Isabel is going back to China.....and now we are home

Isabel is going back to China.....and now we are home
we will be here until all our kids have a family of their own

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman...

I don't think there is anyone in the Chinese adoption community who hasn't cried at his video or heard the lyrics and music of "When love takes you in". It is on so many blogs! Well. folks this man and his family surely need your prayers today. Their 5 year old baby girl Maria Sue was accidently run over and killed yesterday. My heart goes out to them in their terrible grief.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There are lots of ways to help...

More Groups Helping Children

If you're still looking for an organization that will touch your heart, perhaps one on this list of charities will speak to you. I cannot personally endorse them  but will, as I hope you do, investigate them all before I chose which ones are right for our family.

A Child's Right (Clean drinking water for children around the world)
A Mother's Love (Surgeries, nanny programs, etc)
Angel Covers (Impacting angels in orphanages worldwide)
Bring Me Hope (Camps, mentor relationships, & pgms for orphans)
Blue Sky Healing Home (Special needs orphanage outside of Beijing)
Children's Bridge (Hohhot, Yan'an, Yangxin, Wanzai, & Xiushan)
Children's Hope (Sponsorships and other pgms around the world)
China Care Foundation (Sponsorship for the most at-risk children)
CCAI (Foster care, their own orphanages, & other excellent pgms)
FTIA (Foster programs in Hunan & Zhanjiang)
Fuling Kids Intl (Helping children in the Fuling SWI)
Fujian Kids (Helping children in Fujian Province orphanages)
Grace and Hope for Children (Foster care programs throughout China)
Half the Sky (Sponsorships, big sisters program, schools) *stellar reputation
Holt International (Sponsorship in many countries)
Harmony Outreach (Foster care, surgery, adoption)
Love Without Boundaries (Education, foster care, surgeries, etc.)* well known for their work
Mission Trip to Kenya (My friend Jen is going to Kenya to help orphans)
New Day Foster Home (Foster programs, education, surgeries, Beijing)
New Hope Foundation (Surgeries for the sickest orphanage children)*personal experience doing some work with Shaohannah's Hope 
The LOOK Project (Love and care for older children in orphanages)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things are getting better in China...

About Danielle.......God's will not mine....I have given it up to Him.

On reading my blogs this morning I am comforted.

Half the Sky is doing such a good job there in the orphanages and with the foster parent program and in their work with the Chinese government. Not to mention the earthquake help! Go to their web site and do some research, see some photos and read some of the first person reports.  (see links)

I am seeing such a change in the photos posted by parents waiting to travel to China. With their referrals they get several pictures and then are able to communicate with the caregivers and ask questions and send packages and get updates....even, in one case a Birthday cake. Wow. The surroundings are looking so much less drab and institutional, and the staff look happy as do the children. I know that this is not always the case but it is a step in the right direction and I get a sense that the government is making an effort to improve the care of these orphans.

When we first adopted back in 1996 we received one tiny passport size photo that was 6 months old. It was a very serious business then! I wouldn't have had a clue about contacting the SWI. So that is progress folks. We aren't any where close to where we should be but things are improving.

It also does my heart good to see the older children being adopted. There are so many wonderful kids waiting for a home and so few who are chosen. After the earthquake their numbers are sure to grow.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Opened a newsletter from Amanda at Starfish today and after happily reading for several minutes found mention that Danielle .......our little pixie girl......had died. All it said was she passed in her sleep one month ago!!  I was shocked beyond belief and don't know how I will tell Isabel. What hurts is that she was matched and had parents who would have come for her and taken her home and gotten her medical care she may have needed. Don't know what to say just now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today Jasmine became Megan....

Jasmine/Megan met her forever family today and there is more happiness in our house.

 We are praying for a smooth transition but she was a very cautious little girl and with new people it took her some time to warm up. She has a new sister which will really  help her being used to a house full of kids. Such a beautiful and sweet kid. I am going to ask the parents when they come home if we may post a photo of the new family... for now we are just full of joy for everyone involved.

That leaves 17 of our original 21 to go!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thanks Brooke...

I got an email from a new friend today. Her name is Brooke and she is 12 and she and her Mom and Aunt spent a week in early April at Starfish. She linked us up to her blog and I have just read it and was so happy to see more photos of our old young  friends. (will check if I can pass on her link) I want to know lots more about Brooke and her family and have a million questions.  Isabel will be over the moon when she gets home from school!! She still misses the children so much.

Sadly they to had the sad experience of one of the babies dying. This is disturbing to me.
I will need to think and pray about it for a while.

Bite on the bum...

Yep!! Remember my little tirade about the frivolous things in life and how we rich North Americans like to spend money on silly things like hot tub rentals for parties and fancy clothes and expensive postage when 35,000 children a day die of hunger and 4500 a day die of AIDS in Africa? Yesterday Grace went off to her track meet after school and decided to climb a big old rusty fence........and promptly fell off it slicing her right hand up pretty darn good!! We were in the ER department for 5 or so hours and she got her first experience with stitches. She is in bed now fast asleep after getting home around 2am. Tomorrow at 8am we are off to see a plastic surgeon and I am praying there is no nerve or tendon et cetera damage which will require more invasive action. 

What I know for sure is the party is cancelled. A) because she cannot get her hand wet and it is too soon after the injury to risk it by trying a rubber glove or such like, and, B) she really would be limited in game playing or interacting with her friends. ( here is a little girl who loves her karate and does about three dozen cart wheels a day just for fun). So that was God's way of bringing home how things can change in a blink of an eye and that we should be thankful that we live in a country where such good medical care is available and where our children are surrounded by a loving, caring community. Grace was taken care of the instant she hurt herself by three of her lovely teachers and some Doctor friends and her sister and classmates. 

Since her Vancouver family is coming on Saturday ( Uncle Ian & Aunt Rosemary et al) for the long weekend we will still have a lovely celebration of being together and cousin Emily will be with her girls!!! Yeah!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pray for the people in China...

A massive earthquake has hit China and the epicentre was a mere hour or two outside of Chengdu which holds such happy memories for Isabel and I. I can only imagine how devastating it must have been and of all the suffering and grief the people are enduring now.

 I emailed Amanda who is still in Shanghai with Emily and she said all the children are fine but were outside of the Home and that there was some damage to the building. That is all I know.
I am thankful the kids and the nannies and all our friends there are okay.

Our prayers are for the injured and their families and for the those who have lost their homes and loved ones. We pray that help will be there for any and all who need it. My heart goes out to them.

I am sad today...

We rented a hot tub for Grace's 11th birthday party coming up this Saturday.  The kids were beside themselves with happiness. As I watched them set it up yesterday and saw the excited faces of my children I couldn't help but think of many other children in the world. 
Those without food and clean water, and a sound roof over their heads. Dressed in rags and cold of body and of spirit. Living without hope or joy. Never a hug or a kind word. Struggling just to get through each day.

Since we came back from China it is becoming clearer everyday that those children are luckier in so many ways than the poorest of the poor who now reside in Africa.  Now that China's economy is booming and people are becoming better able to provide for their children fewer will be given up and those left in orphanages will be fostered which is the trend. The SN will hopefully continue to be adopted and those severely disabled will be better cared for than before.

What saddens me so is that we think what these orphans need is lots of clothes and cute shoes and headbands. Photo ops of holidays that aren't celebrated in their Easter and Christmas. The effort put forth for those is simply confusing for the children. Scrapbooks that cost many dollars that could be eliminated, redirecting the cash to medical/surgical care, not to mention the time spent on them which would be better used just holding a baby or playing with a toddler or teaching the older children. Best of all would be putting all that time, effort and money into making adoption happen quicker, whether domestic or international, so they have a home and parents who love and care for them and who will build those memories with them.

 The best foster home in the world cannot make up for family. At least the children have bed and shelter and food. Thank God..... for the nannies who care for them; who have families of their own yet spend 12 hour days with these little ones and do grow to love them as best they can. It isn't always an easy job; to the volunteers who give money and time and so much "stuff" and who leave their own homes to travel with the babies and care for them after their surgeries and serve on Boards and paint and change diapers and........I am hoping everyone gets the picture. And I am sorry for going on......if I could sum it up in just a few words I would. 

It makes no sense to me to spend nearly $1000 on shipping cartons of new clothing, which again costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars, to a country where most of those items came from when that money could feed countless orphans in Africa or pay for surgery or support a good charity that uses the money in a thoughtful and productive way.

For me and my family I am going to try and cut back on the things like hot tubs and the like and try to teach my girls that toonie parties can still be fun. Half of the money for the birthday girl and half to a good cause of their choice and hopefuly involving children. We will continue to bankroll our 3 foster children through World Vision, where we are sure the money we send reaches the orphans.  We will try to volunteer in our community and I will take my two youngest back to China next March break to volunteer at The Hope Foster Home near Beijing.

While I am at it also ....we don't give goody bags either........we are helping Mother Earth by cutting back on plastic consumption and the money goes elsewhere too. It is the parents who feel they are not good enough if they don't carry on this tradition who insist on it. The kids could care less and just have fun with their friends!!!

Now stepping down from the soapbox..........for now. 

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Anthony is with his Mom and Daddy...

Follow the link for some great photos of Anthony (aka Benjamin) with his forever family and his Mommy and Daddy. I am so happy for him and am sending a big cyper hug. He is the sweetest boy with such a kind heart. I so remember bed time at Starfish and him handing out the bottles to the other kids. Can't wait to see him with his THREE brothers.........he will be thrilled. What a lucky family to have been blessed with this child.  (journey to china 2008)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our friend Brittany...

Brittany has moved on from Starfish and is spending time with her boyfriend  before going to Guangzhou to visit family until the end of June. She will travel back to the USA then to prepare for medical school. I cannot say enough about Brittany. Without her we would have had an entirely different experience in China. She did so much for Isabel and I from helping us navigate the grocery store to booking our trip to Chengdu and even flying down there with us to see the giant Pandas. She was our interpreter and our guide and became our friend. She was a tremendous roll model for Isabel and they really "got" each other and one was as silly as the other at times. So thank you Brittany and good luck at school. We have no doubt you will do well.
Enjoy your free time. All those hours of waiting when the babies were at the hospital for tests and you had to interpret were made easier by your soft spoken and gentle handling of difficult situations. You will be missed at Starfish, no doubt.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Someone is traveling...

Benjamin (see photo below under Apr 13 post)....soon to be Anthony.... will be meeting his new Mom and Dad this weekend!!!!! They have been waiting to bring him home since last August for heavens sake!! He is going to be one happy little guy especially once he hits the USA and meets his three brothers. I forgot to ask his Mom if I could share her blog so I can't link you up but I surely will do that when I can. So please say a prayer for a safe journey and a smooth transition for this family. 
Now we wait for Gabriel, Jasmine and Danielle's families to come and take them home.
One down and 19 to go.