Rachel went to sleep great last night but cried out in her sleep several times last night. We know this is part of how she will grieve but it is absolutely heart breaking to watch. So Russ and I both started our day a bit emotional and it just escalated from there. When she woke up, she went right to Abigail again and was very happy. We dressed and went to breakfast and she ate like a champ again. She's been eating congee, fried eggs and fruit most mornings. There are three families who all have adopted daughters from the Nanjing SWI. So we all loaded the bus and traveled together to visit the orphanage. It is only about a 20 minute drive from the hotel. Anson, our Holt rep, warned us on the way there that if she arrives there and starts crying, that maybe we should consider staying back in the van and not to go in. Russ and I debated whether going back to the orphanage with her would be beneficial as a way to say good bye and have closure, or it would be harmful and confusing. For some children, the kids are brought by a representative of the orphanage for the drop off, not the nanny and they never get to hear from their nanny that we are safe and to go with mamma and babba. We realized that the woman who dropped off Rachel was not her primary nanny. This was a hard choice. We decided to go and if at all she seemed upset, then we'd go outside and walk her around. We were prepared with lollipops and her favorite snacks in necessary.
When we arrived, she did not seem upset at all. She was just happy to get out of the van. She does not like to sit still (she's in for a rude awakening when she has to get strapped into a car seat in America... there are no car seats in this country. There definitely should be because the driving is absolutely insane, but that's for another post). There was another little girl in our group who went into freak out mode as soon as we got there. Anson explained that sometimes the kids would be confused and think they are being returned. Rachel did not seem to be fazed at all. I must admit, Russ and I were on emotional overflow. Part of me was scared that she would want to stay with the nannies rather than with us. She has lived there for over two years and we've had her only a few days. Another part of me was so emotional to see the place where she has lived for most of her life. The orphanage was okay, but it's no home. My heart just broke for every orphan still left there. Some matched with families, many not. We got to see her old floor where she spent more of her time. When she saw her nanny, her eyes lit up. Her nanny scooped her up and they shared a very sweet moment. Her nanny was so happy to see her. This was so nice to see. All the nannies in the room came running out to see her. All knew her by name and she was happy to see them all. She was clearly very loved there. Thankfully, when it was time to come back to me, she reached out and hugged me close. Even after a few days together, we've won her over.
Then we went upstairs to the floor she was on right before she left. At 2, she was moved upstairs and had to leave her favorite nanny. Another heartbreaking reality of institution living. The nanny who took care of her upstairs was happy to see her and held her to give her a hug, but Rachel reached right back for me and held me close. She was only up there for about a month and a half.
We got to see a room where she slept. Next to it was another room with very sick babies all lying in their beds. They just lied there and stared at us. Heartbreaking to say the least. They gave us the bed card that they had on her crib. As soon as Rachel saw it, she tried to put it where it belonged on her crib. She gripped onto that card. By then, I was ready to bust out in tears. We gave the nannies a few bags of lollipops to give to the kids. They gave them out while we were there.
This is a very nice orphanage and it is so clear that those nannies just LOVE the kids. We had the opportunity to meet the orphanage director and take a few pictures with him before we left.
Overall we're thankful we had the opportunity to visit her orphanage and to have lots of pictures and videos of her in there with nannies who clearly loved and adored her. We're glad we went but it was very emotional for Russ and I. Way more than I expected. Rachel did great. She was happy to see her nannies but happier to be back in my arms. When we got back to the hotel, she was all smiles and running around the lobby.
She seems to be settling in well with our family. Please continue to pray as she grieves the loss of all she knows. It is heartbreaking to watch but so important in her bonding and attachment to our family. We're definitely in love with her and happy she is starting to like us a little bit too.