YueYang – “Care First, Enjoy Last”

IMG_4370Our time in YueYang and Changsha was the intended highlight of our trip – a visit to Kiana’s home city and Hunan province!

After a six-hour bullet train ride headed south from Beijing (900 miles, ten stops, and speeds in excess of 300km/h), we arrived in the YueYang. Our guide (English name ‘Smile’) introduced us to this “medium-size Chinese city” of 1.5 million people (with an addition 5 million in the metropolitan region).

Kiana came to the adoption center in YueYang as one-day old baby in May of 2002. She was known then as Yue Xiayang (aka “summer ocean”), a moniker she uses today as her middle name, officially Xiayang; she was lovingly addressed this way throughout our visit to the orphanage in YueYang and the adoption center in Changsha.

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Visits to both centers included warm receptions and meetings with agency officials. In both cases, the directors of the centers were all present during Kiana’s adoption journey in 2003. The current director of the YueYang Social Welfare Center was on staff in 2003, and the Hunan Adoption Agency director today signed Kiana’s original document certificates ten years ago as the agency registrar. Xia Yueng clearly had the Midas Touch!

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In both cases, we also got to see current children being cared for by the centers, including about 30 special needs children in YueYang, and at least one toddler being officially adopted during our visit.

IMG_4232Touring YueYang and Changsha (Hunan)

After our visits each day, we toured famous parts of each city.
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In YueYang, we discovered the Island region of Lake Dong Ting, walking through lush gardens and ancient temples along the important waterway that connects the Xiaoxiang and the Yangtze rivers.

The YueYang Tower (top of article, above right) along Lake Dong Ting inspired many famous Chinese poets, including Teng Zijing and Fan Zhongyan, who defined Chinese Cultural theme “Care First, Enjoy Last,” a philosophy that seems very prevalent among the Chinese people wet have met on the trip so far. It was a beautiful setting long the lake, and the traditional architecture was fun to experience.

IMG_4613Our Thursday in Changsha included a visit to an Embroidery Museum which Karen, Jenni and Kiana had toured on their original adoption trip in 2003. We also traveled under the Xiaoxiang to the university region and the Yuelu Academy, China’s oldest university (established in 976).
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It rained for most of our visit, but we had a great time nonetheless. After our touring on Thursday, David wandered east of the Huatian Hotel toward the railway station, and discovered the discount market area, where shirts, backpacks, and other sundries could be had for bargaining. It was so much fun that the time wore on, the rain continued unabated … and he arrived soaking wet and late for dinner with the family. Our dinners were enjoyed at “Food Street,” a made-to-order cafeteria-style restaurant in the hotel that was the same as it had been during the moms’ first visit.