this afternoon she is going to show us where we can get massages, facials, or have our hair washed. The massage costs about $6 US and lasts an hour. Count me in!
Four children from I.C.C. were adopted yesterday, cause for much celebration. The four vacancies were filled by the neediest children from the Welfare Centre. The four children who left the Welfare Centre were housed in the baby area, so four of the youngest children from the area I worked in were moved. Sadly my baby, Dow Dow, was moved. She is next door to my area so I can stop for a brief cuddle on my way in or out, but can’t spend as much time with her now. The move is good for her though as there are no big kiddos to step on her, so she’ll get more floor/tummy time. I honestly did not expect to have a child wrap herself around my heart the way Dow Dow has. The love I feel for her is equivalent to the love I feel for my own children. I pray she finds a good Christian family to adopt her and maybe someday our paths will cross again.
On a very sad note, yesterday right as we were leaving, we discovered the tiniest baby I’ve ever seen, lying in a box in one of the cribs. The baby had just arrived from the hospital. There was no hope of survival. The Chinese fear death and thus delivered the child to the Welfare Centre to live out its last moments. The baby did not make it through the night. Having experienced the loss of a child, I was profoundly affected not only by the plight of this child but by thoughts of his grieving mother. I do find comfort though knowing that this baby, who probably did not even have a name, is now safe in the arms of my Savior.