Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Miles

Do you recognize this teeny little treasure?

We've watched Miles' transformation from tiny twelve-day-old baby to happy, confident preschooler over these past two years.  The picture above is one of the first pictures that we have of him, and these are from his first days here in the Foster Home:

Feeding a baby with a special smile like Miles' is more challenging than normal, and our nannies do such a great job.  Miles ('Gabriel' as he was then known) won their hearts right from the beginning.

In fact, he won everyone's hearts, with his light-up-the-room smile and determined personality.

What a joy to watch this sweet boy grow and develop...

He was able to have his first ENT surgery when he was six months old, and the second one later that year.  The surgeon did a great job and he healed up nicely.

Such a handsome boy!

This past year, Miles has been living with a local foster family; he is their first foster-child, and it has worked out beautifully.  Miles and his foster-mama, Lisa, have a special bond.

Miles started coming to afternoon preschool once he turned two, and is a delight to his teachers.

It's always a little hard to say goodbye to precious little ones that we've watched turn into 'big kids', but we're jumping for joy - Miles is going to join his forever family soon!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Nathan: Settling In

In the first pictures we have of Nathan, he looks very sweet, but also kind-of confused and sad.  That was more than a month ago now, and already we can see a change in him.

Gan Lu took a bunch of cute pictures of Nathan in preschool the other day, but this one (above) is maybe the best one.  Before, he always look wary of the camera, but now he's realized that the camera has a friendly face behind it.  It truly is the secret behind the great pictures of our kids; they love and trust the photographer.

Doesn't it do your heart good to see Nathan laughing?

And to see him with his new friend Jack...?  Two too cute!

Moving to a new place, joining a new foster-family, meeting lots of new people and starting a new preschool is not easy, but Nathan has done SO well.

Well done, sweet boy.  See, we told you that you'd have fun here!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

NDNorth: One Less

Timothy (who was known as Luke when he first entered our care, not to be confused with this little guy who is also named Timothy!) has some big changes ahead.

Timothy was born May 29, 2013 and abandoned soon after, and admitted into the local orphanage. He was born with orthopedic issues and was transferred by the orphanage to another organization for treatment soon after being found. Timothy returned to the orphanage at the beginning of April, 2014. He was pale, thin and weak when he first came back, but always had a smile for anyone who had the time to spend with him. 

Timothy's development was behind when he entered the New Day North project, and couldn't yet sit on his own. Since then he has made a lot of progress! He can now walk forwards and backwards. Timothy knows the names of his foster sisters, can say "hold me," "car," "don't have," among other words, and he loves taking care of (and sometimes teasing) his little foster siblings, and is such a fun little person.

The other day we were sitting on the swing and he loved it, when Selah came over to get on the swing and I pulled her on her shoe fell off, and Timothy offered to get down and get it for her. Then when we got off the swing, he took both of her hands and tried to support her so that she could walk. Such a gentleman. Such a sweet big brother!

Timothy's favorite thing is sweeping and cleaning. He LOVES it. If it's time for him to be done with his beloved broom, the best way to console him is by handing him a cleaning cloth. He was dragging the huge, long-handled broom across the floor the other day and it was very cute. 

Today's a big day for Timothy. He just left our care to join the family that is adopting him. It's going to be a busy day... full of changes, new faces, new experiences, lots of joy and probably some fear. New things can be scary! But they can also be wonderful. We're so thankful for the 18 months that we have had the privilege of caring for Timothy. The nannies and staff are going to miss him dearly, but we're mostly crying tears of joy today... because today? Today there is one less orphan in the world.

We love you, Timothy!

NDNorth: Dear Nannies...

As many of you know, the first week of October was the Chinese National Holiday. This being the case, the work schedule for our nannies was a little bit different, and more challenging. Some of our nannies were out of town, so our foreign staff spent a good portion of the week at the orphanage helping out with the shifts. The nannies did an incredible job making the crazy week go smoothly, and Wendy, our special education teacher, wrote a few notes to the nannies after her multiple-day shift at the orphanage. Here they are, in part...

Thank you to everyone for adjusting so willingly to our smaller staff. Thank you, especially to Anna for changing your holiday schedule and learning how to work with new kids in order to help us.
Thank you to Wangjuqing and Liza for working so tirelessly all these months with our precious children.  It is a challenging job and you are doing such a good job. They are blessed to have you as their mamas.

Some observations from the small room:  Leon is now working on using a small cup to drink instead of the spoon bottle. If everyone practices, he should be able to use it well in a few days. Jiayou Leon!

Ruby has been sleeping better, and we even saw her roll herself over all the way to her tummy!

 I hear so much talking from Leon and Clara . Keep up your wonderful work in talking to them and encouraging them to respond.

Timothy and Selah are feeding themselves!!  Great job, Timothy and Selah.

Little Yang is doing a good job keeping his own lips moistened with the pink swab!

In the big room, thank you for keeping up the schedule while you have fewer nannies. Here are a couple of highlights that I observed when I was there.
Ask Leanne about the fine motor activity she did with the kids at 4:30. Kristiana, Emerson and Stephanie did an amazing job with their sitting, reaching, sharing and learning their colors and the big/small concept. 

 I enjoyed doing the ball activity with the group. Ask Garland about how little Timothy is beginning to sign "I want".  You can also practice having him sign this before you give him a bite when you are feeding him. Rina was also interested in communicating, but needed help.

Evangeline sat well in her high chair during the meals. Keep doing this! It is a good chance to interact with her.

I look forward to seeing the work other nannies are doing next time I am there.

Thanks for all of your hard work!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jumping Josiah

Come and spend some time with Josiah...we guarantee that it will put a smile on your face!

This little guy is so full of fun and has an incredible amount of energy.

You may feel a teeny bit exhausted just from watching him...

He's super-helpful, and getting very good at counting.  Here he is going to collect the plates for preschool snack-time:

Then he hands them out to his classmates, and proceeds to count everyone in the room.  He finishes up by giving himself a well-earned round of applause!

Well done, Josiah.  We all agree - you are awesome!

Visiting Nora

We posted about Nora's visit back in August, but when we were looking for photographs of her for the September updates*, we found that we didn't have any more recent pictures of her.  Not a problem - our photographer lives in the same neighborhood as Nora and her foster family, so she paid them a visit!

Nora was very excited to have a visitor, and immediately grabbed Gan Lu by the hand and pulled her into the house.  It shows that she has a good memory, because she usually only sees Gan Lu briefly once a month.

"Look, look at my watermelon ball!" Nora was excited to show off her toy.

They decided to move the 'photo-shoot' outside for better light...

Hasn't Nora gotten tall?!  She hasn't turned two yet, but her foster-mama said that she's taller than their neighbors' child who is almost three!

She also gets prettier and prettier every time we see her.  How is that even possible?

It must be something to do with all the love that she's getting from her wonderful foster-family.  As their bio on our website says, her foster-parents chose to foster "because we love kids very much.  We hope to help and love these orphans with all of our hearts because they need to be loved.  We hope that they will be able to feel the love of a family with us".  It looks like it's working out pretty well, doesn't it?

*Our sponsors receive monthly updates written by the child's carer, along with an up-to-date photograph.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

NDSouth: Oh the Places You'll Go!

Jade is determined to learn to stand on her own!

 Ruth is excited to cheer Jade on!

 You did it Jade!

 Now it's on to practicing our crawling...

...holding ourselves up on all fours is very hard isn't it?

Congratulations Jade, now to scoot forwards...

Slow and steady, that's how we learn.

Inch by inch, you are doing it!
In no time at all you will be crawling and standing all on your own!

"Oh the Places You'll Go" Seuss