We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday 1 December 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will be coming together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. - from the GivingTuesday website. Like last year, our most-pressing need is for contributions to our Medical & Surgical Fund.
Almost three-year-old Jesse (formerly known as 'Chris') has been through a lot in his short life. He was found, abandoned, in a hospital when he was just a week old. He would have been diagnosed with GI issues and also a heart defect. He'd had a successful first GI surgery, but we can only assume that his birth-parents lacked the funds that it would take to pay for the further surgeries that their boy was going to need. He was taken to the local orphanage, and then came into the care of New Day South when he was 6 weeks old. Jesse's medical needs became too complex for our smaller facility at New Day South to handle, so he came to New Day Beijing at the start of 2013, when he was one year old. He had two GI surgeries that year. This year, Jesse has had four surgeries in 10 months, the most recent being an operation to repair an incisional hernia that developed after the urological surgery that he had at the end of October. He also had urological surgeries in January and April. The financial burden that was too heavy for his birth-family, and his orphanage, to carry now rests on us. It's a burden that we are honored to carry; Jesse's life is precious. But we need your help. Jesse actually doesn't hold the current record for the most surgeries in the shortest period of time. Connie has been through four surgeries between the start of April and the start of August! She had surgery to stop the tumor in her kidney from growing, then a second surgery a week later to remove the tumor (along with the kidney). She then had port-a-cath surgery in preparation for the many rounds of chemotherapy that were to come. In August she had emergency GI surgery to deal with an intestinal blockage that was almost fatal. Her chemotherapy treatments are ongoing. This has been an unusually busy year for the staff at New Day South. Five of their last seven babies have been emergency calls requiring immediate surgery. And all so little - arriving at an average 4.5 days old! With infants that young, we don't know what range of physical conditions will ultimately present or if we will have adequate financial resource to help. We simply know that if we don't say "yes", these children in all likelihood will not survive.
Abigail, for example, arrived on her 2nd day of life with a large abdominal wall defect (see "Abigail Waits"). She spent the next 11 weeks of her life in NICU while the doctors worked to keep her alive and stabilize her body's systems. Finally she was sent home simply to wait - her body not yet big enough or strong enough for the necessary surgical repair. Then just a few weeks ago, a visiting team of surgical specialists from the US examined her case and decided that it was time. The initial surgery was successful, but she remains in the hospital now while her little body heals and tries to adjust to such a major restructuring of her internal organs. More recently, Marsha arrived - just 4 days old. Her condition is very similar to that of our little Marshall a few year's back. Marsha was quickly admitted to the hospital with surgery soon after. She then spent the next 4 weeks in NICU where she could only have intravenous nutrition while her little insides healed. She is now in the special care room at New Day South, very frail and thin but able to take nutrition and starting to grow. Both Abigail's and Marsha's hospital costs remain unfunded.
Up at New Day North, little Ruby had had quite a year. Earlier this year she was struggling - unable to gain weight, hardly keeping anything down, and her smiles were becoming less frequent as her sleep suffered and her little body just wore down. In May, the surgeons in Beijing came up with a plan that we all hoped would give Ruby a chance to grow and thrive. Her recovery after the surgery was slow and hard, but now - six months later, Ruby is doing so much better. Back in May, at 17 months old, she only weighed 11.7lbs. Now, at 23 months old, Ruby has grown into a much-more-healthy 20.5lbs. She's starting to sleep better and her smiles are coming back. Back in May, when Ruby had surgery, we didn't have time to raise all of the funds needed for her operation, but we went ahead with the operation because she really couldn't wait.
Clara entered the New Day North program in October of 2014. Only about
five months old at the time and recently abandoned, Clara was seriously
ill. She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and multiple congenital heart
defects. She was also very malnourished, only weighing about 8 ½ lbs,
and her heart defects caused her to turn blue when she cried. Clara was back and forth to the hospital, struggling with pneumonia, heart failure... stabilizing, then deteriorating again. Clara finally had heart surgery in February, and after a roller coaster recovery, came home in May. Clara is still a fragile little one, and when she gets sick it gets bad quickly. But she is doing so much better - her life is precious, and her nannies adore her. Clara's heart surgery has also not yet been fully funded. All of these life-saving surgeries, and the hospital stays, and the medication, and the check-ups...they all cost money. All three New Day locations have Medical & Surgical Funds that are drawn on to pay the bills for our precious charges' care. These funds need to be healthy so that we can continue to take in children with challenging, complicated and expensive medical diagnoses. Here is an opportunity for you to "be part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity": Click here to make a donation to the New Day Beijing Medical & Surgical Fund. Click hereto make a donation to the New Day South Medical & Surgical Fund. Click hereto make a donation to the New Day North Medical & Surgical Fund.
It has been my absolute joy to be the
English teacher for the backyard school for the last 4 months. We have truly
gotten up to some crazy things in the last 4 months and I have grown to love
these three kids with all my heart.
Let me introduce you to our stars
This is Adam –
He is the provider of jokes and made up
songs. Without fail he will ask for ‘appo’ (apple) for snack time and request
‘fola’ (toilet) right in the middle of said snack time. His favorite color is
‘oran-gee’ (orange) and his favorite tasks are ‘cut-cut’ (coloring and then
cutting out his picture) and ‘yellow’(lego). His facial expressions are
priceless and his generosity is unmatched. He has improved leaps and bounds in
the time I have been here, growing in confidence in writing, coloring, cutting
and communicating in English. Adam is loyal and relentless in his affections
for you. I have seen him persevere in difficult situations and hold his head
high when he is down. His beautiful spirit is not one that hits you in the face
but one that creeps up on you unexpectedly, before you know it you are in
love!! He is full of joyful chatter, funny faces and cuddles. Adventure will
always be before him as his character is one of curiosity and determination. He is going to great things – I have no doubt!
This is Enya –
let her delicate demeanor fool you, this girl has got GRIT! She loves a good
giggle and will ALWAYS prefer rough-and-tumble play over cuddle time. Her
ability to concentrate for hours floors me and I know will serve her well in
the future. She has a peacemaker’s spirit and is always giving up her toys to
stop arguments between the boys. Oh boys!
Enya’s favorite color, like many girls
her age, is pink. Whilst she enjoys coloring and drawing, her preferred activity is building with Lego.
Enya provides us with many golden moments of physical comedy, as her
eagerness causes her to be a little clumsy at times but this well-humored little
girl is ALWAYS able to laugh it off, catching us all up in giggles too. This
beautiful little one has picked up lots of useful English words such as ‘yellow
leaf’, ‘red leaf’, ‘green leaf’, ‘tree’, ‘table’ and ‘chair’! She is able to count
up to 30 and works really hard to pronounce words correctly, usually succeeding
in three or four tries. She will be such a precious addition to any family.
This is Hudson –
If I was to describe this little one in one
word it would be ‘cheeky’...oh, and ‘monkey’. Hudson has a calling for mischief
and with the large dose of cuteness that has been given to him, he is able
to achieve most of his mischievous goals using cuteness to defeat his
opposition –namely me. Hudson is also the most loving and joyful little boy I know. He is quick to love, cuddle and kiss. He wins the hearts of all who meet him
and gets us all caught up in his cheeky plans. His favorite color is ‘purpo’
(purple) and he has a disdain for oranges, though tangerines are okay! He LOVES
playing on the swing outside and enjoys being swung to dizzying heights. He has
taught me the Chinese words for ‘faster’ ‘higher’ and ‘more’! Hudson also enjoys
being chased around on the little cars and is able to persuade nearly all he
approaches that this would be a fun game for them too! His view on the world
encourages me to see the fun in everything and to get others to experience it
too. Hudson deserves all the best things and all the love in the world as he
exudes love to all who met him.
I have received much more than I could have
ever imagined from these little ones. Their passion and determination for life
has moved and humbled me. I have been so privilege to have been let in on their
jokes and their thoughts, to have shared in their happiness and their sadness. Each day as I say goodbye and my heart breaks as Adam asks me if I am coming
back, I am reminded that there is One who never says goodbye and is always with them. That there is a heavenly Father who is always near to
them, who knows them much deeper than any foster mum, nanny, staff worker or
volunteer. He knows their thoughts before they think them, their mischievous
plans before they execute them, their need for security and protection. He
knows and he provides them with what they need in abundance. His faithfulness to
these three has been so clearly demonstrated to me in my short time here. He is
the one who fights their corner and makes impossible things possible.
This post was written by Anna, volunteer Backyard School teacher from England.
Leon and Paul have
become great friends since Paul moved into our room. They love to play and
explore together – whether it’s in the kitchen, playing with blocks, or playing
in the ball pit, they have a fun time wherever they go!
They spend so much
time together that they are starting to pick up habits from each other. We
caught them sleeping in almost the exact same position during nap time, even
though they were laid down on their backs facing the opposite direction. These
two are too cute!
Because they are
so close in age, they are also pushing each other to develop and grow. If Paul can say “baba,” then Leon
wants to learn to say it too. If Leon
can stack three blocks, then Paul will want to try it too (or, to keep things
interesting, he might also try and knock over the stack that Leon just
made). Just the other day, Leon
took his first few steps! Watching Leon practice walking has made Paul want to practice his standing and walking too. Nothing wrong with a little
Keep working hard
little friends. Your friendship is so much fun to watch as it blossoms and
grows. You add lots joy and fun to our room!
We are delighted to publish another special Guest Post in celebration of Adoption Month!
Amy, mama of New Day graduate Cora Jo, has written about her family's journey adopting two girls with Down Syndrome.
I have read many times and have heard it said by many
speakers that each adoption journey begins from loss. Either loss that the adoptive parents or
family has experienced, or most definitely loss that the adopted child has
experienced having become an orphan for one of many different reasons. Our
journey to adoption began in this way as well.
My husband and I and our 4 biological children experienced the loss of 2
sweet boys to stillbirth in 2005 and in 2007.
I desperately wanted to see our family grow again, but biologically this
was no longer an option.
The desire to
adopt was one that I had always had, but with 4 biological children, it was not
one my husband could see at first. In
his mind we were already well past the typical family size of 2.5 children, and
perhaps this was the way our family was intended to stay. Over time, I began to share information I had
been gathering and listening to with my husband, all the while praying about
the possibility of adoption for our family.
In the winter of 2008, he agreed to attend an adoption class with me and
was open to the idea of our family growing again. It was in this class that our hearts and
eyes were first opened to the real plight of the orphan and our calling to be a
part of it. For our family this meant
stepping forward in the adoption process in September of 2009. Our family would be forever changed from this
As is a part of each adoption journey and home study
process, we were asked early on to look at a list of medical/special needs and
mark those that our family might be comfortable with. This was a hard task for my husband and I,
knowing that with each of our 4 pregnancies, we were not the ones that decided
medically or otherwise how our children would come to be. We were both especially tender to the child
there was no waiting list for, and the one that was made exactly like God had
planned for our family. We decided that
we would leave the paper without any marked options, and we would be open to
the child we felt we were being led to pursue.
Just after this, we were presented with a profile from our agency of a
sweet baby girl in Taiwan that was 3 years old.
She had dark, almond shaped eyes, shiny black hair, a sweet smile that
took over her face and a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. This was not anything that we had considered
before, nothing that either of us knew much about, and nothing that we felt
skilled to take on. However, we had determined early on that we would go where
we were led and trust that the door would be closed if the child was not meant
to be ours. No doors closed during this
period of time, in fact, the opposite plainly happened as we were confirmed in
several ways that the diagnosis of Down Syndrome was God's plan for our
family. In December we officially
applied to adopt this beautiful little girl.
After waiting a month to hear back from our agency, the call
finally came. We were not being chosen
for this sweet girl we had already began to love. However, a 6 month old baby girl, with the
same diagnosis of Down Syndrome, was just released from the hospital and had
been placed in the orphanage our agency had a partnership with, and we were
being asked to consider adopting her.
Right away we knew this was our daughter, and we said yes. We had seen no pictures and had no
information about her other than she had been born at 24 weeks weighing 1
pound, had received surgery to repair a heart defect, and was a tiny little
nugget. Our journey to Chloe Maekayleigh
Cogswell began that day.
In September of 2010,
just over a year from the date we had started our adoption journey we traveled
to Taipei, Taiwan to bring our daughter home.
And after almost 4 ½ years of having her home with us, we were once
again beginning the adoption process, this time to China where our daughter was
living at New Day Foster Home. Having
had our eyes opened to the beauty of a child with Down Syndrome we knew that
this child, previously known to her foster home as Melinda, was our daughter. We traveled to China
last March, and have been home with our daughter Cora Jo Cogswell for 7
Neither of our adoption journeys were easy ones. The financial needs to such a process were
great. We were a one income family for
both adoptions, with no savings to speak of nor any assets to sell to put
toward the cost of our processes. Each
time our processes were taken care of completely through fundraising, grants,
loans or gifts from family and friends.
Both journeys required an enormous amount of time and paperwork, and the
paperwork required was very different for the two countries and adoptions. The change that each adoption brought to our
family was great, and at times was very stressful. Each child came to us with their own medical
and health needs, emotional needs and grief to walk with them through. Both girls were in very different living
situations before coming to us, which made the bonding needs of each of them
vastly different. And though these and
other aspects of adopting can be very difficult, our family is forever changed
and blessed by the adoptions of both of our daughters.
We have each learned what it means to really
sacrifice, to put the needs of others before our own. We have grown to have such an appreciation
for the grief and sacrifice of 2 birth mothers, both of which we are forever
grateful for. Because of the diagnosis
that both of our girls have, we have been taught the joy of lingering longer in
moments we were far to busy to relax in before bringing them home. We see joy in what we may have considered
little accomplishments before, because our girls work hard for everything they
do. We have walked grief and healing
with our girls and come to understand compassion like we had not known prior to
adoption. We have experienced the
blessing of coming together as a family in a way I do not think we would have
without these sweet girls being placed in our family.
November is a time to celebrate for our
family, as it is National Adoption Month.
A month to recognize something that we are eternally grateful for, grown
and changed by.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.
If you are a NDFH adoptive family with a blog, please let us know and we'll add you to the list! We won't add any family without their permission, as we want to respect the privacy of our adoptive families.
To protect our children and the ongoing work of our foster home, please do not copy pictures or stories without our express written permission. Linking to our posts from your own blog or website is fine and does not require special permission.