Saturday, November 23, 2013

A special day

Today was an incredibly special day for us. Our guide and driver did yeoman's work and got us to Jake's orphanage in Jiangzhang and his finding place in Fufeng.

Jiangzhang is a village about 1 1/2-hour drive from Xi'an. We had an address for the orphanage but no idea exactly where it was. Once we got to Jiangzhang, our guide and driver would stop and ask people for directions, and we eventually found the place.

Jiangzhang Social Welfare Institute, however, no longer cares for children. It's strictly for senior citizens and special needs adults. Our guide talked with one of the officials there, and he allowed us access to the grounds. We were able to walk around and take photos of anything we wanted. The part of the complex that was for children now is an apartment building, so we weren't able to go inside. Just being there, though, was enough for us. Just to be able to see and touch the place where Jake spent the first nearly 2 years of his life was satisfying.

Then, it was another 1/2-hour drive to Fufeng and the garden entrance that was Jake's finding place. Once again, our guide and driver would stop and ask people for directions. We didn't have an address, just a name, but they were able to lead us there.

The garden and park are beautiful, but to be able to see the entrance gate was an emotional experience for Violet and me. We both thought of Jake's birth parents, who were faced with an incredibly difficult decision. We know nothing about them or their circumstances, but I believe in my heart they felt so much love for this little boy they made the decision they felt was best for him, the one that would get him the medical attention he needed. I can't even fathom having to make that decision or actually carrying it out. The courage it took, and the love it took for them to take Jake to this beautiful place where he would be found and cared for. My heart breaks for them. Violet and I wish we could talk to them, to let them know how great Jake is doing.

We aren't ready yet, and we may never be, to post photos of Jake at his orphanage or particularly at his finding place. Right now, we feel that is part of Jake's story, and his alone to tell or not tell as he sees fit.

We do have some photos of our Chinese zodiac signs that ringed a beautiful structure in the park.

Jake is a dog.

Violet is a monkey.

Kevin is a tiger.

We fly out in the afternoon to Chongqing. Gotcha Day for Jude is Monday. The next adventure is almost here.

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