Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Last Thoughts on the Reality Across the World

This morning I’m going to try to share some of the thoughts and impressions we had during our trip to Jael that I hadn’t earlier. I hadn’t partially because I felt I couldn’t.

It was recommended that I highly watch what I post. The following post is just some general thoughts I (and others) had while we were there. It’s a post on trying to get a grip on the “feel” of China.

China is just a different world and it’s almost easy to forget the “Big Brother” feel of the area. You can almost forget this is a communist country. Many that shared about earlier travels did.

Even forgetting that, it was shared with me by a social worker that China felt like even more of a different world than Africa. I didn’t know how that could be…now I do.

We saw VERY few pregnant women there during our two weeks. I looked around the throngs and, after reading and hearing certain things, realized some of these women I saw daily had (most likely) faced forced abortions. This is excruciatingly painful (the thought of this). Many women have a story of a family who wants more children, but fear the loss of job, home, and most of what they have. This is not joking. We heard this from multiple people.

Children are a blessing…period. It’s hard, when I was about to ask if someone has children, to stop myself…knowing pain could be involved…pain they don’t want to share. Pain I’m not sure I would want to share if I were them.

I had a conversation with a sweet woman. She was maybe in her twenties. She stated that she didn’t think the one child policy was good. It wasn’t good for the family and wasn’t good for the children to be an only child. A few minutes later she seemed to rethink this and get concerned at what she was being so open about. She then changed and said the “party” line, stating that is was a good thing….too many people.

Now the newest policy states that two only children may have “permission” to have two children. In general, this is not so. My friend Suzanne made a wise statement. This was something you could see when walking the streets. This policy was creating little czars. Yet you could see these little men who attention was lavished on so greatly as a single child that they are becoming arrogant and self-involved. What will this create in men? I’m sure, just as with anywhere, this was not the case in all.

It confused me, being told by a kind woman, of how girls are thought to be such a blessing. When married, the husband will go to the wives house and therefore the daughter will not leave the family. Yet I’m hearing that the ratio of girls to boys in China is so lopsided…with boys WAY outnumbering girls (by choice of family’s only allowed one child).

One of the things I most cherished was the response when I named the number of our children. Here in the States, many are incredulous…somewhat supportive…somewhat negative. In China 95% of those I told said, “Oh! How blessed you are!” I am…I really am….I wish they had that choice as well. These beautiful women….these beautiful families….

China, well….I can’t figure it out. I just got a taste from the mixing bowl. Finding that pulse is a little like finding one on a running bull.

The language is trimmed, like when you dice the edges off something, very exact.

The writing is an art I WISH I could master. It IS artwork and beauty in itself.

The people…

I had a sweet experience while we were there. Many of the elderly have looked at us like they are angry. This made me sad, not uncomfortable, but sad. I have found the elderly in every country (including our own) have so much to teach us if we only listen. It’s part of my life that I feel is vitally important. Yet, this time we were stopped by an elderly woman (so kind) and asked us about AoJing. She said she was so pretty, saw her feet, smiled….and said “very good”. It was a heart sigh for me…not approval so much as generational beauty.

I see the government influence in many….even most…and their actions. Service is 99% very good, but I’ve seen some fear over bad service.


Many handicapped are on the street begging. I’ve seen what looks to be like leprosy…my heart hurts.

Anna has had her heart touched by those handicapped and struggling. As we were shopping an elderly lady came up to us with tears running down her face asking for money. I scrounged for the loose bills, but I still feel so guilty. Here we are shopping and here she is trying to survive. Anna was upset, in the black and white kid way, not at me…but at how those dressed exquisitely were just shooing her away. She was mad at the injustice.

Maybe we all should be. Maybe we should have others angry at us. When you see it daily or it’s half a world away, we get callus (to an extent). The starving, dying, poor….we are not waking up with them sleeping on our porch and we tend to go about our lives many days. Sigh…

There is a huge class system. The poor are relegated, often, to the bottom. Even one of the sweetest people I met did this, talking about the poor as another species. Also, there is a lot of talk of ethnic groups and which you are from.

We are in this huge modern city, woman and men are often dressed in the latest fashions. There is a lot of “westernization”. Most stare at all of us….several hostile, but mostly out of curiosity. They wouldn’t just stare as we think here in America, but stop and stare standing feet away for minutes at a time. Sarah threatened to make goofy faces at them (chuckle). It was shared with me that most don’t know about international adoptions. Many are surprised when someone in our group had to explain it. Friends were asked if we leave the children here after we adopt them.

The history all around is stunning. You can see the ancientness in even this huge modern city. Beautiful statues are everywhere. The parks have green pouring out of them with trees that look ancient. Exercise equipment line them.

Yet, I struggle because I’ve also felt coldness. I don’t know. I don’t get it. I wish I could spend time with the typical family. I bet I would understand things better and enjoy getting to know some sweet families.

I would also love to sit down with fellow believers. I really would. I would love to know their lives and hearts. Most have probably been through more than we can imagine. I’ve seen the hard histories bring more compassion, more understanding, and more love that the “easy life”. Hard histories can create such a strength and courage for God. I don’t wish anything on a child….ever…but know the beauty that can come out of the ashes.

We sat in this wonderful, beautiful hotel room, we looked out at corrugated tin roofs of the poor…even in the heart of the city.

As anywhere there is dishonesty in shopping. I found myself dreading going into a store where prices were not marked. These places often meant I was a “mark”. We’ve found this in much international travel. I’m not labeling this just “China” as this is often part of the culture in MANY places, even some in the United States. I started learning how to bargain and even understand the general public viewing us as rich. We are (comparatively) to most of the rest of the world. Even just that we were able to travel to China labels us that. They don’t know it took everyone to be able to do that…which was completely God.


I also wondered, and hated myself for doing it, at those that stated they too were Christians and invited us into their stores. In one store the prices were all set and comparable and in the other high comparatively…I just don’t know…I don’t…truth or a draw? Both? Everyone does have to make a living. I hated myself for wondering and letting myself even doubt.

There is such richness and modernism (as said before), yet so much is still not there…hand calculations instead of computerized, modernization that seems to be held in the governments fists, intricate carvings of ancient family temples where (even the popular cartoons depict this…. which I found out after buying a couple) ancestors are worshiped.

Bikes and scooters (mopeds) are everywhere. Cars are expensive here like at home, but many choose alternate transportation. That doesn’t seem to stop much of the overwhelming pollution greying the skies in many areas. I don’t get it. I don’t….

The last week was a lot more fun, almost like a vacation. I’m glad I had the first week though. I had a glimpse into what may be more of the reality. My two wishes were that I would go to the country side and would have been able to go to the orphanage. I think those things would have helped my understanding.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get a “grasp” on China. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand communism and modernism/westernization put together. It’s a puzzle wrapped in a puzzle.

I will hold on to the memories and hopefully, as I grow older and maybe wiser, understand more someday. Until then, I am so very thankful to be home with my wonderful husband and my eight beautiful children, not one I would want to live without.

Do you hear that Tom? Sarah? Anna? Max? Bekah? Jael? Rachel? Gabe? Each and every one of you are unique, special, and have a purpose from God that I am forever thankful for. I am truly honored to be your mother. God has favored me with each of you.

Thank you Heavenly Father, thank you….

And Thomas, my husband, you are my best friend…the support that God gave me here on earth to get me through the craziness until we are with Him.

"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." 2 Corninthians 5:20
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Tonight I hope to put in place a final post with a link to all our blogging in China. The pictures ARE up, but I want to make it easier to scroll through the blogs and see (in context) our journey to Jael. Yes, the video IS up for the day we became family…the day we met Jael. I will sit down and create the links tonight to make it easier.

3 comments:

  1. Very well said. Thanks for your thoughts. And Welcome Home!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting. Having never been to China.....I loved hearing about it.

    Praying you are transitioning well. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Intense. I simply don't have words and can't even pretend to grasp what this was like for you, but I am thankful the Lord has opened your eyes and heart in this point. Our worlds can become so narrow as we get caught up in "life". . .

    ReplyDelete

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