"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5


Today was a sobering day, and yet the days just keep getting better. After breakfast, Shao (our driver for the week) picked us up for the drive to Gutian. Thanks to the advice of the Colorado Wilsons (another Gutian family), we took some Dramamine before we left (the less drowsy kind). The first two hours were uneventful, but the last hour was the bumpiest road, full of switchbacks. This made Alaina quite nervous as there are no car seats in China.

We got to the orphanage and met the director and caretakers. We received the tour of the building and got to meet the other children. There are 23 children currently at the orphanage, and it seems more of them are special needs children than healthy kids. We saw at least three with cleft lips and palates, as well as some others with various needs. I don’t quite know how to describe what we saw. It was smaller than we expected, but it was so obvious that each staff member genuinely loved the children. There was an older girl there (maybe 5 or 6), and the director carried her everywhere. They were obviously good buddies.

The whole experience was quite a whirlwind. We just kept following people where they led us. We went to the top floor, where they had a large conference-type room with plates of cookies all around the table. Once there, the director had several things he wanted to share with us, through Leila, our interpreter. He thanked us for coming to China so we could provide a home for Dayna, and shared with us some of the things the orphanage has been able to do with the gifts of their families. He asked that we continue to send pictures of Dayna to the orphanage, both after her surgery and as she grows up.

From there, we were whisked away to a restaurant in downtown Gutian. In an upstairs room, about 10 of us sat around a table to eat “family style.” Dan noticed that table manners are a bit different in China. Everyone just started to dig in with their chopsticks to various dishes, then spin the table to the next item. Leila had kindly informed the kitchen staff to refrain from serving dishes containing pork. As a result, we got to sample more shrimp with their heads still attached, frog soup (okay, Alaina didn’t try that one, but Dan said it was tasty), and eel. Many dishes also contained different types of mushrooms. It seems Gutian is famous for its mushrooms, producing over 50% of the mushrooms consumed in China. The food just kept coming and coming. Alaina was able to use the Mandarin she learned in preparation for the trip. They said that her Mandarin was the best out of any family who has adopted from this orphanage. They all laughed when she spoke in Mandarin, “I am not Chinese.”

After lunch, the director walked with us to the Gutian hospital where Dayna was found. We learned more of the story about how she came to the orphanage. We have quite a bit to process about this, but what God has really impressed on our hearts through this sad situation is that He does have a marvelous plan for her life. Her very existence is a testament to that fact. Jeremiah 29:11 has been the cry of our hearts throughout this process, but it now has even more depth as we think about Dayna: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” We are certain that God has great things planned for this little girl, and we are humbled that He would choose us to be the ones to bring her up.

We went back to the orphanage for more pictures and a final goodbye. We took pictures of all the babies, while Alaina whispered to each of them, "Jesus loves you." Throughout the day, Dayna’s caregivers would take her and pass her around. We were more than a little concerned about this at first, but realize now what a blessing it was for us to see how very much these women and the director loved our little girl.

Well, it was time for the return trip, and we realized that there are few things more precious in the world than a little one who didn’t know you just three days ago falling asleep in your arms. She slept most of the way back; however, we’re paying that price now. She’s been screaming for about three hours again. Meanwhile that “non-drowsy” Dramamine has really hit her Mommy hard. It’s way past all of our bedtimes, so we ask your understanding if today’s post goes up a little late again. (What's that? The blessed sound of Dayna's heavy breathing!?! Only 3 1/2 hours past her bedtime!) We’re still waiting for a “calm” evening to have Dayna’s little birthday party. Maybe tomorrow.

She did learn how to clap, wave and blow kisses today. She is also easily rolling in all directions. We love you all. Enjoy the pictures.

Road trip!
With Director
With Dong Ling, the woman who found Dayna
Orphanage staff and children
Lunch...Dan's thinking, "Did I really eat frog soup?"
Yummy yogurt


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