China Part 7: How We Advocate

AGCI just returned from China! Our team just returned from a two-week stay in China. Thank you for following our posts about our journey and how we’re advocating for China’s orphans!

From Tiffany Williams, China Program Director, 9/25/15

Fuzhou and Jiao Cheng

On Monday morning Kiersten, Lilian and I headed back to the Zhangzhou orphanage. We were able to give some developmental toys from Xiamen to the kids at Zhangzhou. They especially loved the light up balls, rattles, and stacking cups.

After leaving the orphanage, the director took us to old town Zhangzhou where we saw part of the city that was almost 1,000 years old (pictured right)! The arches, buildings, craftwork and small alleyways were spectacular. I was in awe! Then, we said goodbye to Lilian who was headed back to Xiamen, and the director escorted us to the train station to leave for Fuzhou.

The next morning, we met up with Rocky and a team who helps with children’s evaluations for another US adoption agency.

Afterwards, we traveled by bus for about two hours to an orphanage called Jiao Cheng. We had to go down a very small alley way and up a steep hill in the bus and it was quite an adventure! I won’t deny that I said a quick prayer for our safety!

The orphanage we visited was small, and as far as we know, there aren’t any children currently eligible for international
adoption. We went upstairs to an upper floor and we examined about 10 kids there. There were so many precious children that touched my heart there. After spending time with the children, we got back on the bus and headed to our next stop!

Our Last Orphanage Visit

Early Wednesday morning, we left the hotel for the long ride to our last orphanage visit. The road to get there was very mountainous and we were just in awe of the beauty of the mountains, villages, temples, lakes, rivers, and farms and even waterfalls that we saw along the way (pictured left).

We arrived around lunchtime. As we pulled into a really nice orphanage facility, the older children ran out to greet us. One older girl greeted us with an English, “hello!”

I soon learned that she was not eligible for adoption yet. Although she did not have an identified special need, she is considered to be a special needs child, due to her age. We also learned that she just won an award for Chinese dancing. She was darling!

They shared with us that years ago, this orphanage was a sad place with a lot of sick kids so they stopped doing adoptions about 3 years ago. However, after the recent Fuzhou conference hosted by AGCI, they decided to begin preparing paperwork again. I saw many children who could be placed for adoption.

We were able to evaluate about 20 children and I was so happy with the care the children have received from the orphanage staff. Many children attend public school and their special needs would be considered minor to moderate.

We met one little 9-year-old boy and he was absolutely so sweet. I learned that a Buddhist monk raised him for the first 6 years of his life. This monk took orphans off the street and took care of them. However, the public didn’t want children in the monastery, so they eventually had to come in to the care of this orphanage.

I also met one little girl who has cerebral palsy. I was able to hold her a lot. The orphanage staff told us that they would not prepare her paperwork for adoption as they considered her needs to be too severe. I told them that we have placed children who have cerebral palsy. She was so tiny, but they still said no. They said they would only prepare paperwork for children with less significant needs.

I hope to advocate for change. I would love to see what we could do for her, and I hope that decision could be re-considered.

I met another girl who just turned 13 years old. She had very long hair, wore glasses and had a repaired cleft lip and palate. She loves to read. I asked that they please expedite her adoption paperwork. I believe we could find a family for her.

When Rocky asked her if she wanted to be adopted, she said no. Her caretaker said she did not understand what adoption was. So, I pulled out my laptop and talked with her and showed her pictures of older kids we have placed, and adoptive families. She lit up and smiled when I shared about kids leaving the orphanage, going on an airplane, and being adopted by an American family.

She smiled at Rocky and said she would think about it. She was heavy on my heart and I prayed they would do her paperwork quickly. In China, older children have the choice on whether or not they want to be adopted, but many kids do not even understand what adoption means.

Thank you so much for following our journey! In 12 days we visited 6 orphanages and had 6 hotel changes. It has been an adventure and a huge blessing to be in China to serve these kids. We look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in our China program!

We have an urgent need for families! We anticipate receiving paperwork for 40 children from Xiamen soon. We need families in our program that will be ready for these children.

If a family’s dossier is logged in, travel can be very soon after accepting a referral. Since paperwork often takes 6-9 months, it’s important to begin as soon as possible. Also, LOAs are coming very quickly for families that are logged in. Many recent families with logged in dossiers have travelled within 4 months after accepting the referral of a child. If a dossier is not logged in, the process often takes closer to 12-15 months.

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