Friday, August 21, 2009
Nate has a beautiful smile and charm to go with it. I loved his drawing of a fish; it was colorful and balanced. I felt that his picture said a lot about his personality – sunny and warm. His special need is hip displasia and he seemed little bothered by it – he moved around Just Fine! I noticed that Nate and others with a physical limitation seemed to have no sense of being different or coddled by others.
Lin, who is deaf, is also a beautiful little boy. He was definitely the most introverted of the six youngsters, but that seems reasonable due to his inability to hear. He stayed pretty close to his nanny. His drawing is also interesting in that it is linear and ordered – perhaps like his universe – or is there something else he wanted to communicate? I would love to know what meaning he has conveyed in the drawing.
Quinn, yes, another cutie, was full of energy – but not so much as to be annoying (ok, I admit I’m getting old). His special need is chronic conjunctivitis, and I didn’t notice any inflammation on our day together. He had a lot of fun playing with one of the inflatable parrots – part of our Hawaiian theme and he and Scotty hung out a lot. Quinn’s drawing is a fun one – it could be a caterpillar, or a pig or a monster. We need him to tell us!
Think about any one of these boys – yes, they face some challenges, but they all seemed well adjusted and otherwise healthy. Help us bring them all “home”.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
No one is looking at Scotty's file. Please help us spread the word and find his family! They must be out there....
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
These are my favorite posts to write and I hope we have many more in the coming weeks--there are still many children left in the program in need of families. If we can only find families for those children who are about to age out of the system....
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
One feeling I got from Shirley is she had put lots of stress on herself. She is old enough to understand this might be her only chance to meet people from US agency who might be able to find her a forever home. I don’t want to repeat everything I mentioned about Ruth on Shirley, but Shirley and Ruth have similar qualities. During the interview I found out Shirley’s best friend is also in the Hope Journey program with another agency.
I asked her, “what if she found a family, and you do not.”
“I will be very happy for her, and I will send her my best wishes.”
“What if you find a home, but she does not?”
“I will tell her don’t be upset, she will still have a chance.”
Shirley is anxiously waiting to hear the good news from you.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Director of Social Services, ASIA
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
“That thing is so powerful. When I talk, the voice is so loud. I didn’t even try to talk loud. I was wondering if my brother could hear me, so I tried to yell his name.”
I am so relieved after I heard that, because I couldn’t understand a word she was saying on the stage. The only thing we saw was the nanny trying to get her off the stage. She kept grabbing the microphone and didn’t want to leave.
I can tell she is a very outgoing and active child. When she saw my file that has her picture on it, she told me the guy sitting far behind was her foster older brother. He rode a bicycle to take her for the picture that day. He was sitting there waiting for her. Misty loves to have her picture taken. Whenever she gets chance she will pose for camera.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Check out his file, I am sure you would love to watch the video clip showing his singing talent!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Could you be her family? Contact Marci for more information, pictures and video: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Kacey's file is currently available for review. Please spread the word and contact me if you would like the opportunity to consider him: email@example.com
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I asked him to “Tell me one thing you don’t like.”
“I don’t like my foster mom.”
“Because she hits me…” He said “And I hate people who hit others.”
He is a very good student at school. He approached me during the break, and tried to make conversation. He has very broad interests. He likes to draw and do crafts. His favorite sport is badminton. I asked him if he can beat me, he said “no, maybe not…” The tests he got 99 out of 100 and 98 out of 100 before the summer break. His favorite class is computer class. I asked him “what would you like to do when you grow up?” He said “I want to be a boss!”
I asked him “Do you know anybody that has been adopted?”
“Would you like to be adopted?”
“YES!!!” without a blink.
“What do you think about adoption?”
“I think it’s a happiest thing ever!”
I told him Americans like to hug people, and asked him how he feels about that. He said “I LOVE it!”
His favorite food is Ice cream. He hates garlic.
He really deserves a peaceful home with lots of hugs.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
If you would like to view the information we have on Lily so far, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Shirley's file is currently available for review. Please contact Marci: email@example.com
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
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 naïve. 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
However, the following children's files are not currently being viewed, so contact Marci (firstname.lastname@example.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.
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:-)
Saturday, July 25, 2009
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
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!
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!
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
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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
7:30 – 8:30 breakfast
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:-)
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
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!!!