Thank you to all who sent prayers on our behalf yesterday. The day proved far more eventful than anticipated.
Our guide and driver deftly maneuvered major highways and then a number of back streets, none with markers as far as I could tell, and we arrived safely at Grace's foster family's home. The foster mother set off a HUGE package of firecrackers to celebrate our arrival. There was no doubt to anyone within a mile that she had something to celebrate.
This was our second time to see her since I adopted Grace, as she met us when we adopted Annabel. In spite of the language differences, you knew how much she loved and cared for Grace. Both my daughters are very fortunate that the majority of their lives pre-adoption were spent in foster care, rather than at the orphanage.
The foster mother, foster sister, her husband, and baby greeted us with a banquet of fresh fruits and drinks. She then started presenting gifts for both Grace and I. I received a beautiful porcelain plate, something the region is known for, along with a beautiful embroidered bag, and a pair of shoes. Grace received a beautiful bag, new outfit, and a pair of shoes. We waited for the foster father to come home, than all went together to a very nice restaurant. Our guide did an outstanding job of trying to keep the communication going between all of us. Grace had many memories that she wanted confirmed and each time the family loved that she could remember so many details.
After a wonderful meal, it was very difficult to say good bye, but we had to go.
If you are not familiar with Chinese adoption, you might know understand the next part without a brief history. The Chinese government, in an effort to control the population after Chairman Mao's reign, where large families were encouraged, implemented a one child policy, making it illegal to have more than one child per family. Some exceptions were made if you are a minority or live in a rural area and need the family to help on a farm.
On top of that, sons are preferred over daughters, and millions of baby daughters were abandoned as a result, hoping someone would find and care for them. I cannot imagine the anguish a mother felt in making this decision and sure many still live with the scars of having to choose.
As a result, children adopted from China have an abandonment certificate, proclaiming that the local government did all they could to find the parents of a child who was found. It usually lists the address where the child was located and by whom.
Somehow I traveled without ours, even though I thought both girls might be interested in seeing if we could find that place. A quick message home and my poor parents tried to go through the mounds of adoption paperwork to find just the right document, make copies and then email halfway around the world.
They got to us just in time and our guide took us to the place where Grace was found.
I think I am still too overwhelmed by the whole idea to fully realize what that meant and the people who rent the place now were not there in 1998 and referred us to local police station.
The woman at the police station was colleagues with the man who found Grace, called him, and he came to that office.
Sometimes this whole process can take months, even years, yet it all happened within hours for us.
When the officer arrived, I truly wanted him to recall something about that day, but he insisted that he found so many babies during that time, he did not remember anything specific.
In the meantime, the original woman at the police station called the local news, who showed up and interviewed all of us! It was supposed to be on the news last night at 8:00 pm, but we missed it.
Our guide told us of another family who had been able to reach out to the media and within a week, had been contacted by the birth family.
Overwhelming is an understatement. I'm not sure what will happen next.