Friday, October 29, 2010

The Joy in a Child's Eyes

Have you ever seen the joy in a child's eyes when they wake up on Christmas Day or on their birthday to some tempting wrapped gifts just for them? The love and care is shown through the delicate wrapping of the gifts and the thought that goes into choosing just the right gift. That joy upon opening the gift is what we're hoping to give these children living in the orphanage who have very few posessions that they can call their own. So on this Halloween weekend, we ask you to take a moment and donate just a few dollars (skip a fancy coffee or a dinner out) and give these children like Cherry, CJ, Edward and Thomas a moment of joy in opening some gifts prepared just for them from people who care. If you're part of a community, church or if you're a teacher, make it a project to bring smiles to the faces of these children who all deserve families. Better yet, if you can give them the gift of family, contact me!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Santa Stops in China

Sometimes I lay in bed late at night thinking about these kids and how we can help them. Some families can probably relate to the late night ponderings about your child during the adoption process. In any case, I came up with the idea in the title of this post.

ASIA is collecting money to send Christmas gifts to the children in our Hope Journey program. Very few of them are getting packages from families coming to get them, so we thought it might be nice if they felt the love from afar. Many of you have written to me expressing your heart for these children and that you wish you could help. Well now you can! We are collecting money to buy Christmas gifts for the children in our Hope Journey program. They won't be anything huge, and if we get enough we hope to send some candy or something extra for the rest of the kiddos and/or staff there. We want to send them something from the caring people that are in this community trying to help them to let them know that they are loved and are not going unnoticed. If you want to send a note or card with your gift, we will deliver that as well. They have an American English teacher there, so it can be read to them during class. Our goal is for the children to feel the love. Whether it's from Santa Claus, ASIA, or the adoption community, there are truly people that care about them. Let's show them! You can send a check to ASIA, donate by calling with a credit card to contribute to the cause. Just make sure to note that it's for the Santa Stops in China Campaign. Let's help these kids feel the love! Let's get Santa to Stop in China!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Please Meet.....

I feel that it's very important for families to be completely aware of, and prepared for, their child's special needs. However, I've taken the opportunity on this blog to introduce you to children, not special needs. Sometimes the name of a special need can scare people away, when in reality, it may not be that hard to handle. After all, if you had a child with sequelea of intracranial hemmorhage or hydrocephalus, or a cleft, or really anything, most of us would do whatever it is we have to do to get our child the very best care. The same goes for a child that you are adopting and that you're completely committed to with your whole heart and body.

The children that I'm about to introduce you to do not have scary special needs. What seems to scare people away from them is that they are boys and they are not infants. Even if you weren't previously considering a boy or an older child, please read on and see if you have room in your hearts for a boy, or if you know someone who might.

My name is Edward. I like to draw and I drew this picture of a family for you. Hopefully I will have a family like this some day. I am in kindergarten and I have a best friend, but I still want to be adopted and I'm anxious to have a family of my own. I'm strong and confident in martial arts! I would like to show you! I like to do housework and help my nannies. I'm good at pouring tea. Mommy, Daddy, please come and get me soon!

My file is available for review--please take a chance!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is the very first child to come home from our second Hope Journey program! They just came home last month and the family is doing wonderfully! Can't you just see the love in this photo? The family wanted me to share their joy so that others might be led to these children. So here's what they had to say:
"It is like we have all been together forever. She is so loving, outgoing, and such a happy little girl. When we go to pick up her sister and brother, everyone runs to see her, not just the kids, the office employees also... She sleeps great, she eats great,she rides in her car seat great,she loves to brush her teeth, she goes potty and wants to wash her hands right after, she blows kisses to everyone, she understands very well when we talk to her. She is AMAZING!!!! I have been following your blog and my heart goes out to all those children who have not been adopted yet. I don't know if you can share this or not, but the orphanage these children are from is wonderful, they have their own doctors. I think that is huge, especially since they have special needs, you know they have been well taken care of . [Our daughter's] special need has been very well taken care of. I tell everyone about your agency, I only wish I could lead someone to you and these children. I thank you for everything you did for us, I know without a doubt that God created her for us!"
All of these kids were born for a reason. They have some good to do in this world. Let's help them find it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mommy, Daddy, where are you?

Mommy, Daddy, I need you to find me and come and get me. I'm lost! These ladies came to the orphanage where I stay to learn about me and the other kids to find us families. It was fun--we got to play games and do some performances for them. We learned about adoption. Some of the kids have already gone to their families... why am I still here? The nannies here like me, but I have to live on a separate floor from the other kids because of my special need. No one will eat with me or wants to be around me. Kids make fun of me. I know you're out there somewhere, but why haven't you found me yet? I'm a good boy! I deserve a Mommy and Daddy to love me, to take care of me, to help me with my school work, to tuck me in at night, to show me how to throw a football, ride a bike or fly a kite. I want to go camping, to run a marathon, play basketball like Yao Ming, or build a soap box car. I may even want to try out dancing or singing in a choir. Can you teach me to swim? Can you wrestle with me and give me lots of hugs? All of the girls are going to families. I'm not a girl, but I can be sweet and cuddly, too. Maybe I could even let you paint my nails? Why are there so many boys left here? Please just tell me what to do so I can be adopted!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Creating Families

I received two very happy emails today (those just make my day!) from families who are settling in with their children from our Hope Journey programs. One was from a family who is the very first to arrive home with a child from our Hope Journey 2 program and they are doing wonderfully! Another was from a family who adopted a little girl from our first Hope Journey program and she gave me permission to share some of her thoughts with you:

"Frankly, before we met Rhianna, I read so much and worked myself up for every worst case scenario possible. I took everyone's advice and "expected the worst." I fully expected our adoption to be the hardest thing of my life for the next 2 years at the very least. And yet I still wanted Rhianna. But I think because I was geared up for a rough, rough time, every thing that really did happen was so much better. Before meeting Rhianna, I never let myself "hope for the best" - I just didn't dare. That sounds bad because I like to think overall I'm a positive person. But in hindsight, I really am glad I expected it to be so much worse than it was. We have had some challenges, but nothing like I had expected. The first month was the hardest for me - probably a combination of fatigue, and the life change for both me and Rhianna. But the joys have far-outweighed anything hard....

I check the ASIA blog about once a week and I see Marci advocating so hard for those sweet kids. I wish I could tell everyone how much joy our Rhianna has brought into our family. It's not always easy - but then our bio boys aren't always easy and I'm not sure it's any harder - just different. I don't know if adoption is for everyone, but it certainly has been for us. We cannot imagine our lives without our little girl."
I think in the adoption world, you just have to believe in the red thread. I have to say that recently I have heard from so many happy families whose children are adjusting so beautifully. I thought along the same lines as the person quoted above and have been pleasantly surprised. I firmly believe in preparing for the worst and hoping for the best...these Hope Journey programs have been an incredible surprise with the numbers of successful older child and special needs adoptions!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fang the Pig

When we traveled to meet all the great kids in the Hope’s Journey 2 program last spring, we brought with us a children’s coloring book about a little pig named Fang. In the story, little Fang has a wide pink nose, big pointy ears, a curly tail, but no Mommy or Daddy. Her one true wish is to be adopted. One day, the farmer tells her that they have a family for her. Her new Mommy and Daddy are sheep! As she travels with her new parents to their home on the far side of the great forest, she uses her individual skills to help them travel safely – her wide nose to sniff out yummy food, her big ears to avoid danger and her curly tail to bounce on the back of her dad when crossing a river. When the family finally arrives at their new home, Fang spends the rest of her happy life being loved for all of her unique strengths and talents.
We developed the coloring book as a way to start a discussion with the kids at the orphanage about the initial experience of being adopted. However, I think it also represents the true desire of each of the children--to have a Mommy and Daddy and to be loved for who they are.  What I've also heard from families who have come home with children from the Hope Journey programs is that this indeed seems to be true! The greatest wish of every one of these  families and children is to be a part of a loving, nurturing family. Whether parent or child, they want to experience that unconditional love that develops between parents and children.

Any child, biological or adopted can have special needs. Those that thrive are recognized as individuals with strengths and talents, not just special needs.

And while I am thrilled that we have been able to find families for 11 out of 35 of these kids, we need more families before we have to send the remaining files back to China. If you have been considering adopting a child from our Hope’s Journey 2 program, please call or e-mail me today before time runs out. If you know of someone who might be thinking about adopting, have them call or e-mail me today. I can't rest soundly until we make the wishes of these children come true! You don't have to be a perfect parent to adopt--you just have to be willing to go the extra mile!

Friday, October 15, 2010

There's Something About Cherry...

I like good news and I hope that the inquiries I've gotten today about Cherry will lead to some good news. It seems to me that she does tug at the hearts of others aside from me, which brings me hope. Some days I need some hope, so thank you!

It's time to drum up a little hope for some other children, too. How about CJ or Harold? There's a great video that I may have even posted previously that shows both Harold and Quentin smiling and having a good time. It was during their free time playing with the beach balls we gave them. Harold is so shy, it made me so happy to see a smile on his face! He came out of his shell a little with the help of the beach balls:-) It's amazing what a little play and fun can do for a child! It's so much easier to establish a connection with a child if you can get down to their level. My daughter loves it when I act like an idiot! The kids at the Hope Journey camp had so much fun learning the hula and the limbo from me, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I was just being goofy! I swear by goofiness:-) If you're worried about connecting with a child, even an older child, just be goofy--laughter can help create a bridge.

I've also received a lot of inquiries about adopting two children at once or within a year. It seems that there's some confusion about how to do that using one single dossier. Families who wish to use one dossier to adopt two children must submit pre-approvals for both children before traveling for the first child. If that is done, than they are allowed to use a copy of the first dossier instead of creating a new one. So if you would like to consider adopting any of these children, we do allow these types of adoptions on a case by case basis. Wouldn't it be neat if you could have a new little goblin or witch or caterpillar (my daughter's costume) come this time next year?

On another note, if you think you don't qualify to adopt one of these children, email me anyway! We may be able to help you. There are so many children, like CJ, who have had little to no interest. We may be able to make a persuasive argument to help you bring that child into your family and lives. Time is running thin, so contact me right away and please, please, please help me spread the word about these deserving children.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Heart is Crying

There are certain children that I met at the Hope Journey camp who I felt really need a family more than others. Some are doing fine in the excellent institution that is Bao an, even though it's not a family. Of course I want all of the children to have families! But it's for the children that truly ache for a family more than anything that my heart cries as we face sending back files. I feel as though I've failed those children. Cherry is one of those children. As soon as I heard her story, I knew she needed a family to prove to her that love is forever. Mark spoke to my heart, too. He is quite loved at the institution, but this little boy has so much potential and could have such an amazing life if given the opportunities that he won't have in China. Quentin is also one of those children who you can tell could be something great if given the opportunities that he won't have as an orphan. CJ is a young little boy who has talent and love in his heart and yearns for a family. In his interview he said "I am a good boy, I can be adopted." But as of yet, we have failed to find him a family. My heart cries for him because no boy should have to feel like he is not good enough to bed adopted. Harley is a sweet and sensitive boy who has the misfortune of being teased by others. I know that given the opportunity to have a family with unconditional love, he would blossom and thrive. Kerry is an adorable, healthy boy who is bright and thoughtful. He wants to be adopted and would no doubt thrive if given the opportunities that family provides. All of the children except one told us that they wanted to be adopted and I hope for their sake that they all will be some day.

My heart cries for these children as we face sending their files back. It will be bittersweet for their nannies who told us that they are happy when children find families and get adopted, but they cry because they will miss them as well.

I need your help once more. I have tried everything I can think of to reach out and find families for the children. Am I missing anything? If you can think of anything additional I should try, please send me an email and let me know. I don't want to fail these children. Each and every one of them deserves more! Please see their pasts posts or our password-protected website for more information on each child.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Help! Before their Files Must Be Returned!

The Hope Journey II program started at the end of April, which means that at the end of October it will have been 6 months of trying to place these children. CCAA gives agencies 6 months to try to place these children before they want us to return the files. I'm hoping they will let us keep these files a little longer and try to help more of these children to find families. So far, we have found families for 10 of the 35 children and I was hoping that many more would have families by now.

So now I get a little desperate and ask for your help. Please help us to find forever families for these children. There are 25 adorable, talented and deserving children left that participated in the camp with the known intention to find them families. They will be seeing their friends get adopted. I feel a heavy weight to not let them down and find families for the remaining children as well. Please talk to anyone you know, post about them in your communities and spread the word far and wide about these children. Please help us avoid sending their files back without families. If you're reading this blog, you likely have a heart for these children. Please spread the word. I met these children so they are not just names and special needs anymore:

I met Mark who has hydrocephalus and is the cutest, smartest and most talented little boy! I just wanted to scoop him up in my arms. He was certainly not affected by his special need, swinging his hips, dancing and spinning to the music.

I also met Jimmy, who is another smart and talented boy with facial paralysis. Sometimes I noticed it, but most of the time he seemed like a regular boy. He is another talented dancer and a close friend of Mark's. He, too, was very confident swinging his hips on stage.

I met Lisa and was amazed that she has cerebral palsy, because she is such a talented, capable and outgoing little girl. It may take her a little longer to learn, but she is determined and that gets her far in life! She was motivated to memorize a poem and recited it by herself for the performance. I watched her throughout the camp and continued to be amazed by her confidence and happy personality. She picked up on things just as quick as all of the other children.

I met Cherry, who is a very smart and sensitive girl and a good artist. Cherry is a proud girl and was in quite a few performances in beautiful costumes. She has lots of friends and I can't tell you how many people I've heard from who have adopted children from Bao an that were good friends with Cherry! It's Cherry's turn--her family must be out there! There is a $1500 grant for Cherry! Cherry's family hasn't found her yet, but many families have developed a heart for her.

I met Peter and it wasn't evident that he was deaf until the interview at the end--he moved to the music quite well! Peter is a magnificent performer and was given a solo in the Lion Dance, which he deserved! He is a happy, confident boy who is very friendly. Peter will likely go far in his life!

I met Quentin, who was outgoing and sweet from the start! He liked to practice his limited English and never missed an opportunity to pose for a photo. Quentin wants a family, and that was evident just from his actions at the camp. He is also multi-talented and a very smart and sensitive boy. He made up and recited a beautiful poem all about spring. He also played an African drum beautifully.

Harold is a shy boy who played the cucurbit flute beautifully! He participated in all of the activities, but was reserved. His cheeks turned bright red when he was given a big hug by Barack Obama's half brother who was there. He is modest, but I think the right family could draw him out of his shell.

Shawn is an orphanage favorite. All of the nannies enjoy taking him home and giving him lots of attention! His special need doesn't affect his daily life and he is adorable and well loved. He is one of the youngest in our group of kids this time. I had no idea he was any different than any other 3 year old! He's quite responsive and knows his body parts and colors and can follow directions. He had a good time with the beach ball!

Harley likes math and Chinese, likes to play piano and wants to be adopted and go to the U.S and is very articulate.
Heather is a very sweet and friendly girl, well behaved and obedient and is learning to talk.
Gene is friendly, happy, well behaved with fabulous musical ability.

Edward loves to draw, do martial arts and wants to be adopted by American family.
Gavin is very polite, loves music and McDonalds. H wants to ride the train to work when he is grown up.

Jeremy has advanced fine motor skills, prefers to play alone, is quiet and happy.

Henry likes to draw and listen to music and is good at playing the matching memory game.

Bo likes Chinese and PE classes in school, likes to play and write his name.

Peter is friendly, happy, good at the matching game and plays with others well.

Lilah is beautiful, likes to play with her foster sister, draw and do the shapes puzzle.

Warner has a great smile is very smart and articulate, enjoys reading English stories and music and said emphatically that he wants to be adopted. Where is the family that can make his dream come true?

Fabian said If he could have anything in the world it would be a family, parents to love and play with him and help him with school. He repeated this to someone else who visited him. He is  very responsive and loves basketball and soccer.

Michael is good at coloring, tracing and repeating words. He is cute and sweet.

CJ wants to be a teacher when he grows up and says he's a good boy so he can be adopted. Let's prove him right!

Thomas is bright, outgoing, happy, logical and wants to drive a big, red car. Wouldn't he fit in perfectly in America?
Harold likes to help other children and play badminton, enjoys music and singing, is sweet and sensitive and a shy boy.

These children want families to love and care for them and help them reach their potential. More than anything that seems to be the number one determination of whether adoptions are successful. These children are eligible for two adoptions at once or within a year, so if you would consider them please contact me right away, before their files have to be sent back:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Helpful Heather

Hello, my name is Heather. I am new to the world of sound and there is so much to discover! I love music and I am learning how to communicate verbally. I am learning the names of familiar objects and how to use my mouth to form words. I can take care of myself and like to help take care of my younger sisters and brothers. I like to play on the playground on the slide, the seesaw and ride a tricycle. I'm forming strong bonds with my nannies and teachers, but I really hope I can have a Mommy and Daddy to love and care for me and help me continue to learn about the world. I'm a determined girl and will surely make my Mommy and Daddy proud one day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hello! I'm Henry

Hello! My name is Henry. I'm almost 8 years old! I am a sweet, happy and well behaved boy. I take English class with Miss Heidi and I understand more English than I speak. I like to ride the slide and the seesaw on the playground. I also like to dance and listen to music. I was chosen for many special performances at the Hope Journey Camp, as you can see. Don't I look cute in my white suit and red hat? I want to be a police officer when I grow up and I really want a Mommy and Daddy. Please help me find my Mommy and Daddy! Lots of my friends are getting adopted and I need a forever family, too.