On Wednesday, we were allowed to visit Ping's orphanage. Most orphanages in China don't allow visitors, due to some bad foreign press about them in the 90's. But the Chongqing Children's Welfare Institute is one of the nicest orphanages in China, and they are very proud of it. However, they requested that we don't take video of the facility, and don't take pictures of any of the children living in the orphanage.

The orphanage is one of the older facilities, but they have recently rebuilt all of the buildings with the help of donations from foundations and adoptive parents. They currently house over 500 orphans, with more than 300 'special needs' children. The children range from infants all the way up to teenagers. An attached clinic has been built to handle the medical needs of the children.

The Assistant Director of the orphage took us on a tour of the children's dorm, and we were taken to the room where Yu Qian Min slept. All of the children were in the big play room next door, and all of the bedding was being cleaned, so it looked a little more sterile than it normally would. Ping's crib was in the corner next to a window and it still had a card above it with her name and picture on it. They took it down and gave it to us as a souvenir.

One thing we noticed in China, is that there is never a lack of people, and the Chinese tend to 'over-hire' by American standards. In the playroom, we saw about 25 very happy toddlers being attended by 7 or 8 workers. All of the children were getting lots of attention. We met Mrs. Peng, who was the primary caretaker for Cheyenne. She was very excited to see Qian Min again, and all of the workers were very talkative and friendly.

That evening, Kathy took us to a wonderful restaurant near our hotel that served Sichuan Hot Pot. It is a fairly well known meal where raw food is dipped into hot chili oil that is sitting in the middle of the table. The Hot Pot originated in Chongqing, and along with something called 'Spring Chicken' is one of the foods that Chongqing is known for. As we were finishing our meal, one of the walls moved aside to reveal a fairly large stage, and they started up a floor show.

The first act was 6 or 7 Chinese women doing the Can-Can surrounded by stage fog. After that was a woman in a long evening gown and a 'Miss America' sized bouquet of flowers singing a very nice Chinese song. The Chinese are very in touch with Western culture, but here in Chongqing, they very rarely see foreigners. As we were walking back to our hotel, EVERYONE on the street stopped and stared at us, like we had a third eye or something. Kathy said she could hear the people in the shops we were passing say "Foreigners coming, foreigners coming". Everyone is very nice, and we have never felt like we were in danger. It was just odd.

For the past couple of days, we have stuck to our hotel and done a little shopping. The pollution has been really bad, and all three of us have stuffed-up sinuses, so we haven't really felt like going out much. Yesterday, our flight from China back to LA was canceled, so our very resourceful guide, Kathy, called the US Consulate and convinced them to move our appointment up a day. This means we can take an earlier flight and get back into the States on Wednesday rather than on Sunday. We should be back home on Thursday if all goes well.

And I know many of you came to this page only to see baby pictures, so I am including a few extras for the grandparents.

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