Thursday, April 30, 2009

What are You Waiting For?

We have just launched a new section of our website, and you are definitely going to want to check it out! There is a brand new 8-minute-long video that introduces you to the work of NDFH. Even if you already know a lot about what's going on here, you will still enjoy watching this!

We hope that people will use this video to begin spreading the word about NDFH. We've provided lots of ideas on our website about ways people can get involved in our work, so if you're wondering, "What can I do for orphans?" -- we want to help you answer that question!

So, what are you waiting for?

A Dog's Life

Every kid needs a pet, right? We know that many of our children will be adopted by families who have dogs, and we didn't want them to be afraid of their future family members of the furry variety. So, after searching for a few weeks, we found a local Beijing animal lover's organization that was willing to donate a Beagle to the foster home. (We actually had to have a home study interview and fill out adoption papers!) The dog's name is Tong, but when the kids say it, most of them sound like they are saying "Tom." So for now, that's what he's called, but we're not sure what his name will be!

For the first few weeks, the children kept a wide berth between themselves and the dog, but they've slowly gotten to know him a little more. For the most part, they like him, but they still prefer to have a "grown-up" by their side when they get close.

Except for Peter; He's a bit braver than the rest. But when we recently found him and the dog sitting in the grass, inspecting each other, we noticed that Peter quickly started trying to shoo him away as Tong came closer. On the other hand, when Tong came to inspect Brett's little scooter that he uses to get around the yard, Brett threw himself off and scampered off as quickly as possible!

We're really happy with Tong. He's a sweet dog who never barks and likes the children. We think with time, the kids will grow to love him more and more!

So, if anyone's counting, that brings our pet total to: a dog, a goat, and a handful of bunnies.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Showers

Bring spring flowers... And lots of fun puddle-jumping opportunities.

Note: Some might notice that we removed links to certain adoptive family blogs. We did this because we feel it is best to only include the blogs of families who have completed their adoptions, so we removed all in-process links. Just wanted to offer a brief note of explanation if you are looking for one of the blogs that we previously listed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Little Bait

Last week we had the long-anticipated trip to the aquarium...

In preparation for their trip, the older girls made jellyfish in class!

Lots of concentration went into cutting, and twisting the tentacles into just the right place...

We think the end result was pretty cute! And, the girls definitely knew the jellyfish when they saw them at the aquarium!

Pictures from the trip to the aquarium are now posted on our website, so these pictures are just a little bit of bait... the real catch is on the scrapbook pages!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Carrie Has One!"

Victoria is just about as girly as you can get.

She loves dresses, skirts, and pretty much anything that's the color pink. But Victoria's particular fashion weakness can be summed up in one word: ACCESSORIES! Whether it's hair bows, sunglasses, jewelry or nail polish - Victoria just can't get enough.

She's also extremely observant - she's probably the only person at New Day who notices (and comments!) when I wear the same pair of jeans two days in a row. She'll always make a point to tell me if she thinks my outfit is "piaoliang" (beautiful).

So the other day, Victoria and I were in the backyard with the other children. She had a sheet of stick-on earrings that she'd recently received in a care package. She'd shared a couple pairs with Emily and Sophie but still had several left for herself. She offered a pair to me, which I happily accepted. Knowing I love the color blue (see how observant she is?!?), she picked a round glittery blue stick-on earring and placed it directly on my nose.

On my NOSE.

"Why did you do that, Victoria?" I asked her.

Very matter of factly she replied, "Carrie has one!"

Carrie has a tiny little stud on her nose, which is barely noticeable - unless you are Victoria!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Office

Our oldest girls are ready to get to work! Recently they told Elva that they wanted to come help her work in the office.

"I can type your e-mails!" said Emily.

"And I can answer the phone!" added Sophie. She picked up Elva's cell phone to demonstrate: "Ni hao ke ren!" (Hello visitor!)

Victoria quickly thought of what she could do... "I could give tours!"

"I want to help with that," Emily added.

It didn't take Elva long to realize that all of her work duties had been divided out by these enterprising young ladies.

"What will I do?" asked Elva.

"Well," thought Sophie carefully, "You can go to pre-school, and then you will get candy. After class, you can eat candy!"

Elva understandably thought this sounded like a pretty sweet deal. So, if any of you e-mail us and get an odd reply in return, or if you call, and a sweet, high-pitched voice answers the phone, please rest assured that we've only stepped out for a moment. And no worries - we've left our work in very capable hands.
Friday, April 17, 2009

Global Girls

Because they are so amazingly talented, all of our children often hear praise for their fabulous artwork. We recently learned that they'd picked up some new words from their intern teachers. From Lauren (USA) they hear that their art is awesome, and from Arwen (UK) they hear that it is lovely.

Emily and Sophie each picked up a trademark phrase from their teachers, and we think the global vocabulary they've acquired is priceless. And, it fits their personalities that Sophie demurely says "It's lovely," while Emily punches the sky with an enthusiastic "It's awesome!"

However you say it, it's cute!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April Birthdays

Today we celebrated all of our April birthdays with cake and presents.
Victoria turned 5, Brett turned 3, and Noah and Cameron both turned 1.
See more pictures on our website's scrapbook!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Escape Artist

During our Easter Egg hunt, we took our pet rabbits out of their cages and put them in the yard under little plastic crates to keep them in place. The kids could peek in and watch the rabbits, and the rabbits weren't running all over the yard. We thought it was the perfect solution!

While everyone else was busy eating their candy and checking out all their goodies, little Adam noticed something that no one else had yet noticed.

One of the rabbits had escaped.

Adam excitedly ran up to one of our staff members with this knowledge. He doesn't know too many words yet, so he couldn't fully express what he'd just witnessed... but he knew it was important information to pass on to one of the grown-ups.

"Mama, Mama!" he called out, pointing frantically at the upturned plastic bin that had been a rabbit cage.

"Ought oh!" he shouted. "Ought oh!"

That communicated the message perfectly.
Friday, April 10, 2009

Kids and Petals

At the foster home, we have several pets. One of them is a baby goat. He's generally a bit aloof and would rather do his own thing than to hang out with the other "kids." But yesterday afternoon, Ethan, Bess, Brett and I figured out he has a taste for flowers.

We have beautiful tulip trees in our back yard, but the blossoms are past their prime and starting to fall. So we gathered them up and tried to feed them to the goat. After all, don't goats eat anything?

He loved them! They helped him overcome his fear, and he came right up to the children to gobble up flower petals straight from their hands. Ethan loved it right away... but he's a bit fearless, so I wasn't surprised. However, I was so impressed with Bess' bravery! She's a quiet little girl, but she made it clear that she wanted in on the action. She eagerly fed the goat and would try to get a quick petting/nose grab in before the goat backed away. Then Brett came and wanted to get in on the action as well. But by that point, Mr. Goat was no longer hungry and had lost his interest in flowers for now.

Maybe we should name the goat Petals... he clearly has a taste for them.

New Families

We are happy to announce that in the last couple of weeks, three of our children have been matched with their very own forever families!

Forest is now going to be named Evan.

Jeremy is now going to be named Drew.

And Olivia is now going to be named Victoria.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Ethan, Nathan, and Peter all showing how to do "Ready!"

During a recent foster parent training, our staff began discussing with the foster parents appropriate ways to provide structure, boundaries, expectations and discipline for children. We gave some examples of some of the ways that we do this in the foster home and in preschool, explaining that our children were smart, and when you taught them rules and expectations, they generally respond very well!

One of our foster parents piped up, "These children are smart, and they learn a lot in preschool! They even speak a lot of English! But, since I don't understand English, I don't know what they are saying. For example, why does my little boy clasp his hands together and say "Ready" every time I put food in front of him?" Other parents murmured in agreement.

Her question made us proud, for it showed us just how quickly our childrn learn! Each day at the foster home, before any snack, meal, or even arts and crafts time, we teach our children to politely sit in their chair, clasp their hands at their lap, and say "Ready!" When they say the magic word, we give them the snack, or the meal, or the art project. It helps us maintain order and structure during what can be very hectic times!

The kids have become so good at it, that they're even doing it in their foster homes -- puzzling their foster parents in the process. We didn't know the kids were taking this rule home with them, but now that we do, we've decided it is time to give all the foster parents a training on all the rules we have in preschool so that they'll know what's going on!

Spread the Word

Yesterday Caroline posted about the video Chad made for the foster home. We produced this for a specific purpose, but we're hoping to make wider use of it.

One idea we've had... lots of large churches start off their services with a series of video announcements that rotate while people are coming in and getting settled. We think this 15 second clip would be perfect to play at that time!

The clip is fully produced and Chad even did it in high-def! In other words, it is of high enough quality to even air on TV. If you have any ideas about places we could play this clip, please e-mail me at We can get the clip to you, and you can do the rest! And in the process, you'll be helping to spread the word about the work of NDFH.

Nashville, here we come!

Sophie might just have a future in the recording business.

Early this week, we worked on producing a short 15 second commercial for the foster home. We have a volunteer at New Day right now who is great at audio/video production, and he brought some cool equipment with him. Chad had a terrific idea to record a few of our kids singing a Chinese song to play in the background of the commercial. So the other day, he came over to the foster home to record Emily, Sophie, and Victoria.

Emily and Victoria excitedly began singing - loving every minute. But as soon as Sophie saw the huge microphone and the other equipment, she curled up in the corner of the playroom, covering her ears. Clearly, she wanted nothing to do with whatever was going on.

After recording the song a couple times with Emily and Victoria, Chad suggested we move from the playroom into a quieter place to cut down on background noise. So everybody moved into the preschool and began singing again. This time, Sophie stayed close by Emily and Victoria, but still had no desire to sing. She continued her "Hear no evil" stance, with her hands cupped over her ears and a nervous look on her sweet face.

Hoping to calm her jitters, Chad offered his headphones to Sophie. A bit reluctantly, she put them over her ears but then immediately brightened as she heard her friends' voices coming through the head phones. Suddenly, she realized what was going on - and she wanted to be a part of it!

Chad spoke into the microphone just for Sophie to hear, "Ni shi wo de pengyou ma?" (Are you my friend?)

Sophie's face lit up! She grabbed the microphone from Chad and began singing her little heart out, refusing to take off the head phones. Later, she also asked to hold his recorder as well. Soon, she was holding all of the equipment and had essentially taken over as the singer, producer, and technician.

Below is a copy of the commercial - with the featured voices of three of our very favorite girls!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unexpected Blessings

She wasn't who we expected.

After several serious heart cases, we chose to bring Bess to NDFH because her condition wasn't quite so serious. We knew our staff needed the emotional break. Though she definitely needed surgery, it wouldn't be as difficult as many of the surgeries we complete, and we thought she would be the perfect respite from months of hard cases.

Except she wasn't.

Within hours of arriving at the foster home, she went into congestive heart failure. We rushed her to the hospital. The doctors put her into a medically-induced coma to stabilize her. After several days, she was finally stable enough to have her operation, and the doctors did emergency surgery on a Sunday -- something they rarely do.

She recovered quickly and came home to our foster home. She has such a sweet and gentle spirit. She loves to cuddle, and when she smiles really big, she gets the cutest little dimple on her upper right cheek.

We're all in love.

She arrived not a minute too late.

If she had gone into congestive heart failure at her orphanage, there would have been very little anyone could have done, and our precious Bess wouldn't be here today.

When we think back on our decision to bring in an "easy" case, we can't help but be thankful for who we got instead.