Location: Baotou

We started the morning early by arriving in Baotou at 7:04 am. Because getting a bus here is hard, we split up and took cabs to the hotel. The hotel is by far the best one we’ve had. We were especially excited about breakfast because there wasn’t just Chinese food, there was toast, yogurt, and even coffee. Because of the train ride, we had the morning off and got to relax, and in the afternoon, we went to the orphanage. The first thing we saw was a drop-off box, where Chinese families who cannot properly take of their child can anonymously drop off their babies. It was sad to see, but it was nice to know that the babies would be safe and taken care of. When we got inside the orphanage, we met the director, who gave us an overview of who they care for. We also got to see Jing Jing, a girl who we had played with at the hospital in Beijing. It was exciting to know that she’d recognized us too. The room that I went to consisted mostly of babies with Down Syndrome. The children were quiet when Alex and I first went in, but they quickly opened up to us. I got to play with a boy and a girl who were around 1 or 2 years old, and we had so much fun dancing to the music from the karaoke machine. After service, we were given a tour of the orphanage. It was amazing getting to see the “family units,” where a couple would volunteer to come live with a few of the orphans before they move into their forever home. It would give the children an idea of what a family is like to make the transition smoother. We spent dinner at the park and walked around. We also visited a stupa, which is a sacred site of Buddhist worship. We had to walk around three times for good fortune but because Shaun wanted to go back up after to take a “spinning selfie,” we had to walk around three more times. When the sunset, we walked back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.