Just 6 Weeks Later

Fairly frequently, I experience difficulty sleeping after working late, and I end up either watching tv or pointlessly browsing the Internet until I think I’m tired enough to fall asleep. One of the sites I sometimes visit is an adoption forum I frequented prior to our trip to China this past January. On the rare occasions where I return like I did tonight, I typically look for families adopting children from Huizhou SWI like us. It’s a small group, and it’s interesting to share experiences and pictures.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for. I found something else:

Smoke chokes 8 disabled children to death in fire at southern China welfare home

The actual story the post pointed to disappeared from Yahoo so I’ll summarize the content here. In March 2008, 8 children from Huizhou SWI, ages 4 to 8, died of smoke inhalation when a blanket fell on a lit mosquito coil. The Governor of the province, Huang Hua Hua, has promised severe punishment for those responsible.

Unless I’m mistaken about the SWI (which I don’t believe I am since they mentioned the adjoining retirement center), these were children Violet probably knew. If we hadn’t brought her home in January, she would have probably been in a nearby room. “Those responsible” could very well be one or more of the caregivers we met, and severe punishment in China usually means much more than fines or jail time.

For her first 2 1/2 years, Violet likely considered the kids in Huizhou SWI to be her brothers and sisters and the nannies her parents. For all intents and purposes, this was her family for those 30 months, and she may have lost several of them just 6 weeks after she joined our family.

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3 Responses to Just 6 Weeks Later

  1. Tomás & Carmen Cordon says:

    Dear Koeninger family:

    We would like to thank you about your wonderful blog.
    We are a Spanish couple that is travelling to China “probably and hopefully” this summer to pick up our little new daughter Hui Cheng Liu (We will call her Maria Liu) to Huizhou SWI Orphanage. She is 12 month. At the moment, we are waiting for the LOA.
    It was a great surprise to find your blog as at least we can now imagine where she is living . It was also very soothing to us to read how the orphanage is and that you found it clean and well prepared.
    As you said there are just a few families with children from this orphanage. Actually at the moment you are the only one that we have found!.
    Thank you for share this information with us!
    Kind regards
    Tomás & Carmen Cordon

    • admin says:

      Hello Cordon family,

      I’m so sorry I didn’t see your blog comment until today, but our blog has been blasted with spam comments (over 600 that I just worked through). I believe I’ve seen you post on the Huizhou mailing list. If I remember right, you were traveling in July. I’m hoping everything went well and that Hui Cheng Liu is adjusting well to her new family. I’m pleased to hear you found the blog helpful during your wait as we know that time can be difficult wondering what your child’s life is like.

      Best Regards,

      Jason

  2. Ivy says:

    Dear Koeninger Family:

    I just found your website through a link from a Spanish adoption site and I wanted you to know that my daughter, Jaina, also came from the Huizhou City SWI. We brought her home in July of 2008 and we always wondered why we were not allowed to speak to any of the caregivers nor enter any of the buildings. Now we know. We had no clue about the fire and knowing that Jaina was possibly in another room when it happens fills me with dread. The caregivers were not allowed to approach us and only waved to us from the windows. We saw some washing dishes in a ditch. We only spoke to the director through our guide and drank scalding water from Hello Kitty plastic cups. Thank you for your blog. I am going to enjoy reading you past posts.