Monday, September 9, 2013

Anyang Orphanage

On Day 2 with Anna, we headed back to Anyang to process Anna's passport. In Henan province, they changed the rules and you have to go back to the city where your child was born to get their passport. So with the two other families whose children were from the Anyang Orphanage, we made the trek (and I do mean trek) in a van for 2+ hours. After the passport work was completed, we had the option of visiting the Anyang Orphanage. After a bit of discussion, we decided to go - I've read that filling in as many blanks as possible may be helpful when Anna is older.  At any rate, we want to give her the option of knowing more if she chooses. This is the orphanage where they first brought Anna and she spent the first month of her life here. After about a month, she was taken to the Little Flower Foster Home.

When we arrived, several children of all ages were lined up to greet us. They were smiling and reaching out to us. Many were challenged developmentally, physically and mentally in various stages. I felt like when they were greeting us, they were really saying: please take me home with you, please choose me.

Those children were beautiful. Yes, some of their bodies were not perfect, but I could tell that their spirits were. It broke my heart as we smiled at them. I wanted to do so much more than just walk past them, but pass them by we did.

Inside the orphanage several rooms filled with wall to wall baby cribs. In one room there were bouncy chairs for a few of the older babies to sit in. Many of the babies slept or laid their cribs and most of these kids just didn't move. I suppose I don't need to write about how much this broke my heart.

There was one little boy in a seat who seemed more alert than others and I wondered if he was a new arrival? He sat up and his eyes lit up when he saw us. In hindsight, I wish I would have picked up that little boy and hugged him. [Update: this little boy on the left in the picture below is actually a little girl and is soon to be adopted! Her mama found one a blog of one of the families on our trip and contacted him. I'm SO happy she's going to be with her family soon - she is adorable!]

I really tried to hold it together, but I couldn't hold back the tears. Another adopting father said that it makes you feel really good about what we are doing (I don't feel like we are heroes by any means and wish we could adopt a hundred of these kids). And while it does feel good that we are adopting Anna, I was still so heartbroken for these babies that we walked away from. I was overwhelmed by the enormous need.  I love my little Anna dearly, but there are thousands of babies who need a home as much as Anna.

I suppose that starfish story really is true. It makes a difference for this one, but oh how my heart aches for all those other starfish abandoned on that seashore.

If anyone is interested in learning more about adoption, I would love to answer any questions. My email is: and my agency (which I would HIGHLY recommend) is


  1. Thank you for posting. I have shared this post with fellow Anyang SWI parents who are all with CCAI, I hope you don't mind. So thankful you caught a glimpse of my girl... I need to get her home and put her in some dresses and bows! Praying for you on the rest of your journey.

  2. Thank you so much for this! Our daughter is also at Anyang right now, and in your video! She's in the baby room with all the cribs, standing up in her crib. She's on the right-hand side of the video at the beginning. She has an exposed tooth from her cleft lip/palate. Her name is Maggie Yu Fei. I also saw a beautiful picture you took of her. Thank you so much for posting about these beautiful children. If you know anything more about Maggie or come across anymore pictures/video you may have of her, please let me know! Blessings to you and your family. Jen

  3. Natalie, I remember the feeling of wanting to take them all home. It was heartbreaking to leave any of them at the Sunflower. Now, I realize why it was wise to adopt the ones that were meant to be with us. It's been a hard journey. As much as I love them, I don't know if I could have handled more. This might not be the message for you now, but know that you are doing the right thing. Anna needs all of your attention for right now. She is so cute, and we are so happy for you and Tony and Ryan!

  4. Hi, Natalie - I just want to thank you for sharing the link to your blog through the RS announcements. What a joy it's been to meet your new daughter! It has opened my eyes just a little to what you and Tony (and our cute little Ryan - love him in nursery, by the way!) have been going through as you've manuevered this process of bringing Anna home. You are in our prayers, and I'm so glad you'll be home soon. Thank you for being the instruments for bringing your bright new starfish into our ward family! Naomi