Friday, July 31, 2009

Lily--this girl has charisma!

I actually haven't received any information yet about Lily from Fei and Sandra, although I'm quite certain that they will have plenty for me come Monday. However, this girl has stolen my heart, so I had to mention her here-- NO ONE is viewing her file yet! Lily is a 9 year old healthy girl and she is in more pictures than any other child! I noticed her right off the bat when I started going through the pictures. She's strikingly beautiful and you can just tell she has charisma--she's smiling in most of the pictures and just having a grand ole' time:-) You can tell that she laughs and plays a lot and is quite outgoing. I'm sure a family that adopts her would spend a lot of time laughing. I tried to find a picture that didn't show her face, but the best I could do that I can post here on the blog is a picture of the art that she did at the event:

If you would like to view the information we have on Lily so far, please contact me: marcisk@asiadopt.org

P.S. after talking a little with Fei, I was right--Lily is very outgoing! She gets along well with both children and adults. Fei did note that she had a little bit of an attitude; she was looking through Fei's folder and Fei asked her to stop, and she didn't when asked the first time. Fei also noted that she seemed to be a very good artist.

George


George came up to me during the break, and introduced himself in English. I told him we named him “George”, he liked it. I called him George since then… I don’t think he has any problem with his vision. He wears glasses at school, but normally he doesn’t. He sees fine. There are other four siblings living with him in the foster home, one of them has been adopted and the adoptive parents will come to get him soon. George envies him. He wishes one day he could be adopted too.

--Fei
Could you be George's family? Contact Marci if you would like to consider him: marcisk@asiadopt.org
More pictures and video are available.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shirley

Shirley is a lovely 10 1/2 Year old and she stole everyone’s heart. Even the children were especially attentive to her when she did her introduction and talent. She sang a Chinese song 'a capella' and on pitch – the children swayed and kept quiet rhythm. When she finished, she pulled out her simple wooden flute (like a recorder) and played a tune that I recognized but couldn’t place. She behaved so maturely and with such poise. I could just feel her gentleness. Wow! Any family would be greatly enriched to bring her into their life.

--Sandra

Shirley's file is currently available for review. Please contact Marci: marcisk@asiadopt.org

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jetlagged impressions and Pictures

Sandra and Fei both dragged their jetlagged bodies into the office yesterday, the day after arriving home from China and the whirl of the Hope's Journey Project. They brought in thousands of pictures, videos and descriptions that we will be sorting through in the coming weeks to match with each child. We'll only be posting the pictures on the blog that don't contain the children's faces, as requested by the CCAA. If you would like to see the sweet faces, please check the ASIA password-protected website in the coming week.





Sandra's Impressions:
During our very compressed day, several thoughts kept popping up. As a group, the children seemed younger than their age. Of course, they tend to be smaller than a child of the same age in America. But what I felt was childlike naivite and innocence. Of course, it was a new experience for them and they generally embraced the day with joy. The older children didn’t seem to have any hard edge or the signs of rebellious boredom that we often see with American kids as they edge into their teens. I found this wonderfully refreshing and surprising. All the children seemed well cared for and loved. Many of them may be below grade level, but I’m not certain this is a result of their lack of ability, but more likely a function of the system in which they live. We would have loved to have had at least a week of living with the children in their own environment, getting to know them.
I also noticed how closely they sat or colored together – a clear difference between China’s sense of personal space and America’s sense of personal space. I noticed that the littler ones tended to stick together in pairs and often shared a nanny. They seemed to have formed something like a sibling bond. They had a number of nannies – both male and female, so the children had the opportunity to experience gender role modeling.



Watching the ASIA and CCAA Presentations:














HULA MADNESS:
Sandra described how much fun the children and the orphanage staff with the hula dance and limbo. They all let loose with unbridled joy at dancing with grass skirts and leis and doing a modified limbo game.






ART:









We'll highlight at least one child each day, as well as add more event pictures, so keeping checking back!

Clarke



We call Clarke “Mr. Muscle”. You can tell how he got this name by looking at his body building performance. He and I had a little muscle competition on the stage; there is no doubt he is a winner. I had so much fun showing off my biceps too. I couldn’t find any teenage boy attitude in him. He is very kind, polite and na├»ve. I asked him “Would you like to be adopted by American family?” He nodded at least 10 times with a smile… After answering all of my questions, I asked him “do you have any questions for me?” He said “no”. But I know he does, he is such a curious boy. I insisted, I told him “I asked you so many questions, and it’s not fair that you don’t have one for me.” He finally said “What kind of cars people drive in US?”
Like every Chinese child who loves sports, Clarke’s idol is Yao Ming! One more thing, Clarke insisted that he can beat me in Chinese chess. I wish I could have had more time to prove he is right.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Files Available for Viewing....

This morning I sent out files for the children in the Hope's Journey Program to the first families who had requested them. We do not yet have files for the children that got added to the program from Shenzhen: Hannah, Jane, Michael, John and Clarke.

However, the following children's files are not currently being viewed, so contact Marci (marcisk@asiadopt.org) if you would like a chance to view them: Timothy, Sherry, Archie, Ruth, Julia, Felice, Gregory, Gina, Lilly, Skyler, Jillian, George, Lin, Scotty, Quinn and Lucky. That's an awful lot of sweet faces still needing families! Please pass the word around to everyone you know to help these precious children find their families. More information, pictures and video will be arriving later this week.
--Marci

Children's Files Have Arrived!

This morning ASIA received 26 of the 30 files of the children in the Hope's Journey program! I will be sending them out to the first families that requested them today, as soon as I can finish downloading them. Pictures and a little bit of information about the 5 new children (that were added last minute to the program) will be posted on our password-protected website today as well. If you're interested in a specific child, please feel free to contact me: marcisk@asiadopt.org
I will be keeping lists of families requesting each child. As families are found for the children, I will update the blog, so stay tuned:-)
---Marci

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Visit to Guangzhou SWI









Susan, Fei and I (Sandra) were very fortunate to have an hour long tour of the Guanzhou Social Welfare Institute following the conclusion of the program on Saturday morning. The SWI Director, Mr. Xu Jiu, agreed to the tour provided that we agreed to take only photos of the building and approved staff. We readily agreed. The Guangzhou SWI is situated just outside the city in the lush tropical hillsides. It feels cooler, quiet and peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.

The pictures include the following:

-Director Xu and the Assistant Director with Sandra at the front entry.
-Main entrance to the SWI
- Looking into the courtyard play area
- The SWI has an innovator doctor that makes braces for children with limb deformaties
- GSWI Social Worker, Virginia in her work area
- The staff returning to the SWI with ASIA's hula hoops for the children to enjoy. These hoops were designed and made in West Linn, Oregon!
- Looking across small farms to a new large addition for a cerebral palsy center

And Don't Miss Sweet Hannah!

In my rush to get everything posted, I somehow missed the information on Hannah. Please don't miss sweet Hannah:

Hannah is 8 1/2 years old. She is in the first grade. She is healthy, outgoing, optimistic and smart. Her grade is not as good, but she has potential. Sandra reports that she is healthy, very tiny and a serious little girl. She draws and colors very well.

So that's five additional children from the Shenzhen SWI. I'm so glad that we planned for extra!

4 New Children

CCAA added 4 new children to the program from Shenzhen SWI. They are Michael, John, Jane and Arnie. Here is the little bit of information Sandra and Fei have sent about them so far:

Jane is living in a foster home right now. She is a second grade student. Because she didn’t have a good start at early age, she has a hard time to catch up in school. Her Chinese is her best subject and her handwriting is very nice. Her math is not good. She likes to join all the after school programs, and help out to clean the classroom after school. She is good at sports, especially running, and always receives the award. At home, she helps out with the house work. For example, wipes the floor and wipes the table. She makes her bed herself every morning.

John, male, is almost nine years old. He is a fourth grade student. He is healthy. He has a very good heart, is calm, optimistic, hard working, never gives up and is an energetic boy. His grades have been improving because he works hard on them. He is good at sports, especially running. He loves to draw and he has a good imagination.

Clarke, male, he is 13. He is a fifth grade student. He is strong and healthy. He is kind, forgiving and always puts others first. He is good at Chinese chess. He is a thoughtful boy.

Michael is 9 years old. He is a third grade student. He has a limb deformity, but he never looks down on himself. He has a positive attitude. He is quiet, calm, has his own opinion and is thoughtful. He studies hard and has very good grades. He got A’s for his Chinese, math, English and moral education.

We'll continue to post as more pictures and information come in...stay tuned!

Impressions and Pictures







Greetings from Guangzhou,
Fei, Susan and I are feeling the natural letdown from so much activity and emotion in such a short time. And now we are able to pause and think about the experience, the children and absorb our impressions. As you heard, on Thursday morning Susan received an emergency call from the CCAA saying that the Guangdong province wanted to shut down Hope's Journey for fear that the H1N1 virus was increasing in the region. CCAA officials advocated for us, saying that we were already in China waiting to begin the program. The provincial officials agreed to let us continue provided we started the program on Friday instead of Sunday. Needless to say, we were all hustling around to move to the new hotel. Susan had to change her flight from Beijing and was on a plane within three hours!!! We had planned to have a whole day to prepare our gifts, games and arts projects. Well, we discovered how fast we can work.

This shift not only impacted our program, but that of another agency just ahead of us. Each of our programs were compressed into one long day, with us coming in the afternoon that the other program was concluding. It was chaotic and confusing for everyone. But the Guangzhou SWI staff and the CCAA staff were both so kind, apologetic and helpful. Despite the shaky start, it turned out to be a heartfelt and profound experience.

On Friday at 1:30 we met the children for the first time. We discovered that several children had been removed from the list and replaced with four children from Shenzhen SWI. We are sending the updated information to Marci and she will update our website as quickly as possible. All of the children have been living in foster homes. We have a total of 30 children, all of whom want to be adopted. What a great group of kids!!! The children had been preparing for this adventure and they must have been impacted by the sudden speeding up of the program. However, the children's home nannies and staff helped ease them into this strange new world very quickly. We had a very brief opening ceremony after which we showed the children our presentation about life in America and shared with them some of Honour Grace's story. The CCAA also showed a video that talked about America and shared one boy's adoption story.

Then it was the children's turn to introduce themselves and if they wished, show us some of their talents. Wow, we heard perfect flute playing, singing and recitation of poems. The other children listened intently, swaying in time or clapping in rhythm. Some of the older boys were into hip and cool - showing off their body building poses, robot moves and doing sports charades. A group of about eight kids had preparing a kind of hip hop dance, and some were naturals. They ended with all the children "signing" a beautiful song about having heart and hope and never giving up. It was stunning to watch - the children were really feeling the words and signing with emotion. One small boy in the front row was even singing aloud as he signed - it was impossible to keep my eyes off of him - he exuded such energy! My eyes filled with tears - it was a magical moment.

After a snack and brief break, we got to break out our Hawaiian luau theme. We donned our leis and hula skirts and twirly gizmos (highly technical jargon) That was a BIG hit for kids and grownups alike. The kids were so uninhibited and joyful - we formed a circle and danced the hula to our Hawaiian CD. That led to the limbo (or the new and improved version of the limbo!) We started high and moved low, but didn't try to make them bend backwards. We tried to catch them between two limbo sticks (soft and inflatable). It was hard to tell who had more fun, kids or grownups acting like kids for a few minutes.

Susan and Fei snuck off to another room to begin interviewing the children one by one. I think this is where our compressed schedule had the most significant negative impact. They only had about 5 minutes with each child and their caregiver, hardly enough time to get a real sense of them. Marci had prepared such great worksheets for each child, based on age, but getting through everything is five minutes just couldn't be accomplished. Even so, with all our observations and impressions, we hope to have a reasonably good "picture" of the children.

We also had a very nice art project - lots of creativity and enthusiasm. We will return home with their artwork and prepare it for each child to carry with them to their new home once they are adopted. They watched some kids videos and played some fun games. We had sun visors for them to decorate - lots to keep them busy, and engaged. Finding things to keep children from 4 to 13 all interested can be challenging, but I think we succeeded.

After dinner, Susan and Fei completed the interviews and we had a closing ceremony by about 8 pm. The children needed to be settled into their hotel sleep over by 9 pm. I think Fei, Susan and I were all tucked in by 10, totally worn out and overwhelmed by everything. As the day unfolded, we watched the children warm up and relax, saw their personalities emerge, saw how sweet, bright and kind they were. Each of us found ourselves drawn closer and closer to the children. By the end of our day together, we must have had our pictures taken a 100 times with the kids, hugged (sometimes awkwardly by the older boys) and smooched.

How is it that children can strip away the pretense and infuse us grownups with a sense of joy and vigor and just plain old fashioned fun? It's not often you see a bunch of grownups (including some pretty serious officials!) dancing around in hula skirts remembering what it was like to be young and innocent. Ultimately, I think the children gave us much more than we gave them.

Now it's up to you reading this blog. Become a family for one the children or help us find families - spread the word, be their advocates. These children need and deserve a family to call their own. Let us all help them never give up and reach their dream.

With our love and affection,
Sandra, Fei and Susan

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sigh of Relief and Exhaustion

It's 6:30am in China and the program is completed! All went smoothly, although they said it felt rushed and they are exhausted. The children will leave today and Sandra, Fei and Susan will put together their thoughts and pictures for us. I'm on pins and needles waiting for those pictures of the hula hoopin' madness and those sweet kids! Sandra said the hula dance and the hula hoops were a big hitJ:-) I will update the blog as soon as I hear from our China adventurers.
--Marci Siegel-Kittrell

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Change of Plans Due to Swine Flu

Suddenly government officials in China are very concerned about the increasing outbreak of the Swine Flu in Guangzhou. All Hope's Journey Projects were ordered to be canceled! However, ASIA is managing to do our event today--Friday in China! Sandra is already settled into the Hotel where the event will take place and is quickly preparing the last remaining goodies for the children. Susan Song was able to change her flight from Beijing and also arrived at the hotel yesterday evening. The event is scheduled to start at noon today (Friday in China). Please see the packed schedule below for details.

7;30 – 8:30 breakfast
9 – prepare the room, test equipment, organize activities
Noon – Children arrive and we all have lunch together
1:30 – Opening ceremony – 10 minutes!
1:45 – ASIA power point
2:15 self introductions and talent show
3:30 –We’ll do some warm up games
3:45 – Start interviews with youngest and do art projects intermixed with games
6 – 7 dinner
7 - ?? Continue with interviews, games, etc

Saturday:
7:30 – 8:30 breakfast
Closing ceremony???
Children leave

On another note, apparently CCAA has added 4 children and taken away 2 of the ones we were assigned for a total of 30 kids. Sandra has had a brief dialogue with the officials, who all seem very nice and a bit stressed from the last minute changes. Hopefully the program will go off without a hitch--think good thoughts! More to come as the information and pictures filter in from China:-)

More Words of Wisdom

ASIA is still collecting Words of Wisdom from families who have adopted older children. If you have a contribution, please email it to: marcisk@asiadopt.org

Words of Wisdom IV:
Our story began 5 years ago when I decided to adopt my now 15 year old daughter, who was described on ASIA’s Waiting Children list as “a very intelligent leader of children” who had repaired hip dysplacia. Because my younger daughter also had hip dysplacia, I thought it was a sign … the red thread. And maybe it was, although for different reasons than I thought. Long story short, today my daughter is beginning to speak conversational English although she frequently misunderstands what is being said, rides a bike, qualified for Developmental Disabilities services due to cerebral palsy, and is learning to play the piano. It seems she has moved through grieving the loss of her Chinese foster mom and has finally figured out that she has a family here who loves her no matter what. Her long process of adjustment and attachment has included many episodes of PTSD outbursts but she is making progress in learning to regulate her emotions. And she now feels safe enough to choose a trip back to China with her Mandarin immersion class. I read a story once about how a butterfly must stay in the cocoon long enough to develop strong wings. If it emerges too soon, it will not survive. My butterfly has taken a long time but, little by little, is starting to emerge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If you are considering a waiting child....

Love Without Boundaries created a wonderful video that is posted on utube. If you are considering adoption, please watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx-6t4vwDDA

Hope's Journey is Nearly Upon Us, by Sandra Miller, Executive Director, ASIA

Today is Friday, July 24th in Guangzhou, China. We are growing excited to meet the 28 children that are "our ASIA kids", at least for a while. Shamiam Island has been my home for the past five days --- in quarantine per CCAA request. Quarantine hasn't been a problem, especially since my temperature has remained steady and unremarkable. This has meant that I can go out to explore the streets and visit with others.

Several exciting things have occurred since my arrival - the first was a typhoon that followed me from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. Fortunately, I left Hong Kong by bus before the weather started to turn. By the time I arrived in Guangzhou four hours later, it was evident a storm was brewing. It stormed mightily throughout the night and into the following morning. Fortunately for Guangzhou the damage was minimal, with no flooding. The subsequent weather has been hot and humid, but much less oppressive than when the storm was upon us.

Secondly, I met up with an ASIA family here at the Victory Hotel waiting for their Consular visit. As always, I am so impressed with our families -- they demonstrate such love, commitment and devotion to their children. This family has adopted several children, from as young as three to as old as thirteen at the time of their adoptions. I know mom plans to write about the joys of older child adoption and we will post it to our blog. Right now she's busy getting to know her newest daughter, along with the help of her oldest daughter who speaks fluent Mandarin and English. I immediately fell in love with both girls and it was clear the sisters had also "fallen" for each other. Mom seems so proud of her girls and they are having a great time together.

Lastly, this morning was the solar eclipse seen over India and parts of China. While I watched it on a live TV feed from India, I also kept running to the window watching for the effects here. Unfortunately, the sky didn't seem to darken. Nevertheless, it was a thrill to be so near this rare event. On my flight over, I met a fellow traveler from Portland headed to China specifically to experience the eclipse. What an adventurer!

Tomorrow, Fei, Susan and I will find our way to the Lan Ying Hotel where we will meet with the CCAA officials prior to meeting the children. There we will be spending the final hours filling the "goodie bags" for the children and preparing games and art activities for them. We'll take photos of our preparations and post them to the blog.

We hope those of you following the blog will feel the the energy and excitement mounting, just as we do here. The ASIA staff is keeping me up to date on the huge flurry of interest Hope's Journey has generated. We are so thrilled to have this opportunity to help these deserving children find permanent and loving homes! Spread the word!!!
Til tomorrow,
Sandra

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Children!!! Part II

ASIA has completed the translations of the brief summaries we received for each of the children participating in the Hope's Journey Program. Unfortunately we will not receive their complete files until after the event on the 26th and 27th. If you see a child who's file you would like to review, please be sure that you have completed the pre-qualification form(within the last 2 months) and sent it to Marci. After that is done, you may view their adorable photos on the ASIA website and request to be put on a list to view a child's file when it is available. For any other questions, feel free to contact Marci: marcisk@asiadopt.org Stay tuned....

TIMOTHY, Male, 6 years old, 6 toes on both feet
Timothy is living in a foster home right now. He goes to kindergarten close by the house. He is doing well in school. He is good at recitation and can do many children’s song. His handwriting is not as good as his recitation skills. He only writes his name. He can take care of himself doing daily tasks and he takes initiative to help with housework. For example, he cleans the floor, wipes the table and makes his bed. Timothy is outgoing and likes to jump up and down at home. He is a very lovely child.

WENDY, female, age 10, Cleft Palate repairedWendy has undergone surgery on 11/11/2004 in Guang Zhou HuaQiao Hospital on her cleft lip condition. She recovered well. She articulates clearer than before her surgery. She is currently living in a foster family and attends the first grade. She studies hard and can follow her teacher. Wendy’s voice is very soft, and she is very careful about speaking out. She tries very hard to make herself clear. After practicing a long time her pronunciation has improved, but she is still afraid of speaking out loud in class. Wendy’s personality is determined; no matter how hard the situation is she will keep trying. She gets along well with other classmates and her family. She will do some house work such as sweeping the floor, wiping the table, and organizing her bed room.

SHERRY, Female, age 13, Hepatitis B
Sherry underwent surgery on 6/30/2005 in Guang Zhou People’s Hospital for plastic surgery on her right face. She recovered after the surgery. We don’t even notice the scar on her right lip corner if we don’t look at her face closely. She is currently living in a foster family and is a fourth grader. Because of her late start in school, her foundation is not well established; under the patient instruction by the teachers and with help from the foster parents, she has basically caught up to the class’s curriculum. After class, she is actively involved in other activities. She is very handy. On cleaning duty, she is the one who does the best job. So the teacher always praises her. She can wash her own clothes at home. She is a very good assistant for her foster parents.

JULIA, female, age 13, healthy
Julia is currently living in a foster family and is a fourth grader. Even though her ability to learn is slightly lower than the average child, she studies hard, and takes initiative. She will finish her homework and review her lessons every day after school. She basically can catch up with the class’s curriculum. Julia’s personality is outgoing and open-minded. She often plays badminton and table-tennis with her friends. Her favorite toy is a doll. She is a good girl, understandable and polite. Her foster parents, teachers and classmates like her very much.

SKYLER, Male, age 13, tricuspid valve doesn't close properly
Skyler was diagnosed with tricuspid valve incompetence (light condition). The doctor suggests that he does not need surgery. For many years, he’s been doing fine and has no discomfort related to this condition. He is currently living in a foster family and is a fifth grader. Under the teacher’s enlightenment, he studies hard, focuses and achieves good grades. He is actively involved in the school’s activities and won some prizes for competition. He is a big brother and helps look after the younger children in his foster family. He takes responsibility for some household chores. He is really a good helper with his foster mother. Skyler is a very polite child, respects the elderly, and loves children. Everyone who knows him likes him very much. He is a role model at school because of his good grades and likes to help people.

GEORGE, Male, age 13, Weak Vision
George is currently living in a foster family and is a fourth grader. He studies hard, can easily receive and absorb knowledge. He can use simple English to communicate with the ability to have conversations. His grades are very good at school. He is good at typing; he won the typing competition first place at school, and then he was recommended by the school to take part in the competition in the school district. He is polite and he is quiet in front of strangers. At home, he can get well along with other family members, and actively helps other children younger than himself. At school, he respects teachers and gets along well with other classmates. Everybody likes him.

NATE, Male, age 5, Hip Displasia
Nate is living with a foster family now. He is attending the Half the Sky foundation’s early childhood education intervention program. He studies hard and he can recognize shapes like circle, triangle and rectangle. He still needs some work on recognizing colors. He has pretty good rhythm, and he always dances and sings with the music. Nate can eat, wash his face, brush his teeth, and go potty on his own. With teacher’s assistance he can use scissors to cut shapes. He knows what cups, spoons and towels are used for. He takes initiative to wipe the floor, wipe the table and fold the blankets. Even though he has a left hip problem and limps on his left side, he can still walk and get up and down stairs with no problem. Nate is a little shy. He has a big heart. He is loved by the teachers and other children in his class.

LIN, Male, age 6, Deaf
Lin is living in a foster home now. He goes to the Half the Sky foundation’s early childhood education intervention program. He can express himself by sign language. He can jump off the floor, eat on his own, wash his face, brush his teeth and goes potty. He can cut different shapes with scissors and he can recognize colors. He can write 1-10. He is introverted and shy in front of strangers. But he is a very good boy with a huge heart. He loves to help others; for example he helps other kids dress and put their shoes on. Everybody loves him in the class.

SCOTTY, Male, age 5, Hermaphrodite
Scotty is living with a foster family right now. He is attending a nearby pre-school. He understands the subjects that the teacher teaches. He can sing short songs, like “Small Duck” and “Good Hygiene”. He is active and likes to jump up and down. He can take care of himself on daily Scotty loves to play and laugh. He is an active and energetic boy. He is a little naughty sometimes. He is afraid of strangers. The person needs to have some patience while working with him.

QUINN, Male, age 5, Chronic Conjunctivitis
Quinn is living in a foster home right now. He is attending kindergarten at a close by school. He understands the subjects that the teacher teaches. He is active and likes to jump up and down. He can eat by himself, wash his face, brush his teeth, dress and undress himself and go potty on his own. He is a smart and lovely boy. He is a little naughty sometimes. But he listens if people explain to him. He gets along with his foster family very well and everybody loves him.

LUCKY, Male, Age 6, Mild B Thalessemia
Lucky is living with a foster family now. He goes to a close by daycare. He does very well in school. He can take care of himself in daily tasks. He also takes initiative to help out at home. For example, he wipes the floor, wipes the table, cleans the bed and washes the clothes. Lucky is very outgoing, likes to watch TV, likes to think and always asks “why”. He is very good at figuring out new toys and he is very good with his hands.

GREGORY, Male, age 11, Healthy
Gregory is currently living in a foster family and is a first grader. His ability to receive knowledge is slightly lower than the average child and his grades are below average. However, he studies hard. He can write some simple structure words and can do calculations within 10. He can distinguish the shape of the figures. He is energetic and active. He likes sports, especially basketball; he often plays basketball with his friends. At home, he is not only well behaved but is also a good helper for house chores. At school, he respects teachers and classmates. Teachers and foster parents like him so much.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Special Needs Pre-Qualification form

If you would like to have the passwords to access the waiting children on our website (http://www.asiadopt.org/pages/waiting_children/current_waiting.html) when they become available please copy and paste the form below, fill in your answers and e-mail it to Marci at marcisk@asiadopt.org. If you qualify, she will send you the password that will allow you to view all of our available waiting children in China. CCAA may be willing to make some exceptions for families adopting older children. All of your information will be kept confidential and only used to notify you of future waiting children.


Name:

Mailing Address:

City/State/Zip:

Phone Number:

E-Mail Address:


Your ages:

Are you married? If so, what was the date of your marriage?

Have you or your spouse been divorced? If so, how many times?

Annual Income:

Do your net assets reach $80,000 or more?

What are you and your spouse’s highest levels of education?

Do you or your spouse have a criminal record?

What are you and your spouse’s BMI: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/adult_BMI/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.htm

Do you or your spouse have any health conditions?

Number of children in your home:
How long have you had them?

Do you have a home study completed or in process?

Is your dossier in another country?
If so, why do you want to view ASIA’s waiting children?

How did you hear about ASIA?

State that you “agree” or “disagree” to the following statement:

“I recognize that ASIA regards the information about children in its Waiting Child program to be private and confidential. If I am granted access to this information, I agree that I will only use this information personally in my own quest to adopt a child with special needs. I will not give the password and access information to anyone. I will not share or disseminate (including cut and paste) any of the information contained on the site.”

The Children!!!

We will post brief summaries on our Hope's Journey children here just as soon as we get their referral information translated. Sandra and Fei leave shortly for China to meet all of these wonderful children.

We will be posting pictures and summaries on our password-protected website either Friday or Monday. We will send out notification to all those who have inquired. If you would like to receive the new password to view the available children, please fill out the "Special Needs Pre-Qualification" form found on this blog and e-mail it to Marci (marcisk@asiadopt.org).

KACEY, male, age 4, left limb cerebral palsy
Kacey is a very polite boy who gets along well with his foster family and neighbors. He often says “HI” to other people. When he is really happy he sings and dances. Kacey is also a bit of a curious boy and often asks “why?” about things. He speaks clearly, knows his name, his neighbor’s names and his friends names. He enjoys running and playing games with other children and likes playing with toy cars and toy guns. Because of muscle weakness in his left hand, he can only pick up light objects with that hand, for instance he cannot hold up a 250ml box of milk. He can eat and drink by himself.

JILLIAN, female, age 10, Hepatitis B
Jillian is in first grade, and has average grades despite her learning ability being slower than other children. She studies hard and is willing to learn; always making her homework her first priority before playing. She loves being involved in a variety of out-of-class activities, especially jump rope and playing house. Jillian’s personality is outgoing, even though she can be a little shy. She is not very talkative, but she always has a smile on her face. She lives with a foster family.

FRANCES, female, age 4, alpha thalassemia
Frances’ foster parents have taught her to draw circles and straight lines. She can tell people her name and age; she knows her colors and can recognize and name different objects. She is able to dress and undress herself and put her socks and shoes on and off. She knows all of the body parts, can say 3-5 word sentences such as “time to eat”, “go out”, etc. She likes playing with her baby doll. She always plays with other children in the neighborhood. Frances is an outgoing girl, but appears shy in front of strangers.

FELICE, female, age 10, healthy
Felice is a hard-working second grader. Her memorization ability is not very good – it takes her longer than other children her to recite the same lesson. But she is determined to learn, keeps trying never gives up. As a result of this effort, her grades continue to improve. She knows the directions of left and right, and enjoys coloring, especially people. She also likes playing badminton and rope jumping with her friends. Felice is willing to share her emotions with her foster parents, friend and her teachers; however she does shy away when meeting strangers. Most of the time Felice is a very passionate child with good manners. Under the patient care of her foster family she has good self-care skills and is also helpful with household chores. Her foster family and her teachers love her very much.

FOSTER, male, age 3, osteogenesis imperfecta
Foster attends the Half the Sky Little Sister’s preschool and lives with a foster family. Although his steps are not very stable, he can climb up and down stairs by holding the handrail and is able to run slowly. He can feed himself, wash his face and brush teeth. He also cleans up his own toys. If he needs to go to the bathroom he will tell an adult, and he will need some assistance. He is a quiet and lovely boy who doesn’t talk much when he is mad – he needs encouragement and attention to help him when he is frustrated. Foster speaks 2-3 word phrases, like “Hello, auntie” or “Hello, teacher”.

PENELOPE, female, age 6, healthy
Penelope is a shy girl living with a foster family. She seldom talks in front of adults. When she sees strangers she often hides behind her foster mom. She attends the nearby school for kindergarten; the school work is not difficult for her. When she speaks, her pronunciation is not very clear. She does enjoy playing with other children. She can take care of her daily basics, for example, feeding herself, dressing herself, and putting on socks and shoes. She needs her foster mom’s help to wash hand, face and take bath.

LILY, female, age 9, healthy
Lily is currently living in a foster family that has provided excellent care for Lily. She enjoys dressing herself beautifully. She is in the first grade and is doing average in school, although sometimes her words are not very clear. She sometimes shows some shyness and will not say HI to people initially. She is beginning to like wearing her school uniform and is learning to get along with her classmates. Her self-care skills are improving and she is helping do some household chores like cleaning the floor, cleaning her desk and folding her own quilt.

ARCHIE, male, age 11, Congenital Heart Disease (repaired)
Archie had surgery to replace the mitral valve in July 2006. His surgery was successful and he has recovered very well. He is living with his foster family now. He is in the 2nd grade at the elementary school where he studies hard and learns well in school, as evidenced by his good grades. He walks to school which is 2000 meters away from his home. He loves sports and is always helping the teachers to keep the classroom neat. He is extroverted and loves to help others. He is a very sensitive little boy, who thinks a lot and is worried a lot. He needs a family that will give him positive encouragement and attention.

BEATRICE, female, age 8, repaired heart condition
Beatrice had surgery for precava and arteriae Pulmonalis dextra in July 2007. She has recovered well. She lives in a foster family now, and attends a preschool for kindergarten education. She knows how to write simple words, and knows how to do simple addition and subtraction. She can manage her own daily activities, and also help teachers and foster parents with simple tasks. Beatrice is an outgoing, happy, extroverted girl. She understands adult’s implied meaning.

SPRING, female, age 8, healthy
Spring currently lives with a foster family. She is a first grader in school and is a hard-working student. Her comprehensive skills are very strong and she receives good grades at school. She is good at sports too; she won the competition in the field short distant running category No. 1 in school. Spring is quiet, a clever girl and a little shy, especially when she meets a stranger. She likes to listen to music and sing songs. At home, she is very independent, can manage her own daily living activities, and also helps her foster parents to do the house chores. She gets along well with house members and neighbors. At school, she respects teachers. She is a good team player and always praised by the teachers.

MISTY, female, age 8, healthy
Misty is a first grader living in in a foster family. She is a hard-working student. Her comprehensive ability is average and her grades are average. She can recite poems, can do addition and subtraction up to 10. She can manage her own daily activities such as taking a shower, folding her own quilt, and folding her own clothes. She understands direction of left and right. She is not only getting along well with her family members and neighbors, but also helping other younger children or children who are behind to accomplish their tasks. At school, she respects teachers and classmates. Her teachers and her foster parents love her very much. She is very active and energetic, she loves watching cartoons and playing with dolls. She is a very lovely and outgoing girl.

RUTH, female, age 11, facial scar and Hep B
Ruth currently lives with a foster family where she is very helpful to her foster mom. She is a second grader who studies and works hard. She enjoys helping others and is very nice to others. Because of her scar, the boy classmates always tease her, but she has very good attitude about it and thanks to her positive self-esteem she doesn't let it bother her. She is independent and thoughtful. She can take care of herself, and organize her life very well, for example she keeps her room clean and her books organized.

GINA, female, age 13, frontalsinusitis and sphenoidalsinusitis
Gina is lives with a foster family. She is in the 3rd grade of the elementary school. She is a good and quiet student who studies hard. She can recite the English alphabet and 7 to 8 poems. She knows addition and subtraction up to 1000, and knows units digit multiplication. She likes to read books and is always wanting to learn more. She often helps the younger kids with their homework. Gina is a nice, sweet and independent girl and gets along well with others. She is learning how to ride a bike and enjoys playing with dolls.


SHIRLEY, female, age 10, Hepatitis B
Shirley is in the 3rd grade of the elementary school, is very smart and active with good grades. She has been awarded best student prize three years in a row. She loves to read books; as long as she has time after school she will read as many books as she can. She is also a librarian at the school. She is the best flute player in her class. She is very independent, can take a shower, wash clothes, clean the floor, etc. She is a quiet girl who respects the elders and loves the younger children, and enjoys helping others. Her foster parents and teachers always praise her.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Words of Wisdom, Part I

We're asking parents who have adopted older children to share their insights, their tips and tricks, survival skills, etc. Our parents have provided a variety of responses, what we call "Words of Wisdom". We will post a few at a time for you to read and contemplate. We hope you'll enjoy these Words of Wisdom.

Words of Wisdom I
Off the top of my head, the best words of wisdom I can think of came from Susan Song (ASIA staff in China). It was about not letting the shopkeepers on Shamian Island embarrass or question an older child too much. Susan said that had bothered some older kids from previous adoptions.

Susan also said try to go with the flow as much as possible with older kids, and try not to deny them things that they may want within reason. After all, the child is really exploring a whole new world in a way, even while still in China. I pretty much let my child do what she wanted as long as it was safe even if I didn't especially agree/like it. For instance, Chinese TV is generally very violent (we think so anyway) and she just loved watching all those violent Chinese soap operas. She appreciated that I did that, even though when we lived in China we never allowed our kids to watch them. If we went shopping and I could afford what she wanted, I wouldn't fuss about it even if it wouldn't have been my choice. Maybe the key is realizing that an older child wasn't born the day of adoption, and has her OWN interests and desires that may or may not be exactly what the adoptive family promotes. There's time for the child to learn the family values and such later.

Words of Wisdom II
I was adopted as an older child and would like to offer a bit of advice from my own experience. As an older child I had so many ways I already saw the world from what I knew it to be through my previous experiences. It would have been tremendously healing and helpful in my adjustment to my new family for my adoptive parents to have respected my worldview and shown patience as I changed everything about my life to fit into their world. The change was much more difficult than they ever understood. I longed to please them.

Words of Wisdom III
Here are some things I have learned after having adopted three times from China:

1) Every child needs a family.

2) Not every child wants a family.

3) Just because a child wants a family doesn't mean they know how to be part of one. For some children their only adult relationships have been with teachers and/or SWI workers. They've never been invited to a friend's house and witnessed the interaction between parent and child. They don't know how to interact with adults, including their new parents. They don't have a realistic vision of what 'family' is. Many times their only vision is fantasy. A fantasy that their new parents can never live up to.

4) For some children the adults in their lives were only people to be avoided or pacified or manipulated for the child's survival. They enter their new family only knowing these survival skills.

5) Not all Social Welfare Institutes are highly structured institutions where the children are closely supervised and follow a regimented routine.

6) Years of SWI living and the survival skills and habits learned in them take time to unlearn, lots of time. Lots and lots and lots of time. Old habits need to be replaced with new ones. Wrong information needs to be replaced with correct information, etc.

7) Some adopted older children may mistake their new parents' signs of love and affection as a weakness. These children need to be drawn into a loving relationship with their new parents slowly. At first, they need to know we are firm, but not unkind. As the child learns to adjust to this new atmosphere and relationship, privileges and outward indications of love can be added to the relationship slowly.

8) Children in China are not necessarily taught to respect adults.

9) Just because a parent longs for a child, completes mountains of paperwork to adopt a child, waits anxiously for their child, spends months dreaming and imagining what life with this child will be like does not guarantee that the parent will love the child. Or like the child.

10) Love is a commitment. The emotional attachment, in some cases, takes time. Wanting to love a child does not guarantee that you will fall in love with, or even like your child right away. And that's okay.

11) A parent struggling with a new child does not, under any circumstances, want to hear "it will take time" or "it must be a difficult time for the child" even if it is true!

12) No matter how experienced a parent is, each adoption, like each child is different and presents its own problems (and joys). Support is so very important. When a parent can not get that support from the people in their lives, their Internet friends' support can mean so much. When a parent turns to that Internet support they need to know they will not be condemned, ridiculed, put down or thought less of or referred to immediate therapy. It is hard enough to admit to having struggles without the fear of yet more rejection, especially from those in the adoption community who have Been There and Done That (BTDT).

13) Adopted children, for a while, can not be expected to react like children of the same age born into a family. With time they will blend in and interact and react just like their peers, but for a while they won't. I had a friend whose newly adopted daughter was having trouble sleeping at night and all the advice she was given by non-adoptive parents was "she is old enough to be sleeping through the night, just let her cry herself back to sleep". This obviously would have been a terrible idea for the newly adopted child. Likewise with kids adopted at an older age. A child adopted into a family probably won't run to his/her mother for love and nurturing like a child born into the family. There is a good chance they have never had anyone to depend on or run to. It will take time for them to trust, to understand and to accept love and nurturing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy with Preparations!

The staff at ASIA is busy with preparations for our Hope’s Journey camp! Sandra and Fei are scrambling to get ready for this fast approaching trip to China. They are required by CCAA to be in China one week prior to the camp on July 26 & 27 (swine flu precaution). They will use that time to prepare and organize for the activities and program of the camp. Our theme is Tropical – Sandra and Fei will teach the kids how to do the Limbo and how to do a Hula Dance. The kids will also have fun crafts to make and keep – coloring their own beach balls, decorating their own visors, making their own bracelets and more. We are excited to also have each child create a special quilt square that will be brought back to our office in order for us to create a very special reminder of our Hope’s Journey camp. Each child will also receive an ASIA t-shirt and special themed “goody bags” from the ASIA staff.

Sandra and Fei will spend two busy days with the children. The schedule looks like this:
Day I
8:30am-9:30am: Opening speech, presentation by CCAA and ASIA staff
9:30am-11:30am: Self introduction from each child (1-2 minute per child)
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch
1pm-3:30pm: Performance/Talent Show (from the children of the orphanage)
4pm-5pm: Activities for interaction
5:30pm-6:30pm: Dinner

Day II
8:30am-11:30pm: Interaction and Evaluation
11:30pm-12:30pm: Lunch
12:30pm-2:30pm: TBD
2:30pm-3:30pm: Closing, performance and photo time


Sandra and Fei are excited to get to China and meet the children! The rest of the staff is excited to hear all about the children and the camp and to see the pictures and video that Sandra and Fei will send back to us.

Just a reminder to keep checking back for updates; we’ll post new information just as soon as we have it.

Words of Wisdom

In honor of our new Hope's Journey program, we are collecting "Words of Wisdom" from parents who have adopted older children from China. We have received such a tremendous response to requests for pictures, that we would like to go a little further with it. These "Words of Wisdom" can be anything you learned along the way that you felt was valuable, anything you wish you had known or things you think other parents should know before they adopt an older child. Please send your responses to: marcisk@asiadopt.org ASIA would like to post the responses on this blog, so please be sure to write whether you give permission for us to post your words. They can be anonymous, or not. That will be up to the responder. Please keep your responses to a paragraph or less, if possible. Adopting older children may not be for everyone, so we would like to make sure that those who do it are prepared. Thanks so much for your support of ASIA and the waiting children.

P.S. We will try to make our completed presentation available to those who have contributed and would like copies.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Children Available in the Hope's Journey Program

Today ASIA received a very basic list of children that will be participating in our Hope's Journey program. There are 28 children ranging in age from 3 to 13 years old. For some of these children, it may be their last chance at finding a family before they age out of the system. CCAA may be willing to make exceptions on their requirements for families interested in these older children. Please contact Marci for more information: marcisk@asiadopt.org

Below is a list of the children available for adoption through ASIA's Hope's Journey Program:
6 year old male with 6 toes on both feet
8 year old female with a repaired heart condition
10 year old girl with repaired cleft palate
12 year old girl with Hepatitis B
11 year old boy with repaired heart condition
11 year old girl with a facial scar
12 year old healthy girl
10 year old healthy girl
8 year old healthy girl
8 year old healthy girl
13 year old girl with frontalsinusitis and sphenoidalsinusitis
11 year old healthy boy
10 year old girl with repaired heart condition
9 year old healthy girl
13 year old boy with a heart condition
10 year old girl with repaired hepatitis B
12 year old boy with decreased vision
10 year old boy with G6PD deficiency
10 year old girl with Hepatitis B
5 year old boy with hip displasia
6 year old boy who is deaf
4 year old boy with cerebral palsy
4 year old girl with anemia
6 year old healthy girl
5 year old boy with androgeny...dna appears male
5 year old boy with chronic conjunctivitis
3 year old boy with osteogenesis imperfecta
5 year old boy with mild anemia

We can't wait to meet these children and put faces and personalities with this very basic information. Keep checking back for updates!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PERSPECTIVE FROM AN OLDER ADOPTEE


(About a year ago, ASIA had the privilege of placing Honour with her family just prior to her 14th birthday. A year later she is now speaking fluent English, playing piano, participating in Chinese dance and adding much happiness to her new family. Honour and her family are stupendous advocates for older child adoption. We hope her letter will inspire you to adopt an older child.)

Dear Friend,

My name is Honour Grace. I came from China in August 2008, when I was almost 14 years old. I would like to tell you my story because I heard you might to be adopted by a foreign family soon.

When I got adopted, my Mom showed me a beautiful song called “She’s a Butterfly.” A few times when I lived in China, I felt like a butterfly but most times I felt like I was in a cocoon. In America, I always feel like a butterfly. Now I can feel my true colors, who I am, what I like, what I can do, where I can go. I can feel my heart.

My first day in America was good and easy. I landed at the local airport with Mom and my sister Haley. At the airport, I met Grandpa and my other new sisters. I felt happy – and different. A good different. I was starting a new life with all these people. It was cool. When we got to the house, I saw my Grandma. I liked her a lot at first sight. Everyone was so excited about me! They wanted to show me my room first thing. When I got there, I saw lots of pink. But I like blue. It was ok – they didn’t know. You got to give your new family some grace. I remember many presents. I was so happy. Then we went to eat dinner at the Lotus Garden. The aunties had taken me to eat lunch before I left them – they said I should eat a lot because maybe I wouldn’t get Chinese food in America. So I thought America didn’t have any Chinese restaurants. I was glad to find out it does! (I also thought I wouldn’t know Chinese people here – but we are surrounded by Chinese friends!)

Back to food. I often say “there is no such thing as AMERICAN food.” American food is food from lots of different places because America is people from lots of different places. Where we live, Mexican food is very popular. We often eat Italian food because Grandpa’s family came from Italy. Americans eat a lot of cheese and pizza. The first time I ate cheese in America, I liked it. But they eat cheese with almost everything – even sandwiches – and sometimes just plain cheese. So now I do not like cheese much. We often cook Chinese food, but we cannot always get exactly the same stuff at the Chinese market here that you can find in China. My parents like me to pick out things I like from the Chinese market. Chinese food in America doesn’t taste the same as it does in China. Maybe you want to eat a lot of Chinese food before you come so you can remember it.

HOW Americans eat is different too, and it seems important to everyone here. It has been a little hard for me to learn American table manners. Be quiet when you eat. They put food in the middle of the table too, but when you want a different food, you ask someone to pass it. Remember to say “please” and “thank you” lots more than you do in China. I’m still learning this! Our family eats with what they call “silverware” and chopsticks but I think most families don’t use chopsticks.

If you learn some basic English when you are in China, things will be easier for you and your family. You don’t have to be scared to learn English. Sometimes it is fun; sometimes it is a little hard. My parents bought me an electronic translator when I was adopted but I didn’t want to use it then. Now I use it when I can’t think of the right word. Mom always says English is crazy, so we try to make it fun. My parents are good sports – they are always trying to learn more Chinese. I like teaching my Dad because he surprises me with how much Chinese he knows already. A computer program called Rosetta Stone helped me learn English a lot but it was kind of boring. I like learning English by playing games, and by listening to inspiring American music and DVDs.

I also like to stay up late talking with Mom and Dad. They want to know everything about my life. They ask me many questions about my life in China. It makes me happy to share because they really care about me, and it helps them understand my heart more. I like it because they know that my new life in America was not the start of my life. They respect the life I had when I was in China though my problems there makes their hearts hurt. They wanted to look at every picture I had – when I was ready to share with them. They wanted to know all about my friends. I liked that they let me burst out of the cocoon in my time.

Maybe it will be hard for you to call your parents “Mom” and “Dad.” It took me a couple of months to do that. One of my sisters kept trying to get me to say that, but my parents never made me. They said I could do it when I was ready. I liked that. I love having a family because someone cares about you forever. You have a name forever. Someone to go to my graduation, my wedding. Your children will have grandparents. I love having a family. But that doesn’t mean you can get and do anything you want. A family loves you so much sometimes they say no because that is the best thing for you. They will try to tell you why this isn’t good if they have to say no. They pay attention to what you really need. That makes me feel so safe and loved.

Being in your own family and being in an orphanage family is different because your very own family is with you forever. You are with them forever too! You can’t run away or leave, and neither can they. At the orphanage, you can try to just forget the problems with people there and hope they go away. In a family, if you are mad with someone, you can’t just avoid them. You have to talk it out and solve the problem so you can keep living in love. The best thing is when you are sad, there are people who will help you and listen to you and hug you. You don’t have to ever be sad by yourself. The orphanage people can help you grow, go to school, get food, but they cannot stay with your forever. Maybe the auntie will get married or retire. Someday you have to leave the orphanage by yourself. Maybe you will be all alone then. But having a real family of your very own is always better than staying in the orphanage. You will never be alone then. A family is a treasure, take good care of the gift. If you open up your heart, it will be easy.

The last thing I want to share with you is about making friends. In America, the first people I knew were my parents, and then I saw my sisters. And later I made friends in America. Some days, I wanted to make friends first. Though I did call China a few times, and a few of friends from China who now lived in America, I missed my friends still in China and that made me sad. A lot of people told me “don’t worry.” I had to learn “family first” and then make friends. After a year, I think that was a good thing. Because I learned how to be part of the family first, that made it easier for me to make true friends in America. I am no longer sad, even though I think lots of my friends in China have moved on. If you get lonely in America, talk to your family. They want to know what’s in your heart. They will love you from the inside out.

It is very nice to get to share my story with you. I hope you have fun with your new family. I hope you get to open your heart wings and fly like a butterfly very soon!

Wishing you happiness and health, Honour Grace

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST CHINA PROGRAM!

ASIA has helped many families successfully adopt special needs and older children from China. Because of that, the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has invited ASIA to participate in a unique program for a limited number of agencies that have proven successful at placing special needs children.

On July 26 and 27 ASIA’s Executive Director, Sandra Miller; Senior Program Coordinator, Fei Yang; and China Director, Susan Song, will visit an orphanage in Guangdong Province specifically to meet a group of 20 to 30 girls and boys, ages 5 to 12 years old, available for adoption only through ASIA. A delegation from the CCAA will also participate.

While there we will become acquainted with the children, tell them about the U.S. and in general what adoption is about, participate in activities with them, interview, photograph and videotape them. We will share this information with families interested in adoption. We have not yet received the specific list of children, but we have been informed that their medical needs are rather mild. Our goal is to find families for at least 80% of the children within six months. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that we believe we can attain, especially with your help.

WE ARE ALL VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY TO HELP THESE YOUNGSTERS FIND THEIR FOREVER FAMILIES AND HOPE YOU ARE AS WELL!