We left at 9:30am. Lydia had to get the money from the bank that we had sent to take to the orphanage as our fee to adopt Elli. They had to pay for much of the process to get her on the list of those available so they need to recoup that somehow.
On the way there we wanted Lydia to help us to make sure that Elli understood exactly WHY we were going back. We wanted her to realize we were saying goodbye not going to hang out. Over the last couple of days she had remembered a couple little boys who were adopted a year or so ago and that they left and never returned. I think it had finally sunk in. Lydia said she clearly understood it was time to say goodbye and she was to get all the hugs and kisses she could.
Orphanages are what they are and they will never take the place of a home and forever family and yet I have been struggling to take her away from what brought her joy. She had been there since the day she was born and although they did not have an official Foster care program they did have little apartment-type rooms that housed makeshift families. She had a "pretend" mama, baba, and three little brothers. Of course they were far from pretend to her. She had lived for 3 years with that family and although her mama was happy for her to be adopted by the time we left she had melted into a puddle of tears. She was trying so hard to be strong but she couldn't hold it in. She was losing her only "daughter" and her big helper. It was hard for all of us to see. I can completely imagine her pain and apparently so could Kate. By the time we loaded onto our van she could no longer be strong for her sister and put her head into my shoulder and sobbed... Not very quietly... her heart was breaking for that mama.
While we were there we met almost everyone in Elli's life virtually from birth. We met her friends who had been drawing pictures for her that morning and they rushed to give them to her. The adults gave us her artwork from the last several weeks and we got to see some of the crafting they are doing with the kids. Its amazing what they have been doing to help those kids develop their gross and fine motor skills. The work of Half The Sky and the group of volunteers that faithfully go to work with the kids weekly is amazing and you can see it in the advanced development of the children.
It was/is an impressive place. I am forever grateful to all of those at Haikou City SWI who stood in my place for almost 6 years while I waited for the Lord to bring our daughter home.