March 9th: We arrived in Beijing.
March 10th: Flew to Nanning, Guangxi
March 11th: SHOCK! China was NOT what we imagined!
March 12th: We met Naomi.
March 13th: We finalized Naomi's adoption.
March 14th: We got to know Naomi.
March 15th: We went to Liuzhou to see Naomi's orphanage and meet her foster parents.
March 16th: We got Naomi's passport and final adoption paperwork.
March 17th: We flew to Changsa, Hunan
Naomi was the oldest child (by far!) being adopted that week. Children had been brought from different towns in the province to meet their parents at the Civil Affairs Building in Nanning. She was very timid and shy. I don't think she spoke at all while we were at the office building.
We brought her a gift, a purple dress. (We had gotten a size that would have fit our 9-year old....it was WAY too big!) She seemed very uncomfortable opening it. She had brought us gifts--friendship bracelets that she had made.
After we got back to the hotel, she quickly bonded with my other two girls (ages 9 and 7). They bonded over Barbies and jewelry.
It took Naomi a few more days before she trusted her new parents, but she eventually got there. :)
On Thursday, we went back to Liuzhou to take some supplies to the orphanage and to meet her foster mom.
Unfortunately, the staff would not allow us to enter the orphanage or to talk to any of the other children. (That really depressed me, because I had really wanted to be able to help find a family for some of these other "old" kids that would no longer eligible for adoption on their 14th birthday.)
We went to the store owned by the foster parents. The foster mom was not there, but a man that was watching the store told us to sit down and wait. (We learned later that he was the foster father, but he showed no emotion towards Naomi.)
The foster mom arrived and took all of us to lunch. While we were walking, Naomi saw her best-friend. The girl had not known that Naomi was being adopted and she began to cry. (While we were in China, the only time Naomi showed any regret about what she was leaving behind was with her friend.)
We went to Naomi's school. The teachers were very welcoming! They all said that Naomi tries very hard and that she is a good student. The school was surrounded by buildings that would have been condemned in the U.S.
The classrooms looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie. There were no textbooks or loose-leaf paper, just small workbooks. There were a few posters on the walls and one blackboard. (I can not imagine trying to teach with so few supplies!) There were roughly 30 children in the class. It was nice to see that 8-year old kids act the same in other countries! :)
The foster mom shared a bit about her time with Naomi and why she had been willing to sponsor HER specifically. She told us that she was Christian. After she learned that we were Christian, too, she seemed to immediately become more comfortable with us. She even took us to their church.
The church was on the top floor of an old apartment building. It had most of the interior walls knocked down to make one large room. There were more of the same desks that they had in the schools, beds (for people that got tired walking up all the stairs to the church), a water dispenser, and a squatty potty.