Today Rocky and I headed to the Fengzhe orphanage which is about a 2 hour drive from Xiamen, and about 1/2 way to the capitol city of Fuzhou. I enjoyed visiting with Rocky in the car and talking about all that has happened over the last year. The Fengzhe orphanage is difficult to get to as it is out in a village area, so each time we have come we have had a representative meet us at a nearby city and lead us in. We learned today that they are looking at getting a new facility soon nearby for the kids. It will be neat to hopefully see them there the next time we were here. They were thankful for all the toys that we brought to them for donations! As you can see from this picture, the cribs are bare so it will be good to see the new crib toys be used in them!
We met with the director and his assistant pictured here. We had a nice long talk and had tea with them. We learned that in 2012 they only did 2 adoptions, and in 2013 only 1, which was an AGCI family, and this year they will do only 1. This orphanage is in charge of about 100 children, and about 70 are out in foster care. I learned that they are currently working on 10 referrals for the Journey of Hope program through the CCCWA. We were so happy to hear that! I got to meet and photograph these children in case I later find them on the shared list.
We were so happy to also see the children using the wheelchairs that AGCI donated with the help of generous donors. It was a joy to see the kids up out of their beds. When we were here last July 2013 they shared this need with us as they did not have any, so we were able to donate some to help. Here is a photo of some of the wheelchairs being used! We talked about the importance of adoption paperwork and about why it should be done, we talked about the recent referrals we have placed from Fujian, many were special focus referrals with more significant needs. We also explained the importance of doing paperwork right away, as soon as the kids are abandoned so they have the greatest chance to be placed and get in to a family as soon as possible. We in addition to that discussed the importance of correct diagnosis and even discussing delays if they see them and not just special need so families are not surprised later. Even though the conference did not happen on this trip, it was awesome in this way, to share many of the points with this orphanage that we had hoped to see shared at the conference. I am excited to see progress and see these 10 referrals being prepared now! Yay!
We then headed to a nearby university by the orphanage where we met Jack from Fuzhou. He is the director of the Civil Affairs office there and speaks excellent English and is a wonderful advocate for adoption. We are so thankful for him. Rocky and I enjoyed dinner at the local university cafeteria. It was neat to see all the students there. Instead of going all the way to Fuzhou it worked out for Jack to meet us here as he had a class reunion with some classmates that night. He knew his way around the university well and we met at a little shop there to have some coffee and tea.
I presented a gift to him including the family photo album that I made and he really liked it and requested another copy for the capitol! He said he is so happy with all the progress AGCI has made this year and that AGCI is doing the most work in Fujian right now. He said you have helped hire new staff at Xiamen, bring a doctor to Xiamen for evaluations, place many kids this year, and helped fund the upcoming conference. He said it will be in December or early 2015. He said thank you for all the work and we are glad you are here. I thought that the Fuzhou orphanage had a agency partner but I learned that they do not, only one other agency is here currently and they are brand new and just partnered with a smaller agency here. I do hope that we see more agencies here in time. With 57 orphanages in this province, and only 72 adoptions that happened last year, there is so much work to be done, and so many kids need help.
I also learned at this meeting that the Xiamen orphanage will be getting a new director that will come in soon, and though I was concerned about whether or not they would be pro adoption, Jack assured me that if it becomes a concern he will intervene and make sure things continue to move smoothly in Xiamen. I told him several stories that have happened in the last year such as the story of Enoch, Lybbi, and this week of Julian, and he was so happy to hear about each of these children. We also shared that we are advocating for Zoe a surgery for the removal of a brain tumor and hope that it will be done in Shanghai very soon. He said he will work to follow up on that as well. We are so thankful to be working with him and seeing his care for the kids too.