Sunday, June 12, 2011

Searching for Answers: Jiangle SWI

Preface: New Information: I learned that Travis is NOT in Jiangle County SWI. He is in Sanming City, but not in the "castle" SWI.  See my next post for the story.  So the entire blog below is null and void, but I'm going to keep it here for posterity.

Way back in January, I blogged about where I thought Travis "EnEn" was living.  Now I am 95% sure I was wrong.

Over the past few days, I've been scouring the Internet for some information.  Any information.  Tian's SWI is in a large, well-traveled, urban city in a providence where many adoptions occur.  He was in the Lily Orphan Room that is operated by our adoption agency.  Because of these factors, we have a lot of information about his orphanage.  We know the location, we've seen a lot of photos, heard stories from other adoptive families and travel groups, and even received a video of Tian in his SWI. 

Travis, on the other hand, is from a more rural, remote city that isn't often visited by international travelers.  We knew from the beginning that he was from Sanming, but we've learned this covers a large area with two orphanages.  

Red Thread Maps, a great resource for adoptive parents, has a beautiful hand-drawn map of the area.  That map shows the Sanming SWI and the Jiangle SWI.  I pinpointed them on GoogleMaps here:
A: Sanming SWI  B: Jiangle SWI
These two SWIs are about 65 miles apart.  Since it's a mountainous, rural area, we have no idea how long it will take to travel.  From Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian Province, it's 150 miles to Sanming, so we're looking at a total of at least 215 miles one way to visit the SWI, but we hope we can.  If there is any way, we want to do it.

Photo taken from www.whatsonxiamen.com
In researching the area, we learned that there are beautiful caves very near the Jiangle SWI.  Only about 5 miles from the SWI, we could visit this:

Photo taken from www.asiavtour.com


This description was taken from en.chinahotel.com: "The caves extend over five kilometers, and the main cave is 2.5 kilometers long. Carlsbad Caverns ‘Big Room,’ by comparison, is but 610 meters long.Since its discovery in early Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), it has always been a hot tour spot."

Certainly worth visiting!  We learned that it's a tourist hot spot for Chinese more than international travelers, so little, if anything, is in English.  Makes sense.  It's in China.

Google Maps/Earth has some beautiful photos of the area.  You can click here to see the photos other people post from the area.  I love technology and how information is shared all over the world now.  What we are seeing is amazing, but we want more information about Travis' SWI.

With My Heart In China is another resource, the best resource, in my opinion, on orphanages in China. The website is in Spanish, but thanks to Google Translate, it is easily read in English.  (Another point for technology and Google.)  If you are an adoptive parent, I highly recommend visiting this website.  She links to every province and has orphanage photos, maps, names, addresses, phone numbers, and even web links the SWI's Chinese website.  With Google Translate, it's easy to peruse those Chinese sites and find photos and info about your SWI.   She links to her own Picasa albums that have photos of many many SWIs, inside and out, going back as far as 2007 and are as recent as March of this year.  Check it out!

We think he's not in the Sanming SWI for several reasons.  The main reason is, from her website, I can see that the Sanming SWI address is not the same as the address for Travis' SWI.  Plus, the name is "Jiangle County Sanming City SWI."  The "Sanming City" is what throws me off, but we'll know soon enough!  (But not soon enough!)

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