In late June 2014, a tiny baby boy was found in a town about an hour and a half outside of Lianyungang, China and he was estimated to be about 10 days old. He was taken to the Lianyungang Social Welfare Institute in Lianyungang City. For the next 12 1/2 months, he was cared for, provided for, and loved on by nannies, but not by a mommy or a daddy. However, 12 months and 26 days after his birth, he became a part of a forever family! The family that will care for him, provide for him, love him and enjoy every single day with him! He became Paxton William YuTao White, son of Jeremy and Kasey White, brother to Connor and Kyle White, grandson to Phil and Sonji Williamson and Bob and Ann White, nephew to many aunts and uncles, and cousin to many! He will forever be loved!
We are so thankful to call Paxton our son! He is the perfect addition to our family. He is such a sweet little baby and he has the best laugh and smile! We cannot get enough of his smile and his laugh! Each day he opens up more and more to us and we see his sweet personality a little bit more each day. We are so blessed to get to see him grow, change, and develop forever! Thank you, God, for this amazing blessing and for our wonderful son! Thank you for blessing us with three unbelievably amazing little boys!
Today, we got up early and met our guide at 7:30 a.m. to head to the Paxton's orphanage in Lianyungang. Lianyungang is about 4 hours north of Nanjing, so it was a long ride! We let Connor and Kyle play the Kindle Fire and we just worked on entertaining Paxton as well as we could, while Eric and Courtney tried to entertain Anne Marie. The babies did really well and both took a short nap on the way there. When they were awake, they snacked...a lot! But, we did whatever we had to do to keep the peace for four hours in a van!
Once we arrived, several of the nannies and the assistant director and some other women were standing outside waiting for us and they were so excited to see Paxton and Anne Marie! And, Paxton was excited to see them! He definitely knew them and loved them. This is good because it tells us that he can build relationships and attachments with people easily!
We took a tour of the orphanage and saw a room full of children "playing" on the floor. This group of children are all considered mentally handicapped. I doubt that any of them have a file ready for adoption because they are considered by China to be unadoptable. We learned that the province of Jiangsu has 20 or so orphanages itself. Lianyungang has about 250 children, so I would assume that the others have that many or more. And, last year, only 17 were adopted from Lianyungang. And, so far, 8 have been adopted this year. Lifeline is now (since late last year) a partnership orphanage for Lianyungang, so I hope that this relationship will help more children to be adopted from there. I know of four children including Paxton and Anne Marie who have been adopted from Lianyungang this year and I know of four more who will be in the coming months. I pray that more and more files will be prepared and that more and more children will be adopted!
These little ones in the next several pictures all need moms and dads.
Several of them would just light up when we played with them or talked to them.
Kyle was nervous to come all the way onto the mat in this room to meet the children, but Connor came in and showed toys to some of the children. He was really sweet. It as important for us to show the boys that there are so many children just like Paxton who need moms and dads and that God made each of these children.
After visiting with those children, we went to the room that was home to the boys and girls Paxton and Anne Marie's age. This room had about 20 cribs in it. The cribs were hard, but neatly maintained. This is Paxton and Anne Marie in her crib. Paxton was in this room until January when he had his first lip surgery. He has been living within the orphanage in a foster home since his surgery.
We then went up the elevator to Paxton's foster home. Here is the door to his apartment!
The foster mom had three little ones in her care now. I don't know if Paxton was the fourth or if he was replaced as soon as he left on Monday. One little boy was a little older and immediately recognized Paxton and was excited to see him. They were eating lunch when we arrived and lunch looked great. After seeing what they were eating, I shouldn't be surprised that Paxton does so well with regular food and doesn't want baby food. He has been eating really well there!
These pictures are of us with Paxton's foster mom.
And, this is Paxton in his crib! His crib was set up right beside the foster mom's bed!
This is one of his foster brothers. Such a cutie!
And, another foster brother. He was so adorable and waved goodbye to us when we left!
After visiting the foster home, we went to a special room that the have for guests and they served us a traditional Chinese meal. It was SO good! The fried rice was the BEST rice we have ever had! But, the whole meal was seriously good! The chefs at the orphanage made the meal themselves. We were really impressed with the caliber of food after seeing the food that Paxton's foster brother was eating. We expected the kids to be completely on congee (which is very popular in China) and to be fed by bottle all meals of the day. But, Paxton will barely even take a bottle and he is definitely used to table food for every meal! He loved the food today and again, ate really well!
Connor and Kyle did a great job being polite and not complaining about the food. Although there was nothing unusual served, they mostly just ate the fried rice. But, they have done a great job of trying things and not complaining. Connor is definitely pickier than Kyle, but he doesn't complain when there isn't food he likes. He just snacks more later. The boys did like that they got Coke with the meal (they've had more coke here than ever in their lives!). They downed it quickly and we commented that they don't get Coke often, so they love when they do. One of the Orphanage hospitality ladies later brought us a whole two liter of Coke for us to take home with us!
Also, Paxton and Anne Marie had left one of the rooms with a toy in their hands and when we tried to give them back, they said we could keep them. I thought it was so sweet how kind everyone was to us!
The Orphanage Director is on the left and the Assistant Director is on the right below.
After some pictures outside, we went back inside to take pictures and love on a few little ones whose Mama's are coming to get them soon! A few weeks ago, Shana Wood was so sweet to provide me with pictures after she visited the orphanage, so we were so glad to be able to pay it forward to some other moms (and dads!).
We need to get Paxton one of these!
I love these pictures of Jeremy and Paxton! Jeremy has just completely fallen in love with Paxton just like he did with Connor and Kyle when I gave birth to them.
Courtney, Eric, and Anne Marie in the playroom...
Outside the orphanage gate...
After we left the orphanage, we headed to the old Lianyungang orphanage. The new building was just opened last year. We are not sure if Paxton was brought to the old one or the new one when he first was found. But, Anne Marie was definitely brought here, so we wanted to visit it.
Look at these two cuties! Two less orphans! One More Son and One More Daughter! God is good!!!
He wanted down and Connor would not let him get down!
After that, we headed back on the four hour journey back to Nanjing. All four kids (big kids and babies) did such a great job! We enjoyed our time with Courtney and Eric in the van and Anne Marie and Paxton did a great job. Again, they were entertained much of the trip with snacks and they both took short naps.
We got back, unloaded, changed a diaper, and headed to KFC for a quick dinner. After dinner, it was time for bath and bed! Another day in China is over!
We are so thankful for a great visit to the orphanage! Although Paxton was happy to see his caretakers and was definitely comfortable there, he was also happy to leave with us and never fussed or cried when we left! Today was another peaceful, happy, fun day!
Thank you, God!
Tomorrow, we will do a little sightseeing in Nanjing with our guide in the morning. And, on Friday, we fly to Guangzhou!