We arrived in Taichung early in the day with the intent of going to the science museum first and then to visit Mei-Yun and Tsung-Lin at the orphanage in the afternoon. Children’s Home has 160 or so children, its own kindergarten, a large playground and charming little garden area. They are divided into smaller groups depending on age and sex and, for an institution, everything looked nice and clean and homey. The kids were sitting at a little table with snacks in the middle, waiting for us to come.
All kinds of adults were around and I was able to sort out later that some worked at the orphanage, one was a social worker from Yunlin County (where kids are originally from; she's overseen this from the beginning) and our translator.
The room was perfectly clean, but I didn’t see any toys, so I didn’t know if we were supposed to sit at the table and chat in our EXTREMELY limited Chinese. So I got out the spinning tops that were a success with Han-han and some little sponge capsules that you drop in water and they become African animals. That caught their attention for a good half hour. They hovered over the cup of water, watching and waiting, then squeezing out the little sponge and matching it to the picture on the back of the package. GOTOVIDEO
The orphanage had gotten out photo albums of them and pictures they had drawn and both kids flipped through and proudly showed their pictures to us. After a time, it was decided that we’d go out for dinner…less people and hyperactivity, so we took a taxi to our favorite….yes, McDonalds!! We live less than a mile away from McDonalds in Anchorage and in 4 years, I think I can count on one hand how many times we’ve gone. Ironic, yes? The getting ready was clearly a big deal to them; I doubt there are many outings with just them. They were SO excited and gathering umbrellas, bags and raincoats. GOTOVIDEO
It was a roaring success, from the food to the kids meal toys to the play area. At one point, Mei-Yun had my camera and carefully, with great focus, took pictures of everything in sight…the bathroom door, my water bottle, the shoe bin. It was pointed out that at the orphanage, only the adults have the camera, so she was having a blast, directing me here and there for her photo shoot. (below are some of her photos)
They loved playing with Sam; both were asking our help to do this and that. Mei-Yun kept saying “Mama, guo lai..come here.” They spoke mostly Chinese, but there was a lot of context to help figure out what they wanted and the translator mostly helped with the questions I asked of the orphanage workers.
Everyone had noticed Sam's numerous mosquito bites, so Mei-Yun became the nurse, applying ointment a few times at the orphanage and McDonalds.
All in all, I don’t know that it could’ve gone better. There was the faint glimmer of “What was I thinking?” but I had that fleeting feeling when I was expecting Sam…of “can I do this?” And really, we just do it…parenting is good and hard.... and better and harder, and we do it.