Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Smooth Sailing, So Far

Things are continuing to go smoothly. Yesterday was a free day for us so we just hung around the hotel. Kalia went swimming again, which she loves. We also went for a walk at a nearby park and saw a water show they do to music. I got video, but it is taking forever to upload.

Kalia is pretty much your typical pre-teen.



We have SKYPED with Kalia’s friend that was adopted last month and both girls have enjoyed seeing each other. I think it also helps Kalia to know things are going to be okay. Her friend is also speaking a lot of English. Since they were here just a month ago we asked where some good places to eat were, we have been eating Pizza Hut and McDonalds for the most part and we are all ready for a change.

Our hotel is in a pretty “swanky” area that has a mall with stores like Rolex, Versace, etc. Kalia’s friend’s mom told us that behind the stores across from our hotel there were some great Chinese restaurants. So, we ventured into the alley of the unknown yesterday for dinner.


My father in law is not a very adventurous person in fact, he does not like Chinese food at all (I know, I know). So, we tried to find the “best looking” place to eat. You could tell as soon as we walked in they weren’t used to seeing many Americans, if any.


Kalia ordered and I translated that Steve and I wanted spicy Chicken with white rice (trying to play it safe).

They first brought out this dish which is what Kalia ordered. Steve and I decided there was no way she could eat it all so we decided to help her. It was actually pretty good. It was corn, carrots, and cucumbers in a sweet sauce.


He’s pretty proud of himself for being able to pick up the kernel of corn with chopsticks


Then they brought out a gigantic bowl of this soup. It was a brown broth with tofu, green leafy stuff, and what looked like eggs like in egg drop soup. This was also something Kalia ordered. Steve tried it right away which really surprised me. He said it wasn’t bad so I tried it too. I didn’t like it at all.


While we were trying to figure out if this was something we ordered or Kalia I thought I better see what spicy chicken actually translated to. It translated to Chicken Mordacios, which neither of us had any idea what Mordacious meant. As we were laughing about that, they actually did bring out a chicken dish that didn’t look too bad.


We all dug in and to our surprise, it was pretty good once you got past the chicken bones and gristle which you are apparently supposed to spit out right on the table if you don’t like them.

After that we returned to our room where we all crashed before 8:00pm.

Today we had to meet our guide in the lobby at 8am because he was taking us to DeZhou which is where Kalia’s orphanage is. During breakfast I sensed there was something wrong and noticed her mood had changed pretty quickly.

She was very quiet on the ride to DeZhou (it was about 2 hours) and listened to her iPod the whole time. I was pretty nervous about what would happen when we got there. I was scared she would have another meltdown when it was time to leave, or flat out refuse to leave. She completely surprised me and wanted nothing to do with any of the orphanage people including her nanny and nurse who brought her to Jinan. She wouldn’t even let them help her out of the van. In fact, she would not talk to hardly anyone that tried to talk to her. She tried to ignore all the orphanage staff.



This is actually the building Kalia stayed in


We were greeted by the director which was a woman about my age, Kalia’s nanny and nurse, and some guy who had a camera. They led us into the entrance of the orphanage and then up to the third floor which is where the younger children slept. We were first taken into a “play” room for kids. There were about 20 kids in there that looked to have some sort of mental disability and a couple of kids with downs syndrome. We were then taken next door to where the kids slept. There were about 20 or 30 cribs but only about 5 kids in them including a fairly newborn baby. There was one nanny trying to bottle feed all the kids while they laid in their cribs.

From there we were taken to Kalia’s room that she shared with Yiera (the little girl who was adopted last month). It was a very nice room with two beds, a closet, and a desk. All of the kids Kalia’s age were at school so we didn’t get to meet any of her other friends. I did ask how many kids were in the orphanage and was told that there were 65 and they had just sent 3 kids’ paperwork to CCCWA to be ready for adoption. Kalia was only the third to be adopted from this orphanage.

Kalia’s bed is the one closest to the window, the other one was her friend’s that was adopted last month.




They took us down to the 2nd floor to the exercise room which is where Kalia was able to dance. In there we stood and talked about the differences between China and America and how they handle their children. I explained to them about how our foster care system works and they all agreed that they think China needs to adopt the same policies as America.

This is where Kalia practiced her dancing


I asked how far away the school was that Kalia went to and how she got there. I was told they walked to school and that it was only 10 minutes away. So of course I asked if we could drive by so I could take pictures which they said was fine.

It wasn’t long before both Steve and I noticed that this was no 10 minute walk away, more like 45 minutes to an hour. Once we got to the school I got out to take pictures and was told that the new orphanage that we had just visited was not where Kalia actually lived during the week. Because the new orphanage is so far away from the school, they decided that the school children would stay at the old orphanage (which only a few blocks away from the school) during the week and go to the new orphanage on the weekends.

Kalia’s school


So, once again I had to ask if I could see it. They were totally open to taking us there and giving us a tour and letting me take pictures.

The old orphanage is now mostly for old people so the school kids slept on the top floor during the week so they could walk to school. Across the courtyard was there the boys stayed and where the kids played.

This is pretty much where Kalia has spent the last 9.5 years.

This was her building that she slept in


This was where they played and the boys slept


This little girl was too sick to go to school so she stayed home with the nanny


You never get used to the sights like this. It is truly heartbreaking to see that this is where my daughter had lived for 9.5 years. I will say that it was obvious that her nanny cared for her very much. They did say Kalia was one of the favorites and helped a lot with the younger children. But to think that this is where she has slept for basically her whole life just breaks my heart.

This was her bed


There were a total of 8 girls in this room




From there we said our goodbyes and there were no tears shed whatsoever. In fact, all Kalia did was wave goodbye, no hugs, nothing.

Steve and I both agreed that Kalia did not like being there. She was nervous the whole time and jittery. Once we were on the road back to Jinan, you could see her instantly start to relax. I would love to know what was going to through her head while we were there.

Once we returned to Jinan, the guide dropped us off at the hotel and we wet to lunch at McDonald then over to the supermarket for some water and snacks. Boy can my girl shop. Loooove it!

Tomorrow we will go to Diamond Lake and tour an Elementary school (my father in law is in education).

Please keep Blake in your prayers. I posted over a year ago that he had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Well, when we SKYPED home earlier today Matt said Blake was sick and vomiting. We figured he had the flu or just ate something that didn’t agree with his stomach. I asked what his sugar was which was 118 which is good. So, as we were driving to DeZhou I got a text from Matt that he needed the doctors number because Blake’s sugar was 408 with high ketones. The next text I got was they the doctor wanted Blake to go to the ER immediately.

He was pretty dehydrated which for a Diabetic can cause big problems. They are keeping him overnight and going to continue to do IV fluids.

Please keep Blake in your prayers that he will heal quickly and go home tomorrow.


Blessed mom said...

Love your post Mandi!!! So happy to see Kalia continuing to do well. Praying for Blake to get better fast.

Penny said...

Thank you for the detailed updates! You know we're all lapping it up! :) Glad things are going so well.

Bambi Muylle said...

So glad that things are going smoothly for you! Can't wait to meet your daughter and welcome her to the neighborhood!! Praying that Blake is feeling better soon!! Also praying for safe travel home for the 3 of you!!


Our family: said...

It's wonderful that you were able to visit Kalia's SWI and school. Seems like she's beginning to bond with you. God is so good! So much for her little heart to take in. Praying for you both and also I will be praying for your son.

Anneli J. said...

Thanks so much for your post, Mandi. I'm so glad to see that Kalia is doing so much better. Pictures of the orphanage brought tears to my eyes, just breaks my heart. However, as I prepare to move back to China in just over 2 months, it reminds me why I"m going. For those kids.

Praying for you lots and especially for Blake at home.


Anonymous said...

Praying for Blake and loved the update!

Jean said...

Wow Mandi- what a day...
They show you were she is from... and she really isn't from there...
I have often felt this way... they told us Emma was a BAD kid... hello she is mentally retarded and completely abused- what were they thinking??

Yes, Kalia is way better off with you and her new family. It is all just so scary and so new and different.

Praying for you, for the transition and for everyones adjustment.

once again, adoption is not for the faint of heart!

You and you FIL are doing a great job!
Keep it up!
You can do this and God is with you every step of the way!


TanyaLea said...

I know how hard it is to find the time and sometimes a 'connection' to post while in Ch*na, so I am extra grateful to see such a detailed post with so many amazing photos. From the Chinese lunch to the tours on 'orphanage day' it was just a blessing to follow along on this journey with you. I think it's safe to say she is happy to be a Yager and I trust the days ahead will bring more trust and bonding as you spend this time together. What a blessing to have your father-in-law along for support, too!

Praying for Blake and trusting God for a speedy recovery, so that he can return home soon. So hard to have your son in the hospital when you are so far away. But good to know his daddy {and his Father in Heaven} are there with him. Please keep us posted.

Sending lots of love and hugs your way! Can't wait for the next update... I'm enjoying your posts so much. Like your regrets with not visiting Jaxon's orphanage, I have the same regrets with our decision not to visit hers. Though most of her story was at NewDay, her life did begin there. I'm glad you took the time to see where your daughter spent the last 9 and 1/2 years of her life. It's heart breaking in many ways, I know... but it's good to see she had a warm bed and food to eat. I know you will make up for that lost time and she will know true unconditional mama's love like she has never before experienced!


Eve Noelle said...

How fortunate you were to be able to see so much of what has been Kalia's life before you. Despite what you saw in her while you were there, I am sure that one day she will be thankful that you have those pictures for her because although it was not a loving family and home, it was her beginning that led to you. My heart feels so much for her - we cannot begin to imagine what it must feel like to leave all you have know for your whole life - especially adding the fact that she is only 10 years old and in no way could be psychologically prepared for this. In no time you will be home with your beautiful family and she'll be running around and playing with them like she has been there her whole life. Praying for Blake to feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. It is great to see how things are in China. I am praying that the rest of your travels will go smoothly.

Jo's Corner said...

Hi Mandi ~ I'm happy to read that Kalia is a bit more at ease now. She certainly seems to be a typical pre-teen. Love the photo of her reading in the chair! I am glad you took photos of the only homes that Kalia has known. They will be treasures when she is older. We all like to be able to look back and see where we came from as we age. I actually was impressed with the orphanages. Both were very clean and bright. It seems like her basic needs were provided and that she had people who cared about her. When I compare these orphanages to others in different countries, I am in awe. Ch*na definitely does a better job in that department, compared to any that I've seen in EE.
But, the reality is...that every child needs to be in a family! In a Home! I pray that the heart break you felt about where/how she has lived, will vanish as Kalia grows into a healthy functioning young woman. It's clear to me that He has held your daughter close.

Alycia said...

i'm very glad that Kalia is doing better with you! we are praying for Blake to recover quickly.
Much love,