Friday, April 29, 2011

Last Day at Baotou Pictures

Donna prepares to spot a boy to test his strength

Yay! What a strong boy!!

Donna makes a new friend

Dr. Meg plays a Dora matching card game with the kids

Lunch time in the baby room

Resting/playing after lunch

Classwork in the Half the Sky school

Last Day in Baotou

Today was our last VERY long day in Baotou. We managed to see all of the children and do some training with the nannies. Donna visited the rehab facility at the orphanage and showed the nannies how to use some of the equipment. I was able to give the nannies some tips for baby care as well and they were all very eager and interested in learning.

I was able to witness another transformation today that amazed me. There is a young deaf girl who is placed in a room with some children who are nonverbal. She has some very challenging behaviors there. But today I saw her in school and she was a completely different child! She was able to concentrate for a half hour on an activity with the rest of the kids and communicate her needs through gestures. She was even very bonded to her Teacher there. It was like night and day! That Half the Sky school makes such a difference for those kids! What a wonderful program!

Joy will post more pictures for me later--some of Donna doing her OT magic, some of the babies having lunch and one of the Half The Sky school in action.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Pictures from Baotou

Fei checks out the Half the Sky-sponsored classroom

A close-up view of the classroom

A ball pit near the classroom

Fei shows what a big kid she really is

Dr. Meg loving on the kids

Oh boy! Legos!!

Time to show off our creations :)

Comparing notes on the kids at the end of the day


It's hard to get to know a child in such a short amount of time, much less 100's of children! Today we got to hear about transformations, and we saw some in person, which was pretty incredible. There's a little girl who was so incredibly nervous that she was shaking and wouldn't answer our questions, even after some distractions and games. Today we visited the Half The Sky sponsored school at the orphanage and learned that although she is incredibly shy, she is doing quite well. It was such a relief to find out how much progress she has made. When we went into her room after the school tour, she came out of her shell again, giggling and sharing Legos with us. I was very pleased to see what a great school they have there at the orphanage, and it's clear they're really making a difference in the children's lives who participate. The teachers were so caring and willing to share about each child when we asked. They keep a binder on each child with information and pictures from each week that they are there participating to tell how they are progressing. Pretty amazing!

We also met another older boy today who really wants to be adopted. I'm not sure he totally understands adoption, but he definitely wants out of there and wants to go to the States. He is interested in learning English and wants a Mama and a Baba. He's a very sweet boy who seems pretty intelligent. Unfortunately they have him labeled incorrectly and he's not getting the attention he so deserves. He kept asking if he would get to leave with us and when he could go to the states. Sigh...if only it were that easy!

Later the Oregon staff will post some great pictures of the kids playing with Legos, another of Dr. Hayes with a few of the kids and some of the Half They Sky school. Stay tuned for our last day in Baotou tomorrow! Then we're on to visit some of the kids who are in Beijing for medical care.....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Pictures from Baotou

A peek into the infant/toddler playroom at Baotou

(that's Fei in the checked shirt holding one of the

resident cuties)

Little ones showing off their crayon skills

Donna (the therapist) playing/evaluating one of the kids

Time to play outside on the patio

Watch us! We want to show you our latest game!!

Fei, Donna and Dr. Meg take in the local sights

Updates from Baotou

This has been such a busy trip, I've hardly had time to write! We leave around 7:30am and get home around 8:30pm and then deal with urgent issues before moving onto trying to provides some pictures and updates. But I'm sure you don't want to hear about that!

Today Fei and I got to spend time oogling with the babies under a year--I had forgotten how tiny they are at that age! What fun! This orphanage does seem to have a lot of young children! The nannies and the orphanage staff and Directors all seem very interested in learning from our team, which is great! They are so caring and loving towards the children. One baby boy stole our hearts in there. he has a very serious heart condition and is blue most of the time. We need to see if we can find any doctors who would agree to do surgery on him. This boy has fight in him! Even thought I'm sure he doesn't feel well most of the time, and clearly has no energy, he still found the spunk to grab my hair and pull hard:-) He has bright eyes and you can just tell he is meant for great things if he can just get some help.

We also had the experience of meeting 4 newborns today! The little sweeties didn't even open their eyes, they were just so new to the world!

There are a couple of older boys that have stolen all of our hearts! They want to be adopted and the orphanage wants us to help them find families, which I think we are all motivated to do. I have never met such happy go lucky, polite and goofy little guys:-) They bring a smile to our faces each time we see them. The kids have all gotten used to us walking through the orphanage, asking questions, taking pictures and notes.

I have technical difficulty posting pictures from here, so I'm shrinking and sending them to the Oregon staff to help do that. I've taken a LOT of pictures, which I'll post more of when I get back, but for now you'll have to be satisfied with what I can send through email:-) Many of the pictures will have to go on our password protected website as well. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baotou Beauties

Today was a busy day meeting kids so I'm going to make this post short (besides...the attached pictures really speak for themselves!) I'll try to write more soon.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Warm Welcomes

We arrived in Baotou yesterday unfortunately without Donna, our Occupational Therapist. She has been a trooper, though! The tornadoes causes quite the adventure for her in her travels! She just arrived here in Baotou late last night and I'm sure she's exhausted! Her luggage has yet to be found... The rest of us arrived without a hitch and received a very warm welcome from the provincial and orphanage officials with a lunch banquet in a traditional mongolian yurt. It was beautiful, with Traditional Mongolian singers serenading us towards the end of lunch. I wish I could describe the scenery here--it was quite striking with yurts surrounding a pond, sheep wondering the property, frolicking (and then ending up lunch) and a sand storm blowing in through all of the trees surrounding the yurts.

I'm sure you would rather here about the We didn't arrive at the orphanage until late in the afternoon. Dr. Hayes had a chance to evaluate a group of infants/toddlers in the baby room. I started with some of the older children and worked my way around to the babies. Most of the kids are quite interested in Westerners, but a little shy at first. I don't think they have had much exposure to Westerners. The orphanage staff seems quite helpful and kind hearted. I was pleased to see that the nannies were loving with the babies, giving them hugs, encouraging them to walk or crawl or creep, and celebrating their achievements with them. They are quite good with the older children as well. I asked who their favorite nannies were, and they each seemed to have one that they're very close with. The children I talked with all made very good eye contact and responded appropriately. I didn't see any signs of attachment issues in the children I saw yesterday. Hopefully today we will get more time there. More updates later...stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Busy Bees

The office is abuzz with the preparations for our trip to Baotou coming up. Fei is leaving tomorrow! She is first going to Beijing to meet with some officials at the CCCWA and then the rest of our team will meet in Beijing on Sunday night and fly to Baotou early Monday morning to get started with the children. We're looking forward to meeting those little faces we've seen by video and look forward to sharing pictures with you as we're over there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome to Baotou!

Welcome to Baotou!!!! Below are some pictures of the orphanage we are working with in our Brighter Futures program. Our China Director is there right now taking care of business for us so we can get right to work with the kids when we arrive. She is also sending back some pictures and video and the kids look adorable! We can't post pictures of them here, but when we know which files we will get, we hope to be able to post those pictures on our password protected website.

Stay tuned for more information to come....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brighter Futures Exciting News!

I have some very exciting news to share regarding our Brighter Futures program in Baotou, Inner Mongolia! Fei and I will be traveling to Baotou, along with a team of an International Adoption Doctor and an Occupational Therapist! We will be leaving April 23rd and returning May 1st. We're very excited to have this excellent team of professionals joining our program! We will be able to obtain much more thorough information and more accurate diagnoses on the children with the addition of these specialists. Their dedication to this cause means so much and we thank them wholeheartedly! We can't wait to report back about the children we visit! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Children with Grants

Our generous donor helped me to realize that I may not have been very clear about these kids with Grants. First let me update you--Marie is no longer available. The other 4 who age out in June and July (Jessica, Perry, Foster, Lee and Hansen) are available to families who have dossiers logged in already. They have $5000 grants available to families adopting them! The other 3 children, Leroy, Foster and Heath age out towards the end of 2011. They are available to anyone willing to work like the wind to bring them home--you do not have to have started the process yet! If you don't quite meet the requirements, never fear! Just contact me anyway if you have interest in these 3 boys! Waivers may be possible! They need families and we're willing to work our rear's off if you are to bring them home--we just need families who want to make these boys part of their forever families. There are $5000 grants available to help families bring these boys home, but don't delay! There's no time for that! Let's get these boys home: