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China adoption diary: A many-Kleenex visit to Grace’s orphanage

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Courtesy of Belsie family

(Read caption) Grace and Bao Yi visit with children in the Maoming Social Welfare Institute where Grace lived before she was adopted in 2003.

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Part 7 of Gretchen Belsie’s account of her trip with husband Laurent and their first adopted Chinese daughter – 10-year-old Grace – as they head to meet and bring home 7-year-old Madeleine Bao Yi.

As we were having breakfast in Maoming this morning, I kept a close eye on Grace, checking to see how she was gearing up for the day’s activity. Back in May, she, Laurent, and I discussed at length what it would mean to take this opportunity to return to her orphanage. Grace made the final decision, and we figured the trip into our itinerary.

She was unusually quiet and pensive at the table while Bao Yi was happily feasting on mini corn cobs steamed in milk, steamed dumplings, watermelon, and slices of ham.

The van ride to the orphanage was only 10 minutes, but it was a world away.

The van pulled into a small brick courtyard, which was surrounded by a six-story cement and steel building accented with pink tiles. Laundry was hanging over the iron railings and rust stains wept down the façade.

We were met by the vice director of the Maoming Social Welfare Institute, a very pleasant woman named Yin Lian Rong. She ushered us up to a conference room where we were able to ask questions, through translators, to our hearts’ content.


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