More Than Toilet!
Tienzhenfang - "Creative Arts District.".  Also known as "trendy/hipster/rich foreigner shopping district".

Tienzhenfang – “Creative Arts District.”. Also known as “trendy/hipster/rich foreigner shopping district”.

Last night’s sleep did not go well. It started out normally, with Carrigan demanding dozens of toys to take to bed and then falling asleep on top a sea of them, but by 10:30 he was up, and crying. We removed the toys from under him, took him potty and tried to put him back in the crib…he was not having it. He reached out for me to hold him in the bed and after laying him down next to me in the bed, he fell asleep in my arms. We would do this every night if it weren’t for the fact that he sleeps sideways (he’s huge so takes up most of the bed) and was so upset last night that he thrashed about in his bed, kicking Joey in the head all night. I hope we can find a better solution. We think his response was due to the orphanage visit yesterday- a bit of a setback for him in a way, but an encouragement that he wants to be with us, wants nothing to do with his old life or even his nannies or friends there, and is more than happy to leave that place.

Breakfast is better this way.

Breakfast is better this way.

Someone else is still pretty popular here.

Someone else is still pretty popular here.

I only got two pictures of him there. As soon as our van pulled up to the building (an amazing facade that looks more like an impressive science center than an orphanage. This is THE model orphanage for all of the country- it is as good as it gets. The very best. I shudder to think what going to Charlotte’s orphanage would have been like, and I’m glad we didn’t), he started to look concerned and did not want to get out of the van. Our guide explained to him why we were there, that he was not staying, but visiting. She asked him if he had friends there he wanted to see and he adamantly shook his head no. He reluctantly walked in to the main lobby with us, but as soon as we turned to go down the hallway towards the rooms where the children were, he started crying (more than we’ve seen yet) and wanting me to hold him. He buried his head in my shoulder and wept and refused to respond to the nannies trying to coax him to come to them and wouldn’t let me put him down. I was trying to take pictures of other children whose families are on their way to get them- friends I have met in the Facebook group for Shanghai adoptions- but it was hard to even think straight. Our guide said his reaction was not normal and no one expected him to shut down and be so upset by this visit.

Pretty amazing orphanage entrance.  I think the style is called "art-deco-classic-commie".

Pretty amazing orphanage entrance. I think the style is called “art-deco-classic-commie”.

 

Joey was able to take him from me so I could interact better with the children there. I regret that I did not get any pictures of his nannies or really most of the surroundings, but the kids in the cribs were so overwhelming to see, that at that moment, none of those other pictures mattered. I was able to walk around each row of cribs and touch the faces and little hands of each precious child and look into their eyes and smile at them before being quickly ushered out of each room. I will never forget those faces as long as I live. Some smiled back, some looked past me in a distant gaze, and some reached up to be held. Many of the children had visibly noticeable deformities, the healthy looking ones probably with heart conditions or like Carrigan, scars of battles fought alone under their clothing. Not one baby was crying. Not one. We never heard a peep as we walked the hallways toward each new room filled with a sea of cribs with children ages 0-5. Crying does them no good. There are 600 children at this orphanage- the only one in Shanghai. There is not a healthy child at the whole orphanage, we were told. These are the children whose only hope is International adoption. Our guide told us, the Chinese people will not adopt these children. They can only have one child (or two, if at least one spouse is an only child- any more than that and the government requires a payment of 15% of their income), and if anyone in China can afford to adopt, they want the “healthy, beautiful, big eyes, white skin” child. They would have to wait 5-6 years for a child that meets that criteria, so there just aren’t many adoptions at all that happen within the country. If they’d have let me, I would have walked out of that place with a child under each arm and one more in each Ergo pack.

This sweet baby already has a family working on adopting her.

This sweet baby already has a family working on adopting her.

There are some things about this visit that I can’t put into words, or can’t tell here in this forum, that are forever embedded in my heart. I am glad we went, but it means I can never forget. The only time Carrigan looked happy here is when he could wave goodbye and we got back into the van to leave. I don’t blame him. Part of me couldn’t wait to leave, and the other part of me never wanted to.

On a much lighter note…we went to a shopping area after the visit where we saw some very interesting sights. A cat restaurant. Yes, where cats dine on the table tops. Joey refused to go inside to get pictures, snapping one from the outside window.

Cat restaurant.  Make of that what you will.

Cat restaurant. Make of that what you will.

It's not 3D - it's not 4D - it's 7D!!!!!!!

It’s not 3D – it’s not 4D – it’s 7D!!!!!!!

Oba-Mao, we think originally coined by will.i.am

Oba-Mao, we think originally coined by will.i.am

We stopped for lunch at a popular restaurant chain in Shanghai- Yang’s Dumplings. It was yummy, and quite a fun experience. Thankfully our guide ate with us and ordered for us- and not the pork intestines. The specialty here is a thick dough ball dumpling filled with soup and meat- you are supposed to bite a hole in it and suck the soup out before eating the dough and meat. After unsuccessfully squirting several out the back end across the table at each other, she showed us the proper way to eat them. It was a lot of fun!

And, yes, the “Modern Toilet” restaurant…”More Than Toilet…Happy & Delicious!” ┬áThe complete experience included dining on toilets, eating off a bathtub table, enjoying your poo pile of ice cream out of a miniature squatty potty, and lounging around the waiting area on poo shaped pillows. Yum. We couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

One of us was doing the socially appropriate thing for these "seats".

One of us was doing the socially appropriate thing for these “seats”.

Charlotte, ready to clean out a squatty potty.

Charlotte, ready to clean out a squatty potty.

Garrick is prepared to help with this task.

Garrick is prepared to help with this task.

Corin finds the catch screen in the bottom of the potty.

Corin finds the catch screen in the bottom of the potty.

Grace's first model photo shoot.  Keep this one for posterity.

Grace’s first model photo shoot. Keep this one for posterity.

I’ve relaxed so much this trip about driving here. It’s nuts, but the good thing is that you are rarely going at any rate of speed due to the traffic. We’ve seen only one fender bender our entire time both trips- people just know how to weave in and out of traffic here. We also discovered why the traffic isn’t nearly as bad as it should be in a city with a population of over 28 million…it costs $12,500 USD to get a license plate! Traffic control. It also explains all the expensive car dealerships and while we’ve not seen a beater car on the roads here. Only the rich elite actually drive their own cars.

Sibling fun!

Sibling fun!

Psychopaths should not swim here.

Psychopaths should not swim here.

Carrigan is already saying Charlotte’s name!! He seems to be picking up a new word each day.

*If you would like to see more pictures of the orphanage visit, I made a Facebook album. There are too many for this post to choose from.