We spent today visiting the only place Josiah has known as “home.”
Though he was born in Puyang County, at two months of age Josiah was transferred from the Puyang Children’s Welfare Institute to the LuoHe Lily Orphan Care Center (LOCC). He lived there up until last week.
One year. Fed, changed, held, and (we think and hope) . . . loved.
Today we had a chance to visit this first home. We arrived around noon, peeked in on the kids during nap time, and then had lunch with the head caretaker of the LOCC and the main orphanage director. And then, an afternoon with Josiah’s old friends.
It was a good visit. Rose commented, “This is a nice orphanage.”
When I asked her why she thought so, she answered, “The ayis are nice here.”
I agree. They smiled a lot, held the children, delighted in them, and called them all by name. “Fu zi! Fu zi!” they would call, as we entered each room. When I mentioned tidbits of his personality they had written about in updates sent to us, we laughed together and they told us more.
“He doesn’t like to wear a bib, so he takes it off. But he doesn’t like the other children to wear their bibs either, so he’ll crawl over and try to take theirs off, too!”
“He’s smart. He knows that if he shares his cookies with the ayi, she’ll think he’s cute and want to give him more!”
“He always wants to be held, if we try to pick up another child, he’ll fuss and get mad”
One caretaker pointed this out to us – Josiah’s crib from age 6 -12 months.
I shed tears as we left. And now again, as I process it all. Mourning that year of not knowing our little guy. Grieving that there are so many children still there. Grieved that most orphans are in places not half as nice as this. So many harsh realities. So many.
Thanks to the generous donations of friends in our community, we were able to donate shoes for all the kids, and also gave lotions and lip balms for all of the caretakers. Thank you, friends – I could sense that the donations were much appreciated. I’m so thankful we were able to visit, and thankful I could sincerely say to these caretakers as we left, “Thank you for the love you have shown Fuzi. Thank you for the love you show these children.”