Shaanxi Trip: Haircuts & Piano Lessons – Part 5

Today, Shaanxi trip leader, Kelly Raudenbush, is sharing with us a fun post about life in China and the lunar calendar, but more specifically, haircut day in the orphanage. This is a fun sneak peak into what goes on when it is haircut time in the orphanage. The team just happened to be there to witness this fun day at the orphanage.  Kelly also shares about the “sounds†heard in the orphanage. What she shares just might surprise you today…

WÇ’ yào lÇfà. {I need a haircut.}

The lunar calendar is a mystery to me. Some sort of lunar calendar expert decides the best day to get married based on the groom’s birthday, the bride’s birthday, and the lunar calendar. There are actually best/â€lucky†days for everything including starting a new job, traveling, and getting a haircut. We just happened to be present for one of those days.

On one of the top floors at the end of the hallway is a room dedicated to good haircut days complete with swiveling chairs and wall mirrors for the children to watch the whole process. Professionals in stylish digs come in and work their magic whether the children like it or not.

I was fully ready to join in and offer my head for some lucky snipping. It’s hair; it grows back. But, seeing a line of children in silver chairs lined up in the hallway with literally dozens of children waiting quietly behind them for their turn, I decided I better not.

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I’m sure it would have been an awesome new look for me had I had this dude help me out. Maybe next time…if the lunar calendar says it’s the right day for it, of course.

A Beautiful Melody

There are a lot of sounds in an orphanage of 300 children. Some rooms of toddlers are full of chaotic noise of toys crashing together, pots of porridge being banged with spoons, crying by little ones who just got bumped or felt ignored, ayis chatting away in Mandarin to each other and to children. All the noise echoed in the hallways off tiled floors and bare walls, making it seem much louder than it should. Other rooms seemed to be missing sound altogether. Children in those rooms lay quietly on the floor. Ayis sat beside them folding towels that serve as cloth diapers. The absence of noise in those places seemed to create a chaos in and of itself. They made me long for music, just a quiet melody to fill the quiet with something beautiful.

My heart let out a sigh when we were led to this place.

Here, a local woman comes every Friday morning from 9am until 10:30am. She pulls up a stack of papers where little socked feet can rest. And, she shows little fingers where to touch little keys and teaches little eyes to read little symbols on a page. She receives no compensation for what she does; she just comes on her own volition. The orphanage has no budget for piano lessons. And, there in the middle of the chaotic noise and chaotic silence, she helps little people create beautiful melodies all their own.

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In that moment of hearing a simple tune played by a few tiny little fingers with a few obvious mistakes, it was if I heard a perfect symphony, and I applauded when it ended.

There’s always something beautiful if we look for it. There’s always hope, always something to admire and always something that leads us to say, “There is good here. God is good here.â€

Tomorrow we will take a look at the amazing foster care program set up in our partner orphanage in Shaanxi. We will share photos from the trip, read Kelly’s words from the beautiful stories the team witnessed in seeing these foster moms and their children. You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s blog post and get an inside look at what it looks like to be a foster parent in the orphanage program in Shaanxi.

If you are interested in learning more about our China waiting child program, please email us at or contact us at 800.429.3369. We’d love to talk to you about adopting from China!


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