Xingyi (Macy' Birthplace)

 May 31, 2010

Yesterday may have been one of the most difficult travel days of my life.  Fortunately Macy may be the most easy going child on the planet!

There is a new rule for children adopted from the Xingyi (shing-ye) SWI that requires the children to apply in for their passport in person in the city of Xingyi.   Although Macy never spent a night in this orphanage and to my knowledge has not been back since she was born, it is the SWI that governed her care with her foster mother. Xingyi is far from Guiyang (gwee-yang) where we are staying  and where Macy has been living.  After exploring a number of options the best we could arrange was to fly to Xingyi and drive back.

The flight to Xingyi was simple enough, less than an hour door to door on a small (50 passenger?) jet.  (Now we are told the flights are often delayed or canceled due to weather but we had a good day.) Macy boarded the plane like she was a platinum elite member of the China Air Frequent Flyers Club.  We strapped her in and she hardly even paid attention to the fact that we took off!  Her only small complaint was upon landing where she either got scared or felt some pressure in her ears and started to cry but that lasted less than 5 minutes and she was all smiles as we exited the plane.
Once in Xingyi the official business was surprisingly (ridiculously) simple.  We went to a photo shop, sort of like a Kodak store and they took her passport photo.  Why this could not have been done in Guiyang is beyond me but as those of you who have adopted internationally know, you do not ask these questions.

The only other official appointment was to present this photo to the local travel/passport issuing office.  The official business took all of 90 minutes.  We also had lunch with the orphanage director (authentic food does not even begin to describe this), visited the orphanage (a sickening, heartbreaking site) and stopped at Macy's finding spot ( This is where Macy was "abandoned"/found by the police. I am glad we did so that we can one day share these photos and stories with Macy).

Our lunch with Mr Wu the Director of the Xingyi SWI was very nice.  He is a gregarious man with a good sense of humor and he seems to genuinely enjoy these children.  He was playful and sweet with Macy and very hospitable towards us.   He gave us a tour of the orphanage and even showed us the one orphan currently in residence, a 5 day old girl he assured us would be adopted domestically.

The rest of our time was spent in a state of travel, discomfort and all and all cultural shell shock.  I cannot fully express all that we experienced in our more than SIX hour drive home.  I do not judge, truly I don't.  I know how we live is not how everyone in the world lives but I think in big cities like Beijing the differences are less obvious.  Today though reminded me how different our lives (Macy's new life) in suburban Ohio is from the lives of people in "real" China.

For anyone traveling to Xingyi to adopt a child please know that there are no bathrooms or places to eat along the way other than roadside stops where locals cook in open air pots.  Sanitation for food or rest rooms facilities is non existent.  I am not being a spoiled America even our Chinese guide had a hard time with it.  There is a drought here and no running water in these stops.  Think about it.  We packed snacks (cookies and water) and that was dinner. We got back to Guiyang after 10pm.  Macy fell asleep in the car around 8 and we tucked her right into bed.  I know she must be starving poor thing but except for when the plane landed, she never once complained, fussed or cried the entire day.  She is an amazingly happy child.

As hard as the travel was the landscape is undeniably breathtaking.

Overall I am glad we had this experience.  To come here and miss seeing Macy's birthplace and her finding place would have been a shame.  Also to be able to see the more remote parts of this incredible country up close and in person as we did is an experience most travelers (even adoption travelers) do not have. The sights, sounds and smells of this day can not be fully shared but we took more than a hundred photos and hope that we can get them uploaded soon. If we don't get then up until after we get home, go back and check them out, they are not to be missed.

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