Childrens Welfare Orphanage
Hefei, Anhui Province, China - Page 4 -
Three days later, July 15, 2000
Infant Room, Hefei Orphanage
I have come back to the orphanage to pick up the information on the U.
S. children that Ms. Li had been able to find. On the way to find her
in the children's department I go by one of the infant rooms. Through
the window I can see two caregivers bathing babies. Two big plastic bath
basins are sitting by the door. One caregiver picks up a crying baby from
a crib and undresses her. The baby stops crying as soon as she is placed
in the water. I walk into the room and watch. The caregiver is holding
the baby on her right arm in the water. She sprinkles water on the baby
with her left hand. She props up the baby's head with her hand and is
able to use her thumb and middle finger to cover the baby's ears to keep
the water out. The baby waves her tiny fists, cooing and smiling.
One of the caregivers goes to turn on the air conditioner while a young
girl diapers the baby who had just been bathed. The baby has a bout of
diarrhea and begins to go before the young girl can get the diaper on
her. The young girl jumps out of the way and calls for help. A caregiver
moves in quickly to take care of the baby. As the young girl and another
caregiver clean up the mess, a young man comes in and begins checking
on the baby with a stethoscope. He tells us that the baby has a cold.
He walks around to touch and talk to the other babies who are lying in
their cribs. The young man is limping and wearing thick glasses. He tells
us that he is attending medical school and will be a doctor in the next
I find out that both the young man and the young girl grew up at the orphanage.
They are working as volunteers during their summer vacation. The young
girl lives on the first floor with her classmates. She tells me that her
friends are handicapped and do not come upstairs to help as she does.
Her name is Haiyan - Petrel, the name of a Chinese girl who was brave
enough to confront storms and hardships. She is 16 years old and wants
to go to vocational school after high school. She tells me that she wants
to work at the orphanage as a day care teacher after graduation. I do
not meet up with Ms. Li that day, but enjoy meeting the two young people.
Two weeks later - July 29, 2000
An Office in the Rehabilitation Building
I am at the orphanage to pick up the information that Ms. Li had been
able to find about the U.S. children. While I am there I happened to run
into Ms. Zhang and we stand outside her office chatting.
Ms. Zhang tells me that, for the last year and a half, they have not been
under as much population control pressure. She has been addressing this
issue with authorities at families planning departments, women's associations
and youth league groups whenever she has the chance. She repeatedly points
out to them that, every time a family planning inspection campaign is
launched in the countryside, the orphanage is overwhelmed with babies.
She tries to make the point to these people that this is not the way to
carry out family planning policies. The focus needs to be on the women
before they get pregnant.
As we are talking, the secretary of the party branch hurriedly leads three
people into the office. There is an older man, another man and a woman.
The woman is holding a tiny baby. The baby is wrapped in a white sheet
and is sound asleep. She looks to be two or three weeks old with all of
the newborn baby wrinkles gone. Her black hair is standing straight up.
Ms. Zhang and I follow the people into the office. The secretary is completing
the abandonment certificate form with the information that he has already
obtained from the three people. He affixes the orphanage official stamp
and passes the certificate to the older man.
Ms. Li holds the baby while the papers are processed. Once the certificate
has been handed to the older man, she heads toward door. She holds the
baby close to her chest and says, "I have another baby. I am going to
give her a name, a pretty name." She stops to let me touch the baby. The
baby's face is pink and her skin feels like silk. The baby is wet and
Ms. Li has to hurry the baby back to the children's department building
to be changed.
I ask the older man where the baby had been found. He gives me the name
of a rural area where my sister and I had visited the day before. The
people we met during our visit the previous day included one big family
with three generations living together, the parents and two brothers with
their wives and children. The family planning policy in that area allows
the family to have a second child if the first one is a girl. The children
have to be at least four years apart. This is the same area where the
baby had been found. Her date of enrollment at the Hefei Welfare Children's
Orphanage is July 29, 2000.
Read about Yannie's trip
to a nearby village with her sister YanYan, where they met several of
the foster families caring for some of Heifei's orphans. "A
Visit To A Village Near Hefei"