ASIA has had so much success with our Hope Journey Programs, that we have been selected to participate in additional exclusive programs with CCCWA, called Brighter Futures. Follow this blog through this adventure and help us fulfill the hopes and dreams of these children waiting for their forever families in Hunan Province.
View the waiting children on ASIA's website: http://www.asiadopt.org/waiting-children/
Most of the files that have been requested have gone out to families, minus videos, which I'm still wrestling with. There are still many, many children who have had no requests yet, though. So if you would like to consider a child, please contact me: email@example.com
I'm busily working to download the interview videos for each child, but it's painfully slow. So while I'm waiting for one to download, I thought I would advocate for a few of the children who have not had any requests yet.
Mark is such an adorable boy! His special need doesn't seem to affect him much. He loves to dance and is quite a natural musician and dancer. He always has a cute smile on his face. He's quite friendly and seemed very comfortable with the whole event. In addition to dancing, he was also a featured singer. He was in several of the performances and so was Chrissy. Susan and I were both drawn to Mark and Chrissy, both of whom have no requests yet! Both are little treasures and would make wonderful additions to a family. They're so happy and kind-hearted. Both were very responsive in both the interview situation as well as the group events. Both were also in a majority of the performances. They are little stars!
Jimmy is another little adorable boy who was in a lot of the performances. He has excellent musical and dancing abilities as well. He was also a friendly boy who seemed very comfortable with the program. He was an enthusiastic performer and was so cute in his little costumes! His special need wasn't very noticeable most of the time unless you knew it and were looking for it. He seemed to be a very happy boy who is comfortable with himself.
Joel is another boy that stole my heart. What a vivacious and curious little boy! He explores everything and seems to live every moment:-) He was very outgoing and didn't hesitate in coming right up to me to interact multiple times. He also enjoyed the camera and took every opportunity to pose:-) He performed the two tigers song and dance and stole the show!
I'm back and going into the office in a little while to upload videos and pictures to each child's file. Then we will compile everything and be ready to send out files to families. So send in your requests if you're interest in a particular child or children! Please email me with the children you're interested in as well as where you are in the adoption process: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm posting some pictures of Bao an orphanage:
I can't tell you how sweet the children were. I wish each of you could have been there. Aside from the children who have physical special needs, it was really hard to tell these were special needs kids. Even the deaf children actively participated and interacted. Shelby, who supposedly has a joint disorder, was active, manipulated small objects, walked around, climbed on the stage, played with a ball, all with no problems.
Most of the kids from the Shenzhen SWI are in foster care and their foster families came with them! I managed to get pictures of most of them with their foster parents. Hopefully that will be something they can keep with them as they transfer to their adoptive families. One foster family had three of the kids all together in one home.
Lily was another child who drew my attention right away. She is a beautiful girl and seems to be very into arts and crafts. She danced and played enthusiastically throughout the program.
I was very curious about Lilah. During the program she seemed to be very serious most of the time, but when she would find something funny, she would light up the room with her smile--so sweet!
Shawn is an orphanage favorite. In fact, some of the nannies revealed to us that they sometimes take him home with them in the evenings! He is a cutie pie for sure and very responsive and lovable. He was able to identify all of his body parts in the interview and had no problem interacting with Eva.
Email me if you're interested in a particular child and I'll try to share what I know:-)
Marci sent this e-mail to me sometime yesterday and we wanted to make sure it made it on the blog.
"All the officials gave speeches, including me with Eva translating. I think it went pretty well. Then the kids did their introductions. They all were very cute, taking the microphone and introducing themselves. Everyone was extremely well behaved.
President Barack Obama's half brother was there and I got to chat with him a bit. He moved to Shenzhen after 9/11 and started a new life and working with the orphanage. Very nice guy. He's really into music, so after one of the kids played a flute for their talent, he gave him a big hug. There's a cute picture of that.
The little girl we call Shelby got slightly overwhelmed a couple of times, but not very much. She's adorable and seems to get around just fine. She can even manipulate small objects. She made a bracelet for her craft on stage. I'm really impressed by Lisa, the little girl that has CP. But she's so capable! She has some spastic type movements at times, but there hasn't been anything she couldn't do! She even memorized a poem and presented it and was the only one to do a little dance without a coach sitting behind us! She can color in the lines pretty well, too.
The limbo was great for most of the kids, although the nannies didn't understand to raise and lower it. We'll try it again today. Each kid got their gift bag after going under it. Then we did the hula, which the kids really loved. The Hawaiian music disappeared after I gave it to them for some reason, so we did the hula to some Chinese song, but it was fine. I have video of that, too. Heidi was kind enough to video for me. Some of the kids are really shy, but some came right up to me to dance. Chrissy is absolutely adorable! I've danced with her twice now. We did the chicken dance earlier in the day and then the hula together. She's so sweet and all girl, it seems. I was able to get so much information about each of the kids from the staff at Bao an. So I have a lot more about the Bao an kids than the ones from Shenzhen. BUT, I was able to get a picture of each of the kids from Shenzhen with their foster parents if they have them! That will be a treat for the families.
After the day yesterday we were invited to the founder of Sunshine Academy's home and joined her. They're extremely nice and seemed impressed with ASIA."
Today was the final day of the Hope Journey Program. I feel like we really got to know the children, even though it was only 3 days. The children put on a final show this morning for closing ceremonies. There were lots of different dances, including a dragon dance. Apparently the children put on shows like that quite frequently, which is why they are such good performers. I didn't see anyone get nervous. They all seemed very excited to do their parts.
After the show, we did the hula and the limbo for quite a while. We all danced together and the kids all had a good time with that. We played different games and did crafts. Sam wanted me to hold him, so we danced together for quite a while. He loved the sea creatures hanging from the ceiling and also reached out to several of the nannies and other kids. Anna was also quite outgoing, wanting to dance with me. Henry, Quentin, Clive, Peter and several of the other young boys also seemed quite interested in interacting. They all had a great time and were full of smiles and laughter.
Chance seemed quite attached to Eva. All of his nannies had gone elsewhere and Eva was the only one who could get him to follow her--it was quite sweet. She had interviewed him earlier in the day, so was probably a familiar face in the crowd. Micheal seemed a little overwhelmed by the crowds and games, but is quite interactive one on one. In the interviews he was very responsive and was able to name all of his body parts and colors.
Shawn always has a great smile and seems to be a staff favorite. He is a very outgoing and curious boy.
Right before the interviews, Anna came out of a room filled with other children and wanted me to hold her and spin like we did during the afternoon hula dance. She's a very sweet child, possibly a bit below her age socially. But she's a very happy girl and enjoys social interactions.
After Anna came out, I was suddenly swarmed by a group of children from earlier in the day. They all wanted me to join them! None of them were shy about grabbing my hand and pulling me towards their room.
I have to add that I'm even more impressed by the Bao an orphanage now that I have spent some time with the staff and gotten to know them. They are all so good-hearted. It is not a job for them, but they each do it because they truly care about the children. Some of the staff live at the orphanage, so they will take the kids out for the evening after they get off work. Other of the staff live away from the orphanage and will take some kids for the night sometimes. They also noted that when a child leaves with a new family, they cry tears of joy for the child and I believe every word of that after seeing them interact with the children. They are truly incredible people and it was an honor to get to know them. I feel very lucky that we are partnered with that orphanage.
The actual Hope Journey production was today and it was quite impressive. The children's talent show reminded me of the old TV show Star Search and I think we found our stars:-) The kids were incredible with their talents, as well as sitting through all of the others as well as speeches from the officials. Considering there were 35 children, there were very few meltdowns and they were all very well behaved.
One boy in particular grabbed my heart. Quentin is one of the older boys. He is such a sweet and sensitive boy, and so outgoing! He wrote a poem about spring that he presented and was so articulate and expressive with his presentation. Then he played an African drum and showed his sense of rhythm. All throughout the day, he never hesitated to jump in and join the fun when it was appropriate. He joined me for some hula dancing and later wanted to learn the hokey pokey after he missed the group version.
Dani is one of the little girls that is deaf, but she is also so outgoing. She is very social and the fact that she can't hear doesn't stop her one bit! She has learned to sign and can speak very softly as well. She enjoyed the day and did a very sweet performance dressed as an angel, which I think is very appropriate for her. She seems so sweet. She continually drew my attention.
Here are a couple of pictures from the day to tide you over until I can post more. You can't really see the scenery in the pictures, but imagine a disco ball, stage lighting and sea creatures hanging from the ceiling when you look at them. Tomorrow is day 2 and I already have over 400 pictures! So expect more to come.
Today we thought we were going to the orphanage to watch the dress rehearsal, but as we've learned here, things change hourly:-) So....we stay flexible. We were told before arriving at the orphanage today that there would be no kids for the dress rehearsal because they were tired from yesterday. When we arrived, it was a scene of staff busying themselves with decorating the room for the program and they did an excellent job! We also brought some decorations--mostly blow up sea creatures, beach balls, limbo accessories and Hawaiian leis to go with our theme. The staff jumped right in to help us blow everything up and then proceeded to take over hanging it all up. I guess you don't need language to communicate for those things. There were lots of smiles and laughter as funny faces were made trying to blow things up manually while both pumps were occupied. We took a few pictures, but Eva has those, so I'll have to post those later. The room looks great! I think the kids will be very excited. Their gift bags are all packed and ready to go for tomorrow's big day.
We also got a tour of the orphanage today. It is quite an impressive place. We were able to take some pictures of that as well, but those will also be posted later. We were not allowed to take pictures of the children, but had several interactions from interested wee ones:-) One little guy came right up to me and promptly relieved me of my water bottle:-) We also got to visit with the babies in the nursery, which just tugged at my heart. Several were very responsive when I interacted with them and some just cried. It was hard to leave that area, knowing that no matter how many staff they have there, it isn't enough to provide the stimulation that those babies need. The orphanage has a staff of 180 with a total of about 400 children there. Most of the kids that have minor special needs or are healthy are sent to live in foster care, so only the remaining children actually live at the orphanage. They have very bright and colorful classrooms and activity rooms for the children, as well as a couple of playgrounds. It seems to be a very well kept and professional place. I'm continually surprised by the resources they seem to have. They don't seem to want for much there.
Tomorrow is the big day! We meet the officials from CCAA who are coming, have opening ceremonies, the kids' talent show, activities and crafts, interviews with the kids and lots of silliness, I'm sure. Keep checking in, as there are sure to be some great pictures coming!
Eva and I made it to Shenzhen yesterday and shortly after I received a phone call from Susan. She was already at the Bao an orphanage watching them practice their talent show for the Hope Journey camp! She invited us to join her, so after getting settled, we met her and went over there. What a treat! Wow--can those kids perform! I don't want to spoil it, so I just included a few group pictures here, but wait until you see what the kids can do! I was quite impressed:-)
The staff members and orphanage officials are great and extremely welcoming! Tomorrow we get to back for the dress rehearsal and a tour of the orphanage.
We obtained some great information today as well. We have children on our list from two orphanages, Bao an and Shenzhen. The kids from Bao an are all learning English! They have a teacher there from the Sunshine Academy in California. She is the woman you see who is the only other Caucasian there:-) She has been there for a year and a half, so has gotten to know the kids quite well. All of the Bao an kids have English names because of this program, and they're able to introduce themselves that way. So you might notice the names of some of the kids will change. We felt it better to keep the names they're used to, rather than to refer to them differently. Anyway, the teacher offered her assistance in helping us get whatever information we need about the children. So...if you all have certain questions that you would like answered about the kids, post to the comments and I'll do my best to get the information for you. the officials are also very gracious and open about doing whatever they can to help us make the most of our time here and really learn about the children. They all seem to have very sincere hearts.
This is really quite an amazing experience. I'm so moved by how welcoming everyone is and how appreciative they are of what we're trying to do for the children. I'm also impressed by how willing the children are to perform in front of strangers. They don't seem shy at all, and seem to really put their all into it. The teachers and nannies are all very attentive and encouraging. All throughout the program the teachers had children in their laps or their arms around a few kids. They seem very close to them. I feel so lucky to be here and have this opportunity to meet the children and staff.
Stay tuned...I should have more information and pictures tonight!
Marci and Eva have arrived in Shenzhen and are getting ready for the Hope Journey camp. Yesterday they got to visit the orphanage and watch a little of the dress rehearsal for the program the children will perform for our staff. Marci writes: "The kids are amazing! They go all out--great performers! I'm totally exhausted, so I'll write up more tomorrow, but we get to go back to the orphanage tomorrow to watch the dress rehearsal and get a tour! The staff there seems great and it looks to be a nice place with lots of resources."
A surprise arrived on our CCAA intranet this morning--we got two more files of young children to add to our Hope Journey list! We received an adorable 2 1/2 year old girl and a 3 1/2 year old boy. Their pictures just make me want to scoop them up! The boy has a special need that sounds scary, but it doesn't seem to affect him much, so I encourage you all to look into any special needs that you don't know about on our list. Now, you should all be aware that none of these children are certain yet, until we get to China and figure out who is actually there...sometimes things change during that time. That said, we have posted them on our password protected website, so take a look! Since I can't access the blog from China, I will be emailing Vicki and she will be posting for me. So expect updates starting Tuesday or Wednesday next week...Enjoy!-Marci
If you could see the faces of our newest group of waiting children, your heart would melt-- Mine did!!!!!!! I worked all day yesterday on getting the kids ready to be posted on our password protected website...the first group is already up and they will continue to be posted throughout the day. I'm so excited to go and meet these kids--they look like they have a lot of personality! I'm sure we can find out more about them than is in their files. Just for that reason, we will not be releasing any files until I get back from China so that I can add all of the additional information before we send them out. That said, we will be keeping a list of people interested in considering each child and we will go through that when I get back and send out the files according to CCAA's priority requirements. So go check out the children now (we had to change the password, so if you didn't receive the new one, you'll need to update your information with us) and stay tuned for updates as I'll be sending them from China!!! -Marci
Please meet our next group of kiddos in the upcoming Hope Journey program: Fulton is an 11 year old boy Susie is 9 year old girl Steve is a 8 year old boy Bo is an 8 year old boy Holden is a 8 year old boy Holly is a 7 year old girl Wally is a 7 year old boy Lilah is a 7 year old girl CJ is a 6 year old boy Lacey is a 6 year old girl Alex is a 6 year old boy Mac is a 6 year old boy Gordon is a 6 year old boy Geoff is a 6 year old boy Courtney is a 5 year old girl Gigi is a 5 year old girl Jared is a 5 year old boy Morgan is a 4 year old boy Quentin is a 12 year old boy Fabian is an 11 year old boy Parker is a 10 year old boy Jessie is a 9 year old boy Warner is a 8 year old boy Lucas is a 7 year old boy Wade is a 7 year old boy Dani is a 6 year old girl Lisa is a 6 year old girl Gavin is a 6 year old boy Anna is a 6 year old girl Dennis is a 6 year old boy Paul is a 5 year old boy Joel is a 5 year old boy Lydia is a 5 year old girl Jada is a 5 year old girl Chance is a 4 year old boy Grant is a 5 year old boy
There are 36 children that we hope are meant for you families out there, so stay tuned for more information....
For those of you following Lucy's story, we have now received $670 in donations! Thank you to all of the generous donors! Additionally, A Shepherd's Crook Foundation has also agreed to help raise money for Lucy! It's wonderful to see so many people rallying for this sweet girl. I expect to have more good news very soon, so stay tuned....
Well, I was hoping for a bigger response about the joys of boys, but since that didn't happen, let's talk about older children. Everyone talks about the challenges and difficulties of adopting older children and I believe we have done quite a bit of that on this blog as well. I would like to use this opportunity to hear from some of you folks out there about the joys of older child adoption as well. If you're willing to share some of your experiences, please write into the comments about adopting older children.
"To this day, a lot of the things we have heard about boys’ personalities over the years about them being rough, noisy and very active have never seemed to fit our son’s personality. He is a sweet, outgoing, yet gentle little guy who loves people. He will wave to strangers and say hello to people he has never met. He is the son we only dreamed of parenting a few years ago and the reality of being his parents today makes us smile each and every single day. Tyler, along with our four-year old daughter, are such precious angels to us and the two of them together can be quite the “comedy team” some days, but we couldn’t be happier. "
Write in to the comments about why boys are wonderful to parent, too!
Families have now donated a total of $425 for Lucy's Adoption! Thank you to those generous donors! Our goal is to raise $3000 to help the family, so if you haven't sent in your donation yet, and Lucy has touched your heart, please send it in. Any amount will help if everyone contributes! If 250 people contribute 10 dollars each, we'll just about make our goal. Skip a couple of starbucks and send the money in for Lucy. LOTS of people have contacted me wanting to know about Lucy. So please know, there is a family in process for her that is dedicated to helping her, whether she live a year or many more. Let's help that incredible family bring her home and get her the medical care she so desperately needs.
We have 36 children assigned to us for our next Hope Journey camp, which will take place on April 29th and 30th ! Eva and I (Marci) will be leading the camp. We should have more information abou the children shortly. The schedule should be similar to last time, except we will have 2 days instead of one to cover everything. We will update you daily as the information flows in...stay tuned!
Have you ever wanted to share your favorite things with a child? Watch the wonder on their faces as they discover all that life has to offer? A trip to the pumpkin patch, decorating the Christmas tree, a birthday party, American customs.... Misty may not be a baby, but you can experience many firsts with her. You can see the wonder on her face as she experienced the microphone for the first time. Imagine what else you could share with her once she arrives home? Misty wants a forever family...do you want a child like Misty? I can see her spreading happiness and wonder to all that she meets. Contact me if you would like to consider her: email@example.com
For all of you routing for Lucy, she's still strong and appears to be holding tight for her family:-) She's learning and developing well, even learning the keyboard! We have gotten a couple more donations, so thank you to all who are sending their contributions! Lucy and her future family appreciate it!