I can't tell you how flattering it is to have my new daughter laughing hysterically while playing with her mom and then in a millisecond, start scowling when I enter the room. Oh well, eventually she will want a wedding or something. My day will come!
On day three of our trip we went to Qingdao (pronounced ching dow), Lily's orphanage city. We traveled by high speed train and clocked around 280 miles in just over 2 hours. The sailing competition of the Summer Olympics 2008 was held there. It is a huge beautiful city, but the thing that stood out the most was the orphanage itself. Situated on the side of Fosham mountain, the compound overlooks the ocean. It is really a beautiful place. Immaculate. There is a playground that rivals any I have seen. This particular center is sponsored by an organization called "Half the Sky", and is staffed with caring workers who are trained to love, cherish and teach the children. I think Lily has had care and attention that far surpasses what is available in most social welfare environments. We are very thankful for that. And since up until now she has had no idea that there is any other kind of family, I thinks she has been very happy there.
Her caretaker has been nurturing Lily since the day she was found. I never could understand what they said her Chinese name was, but she was literally bawling as it came time for us to take Lily. She was holding Lily and clearly did not want to give her up. This presented a problem because we were afraid that if Susan took Lily from the woman, Lily would get very upset and the relationship that she and Susan had been forming would be set back. So instead, I took Lily from her. Believe me when I tell you, Lily literally threw herself into Susan's arms to get away from me, and never looked back. Crisis averted.
One of the most awkward moments of the trip came when we got to the orphanage. In order to show us how much they appreciated us bringing Lily into our family, they prepared for us a huge traditional Chinese lunch. I have already mentioned in an earlier post how much I like to eat. Well, when they brought out the meal it was clear that for me to eat it was going to be a big problem. First, I could not identify anything on the plate except for a lone shrimp sticking out of a gray looking paste that was slathered on top of some sort of thickly sliced something. I was kind of in a panic because I knew it would be offensive to the Chinese people there for me not to eat. However, I decided that throwing up all over the place might be even more offensive. I spoke with our interpreter. I told her that I used to be very very fat, and that I had lost a lot of weight. I told her that now I only eat two meals a day, and that I had already had breakfast. I said that I was very afraid that if I ate all of that delicious food that I would start to get fat again. She passed that along to our hosts. They all looked at me up and down trying to decided how I looked as a fat man. They started laughing in Chinese (sounds like our laughing except higher pitched). They were satisfied with my answer. Later they offered me a seaweed wafer. I held out my hands in front of my stomach to remind them of my former fatness. They nodded in understanding and then the the director scolded the woman who offered it to me. For tempting me I guess.
Whoa, I have been going on for too long. Here's the rest of the day. Toured the city, went back on the train. Lily entertained the passengers by blowing kisses to everyone. They all gave her various forms of Chinese "treats". We got back to the hotel and I immediately walked across the street to Pizza Hut and Kentucy Fried Chicken and bought a lot of "Western Food". Packed, slept, got on plane and came home. Waiting for Susan and Lily.