Monday, March 29, 2010

Quinzhou (Cheen-joe)

Building which the fifth floor housed Sarah for two months.

Sarah with the head nanny.

A view of the backside of the original building of the current facility for the orphanage.

Family with head Nanny and medical lady. Sarah has her love ball.

Sarah in front of the sign forever good wishes bridge...Note: this is the same shot I posted last night

View into what was formly the countryside

View from the bridge into the city

Sarah on the bridge

Sarah and the photo of the police officier

Sarah with her french fries, fork, ketchup and coke.

Sarah sleeping on the return trip with her Love Ball.

Today we visited Quinzhou, the city where Sarah was first found and then lived in that Social Welfare Institute for two months. Qhinzhou has a population of about 600,000....a small city in China's standards. The city is known for the water ports, dolphins and pearls. It is located about 62 miles north of Vietnam. The name of the city comes from the Qin Dynasty and means, "A city entitled by emporer."

Sarah was found on July 8, 2004 with a note on her saying she was born the day before. She was found on the Number 2 bridge, also known as "The Forever Wishes Bridge." A local policeman found her and transported her to the local orphanage on that day. They gave her the name, "Min Xiao Ning." "Min" is the surname given to every baby that first his his/her home in the Quinzhou SWI. "Xiao" means "morning" and "Ning" means "Peaceful." Xiao Ning lived for two months at the local orphanage before they transported her to Nanning to be part of the foster parenting program of A Mother's Love. It was at that time Sarah was placed in the home of her foster parents.

Our first stop today was at the SWI. I can't recall the position of the first woman we met, but Tom believes she is the doctor. We then got to meet the Head Nanny. The babies of the orphanage used to live in the fifth floor of a building over a car dealership. From what I understand, they no longer use that floor and have moved all aspects of the orphanage to the facility behind this building. Like most orphanages, they also house the elderly and the sick. We were told there are about 100 children still associated with the orphanage, but that many of them are now in foster homes through two sponsorship programs overseas. I know that one of them is "Grace and Hope." Prior to leaving, they presented Sarah with her own Love Ball and gave Lily a purse.

After the orphanage we headed to the finding location on the bridge. We aren't certain where on the bridge she was found so we took several pictures. As I mentioned already, when we last visited this bridge is was the day before we received Sarah. We took plenty of pictures then. That was May 14, 2006. Sidenote, we got Sarah on Mother's Day 2006! When we visited the bridge in 2006 it looked much different than it does today. In fact, the way the bridge looked then gives us a better idea of some of Sarah's story. Then, when standing on the bridge facing the city, there were building upon buildings. When you turned around facing away from the city, it was all countryside. There were small farming plots everywhere you looked and several water buffalo. Because of the surroundings of this bridge and the fact that Sarah was born the day before, we believe Sarah came from the countryside where her biological family were probably rural farmers. They probably travelled into the city and left her on the bridge which was then the edge of the city. Tom and I were shocked how much things have changed since our last visit. The countryside is no longer in view from the bridge as there are many buildings and streets. We were blown away!

After the visit to the bridge we headed over to the police station where the officer works that had found Sarah. He was out of town for training. There is a large billboard with the officers names and pictures so we took a picture of Sarah in front of it.

After the visit to the police station we headed to what we were told was a western cafe. Sarah, being the westerner that she has become, ate french fries with a fork, dipped in ketchup. She drank a coke! After lunch we headed back to Nanning.

What was Sarah's response to all of this? The only thing I can note at this time is that she was beaming. As one of five, I could tell that she was feeling something special like, "This is my city, this is my story." I'm thrilled that we captured some pictures for her so as she grows up and processes "her story" she'll have a better understanding of things.

I have some thoughts that I think are hard to put words to explain them completely. Maybe som AP will understand. I've known three of my children since their births. TJ, who was adopted, came to us straight from the hospital. As a mom, it's somewhat hard to grasp that this child that I love so very much had 22 months without me. She was placed on a bridge alone to be found. She was taken to an orphanage where she lived for two months. She was then transferred to another orphanage where she was placed into a wonderful foster family. She lived with them for 20 months. Her world was probably tore up as she was placed in our arms in May of 2006 as all she knew was gone. The adjustment was a challenging one for her as she was attached to my hip and for months would cry if ever I left her. It was nearly a year that she would wake up and scream if I were not in sight. A huge turning point for me was when we had Sarah for 22 months. It was then that I could say, "We've had her longer than the time we didn't have her." That was huge for me. "The Red Thread" is a common term for thos of us who have adopted from China. Sarah's red thread runs from an unknown farmers home, to a bridge, to two orphanages to a foster home to her home with us. We are grateful to China for allowing us to adopt Sarah! Moreso, I have to say that bigger than China is a big God who had great plans for a little baby. His plan was from the beginning of time! It was then that he knew about this red thread...His thread... and how a little baby named "Min Xiao Ning" would become "Sarah Jo Xiaoning Alexander." To Him we give glory and praise for His plan!


  1. We are enjoying following along on your journey each day-rejoicing in this post today,and God's great gift of Sarah to your family :)

    The Marsh Family

  2. Praise God for His will being done! I love reading your post. Seeing those pictures give me goose bumps just thinking of your time in your girl's birth country and all they are experiencing while there. What a true blessing!

  3. forget to sign my name to the post above...Sam

  4. We are enjoying following you guys but I can't wait until you get to GZ!!


  5. What a special day/trip. GOD IS GOOD.

  6. Hi, here a note from Holland. We have also a daughter from swi quinzhou. She was born in 2993. We like to visit the swi in about 2 years. I was great reading your story, thanks. Best regard, laura

  7. Trying to reach you. Can you email me at BrianStuy@Research-China.Org? Your blog email appears to no longer be any good.