This morning was very emotional for us. We all went to visit the orphanage that Ruby lived at for the last 16 months. The van took both families and our guide. We had several questions prepared and we thought we were also mentally prepared. I don't think we realistically could have been looking back. We just had no idea what to expect or how what we saw and heard would make us feel.
We were instructed that we could bring cameras and while it was fine to take pictures of the outside and the entry-way, it was not permitted to take any of the children or any rooms that we would see. Above is the mail building- it was really big... bigger than I imagined. To the left was this building:
We were told this was where the older kids lived.
This is the front of the building.
Here is the entryway. It was clean but felt depressing. There was no activity anywhere... no noises(which I thought was strange). There was playground equipment to the left when you walked in. I have some pictures that we received from the orphanage of Ruby sitting at the top of the slide crying. Now holding her I realize that she never, ever could have actually gone down a slide. She is way to little and weak. I sincerely hope she didn't.
We got to go up and see the room where "the sick babies" were. These were rows of babies that were laying in their cribs, most of them crying and looking at us with pleading eyes. I started silently crying myself and went to several of them and touched their sweet face and talked to them.
Next we saw the older toddler room. There were little kids, ages 2 and 3, playing and walking around a small room. They immediately ran to the gate at the door to interact with us. There was one boy in particular that really loved John. He had down syndrome and looked to be about 3 years old. John played with him as long as possible while I sidetracked the nannies with all of my questions. They kept urging us on but we kept stalling... to give this little boy a bit more time. Finally it got so long that we just had to move on. John said goodbye- we all did- to all the kids- but the little boy just crumbled. He fell to the floor, crying uncontrollably. It broke our hearts in a million pieces. Our kids came up to me and asked why we just could adopt him too? I told them we would in a heartbeat if it was that simple.
Then they took us to see the older baby room(little ones Ruby's age) and told us that is where Ruby spent her days. There were several walkers(missing wheels) and a few other toys in there. The nanny sat in the middle. Some kids were in bamboo seats and some in walkers. Almost every picture we have of Ruby she was sitting in one of these walkers. Other kids were out playing on the ground or walking around. They also showed us her crib in a room across the hall. They pointed to this one and gave me permission to take a picture of it. I wanted us and our kids to take it all in... I wanted us to remember all the details so someday we could share it with Ruby. There will be so many pieces of her past that will be a mystery to her and we want at least to be able to tell her about this part.
We were also shown her finding spot. I feel that is part is very personal for Ruby so I have decided not to show it here. I will leave that part of her story for her to share someday if she so chooses.
We are thankful for the care that the nannies provided for her for 16 months. Yes, it was basic life care- not like a family would provide, or even close- but because they took her in and provided food, medical treatment and shelter for her, we were now holding our sleeping, snuggling baby who besides being undernourished, was in good health. I had our guide express our appreciation before we left and we also left gifts for a few of them. We were so thankful to have the opportunity to visit where our daughter had lived up until we met her.