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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Parting Gift


The director of Gioia's orphanage (technically - social welfare institute, or SWI) is retiring. Fuling Kids International, the organization for children who were formerly adopted from this institution, is going to present her with a farewell gift: a digital photo frame loaded with pictures of former Fulingers. This picture was the one we sent in as Gioia's contribution.

The Chinese characters in the picture represent Gioia's original Chinese name, Fu Le Xin, which was given by her ayis at the SWI. We have kept most of her Chinese name, changing only the first character to match Chris' surname character: Bei. But for this picture, she remains a Fu, just like her brothers and sisters* who will appear with her on this retirement gift.

I hope that when the director sees the pictures of all of the happy, healthy kids, she is reminded of the special role she played in their lives. All of our children were blessed to receive such good care while they were waiting in China. Even though each child's story invariably has dark, sad elements, there are some wonderful parts too which are worth celebrating.

*Mei Mei, Jie Jie, Ge Ge, Di Di - Chinese culture has a wonderful inclusiveness of language which links little children together in a community through naming conventions. All little boys in the neighborhood are big or little brothers to Gioia; all little girls are big or little sisters. In this case, Gioia's Fuling brothers and sisters are probably closer to true brothers and sisters, beyond just the standard community language, as they all share a common heritage in a single institutional experience.

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