A Perfect Day (Puyang Visit 10/14)

Posted On: Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

[Written 10/15/2011, published 11/12/2011.]

Friday. My favorite day of the entire trip, hands down! We spent the day with the sweetest boy, Jasmine’s friend from the SWI, Pu Min Yu!  Warning:  this will be long because I don’t want to leave out a single detail.  I want to remember every moment of that day.

About a week before our trip, we asked specifically about seeing Pu Min Yu while we were in Puyang. (We saw him during our visit last year, and I could not forget him.) The ayi said she could arrange time for us to see him, so she took him out of school on Thursday just for that purpose.   Because we were with two other families Todd was the translator, which made me the designated kid-wrangler.  So we saw Min Yu briefly and said hello, spoke with the ayis and director, toured the orphanage, and then it was time to leave.  No time to visit with Min Yu.  🙁  We didn’t feel right leaving things on that note, so after we left Todd messaged the same ayi, asking if it would be possible to spend some time with him the next day.  She didn’t know what she would be able to arrange but said she’d try.

A little shy, watching from the sidelines.

Friday morning we returned to the SWI to deliver clothes for the children, and to talk with the director and the ayis. We had a list of questions we wanted to ask, some about Jasmine’s history, and some about Pu Min Yu.  Todd went inside and I stayed outside with our kids to play on the playground. About 15 minutes later, up drove an ayi on a motorbike—with Pu Min Yu! The kids noticed, “Look! It’s Pu Min Yu!” We waved, and he waved back from the back of the motorbike. He disappeared into the building where Todd was for a few minutes but then came out with an ayi at his side. He was a bit shy, but I can’t blame him; so were we! He watched the kids play for a bit, then Kaylee Ann asked him if he wanted to play with them (in Chinese of course). He said he’d just watch. 🙂


We talked, but my limited Chinese kept our conversation at a minimum. I asked him how old he was and he said 11. (We found out later that he’s actually 12. So interesting that he honestly did not know his age.) I asked if he knew when his birthday was and he didn’t know. (This is common in an orphanage.) I asked if he knew English and he said a little bit. I asked him a few other questions and found out that he wants to learn English, and he does want a family. He actually answered “yes” in English to both questions. 🙂  It was so cute that after we talked about learning English he started practicing right away, and continued for the rest of our time together! He asked me a few questions too, and a couple times I had to call Jasmine over to translate. He was polite enough to try to make conversation, even though he knew my Chinese was not so great.

In between talking with Min Yu and playing with the kids I took pictures and videos of everyone.  Confession: I wanted nothing more than to point that camera at his sweet face and snap a million pictures!  And I wanted to capture his every movement, every word, so I could “take” him with me once we said goodbye.  But…I didn’t want to weird him out, so I took pictures of all the kids, including him. 🙂  Until we can bring him home, pictures are all we have.

Four little monkeys...

We spent a couple hours there–playing tag, climbing on the monkey bars, chatting, taking funny pictures on the phone.  Then somehow it was lunchtime…already time to leave.  We were planning to eat at a jiaozi place, then play at a nearby city park.  My brilliant husband asked if we could bring Pu Min Yu with us.  The ayis asked him if he would like to, and he agreed very enthusiastically.  Yea!  He was coming with us!!  I honestly don’t know who was most excited–me, Todd, kids, Pu Min Yu?  We were ALL so happy to spend more time together!


Jasmine tried teaching him all our English names on the way to the restaurant.  When she had told him all 7 names she asked which ones he remembered.  “Uhh…..Michael!”  And that was all.  We all had a good laugh with that.  Todd asked if he could use chopsticks (since he only has 3 fingers on each hand).  He replied that he could.  Michael’s comment during lunch was, “No fair!  He has 3 fingers, and I have 5, and he can use them better than me!”  And with those chopsticks this boy did some serious eating!  Yep, growing boy if I ever saw one. 🙂

LOVED the swings!

Lunch eaten, we headed to the park.  After watching him climb around for a while I asked him if he was a monkey. He laughed.  He was excited to try the swings, but he didn’t want to go as high as Kaylee Ann!  He thought she was kind of crazy. 🙂  He loved the swings.  I didn’t realize it until we left, but I think that was probably Min Yu’s first time on a swing.  Wow.  We also got to take him on his first boat ride.  There were some paddle boats on the pond so we rented two of them. We put four of us in each boat and raced each other around for a while.  He was in the boat with Todd so I only saw him a few times, but each time he was smiling ear to ear.  I love that boy’s smile! 🙂

First boat ride!


He had grown less shy, and happier and more smiley the longer he was with us.  Then during the drive back to the SWI he got very quiet, and all the smiles disappeared.  I was hoping he was just tired from a long day of playing.  So I asked him.  No, he wasn’t tired.  It seemed to us that he wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  We had to take him back at 3:00 because we were supposed to make one more trip, a visit to Jasmine’s old school.  When he overheard us telling that to the nannies, he ran to one of them and quietly asked if he could go with us.  They said he could, if it was okay with us.  OF COURSE!!  So we all went to the school–our family, Pu Min Yu, and the ayis.

About to say goodbye, no more smiles. 🙁

We toured the school, saw Jasmine’s teacher…and then came the real goodbye.  The goodbye I had been preparing for.  I knew I’d have to be tough.  Todd thanked him for spending time with our family that day, then he gave him a little hug.  And then I gave him a hug.  And made myself let him go, my son.  Then we drove away, all of us waving and waving out the window.  And he waved and waved and waved at us until we were out of sight.  Very bittersweet.

There were several times during the day, when kids’ heads were turned, that Todd and I glanced at each other long enough to convey something to the effect of, “WOW. He is an AWESOME kid!” I wish I could describe him. Like most children who are adopted older, he seems younger than his years.  Jasmine at age 8, seemed more like a 5-6 year old.  Min Yu, at age 12 1/2 feels like a 9-10 year old.  Not immature, just young and innocent, very child-like.  No pre-teen attitudes or angst, not self-conscious at all.  I remember my first impression of him when we saw him last year, that he had “the sweetest face I’ve ever seen.”  And I don’t even know that it was his face exactly, but something about him conveyed sweetness.  Well, as far as we could tell, that is him through and through.  Sweet, calm, kind, gentle, thoughtful, yet still very much a BOY! He had so much fun playing, swinging, climbing, and jumping.  And he ate a whole plateful of jiaozis at lunch—plus a ton of other food. Definitely a boy. 🙂

Needless to say, we’re totally in love–me, Todd, the kids–and are doing everything we can to bring him home. 🙂  The kids have been begging to adopt him since the MOMENT we drove away, literally.  I wish we could tell them that’s exactly what we’re trying to do!   After the initial pleading had stopped, Kaylee Ann leaned forward from the backseat and whispered in my ear, “Mommy, I really feel like Heavenly Father is preparing our family for him.”  I had to keep my response to myself.  Yes, Kaylee Ann, I know He is.


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2 Responses to “A Perfect Day (Puyang Visit 10/14)”

  1. […] been SO long since that day in Puyang when we said goodbye to Minyu.  I am so anxious to see him again, and knowing that there will be […]

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