We just finished our visit at the Ningdu Social Welfare Institute. Upon pulling up to the entrance, firecrackers were set off to welcome us, and there were red signs welcoming Ning Wen Ling back. Unfortunately, we did not have the camcorder going so we missed getting the fireworks on video. The first thing we did was review Rachel's file. One surprise in it. Most of the papers are things we already have. They had three copies of a certificate of some kind dated 2/12/99. Rachel's birthday is 2/10. We'll have to have it translated, but I think they said it was the certificate signed by the person who brought her to the orphanage. The best part is it includes a newborn picture of Rachel, and since there were three copies, they actually ripped one out of the file and gave it to us. Rachel had asked us before what she looked like when she was born, and now we have a picture to show her! Priceless.
The current director, Ms. Cai, is getting ready to retire next year, and the new director was the one we dealt with the most. I have to get his name from our guide. But both were there, as well as the doctor, who has been there since July of '99. I recognized her from some of the pictures we received when we got Rachel.
We gave them the photo album I made, and they all took their time looking at it. They seemed to really enjoy it. After exchanging gifts, we drove to Rachel's finding location. It's an old building that will most likely be torn down in the next couple of years. Ten years ago the area was a village, but it is now more of a suburb of Ningdu, and was about a 20 minute drive from the orphanage. I haven't decided if I want to post those pictures here, or if they should stay private for Rachel. I will say that Rachel was fine and didn't really seem affected by the location. She was more affected by the heat. :) I will say there were a lot of people around, and that made me happy.
After that we drove to Cui Wei Mountain, a famous mountain in Ningdu, and I know a lot of adoptive families with kids from Ningdu get a picture of Cui Wei. It was beautiful, and I'm posting a couple pictures of it. It was a heck of a climb, though, in 100 degree heat! I wasn't prepared to climb a mountain. I was still dressed in capris and sandals, and Rachel had on a dress and flip flops. The one picture of Rachel has the city of Ningdu in the background. The view was gorgeous. I am really happy we had a chance to see Cui Wei Mountain.
We then went back to the orphanage where lunch was prepared for us. The food was all very good, especially a pork-stuffed fried eggplant. They were a little insistent we eat some fruit, so after carefully wiping it off with tissues Rachel and I had a couple bites of fruit. (We took some pepto as soon as we got back in the van) They offered Fred some kind of alcohol, but he declined, which was probably a good thing, because many toasts were made. The new director is the only one who had alcohol, and it was acceptable for us to toast with Sprite.
After lunch we went outside to take pictures, and then we were on our way back to the hotel. Fireworks were again set off for our departure. Rachel felt pretty special, having firecrackers set off just for her. We are now relaxing and waiting for our friend Xiaoting to show us around Ningdu.