Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heritage visit - curtain call

12/10 - Our final full day in China.  We are today to visit Tian's orphanage for a heritage visit and her finding place.  Tian was adopted from the orphanage in the province of Guangdong, city of Foshan, Nanhai District in March, 2008 and our lives from that point forward have been so enriched, blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

Tian and some of the caregivers who knew her.

Ms. Tang, orphanage director

Baba taking pictures of bulletin board 
pictures of Tian and others we know shown

The workers were glad to see Tian,
saddened that she did not understand them,
did not remember them

Ms. Tang, us, Mr. Pang, SWI Director
presenting us with handmade decoration

A short drive away to meet Tang's mother
She took Tian and a roommate to school for a year

Tian's alleged finding place, a park.

Star, Connie, Tian, Tang

Tian wandering in the park
I have to wonder her thoughts

Gardening crew
we think prisoners

Next we moved to Nanhai middle school 
to meet Tang's daughter, whom Tian remembered

Coming back to the island a couple of shots of the water on the north side - for whatever reason, this is Ellen's favorite picture.

Night descends on the island

Along the main drag between 
Lucy's and the White Swan

Tian and Tim 
December 2010

Tim and Tian
March 2008

Tian, Yu-Hsuan, Tim, Star
December 2010

12/11 - Up at 430 am Saturday (330 pm Friday, Chattanooga time), a boxed breakfast awaits us, a bill for 2.5 yuan for phone calls made (40 cents), as we left the hotel at 545 am for our 8 am flight from Guangzhou to Beijing and Star's first flight.  She pulls a mean suitcase.

Leaving Beijing around 1 PM, two weeks before Christmas.

Tears as we said goodbye China:

- for Star, leaving her homeland
- for us, missing it already
- for China's children, without babas and mamas

Written as we flew homeward bound -

The Land

The Land - ancient, timeless, a place I never dreamed of going.

Somewhere between journeys one and two a deep love and appreciation for the Land became a part of me.  Leaving now is much harder this time not because of people I've met there - but leaving the land itself.

A deep love and respect has grown for this land, this culture, wishing to preserve what once was, not Westernizing it.

Social upheaval is good some times if what comes after is better than the past. Peaceful change is best, let the people embrace this ideal, make it their own.

For the orphans though, my heart hurts most - the least of us - tossed aside, no one of their own to love them for who they are - often the not physically or mentally perfect - left here and there....

Written late into the flight from Beijing to New York - 

Across Hudson's Bay

North to South
We traverse
frozen lands, puffy clouds stretch 
to the horizon.

What life lies below us?
furry creatures, swimming creatures, birds, more?

Sliding further southward,
pools of lakes big and small dot to horizons
pattern there most likely is,
moon scape, snow scape,
rhyme or reason?

A settlement in the distance or
the sun winking on the snow?

Far, far away to the west,
dreams of China still exist.
Tears form and fall for my daughters
leaving their homeland, once and twice.

I, too, love their land, the Land.
More so though I love her children who have no family
          to love them. 


  1. It is wonderful that your daughter was able to reconnect with so much of her history during this trip. Thanks for sharing, and hope you all had a Merry Christmas!


  2. Hey Stowell Family! We miss yall and so enjoyed our families spending time together...I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that the new Year brings amazing blessings to you all. God has indeed blessed us all. our kids are doing wonderfully and getting to know their siblings...I too, have developed such a special love for China and all that she has given us, and my heart aches for all those left behind. We love you all!
    Kim, Bill, Kai, Johnny, Poppi, Wilson, Boyd, Steele, Elise and Selah Christenberry