September 3, 2009

The Village Reunion

We flew from Beijing to Lanzhou, which is in the Gansu province. We then drove 6 hours east to Longde, where we stayed the night at Christian's birthparents home.  They have a nice three story apartment located behind the hospital, where Gaoke works.  Here are a few maps showing where we are:

We are in the Ningxia Province, just south of Inner Mongolia. 

We are in the town of Longde, which is in the southern tip of the Ningxia province just below Guyuan.  Longde is a very small town with no major hotels.  The village is located just 15 minutes outside of Longde.  There are about 120 families (1000 people) living in the village.

We woke up and had a nice breakfast at the Jin family's home and then each of us packed a small bag in case we decided to stay the night at the village.  Two taxis were waiting for us in front of the hospital to take us to the village.  As we loaded up the taxis we noticed a crowd of people in white coats beginning to crowd around us.  We assumed they were the colleagues of Gaoke and JuLian wanting to get a look at Christian.  We were sitting in the taxi waiting for the driver, when the white coats started to multiply.  They came up to our car window peering in with big smiles across their faces waving at Christian.  That's when I told Christian, he should get out to greet them because it was obvious they wanted to meet him.  I wondered how many of them remembered him when he was young and living with his birth parents.

It was an easy ride down one main highway and the village entrance was right on the highway.  We drove down a dirt lane until it came to an end.  As we were getting out of our taxis, the villagers began to set off fireworks to celebrate our arrival.  There were crowds of people standing around watching and just one small camera crew (Henan TV).  It was the same camera crew that we saw taping our arrival at Lanzhou Airport the day before. 

Several people ran to Christian sobbing hysterically.  One woman was so upset I thought she was going to collapse.  I watched JuLian, Christian's birth mom comfort her and asked the guide who the lady was.  It was Christian's aunt, the woman that helped raise him the first 7 years.  It was incredibly emotional and took it's toll on all of us, but especially Christian. They were all so happy to see him, yet sad at the same time. He saw his cousins he grew up with, his great grandmother, many uncles and aunts.

Christian with his two aunts, uncle and the two cousins he grew up with thinking they were his siblings

Christian's aunt cried so hard almost the entire time we were there

Inside his Uncle's house many people crammed into this small room to get a chance to meet Christian

Village kids peaking in trying to get a look at Christian inside his uncle's home

Taking a tour of the village hand and hand with his cousins

We visited the school at the village that Christian attended.  This man was Christian's pre-school teacher.

Here we are sitting on a Kang (traditional bed which is a cement slab with quilts on top for cushion. The Kang is heated underneath with straw to keep them warm.  This is also where they eat.  The table is placed on top of the kang.  We had a traditional meal of dumplings, which was delicious.  Pictured with us is his grandmother, who we call "Nai Nai."   What a sweet woman!

There were many tears and finally after several hours the emotions got to Christian and he asked if we could leave. The mother bear that I am summoned the interpreter and said "Let's go!" Our interpreter looked a bit shocked and said "okay, but the family wants to take a photo of both families before you leave." So we did and then we grabbed our bags and piled into a van.  The family and neighbors watched in tears as we pulled away. It was very sudden and I think they were surprised that we were not staying the night. 

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.  -Psalm 119:28


  1. How difficult this must be, for everyone involved.
    Sending prayers for all your needs.

  2. Please know that I will be praying! I can't imagine the range of emotions you are all feeling right now.

  3. Hello. What an emotional time this must be for everyone involved! And what an amazing story!!! The family must feel so blessed to be able to see Jiacheng again.

    May I ask, does he plan to stay with you, or does he want to stay in China now? I'm sure whomever he's not able to stay with will be disappointed, but will understand in the end.

    Blessings and prayers, Susan

  4. Hello Ms. Norris,

    Forgive my intrusion on your blog, but I could not think of any better way to contact you.
    I am writing hoping that you would be willing for Single Parent 101 Magazine to do an article about you. Details for the story are not finalized, so I can not yet give specifics. If you could reply back with contact information, preferable a phone number, I would appreciate it.


    Linda Blachly
    (410) 353- 2505

  5. Julia - I am prayig for the funds to cover the change in plans (and for you both!).
    Much Love,
    Dawn Clark (AWAA 2004&2006)

  6. I can only imagine the emotional roller coaster ride you are all on right now. Prayers that your needs are met and peace follows you on the remainder of your journey.

  7. Peace and grace for the journey, my friend. Praying for all of you!!... for comfort, peace, grace, wisdom... and a complete dependence upon Him, so you'll know that every decision is made for His glory and in Christian's best interests. He HAS a plan - on that you can depend.
    With love and prayer,

  8. All this trauma could have been avoided if the Chinese people had got basic moral standard. I am talking about that bus driver who left the father behind. I was born and raised in China. I travelled with my mom as a kid and experienced the same thing as the driver never told people how many minutes was allowed at a rest stop. My mom had to stand in a queue to use the lavatory and before she came back the bus took off and I cried with scare. The good thing was I knew our destination and I was a little older than Christian. I was not lost.

    China left me with so many terrible experience that it is just beyond description.

  9. I believe your love has been moving everyone who knows your story. Could you share your faith to them, to Chinese, please? Thanks.

  10. I wrote on your blog last month and will continue to follow your family's international journey. I know when you adopted Christian you never expected that his story would have such an outcome. As you know God has plans for us all and Christian and you are just finding out what his plans are for you both. I speak from experience of my Korean son's journey. His Korean mother and extended family feel such guilt and he feels the guilt that he appreciates the sacrifice they did for him but he loves his American I said before he now teaches in Korea and no matter where he lives in the future he will always have a piece of his heart with both worlds. I know you will help Christian to adjust and realize he will have to live with many emotional roller coaster times but hopefully he will see all the good that can come from this. We are both very blessed to have these remarkable young men in our lives.
    If you should ever want to get in touch just post something on your blog and I will send you my e-mail. I am leaving to visit my son in October for 3 weeks...I miss him terribly but in a happy way because I know he is finding out who he is.
    Have a good start to you new life.