It's A Great Day for the Chirish!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Humble Beginning

We were fortunate to find out were Kiera was found when she was abandoned, and to actually go to that place. I do not think that many parents get that opportunity, if only because their children can come from very far away. It was under the Ju hua flyover (bridge) of the Guan Du district in Kunming City. Fanny (Xilaun’s assistant) took us there yesterday (1-19-07) to see it and it was a bit shocking. The bridge’s name translates to something that refers to flowers (Chrysanthemums) and that is how Kiera got her Chinese name: Guan, Qing Ju. Guan is the Chinese family name from the district that she was found in and Qing Ju (pronounced Ching Jew) is a little, green chrysanthemum. Well the name of the bridge is beautiful but that is where the beauty ended.

The location is very dirty, very busy and very noisy. It seems to be a “cross roads” for many local people. It is not a place that you will find a tourist. It is a rather impoverished area and people are doing what they have to do to make a living. Try to picture a ground level intersection of 6 to 8 streets, meeting at a big circle. Then above it are one or two levels of bridges, criss-crossing above. Noise, noise, noise. Every type of vehicle imaginable goes around this circle: Buses, trucks, motorcycles, cars, vans, bikes, scooters, three-wheeled scooter type things, three-wheeled bikes functioning as little trucks that carry large loads of products, carts pulled by very old men and little old women, carts pulled by donkey’s and mules. Loads of construction products, produce, water, garbage, boxes – all sorts of stuff. Everything with a horn uses it, and uses it often. On the sidewalks are vendors of all kinds: produce, Chinese versions of shish-ka-bobs, other cooked stuff, magazines, shoe shines, cigarettes etc. People mill around on foot, wait for busses, hang-out on their bikes and motorcycles. It looks like some of the people are just passing through on their way to work or between supply locations and job sites. There are a lot (A LOT) of construction materials suppliers near by and they operate out of little store fronts.

All of this traffic weaves in and out with horns honking all of the time. Vendors are set-up trying to sell any product or service to the passers-by and of course there are those that just stand and watch. One of the corners (picture a pie shape because of all of the streets converging onto this circle) acts as a bus stop at its point. Set back about 30 feet is a small police station. It is very very small and is not open every day. I think that it is a satellite location for traffic officers. Near the point there are two trees where the cement sidewalk was removed to make planters for the trees. One tree to the left and one to the right. Kiera was left on May 17th 2006, under the tree to the right as you look at the circle from the police station. It is not a big tree. The trunk is about 6 to 8 inches in diameter and its height is about 15 to 20 feet. It looks a little spindly. We made a second trip back to the corner to pluck a couple of leaves from the tree, and our guide said that the tree is a small-fruited fig tree – small banyon tree.

On our first visit to the corner Fanny talked to a police officer for us and he told us to go to the larger police station that is near by. This is where she would have been taken when she was found, and where she spent that first night. At first they wanted to see our papers (her birth certificate) but Fanny and the taxi driver (who was also a very helpful lady in all of this) talked to the handful of officers that gathered around. The police eventually took pity on us and did some research. I told Kathy that she needed to stay out of the car because I didn’t think that it would hurt to have them see a blonde haired, blued eyed woman taking care of a helpless but drop dead gorgeous baby – I figured you gotta use what you got. They found the police report but the officer that found her (I assume he found her but I guess someone could have picked Kiera up and then given her to him) wasn’t there, so they called him up and got a good description of where she was found. That is how we know which corner and under which tree the baby was placed. The police were unusually cooperative with this, according to Fanny anyway. She said that it was because we were foreigners and they took pity on us. She said that the head police officer thought that we looked like a nice family and they were impressed that we went to the trouble to find out where Kiera was left. He said that Kiera was very lucky to be going to live in America and he asked if we would adopt him too. I guess America doesn’t look too bad in all parts of the world.

So some things we know, and some things we will never know. We know when and where Kiera was found. We know that she was found with a note and 10 yuan (Chinese money aka RMB worth about $1.30 US), which is probably around a half day’s wages for her birth parents. We know with the certainty of the note that was left with her that her birthday is April 24th, 2006. Most abandoned babies will never know their actual birth dates because notes are rarely left with the baby – too risky. We know that she was left in a public place where she would quickly be found, where police were nearby to bring her to safety and where her father and/or mother could quickly slip into obscurity. I assume that they watched from afar to ensure that the baby was safely found. We know that they risked a great deal leaving her in such a place as the punishment for child abandonment is rather severe. We know that her parents loved her enough to give birth to her, to care for her for 24 days before giving her up and we know that they left at least some money in the hopes of ensuring her care for at least a couple of days. We also know that the baby, temporarily Qing Ju but ultimately Kiera Rose, touched a police officer enough in such a short period of time that he easily remembered the details of finding her 8 months later.

Many unknown things will forever be a mystery. Was the baby’s family local or did they travel a long way so that they could not be found and punished? We will know neither the circumstances of her birth nor the events that lead to her parents’ having to give her up. Even so, all indications are that she was loved when she was brought into this world, and loved she will remain. We know how deeply we have fallen in love with Kiera Rose after only 6 days; we will never know the courage, the strength, the desperation or the fear that it would take to give her up after caring for her for 24 days. What was most certainly her birth-parents’ greatest heart break has turned out to be our greatest blessing, joy and miracle. Our souls belong together as a family formed by God, for His purposes. With Kiera our family grows from 4 to 5 and is now complete.

We will love her for the rest of our lives. We will always be indebted to a family that we will never meet. We will never know their real names or their fate. We will only know them as the Guans, and we will pray for them until the day that we die.


At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Diane and Robbie said...

I am breathless. Your story is so eloquently and vividly told. Bless you for finding this information for Kiera. Love, Diane

At 12:20 PM, Blogger 4HolyFamilyAcademy said...

This was just beautiful! As I wipe away the tear from my eyes, I relish in God's divine mercy. I see how precious your family is and how blessed all of you are to be together alas! How complete it will be when Bobby and Shannon finally get to hold their little sister. God bless you, your family and Kiera's biirth parents for choosing life!
In Christ's love,

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello O'Brien Family,
We are so happy for you guys. She is just BEAUTIFUL! What a blessing she is for all of us. Hope you guys have safe travels. Our prayers are with you guys and all of those in the orphanage's over there. Emily says, "Bring us back a girl too!" Lots of Love. The Pressley's

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is and you are a blessing to be told amongst others. We are so thankful to have Kiera a part of our family and that you have this special time together before coming home. We love you...Tim, Mary and Boy and Bambie. :)

At 6:31 PM, Blogger The Muellers said...

Wow! I am so happy that you were able to find out all of this information. I would think that someday this will mean a lot for Kiera to know these details. But also, I think it will strengthen her love for both of you that you went to the extra trouble of finding out all of this. Praise be to God for touching the hearts of so many people that contributed to Kiera's successful journey to you. I know that I am so moved that you were able to find out this background information. It helps when you are trying to make sense of everything. God was watching over her from day one! I also will keep her birth family in my prayers as I too am sure we can't imagine the immediate & long term pain of giving a child up. I pray God gives them peace. That somehow they know in their heart that she is being sooooooo loved! Thanks be to God!!!!! Keep posting!! Love, Jayna, Sandy, Emily, & Connor

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Tweety too said...

Thanks a ton for sharing this precious story with us. We can't wait to met the newest member of the O'Brien family. Best Wishes, Cheryl Lord and family

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Peggy Dickinson said...

yup, I cried too

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Peggy Dickinson said...

yup, I cried too


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