Praise the Lord, we are out of there.
Today we went to the orphanage, the Kunming CWI. Don't' get me wrong, it was a nice (enough) place.
We were afraid of the babies' reactions, just as we're starting to bond. We took special steps to never be out of Ella's sight.
We were shuffled into a room were a perfunctory medical exam occurred.
Most of the attention was on Lexi, our traveling companion, who was having a melt down.
Ella, bless her, slept until being woken by a tongue depressor stuck down her throat.
They provided lunch for the babies.
Heather and I locked eyes, and we instantly sized it up as a test. The overall vibe was one of proprietary interest in the children - us considering them ours' since yesterday morning, versus the staff letting us know (gently) that we are still on their watch.
We fed Ella under watchful eyes.
A sweet special needs child, I say about 10 years old, wandered in and around us. The staff was not pleased untilthey saw us, especially Heather, reach out to her with smiles and small talk.
Otherwise, the place (at least what we were shown) seemed eerily empty.
We got to see the infant room, full of cribs. It was hospital-like, with a sweet staff that talked to us through a sliding window. They recognized Man Li right away, as did others. I locked eyes on one little baby and started to cry. There was nothing you could do but whisper, "It will be alright."
We next were allowed to go into a large room with about 5 severely handicapped children, just sitting there, as if on display for us. Just the same they were sweet. Not everyone went in, but Heather and I did. One little boy could high-five, so we did that and smiled. There was actually some comfort in knowing that these particular children were being cared for.
Next was lunch for the group, which was pretty good. It's amazing how good you can get with chop sticks after about four days of steadyuse, three meals a day. The Director and staff joined us.
Lexi was still in melt-down mode, prompting a lot of hands-on care by the staff, essentially ignoring her new adoptive mother, which brought us back to, and reinforced, the feeling of being tested.
Ella, well, that girl can hang. She was perfect. She made us look good. There is a video of (Ella) Man Li being stopped on the way out by (what I assume was) staff. You'll get a good sense of the Kunming fashion sense if you consider they were (apparently) returning to work, after lunch, at an orphanage.
Again, don't get me wrong, we will always be appreciative of the care that Man Li received. We were happy to see that the place is as nice as it is. We agree, there should be a test, and they should sniff us out. It was important to see that they take it seriously. It was just a weird experience. Just like modern China itself is a series of contradictions, I am glad that we had the opportunity.
We will never go back.
Link to Video