Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 5: Last Goodbye

Ava, who only answers to Yu Fang, woke me up before sunrise to use the bathroom. She happily crawled back in bed and gave me a big hug. I rubbed her hair as she drifted sleep was finished, time to pray and think about our trip to the SWI/orphanage.

After finishing more paperwork this morning, Yu Fang is officially Ava Frances Fang Bamberg....our daughter. I'd like to say it was an emotional, tender moment, but Reece and Lily were arguing and we had to interrupt the notary's proclamation to shut them up!!  LOL The life of a big family, never boring or quiet...I love it!!

We left the Civil Affairs building and began the 2 hour drive to Ningbo. We worried how our tiny tornado would handle the long drive, but she was still and very entertained by the IPad. 

We pulled into the gates of the SWI and Ava happily waved to the guard.  I half jokingly asked Nancy if she thought Ava would cry to stay at the SWI, I was so nervous!!

The front of Ava's SWI

We got out Ava's walker and she hurried inside. I could hear her excitement as she greeted the
orphanage staff. They were as happy to see her as she was to see them. It was so obvious that our sweet girl was loved.  We took an elevator to the second floor to meet the orphanage director and her assistant. They presented us with a beautiful glass figurine and we did our best to convey how thankful we were to them for taking such good care of Yu Fang.

As we talked, Ava's friends were brought into the office. Beautiful, sweet babies so excited to see their friend. Ava grabbed the IPad and gave them a demonstration. She was sweet to give them each a turn to play. We took suckers for her to pass out..she was careful to give them two each.   The rest she kept a tight grip on :)

Two of these children have families, the others need one so badly!!

Ava was doing so well, but around this time my tears started. This precious little boy introduced himself, told us he was 11 and really wanted a family. I reached out and touched his face and thought about stuffing him in our backpack. Seriously, he had the cutest personality and the director kept telling us how smart he was.

Pleading for his family

They are blurry but I couldn't tell through my tears.  Look at that huge smile!

I took pictures of all the children on my good camera and will share those when the connection is better and they will download.  It breaks my heart to see these  normal children, giggling and laughing...just needing a family. 

As we walked to the building with Ava's classroom, she started to whine. I thought she was upset about, our little princess told the director that she didn't like to use her walker anymore!! She said her BaBa would carry her...oops, we've spoiled her already :)

Ava's teacher was so happy to see her. She grabbed her and gave her the biggest hug. 

Walking to the van, the last goodbye

Both of Ava's teachers. They quietly told her goodbye, reminding her to study hard and believe in herself.  

BamFam6 with the Director(in turquoise) & the Assistant Director

As we loaded in the van, Trent turned to face the entrance to the SWI. The last look at the place our daughter had lived for her entire life. Realizing that this was the last look, I know he was memorizing every detail. Through our tears, we climbed into the van to wave goodbye to the teachers. Yu Fang started to sob. As I scooped her up she fell against me and we cried together. I locked eyes with the teacher who loved her so and shook my silent promise to always love and care for her.  The teacher's tears absolutely shattered my heart. As we pulled away, I rocked Ava and let her cry.  Praising God that she was so loved, but the final goodbye was so very hard. 

As Ava quieted, she slipped off my lap and sat beside Lily. Still somber and hurting, sweet Lily put her arm around Ava. I cried again, both of my little girls know the pain of letting go of a life, the fear of starting a new one. 

My tiny girls are so strong!

I can't write a post to do justice to this day. It's hard and it hurt us all. We all ached to watch those beautiful children leave the office where we played with them. I looked at Mary Ashtyn's face and knew that she was barely holding it together. Lily was so quiet, her memories probably too much to handle. Reece is just like his Daddy, hanging out with each child and making them feel special. Love my kids everyday, but I am so proud of the way they handle themselves when life really matters. Today, they lived in the moment and were His hands and feet.

The last goodbye was so very difficult, but it is done. Our sweet girl will not forget those who loved and cared for her for 9 years. She has more grieving to do, but she is realizing that we will be here to comfort her. Slowly, she will see that family is forever. 

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families."   Psalm 68:5-6


  1. This was a tear-jerker for me. I cried reading this. I know how you all must have felt to visit the SWI for the final time. I had the opportunity to visit an orphanage similar to this in Shanghai, China right before my senior year of high school. The kids there were really smart. I love your writing skills too! You allowed me, the reader, to be right there in that moment and feel what you all were feeling. You should write a book.

  2. As sad as this goodbye is, it is so beautiful to see the love that your sweet girl has had her first 9 years. Ava has a special place in our hearts. :) It's been incredible watching the Lord move with your family on this journey. Thank you for sharing it. God bless you all. Love & prayers. ~The Foro Family

  3. I love how you tell the story! I'm literature sobbing as I read your posts. Thank you for allowing us to go along on your journey!!