A finding place is aptly named as it is the place where an orphan is found when s/he is abandoned. So here's what we know: On April 11, 2010, Liliana was found in the Shiji Huayang Square at the intersection of Jiudou Road and Lixin Road. She was taken to the police and placed into the orphanage. They estimated her birth date to be March 27, 2010. An investigation was completed. Her parents were not found, and she was officially declared abandoned. An ad was placed in the local newspaper with her picture and the name they chose for her (that name is Dang Cai Tong and yes, we now have a photocopy of the ad). She was never claimed by her birth parents or relatives. How sad it was to see the ad because it appeared on a page with about thirty or more other ads for abandoned babies. This province is filled with abandoned babies.The people in our little group heading out to Luoyang knew how important is was to me for us to get to Liliana's finding place. I wanted to see it, smell it, feel it, and hear it for myself. I wanted to capture it as best as I could for Liliana so when she asks about that place years from now, I can show her pictures and speak about it. Although both Maria's Big House of Hope and Liliana's finding place are in the same city, going to Liliana's finding place added a lot of extra time to the travel, especially with traffic. In addition, the fog has been extra thick this week (Clay said this has been the worst it has been in years). So driving is not easy (plus all of the traffic and crazy drivers). So I am forever grateful to our driver, CCAI rep., and the families who trekked out to Liliana's finding place with us. They were so kind and loving to allow me the opportunity to get to Liliana's finding place and go through all of the trouble of getting there. I cannot thank them enough. It was not just a kind gesture but in fact a gift to Liliana as it helps me fill in another gap in her story.
|Picture of the intersection|
|Street sign at Liliana's finding place|
|Liliana at her finding place|
|Another intersection picture|
So the journey to Liliana's finding place was long and rough. The time there was filled with difficult emotions, but the trip was well worth it. When I felt like there was nothing more I could take in and when the crying stopped and my eyes were a bit drier, I walked back to the van, loaded up, and headed off to Maria's Big House of Hope.Maria's House was a completely different experience for me. At Maria's, we were able to take a brief tour, and we got to find our children's rooms. Liliana stayed here between nine months and seventeen months old while she was very sick. She was in the Tinkerbell room on the first floor mostly (she may have spent some time in another room upstairs briefly). We toured nearly the whole place and got to see the room of the other family with us on this trip. Near the end of our tour, we got to Liliana's room. When we entered her room, I recognized some of the toys from pictures I had seen. The nanny in the room did not seem to recognize Liliana too well, and Liliana did not respond to her like she did her nanny at Luoyang or nannies at Swallows Nest. There seemed to be a meeting of nannies in another room at the time. So perhaps this was a second tier nanny. Still, she held Liliana, offered her a candy, and played a little with her. We took some pictures together, and then needed to leave to get home before the fog closed the highway and we needed to spend the night in Luoyang.
I am so grateful for the ministry of Maria's Big House of Hope. They took care of our daughter when she was quite ill. I don't yet know how sick Liliana was but clearly it was bad enough to warrant going there. Without their work, who knows what would have happened to Liliana. We will be hopefully getting more information and pictures on her stay there when I get home. In addition to this, their partnering ministry, Show Hope, gave us a grant towards our adoption and also gave us a ton of free DVD resources from Dr. Karyn Purvis (an amazing and brilliant woman). So Maria's House, Show Hope, etc. has been a real blessing to us in this process.
Both times we were in Luoyang, Liliana got a bit upset. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think either somehow she knew where we were or some spiritual warfare was happening. In ether case, we were able to pray over her and reassure her that she was safe. Riding in the van seems to be difficult as well. Think about it though: van rides always meant change for her. So this is a normal reaction. Lots of snacks seemed to provide good distraction.Liliana also still does not want to go to sleep. She is a bit afraid too. We've been praying over that, and tonight went fairly well. We discovered that rocking her to sleep is the only way to get beyond the emotions/trauma. So this evening I spent a lot of time rocking her to sleep.
As for me, I am missing home as any husband and father who loves his wife and kids would. This week has been all about filling in gaps in Liliana's story and saying good-bye ... good-bye to being an orphan, good-bye to Luoyang Orphanage, good-bye to Swallows Nest, good-bye to Maria's Big House of Hope, good-bye to the Shiji Huayang Square. Next week our focus shifts and we get ready for saying hello to our future.With this shift comes a deeper longing for home. Perhaps the biggest reason I want to see us home soon is Rachel. Liliana needs to meet her Mommy. She is going to fall in love with her Mama. Right now she gets to see her on Skype at least. She already places value in that relationship. She loves the hat Rachel made for her. She was looking for it earlier this evening and was sad until I got it for her. She brightened right up as she ran (as best as she can) towards it. Later when I went to put her to bed, she asked for it and seemed to be comforted by it greatly. Hold on just a little longer, Liliana. You will meet your Mommy soon, and when you do you will be blown away! She is more amazing, more brilliant, more loving, more kind, and more sensitive than anything you could have dreamed about a Mommy being.