Did you know the Mississippi ran through Minneapolis?

Okay, I give other folks a hard time about not knowing geography (I LOVE maps!) but I have to admit that I had no idea that the Mississippi River ran through Minneapolis. (I also learned that the headwaters are just about an hour or so north, but we ran out of time this trip to see where the mighty river begins). We parked the car ~ as we are known to do in unfamiliar cities ~ and walked until our feet hurt. During that time we walked over the Hennepin Bridge that crosses the Mississippi. Don't ask me why I think that is so cool ~ I just do.

Anyway, the real reason for our trip to the twin cities was the East Meets West conference and it was great! It was fun to be surrounded by folks who think of China as much as we do. I even talked with a few others that had strange dreams ~ both of the day and night variety ~ (like me from time to time) about getting a referral. One couple even told me that they had a daydream of getting handed a referral like a door prize at the conference because they thought they had come from the furthest away. He laughed when he realized that we came all the way from NC which surpassed the distance he and his wife traveled from Indiana. I guess someone must have come from farther than NC though, because while we did win a door prize, it wasn't an early referral!

We attended seven seminars between the two of us. There were so many speakers we wanted to hear that several times we decided to "divide and conquer." The sessions we attended included Cross Cultural Parenting, Bonding and Attachment, Adopting an Older Child, Referrals, Answering Questions from Strangers, China's Cultures and Traditions, and Re-Adoption and Tax Credit. I learned so much information that at the end I felt like my brain was melting.

My very favorite part though was listening to an orphanage director. He spoke at the end of the day to all of us. It was meaningful because so many people here (in the land of plenty) tend to think that the orphanages in China are horrible places. We've only heard the bad, the children are freezing, starving, and uncared for. Sure they are under serious budget crunches, but in most cases the workers love the children left in their care and want the very best for them. This was so clearly shown by the orpahnage director we heard speak. He was very proud of the fact that despite his small government budget (65 children, over 100 workers and the equivalent of $20,000 US dollars to make it happen) his orphanage sports some of the healthiest babies that are adopted from China. Despite the fact that he was very reserved in his demenor, his heart for "his" kids showed through! It was refreshing to know that children in many orphanages are cared for so well. I honestly hope that our child comes from his orphanage so that I may have an opportunity to tell him thank you!

Oh, and I also have to admit one more thing...

It was pretty fun to be able to tell folks, "Our LID is August 26, 2005." The reaction usually was "Oh wow, you are so close!" I think that they may have been a bit jealous, but also happy for us.

ps ~ Today I was looking at the review of the conference on Great Wall China Adoption's website. I found this picture, we're famous! That is the back of our heads (me in green, Ian in white) during the morning speaker's message. Her story was AMAZING, I've got to get a copy of The Waiting Child by Cindy Champnella!


Adam said...

Look at those celebreties! I think that is Mommy and Daddy Miller! :)

traci said...

this Adam comment above is actually from Anut Traci as well! oops :)

LaoLao Shultz said...

Happy that you went to this conference and heard first hand how loving and caring the people from the orphanages are handling each child and matching their children with their adoptive parents. Know that they will match you (with God's help) with the perfect child. Lao Lao (name for the maternal Grandmother)Shultz