Shanggao Social Welfare Institute
From an adopting father: We adopted Esther from Shanggao in September 1994. Our impression was that it is one of the better orphanages, for it's actually a combination old-folks' home and orphanage. All children had an older person who was their primary caregiver; that older person received a small stipend for caring for the child. Esther stayed in the room of a 78-year-old woman; she had a very tiny crib in the room. The day we were there, there were only two babies besides Esther, as well as some toddlers and even some school-age children. A few months before, the orphanage had adopted out 7 or 8 children.
The Institute is a square building built around an inner courtyard (a traditional Chinese building plan). The entrance to the orphanage was white (stucco??), and there were symmetrical dragons facing one another on the roof. (Esther was left outside this gate.) Inside, the courtyard had at least one little bridge over a pond, and there was a rock formation in the pond. Some rooms faced the courtyard, while others were on the exterior of the building. The orphanage seemed to be located on the outskirts of the city--at least, I know I saw some fields.
Shanggao is west of Nanchang, perhaps 100 miles or so. No train goes there. We went by car, and the trip took around 3 hours each way. The countryside nearby is typical of that part of China: lots of small fields with rice. The houses in the villages were made of a grey brick, and the roofs looked like traditional Chinese architecture. On the September day we were there, we saw LOTS of people alongside the roads selling pears, so I assume the pears were grown somewhere nearby. The city itself seemed nondescript. I'm not sure how large it was. We figured that few foreigners other than adopting parents had been there.
When we visited, we had dinner with the director; he told us that they have tried to use the money from donations toward improving conditions at the Social Welfare Institute. As an example, he explained that at some point, all of the children had been sick, and they had been hospitalized (not every orphanage can afford to hospitalize a sick baby).
Esther was named YUAN Ying at the orphanage. Our understanding was that all babies who had arrived around that time were given YUAN as their family name. I'm not sure what, if anything, the character for YUAN meant. (SH)
2004-11 - We returned home with our Shanggao
baby on October 14. Shea Jia (Shang Guan Jia) is a
wonderful baby and was in great shape when we got her.
This is our second Chinese adoption and a
totally different experience than our first adoption.
Our oldest daughter Maeve was
from Yujiang SWI. Our youngest daughter
Shea from Shanggao was in perfect condition. We can't
say enough good things about Shanggao.
From another mom traveling in August 1996: "She is more than anything we ever could hope for. She is so alert and so, so, so active. I can't believe she lived in an orphanage for 6 1/2 months of her life. She is proof that the Shanggao Welfare Institute took very good care of her." (VL)
And another mom: We are very happy with our daughter, she arrived in fine condition, good humored and very affectionate. I must say that I feel she was extremely well looked after prior to our receiving her. The orphanage director told us that the orphanage is building a new extension, which should be completed in March of 1999. We were invited to go and visit on our next trip to China and we shall certainly keep in touch. We took over with us clothes for the orphanage that had been donated by our local group and while we were there we bought a fridge freezer for the new extension. The director and his admin man took us to the local department store and chose the model they wanted. (BT a. 2/99)
Welcome to Tonje's homepage (A Norwegian couple adopts from Shanggao)
Rich Blessings (A couple adopts from Shanggao orphanage March 2004.)
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional information or if your child is from here and you would like to post a picture or other information here.