Today I went with the group to see an orphanage in Tianjin and it was beautiful. There were multiple buildings with 4 floors filled with technology, large play areas, medical rooms, and more! IT was raining heavily and so the orphanage officials had our van pull up directly next to the entrance so that we would not have to walk in the rain. From there were were led to the pre-school room where there were several young children. One in particular was a girl who looked to be about six years old who had the hugest smile and kept waving excitedly to all of us. For about 10 minutes we observed the children in circle practicing introductions, which we were told they do everyday to enhance their social interaction skills. Before we left the room were allowed to interact with the children and I went to a small boy who was in a stroller who was very timid but warmed up to me very quickly. I was able to make him smile when I gave him a thumbs up after he finished his water and he mimicked my gesture. The next room we went into looked very similar to a museum as it had pictures of the history of the orphanage with short descriptions about how much the institute has evolved. Afterwards, we went to the infant nurture room where we split into groups and played with the children for about 15 minutes. I immediately went to a baby boy with braces on his legs and played with him by giving him toys to which he piled up in a heap. I noticed that a young baby boy with down syndrome was playing alone and so I went to him next and he loved throwing toys out of the large play area and having me bring it back to him. My favorite memory was when this young boy who was running around with the toy box on his head kept trying to escape because I would pick him up and twirl him a little bit. This action caused him to make the gesture for me to pick him up and hold him which absolutely stole my heart. A few seconds after I picked him up Katie told me we needed to move on and so I carried him with me as I told each of the girls that we were leaving. I really did not want to let him go he held onto me so tightly and had the sweetest smile. In the end I did put him down and he he watched me as I walked out. That was really hard for me to do. On the way to the youth room we were able to see through windows into the medical care room where very tiny babies were connected to ventilators and all of them were being monitored closely. In the youth room we learned more about how the institute cared for the children all the way until they graduate from college and that often even after they leave the institute they come back for the Lunar New Year. In the room there were intricate drawings and crafts that the children made, which were amazing to look at.
The rest of the day we were supposed to go sightseeing in Tianjin, however the rain was so heavy that the roads were flooding, with people in the streets walking knee deep trying to get to wherever they were going. Thus, we decided to head back to the hotel as it was not as heavily flooded. Katie presented us with the option to either stay at the hotel and possibly go to the nearby mall or go to the China Care Home. A few of the other girls and I immediately opted to go to the Care Home. I was so excited to be able to have a few more hours with the children I had grown so fond of. I went straight to the room with Brace and Friendly. Even though it was a Wednesday, Friendly was in the room in the afternoon so I was able to play with both of them. Friendly immediately hopped into my lap and Brace took a hold of my bracelets and tried wrapping them around anything he could. Eventually he learned how to connect the bracelet and so I told him "Good job!" and gave him a huge hug. His smile was so wide and for the rest of the day he kept trying to put the bracelet together on the crib or on a wrist and whenever he got it he outstretched his arms waiting for me to give him a hug with a huge smile. He was so sweet!
Friendly stayed peaceful the rest of the day cuddled in my lap and would smile back at me to get my attention every so often. Rosy waddled over to me and plopped down on my knee a few times that afternoon as well and Friendly was pretty good at tolerating her doing that. It was a wonderful day and I was so glad to have been able to spend time with the children. That is all for now.