We were not able to visit Gracie's home city or orphanage while we were in China. Perhaps one day we will make that journey with her when she is older. I am a part of an online group of families who have adopted from Gracie's particular orphanage. It was at this site that I was able to find these priceless pictures of the building and city where she spent the first 16 months of her life.
I want to honor Gracie's beginnings and handle the story of her early life with love and respect. So many of you have asked about her "story" and I feel these are the things we can share. We were told that she was abandoned at the gate of the Lianjiang Social Welfare Institution when she was estimated to be one day old in February of 2008. We were told that the majority of the children there are discovered in the same particular place by the front gate. The workers are not allowed to pick up the infants, but are to report the discovery to the local police. The police can then take the children to the orphanage to be cared for.
Gracie's "finding ad" was placed in the Yancheng Evening News in June of 2008. Gracie's picture, along with 31 other children's pictures, was placed in this newspaper to give any family member 60 days to come forward to claim their children. If no one comes forward during this time, the children are officially considered abandoned and will be cared for by their prospective orphanages.
Gracie was also named by her orphanage workers. The name "Jia" means home, or family. The name "Shu" means book or letter. The office workers who accompanied Gracie on the day we met her told us she was given these names in hopes that she would one day have a family who loved her and that she would also receive a good education. We will forever be grateful to the women who cared for our daughter in the first year of her life. What a priceless role they play in the lives of these little ones in the small coastal city of Gracie's birth. It is our prayer that every boy and girl within those walls will one day be placed with a loving family who will honor their beginnings as well. I'd take our little treasure over a winning lottery ticket or mansion any day!
The gate of the LianJiang SWI