September 07, 2006

Day 8 - Visit to Orphanage, City Wall, Museum

Today was pretty full. After a bit of an early rise, we set out for the orphanage. We met the doctor who did Sheehan's surgery, the orphanage director, and the nannies who cared for Sheehan.

The doctor that Performed the surgery on Sheehan's lip with Kate and Sheehan

NOTE to parents adopting from Xi'an...Unfortunately, we were so frazzled trying to get out of the hotel room, with Sheehan being sick and not sleeping well, that we forgot the video camera AND the list of children to take pictures of. I also forgot the family albums I was to deliver, but they will come to our hotel to pick those up. We did take many pictures of all the kids hoping we could at least get one picture of each kid. If I remembered what they looked like, then I took many pics of them. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go to the 2nd floor. I will post the pics at the Xi'an yahoo site as soon as I can.

All the nannies were very excited to see Sheehan again. At first he wouldn't let any of them hold him, but eventually he allowed it. They were so excited. The children were so beautiful. Some were dying to have Steve and I pick them up. One of the kids clung to my leg and wouldn't let go. One little girl I picked up, she threw some plastic keys across the room and starting laughing hysterically. Then I let her down to go over and pick them up and in the meantime picked up the boy clinging to my leg. When the little girl came back with the keys she laid down on the ground and starting crying and kicking. She was ok after a few seconds.

One of the women at the orphanage speaks English (British accent, so I'm guessing she was from Hong Kong). She told me about the non-profit organization that takes care of the children on the 4th floor. The organization is called the English Language Association (ELA Childcare). They are not part of the orphanage, they just use the space and take care of this group of children. They have a good ratio of care takers to children. There were MANY caretakers in the rooms. I was really impressed. There were children in the other room singing the ABC's in English. We arrived just before lunch, so they invited Sheehan to sit down with the kids for lunch. As soon as they said "Let's eat!" (in Chinese, of course), Sheehan wanted out of my arms and ran right for his little chair at the table with the other kids. He woofed down two bowls.

Sheehan eating lunch with his old gang and aunties:

While Sheehan was eating and dad was watching, I got a tour of the rest of the 4th floor facilities. She showed me the baby room where the youngest children are. She said that many of the children have cleft lip/palate. She said that if the cleft babies were on the other floors of the orphanage there is a good chance they wouldn't survive. Cleft babies have to have special feeding bottles because they are unable to suck. She also gave some reasons why cleft babies might be abandoned. She said it was two-fold: 1) many parents in the countryside can't afford to get the care needed for a child with cleft and 2) many women in the countryside only breastfeed and when their child is not sucking, they don't know what to do. The child begins to waste away. They can't stand to see that and they take the baby to be abandoned. It makes me sad to think that there is possibly a woman out there who couldn't care for Sheehan, either because she didn't know how to or couldn't afford to. This is a person that we will be sure to pray for for the rest of our lives.

Then she showed me the room where the children who have severe special needs (mostly mentally challenged) stayed. I asked what happens to the children in that room if they are not adopted. She said they usually go right into homes for old folks. Later, we asked our tour guide what happens to orphans similar to Sheehan's case, that don't get adopted. He said they will live a life of poverty.

After lunch we went to have an adult lunch at a dumpling (pot stickers) banquet. They took us to our own private dining room where 4 different people waited on us. There were so many dumplings to try. They were all so good! One was filled with sea cucumber. We recalled that we saw this animal on the bottom of the ocean floor of the lagoon where we satyed on our honeymoon and we were told that if you toched it and then touch your eyes you will go blind. I stil ate it though. It was pretty good. The weird thing was the "beef" she put in front of me. I really think it was beef intestines because it didn't look anything like the beef I'm used to. I ate it anyway. The Chinese have an amazing way of making yucky stuff taste relaly good. Like this yucky-looking green vegetable that looks like it's straight from the ocean floor...I tried it...loved it. Oh, and then at the end of the dumpling banquet they bring out a fruit tray and there is this fruit that had a BRIGHT pink rind and a white flesh with tons of little black seeds (poppy-seed sized). It tasted like kiwi...but I'd never seen it before. Also, apparently pomegranate and dates are quite common in China. They were selling pomegranates on the highway to the terra cotta warriors (Susie, I thought you might appreciate this.) They are very inexpensive in China. One more thing about the dumpling banquet restaurant that I found amusing and took a picture of, were the bathrooms. The male and female stalls were in the same room. So, you would go into the bathroom and be in a stall next to a person of the opposite gender. Very different.

A shot on top of the 37 foot high, 20-foot wide (at the top) city of Xian wall:

After the banquet, we visited the city wall around Xi'an. There is a wall that surrounds the entire city that was built...I'm not sure when it was built, but it was during one of those dynasties. It was kind of chilly and I was concerned about Sheehan getting cold, so we were only up on the wall for about 15 minutes.

After the wall, we went to the Shaanxi museum (Shaanxi is the province that Xi'an is in). Xi'an was the beginning of the Silk Road. We saw many archeological items dug up from thousands of years ago. It was neat to see all that history in our son's homeland.

After the museum, we came back and tried to get Sheehan to take a nap. Didn't happen. So, we went to the grocery store. There stores are pretty neat and HUGE. Totally different than what I imagined. It's a like a Meijer store, but multiple levels and to get to the next level, instead of taking an escalator, they have escalator the walking escalators at O'Hare, but these are on an incline, so you get to the next floor and you get to take your shopping cart with you. Sheehan likes going to the store, especially when we buy him cookies. Again, chip off the old block!

Now for some prayer requests. Sheehan is really having a difficult time sleeping, and it is wearing him out, and Kate since he literally will only stop crying when she holds his 25-pound body "standing upright"! If she tries to sit down while holding him or if Steve tries, he screams and kicks. Tonight's trial and error seems to show that he can't stand the hotel room. When Steve took him out in the stroller one time and while carrying him a second time, he went to sleep in minutes. Anyway, please pray for his rest and Kate's as wel as Kate's health. We think she may be coming down with a sore throat.

As always, thanks for your support. We have been witnesses to God's hearing and answering your prayers and it is awesome to experience.


Steve, Kate and Sheehan Print Friendly and PDF


  1. Anonymous10:22 AM

    WOW...what a trip..I love all the pics and your daily diary. I bet you two are very tired. You have been doing a lot. I guess you are at the half way point. Katherine, he looks so sweet in your arms. The pic of Steve and Sheehan with their tongues it....I can't wait to see all your pics and the video. is a peanut butter remedy: When I wanted you girls to go to sleep I would ask what is in your ear?...and softly touch and play with your ear until you would go to sleep. Believe it or not...I would do this to UDavid when he was little....

    We look forward each day for your up dates....Please take care of yourselves and here is a x and o for Sheehan...lm

  2. AUNT KIM10:32 AM

    OOOOOOHHHHHHH... I cried my eyes out (happy cry) when I saw that photo of Steve and Sheehan!!! How sweet is that!!! Awesome photo! We need to send it in to a magazine or something!!!!
    With Kayla... I would either sing softly to her.. read a book to her... or would tell her the story of the 3 bears and use some really good acting for the bears voice. It would soothe her and made her feel comfortable enought to sleep. Hush Litte Baby was her favortie song.. or You are my sunshine... Her favorite book was... "Are you my Mother" about a baby bird looking for his Mom and he runs into all these different animals and trees and machinary... As she got older.. I would try to let her watch Barney... and would dance with her and this would eventually get her tired. I will keep you all in my prayers and hope that Katherine will not come down with a sore throat.. however.. if you can get some zinc tablets.. that may help.
    ALSO.. PS.. Sheehan will be getting another girl cousin in January... Shana is having a girl.

    Love you guys!!!

  3. Shane (Cous)10:45 AM

    Great pictures! Dad's already got him in Bears gear, sweet. He definetely is a chip off the old block running for the lunch table like that. Smart kid! Get some rest guys and take care of yourselves we're all thinking of you.

  4. Anonymous4:10 PM

    I don't know what you did to the pics..I'm now able to capture them at a larger size. Unfortunately, the pics from the start of the trip up through Day 3- Exhausting, I can not get them to enlarge.... Once you get I'm thinking of you three all the time ...I hope you get some rest. lm

  5. Melissa5:25 PM

    We will pray for you guys and that Sheehan starts to feel better and hopefully get some rest.

    We miss you and can't wait to meet Sheehan.

    Fleurette saw the picture of Sheehan and Steve sticking their tongues out and she started laughing.

  6. Jessi8:16 PM

    first of all, Kate, i hope you feel better and that you all get some sleep! and second of all, i love that picture of Steve and Sheehan! the three of you seem to be working out so well! Miss you guys a lot and cant wait to see you...ONE MORE WEEK! Jenny T has a countdown going! haha, talk to you guys later!! -Jessi

  7. Julie B.10:48 PM

    KATE! I MISS YOU! hehe i found your site and i love it sooo much. I just spent the past half hours reading everything hehe. Sheehan is the most absoulte cutiest thing i have even seen! I want my baby to be like him. hehe Plus i think Whre you are sounds really cool. I read about the drivers and i thought that was crazy! As well as the beggs, is so sad yet heart warming that you gave them money! I Pray for you both and sheenan and i hopwe you have a safe trip back!

  8. Janice8:38 AM

    Katherine and Steve, Congratulations! Thinking about the three of you with love, Janice

  9. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Hi Halls!

    Just a quick comment for Kate: In the picture at the top of the wall in Xian, you appear to be wearing a fanny pack - I coudn't really see clearly by I hope the EcoSure logo is embroidered on the front. You know we're looking for an international market : )

    Just wanted to let you guys know that your in my thoughts and prayers and everyone at EcoSure is hoping things are going well.

    Lots of love - Erin H.

  10. Anonymous10:03 AM

    I love the photos! I know God picked exactly the right parents for this little guy. You are doing great! I think you'll enjoy Guangzhou on the next leg of your trip.
    jeanne and jeff turner

  11. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Thank you so much for the orphanage pictures!!!! You had 8 shots of our little girl ! She was the child in yellow by your umbrella stroller . You also got pictures of her playing! Such a blessing to us!!
    Whe you are settled , if you recall any details about her , we wwould love to hear ..
    Your son is adorable> We are so happy for you. Nancy & Dan in WI


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