As surprising as it may seem, there are no pictures on this page as I wanted to pass on my thoughts regarding this whole odyssey.
If I were asked to pick one picture that best captured the entire event, it would clearly be the one that I did not take. The picture of a dozen or so people watching us leave the civil services center carrying our children after our first two hours with them. These people watched from about fifty feet away as we strolled the thirty feet from the buildings entrance to our returning bus. They were the caregivers from the orphanage who had traveled six hours by bus with the children deep in the rural region of the province. They had just spent ninety minutes with us answering as many of the questions Samson our guide could translate. They watched as we put the new clothes on the kids. Clothes that either we had brought or had been given by friends and relatives who wanted to play more of a part in this event.
These caregivers had left the building about twenty minutes before we finished up the paperwork, fingerprinting, and final picture taking. I thought it strange that they did not immediately begin the six hour return trip but huddled together to watch us all leave the building.
For the past one year or so, they had worked with limited housing, food, and medical resources to provide the best care they could for these children born under China’s one child policy. (Here is not the place to comment on the effects of that policy or even judge it)
As we left, I watched the look on their faces and saw many emotions; sadness for the children that they would never again hold, joy for the opportunity they knew that these children would be getting, and a small degree of envy for the life that they- the caregivers - would never be able to enjoy. They know of the opportunities the children would not have had they remained in China – even as China continues its fast growth into a major economic and political force in the world. Despite this, with 1.3 billion people, it will take generations.
I thought about grabbing my camera from the bag – God knows I did that enough on this trip- but I did not want to waste what I knew would only last for a few moments.
That is the picture that remains in my mind as the one that best captures the two weeks.
As we continued for the next several days watching our children achieve skill and motor developments that usually span months in the US but only days here, I knew that these children were somewhat behind and would quickly catch up to the level that we are fortunate enough to provide.
But I did not forget that the caregivers did the best that they could do with the resources they had and I am thankful and grateful for it. At the orphanage, the children might share one caregiver among six to ten children. Now the children have several people to push them and feed them with food, vitamins, and medicines they would not have experienced had they remained. While it would be so easy to criticize or be judgmental coming from the abundance that we have in the US, that would be a very narrow, shallow view of the whole event and would take away from what these caregivers had provided.
When I saw those dozen people, I was grateful but saddened that the event we witnessed occurs only a few thousand times per year in a country with four to five times the population of the US.
My daughter Laura asked me during one of our site seeing trips with Grace, why I did this. Obviously, my position in life with three essentially grown children often begs that question. The answer came out without a moments hesitation. I don’t want to bring another child into this world but want to make this world a better place for a child who is already here. That’s all that I am capable of doing. With the help and support of the other families who took on this adventure along with my family and friends who watched this event unfold over the web, I believe that will happen.
I am certainly not naive to think that Grace Fu Jia Huisking will ever fully comprehend what has taken place here. However, I hope that as she grows and becomes an integral part of my family and friends, she along with Sara, Bill, and Laura, will find their contribution to this world thus making it a better place because they were in it. That is what my father responded to the question of what he wanted out of life. Somehow making the world a slightly better place because he was in it.
Thank you again for all of your support, emails, comments, and help. It has made this event a once in a lifetime experience.