Day Three: Xuzhou City

Our day began bright and early this morning as we left the hotel at 7 am to catch the subway to the rail station. Thankfully we were able to take a bullet train out to Xuzhou City, which is the third largest city in the Jiangsu Province. We took an Uber (ha! I had to go to China to take my first Uber!) to the orphanage where we were greeted and brought to a room where we were given some fruit and tea. Soon the director that brought Zoey to us on Monday came and gave us a tour. We saw the intake room where babies go when they first arrive, and then the younger baby room where she lived for a while. The minute I walked into the room where she had been living, she started crying hard and was as very upset. She was still in the carrier, so I snuggled her close. She calmed down for a bit until I took her out so the nannies could feed her some food. Since she wasn’t eating for me, we needed to find out what she liked, how they fed her and what they fed her. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be a very good experience for her, but we had to figure out how to feed this girl! Thus far I have tried several times to put Zoey in a highchair for mealtimes, but she refuses. Today, they tried to put her in the highchair for lunch, but she lost it – I’m not sure what associations she has with the highchair, but they are clearly not good – and it doesn’t help that the chair the orphanage uses is the one all the restaurants use as it’s from IKEA – oh, did I mention that’s also the one I have waiting for us at home?? I guess I’ll be buying a new highchair when we get home… So, I held Zoey and while she was clearly not happy I think she was hungry, so she opened her mouth to accept some food from the nanny. She ate the whole bowl of rice mush with bok Choy and cried for more. Turns out she likes salty, not sweet, does not like crackers or snack foods, does take a bottle thickened with rice and drinks apple and pear juice. Sure would have been helpful to have this information four days ago! Her nanny asked for a hug as we left the room and while she didn’t jump into her arms, she didn’t cry when she took her from me. Her nanny wiped tears from her eyes as we left the room. Zoey was well loved and cared for. The orphanage is huge and was newly built about 3 years ago. We learned that the whole province of Jiangsu is wealthy – and it shows. It has been a very different experience here compared to our time in Henan. There have also been so many more children – and families with multiple children. We finished the tour of the building and then she showed us the grounds – which include a hospital and senior retirement center. At the entrance they have a safe baby drop box which she said gets about 20 children a year – they have not announced it to the media, so it is not used too much. As we left the building I could see Zoey relax… sweet baby had a hard time. I pray it was good closure for her sweet soul. She is allowing me in a little more each day. Tomorrow we rock her world even more as we head down to Guangzhou for the second half of the trip.

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