Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Fall!

Our backyard is full of tall trees, so in the fall, we have an abundance of leaves. And big piles of crunchy fall leaves equals great fun for our little preschool class, as you can see...

The children's peals of laughter warmed up the chilly fall morning, and we hope the sight of their smiles warms your heart. We hope that you're able to enjoy playing in some leaves of your own!






Pictured top to bottom: Julia, Victoria, Maria, Adahlyn, and Trey

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Silliness


They certainly know how to ham it up for a camera!


Julia and William, pictured here with their foster mother, always have smiles on their faces and a sparkle in their eyes.


In typical sibling fashion, William followed Julia's lead, and pretty soon one child's case of infectious giggles spilled over to another.


Sitting on a swing, gently rocking back and forth, laughter pealing... this is what it is all about.


Joy. Love. Hope. In picture-perfect form.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: New Arrival David


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hannah Loves Tom

Most of our kids have an opinion about Tom, our dog. Some absolutely love him - from a distance. Others love to pet him when an adult is safely nearby. The littlest ones see him but aren't very curious just yet.

We've been waiting for one of our kids to fall in love with Tom. And this morning, it happened. Tom was running around the backyard while all the kids were also getting some outdoors playtime. One minute he was sniffing around, minding his own business, and the next minute he was nuzzling up to Hannah, giving her little puppy smooches all over her face. And she loved it.

Hannah wasn't afraid of him at all, rubbing him behind his ears and talking to him. Pretty soon, Tom had rolled on his back and was in doggie heaven.
We are floored when we see how far Hannah has come - she's becoming such a healthy girl, and it's such a joy seeing more of her personality every day. She's giving us real smiles now, and we couldn't be more thrilled.
Thursday, October 22, 2009

If You Give A Girl A Cookie...

Recently some of our staff returned from a Formula Project trip to an orphanage in the southern part of China. There is a particular type of cookie made in that region that is really well-known and delicious, so our staff stocked up on these treats to bring back to family and friends.

When Grace brought cookies into the Healing Home yesterday, there was a flurry of excitement - COOKIES! Everybody was instructed to wash their hands, and then Maria was given the honored task of handing a cookie to each of the nannies. One by one, she handed each nanny a cookie and then saved one for herself.

Being the bright little cookie that she is, Maria had a brilliant plan up her sleeve. After she handed out the cookies, she went from nanny to nanny, asking for a bite of their cookie. What better way to get the maximum amount of cookie, right? She'd had her fill, without ever having to take a bite of the cookie she'd already set aside for herself. Everybody laughed at Maria's love of sweet things and her ingenious way of getting a little more than she was allotted.
And then she surprised us all by generously offering her original cookie to share with Grace!

We are continually touched and blessed not only by our kids' love and courage but also by their sweet, generous little hearts.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Judah


Monday, October 19, 2009

Other Arms


Usually they arrive with sadness in their eyes.

But this one came with joy - gleaming, dancing, sparkling.

Infectious joy. It fills the room and wipes away the sadness of others who didn't come in his place. We can't save them all, but he's here. And maybe that's all that matters -- not the ones we can't hold, but the ones we can. The others rest in stronger, unseen arms. We must keep trusting in those Other Arms.

Maybe he is just what we needed on this morning of questions. Which ones to bring? Which ones to choose? Adoptions mean empty beds, and empty beds mean new arrivals, but we don't feel like we have the strength to make the choices. A thousand factors considered and we chose him, thinking we could help change the course of his life.

But maybe he was chosen for us. Maybe those Other Arms knew that we would need his smile, brimming with 4 new teeth, and those sparkling eyes.

Our hearts are full, and we feel His presence. There's something sacred about these moments when a child arrives. Like a mother holding her newborn for the first time, there's redemption in the end of pain and unimaginable hope in the empty canvas of future possibilities.

It is in these moments that we realize those Other Arms are holding us, too. They're big enough for that.

And so we rest, trusting He orders steps and opens doors and places the lonely in families. We are just instruments, "little pencils in the hand of the One who is sending a love letter to the world." {Mother Teresa}

Leaving on a Jetplane


We said goodbye to little Peter yesterday. He met his new family today, and while we're thrilled that he's finally going home, we're certainly going to miss his big smile.

Before he left, he said the cutest thing... looking up at a jet trailing across the sky, he excitedly pointed at up and said that soon, he would be flying in one. (All the kids associate airplanes with going to their families.) We agreed that he would be, and told him that it would take him to his new home.

"Yes," he said, "And when I get there, I'll go see Sophie!"

Sophie, now living in America with her adoptive family, was Peter's roommate and his "big sister" at our foster home. He definitely misses her. We tried to explain that he'd be going to Holland, while she lives in America, but it was too much for him to understand.

We know someday he will understand a bit more. For now, we're just thankful that his heart is full of love and his future full of hope. We love you sweet Peter, and we'll miss you!
Friday, October 16, 2009

Crib Mates


These three sweeties in our formula project make quite the picture! One's crying, one's asleep, and one's perfectly content -- the three faces of being a baby captured in one crib at one time.

As you know, we've had lots of new arrivals in our formula projects, and now more than ever, we need your help. If you haven't already, will you consider getting involved in our Milk Money Campaign?

You'd be feeding these precious babies... plus over 100 others.
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Harvest Time

Thanks to one of our amazing sponsors, Donnie (who doubles as our children's American grandpa), we were able to take our children on a field trip today. We went to nearby orchards and picked our own pears.

Maria with her pears.

After that, we went to another place where the children picked Chinese dates, dug for peanuts, and even found a few sweet potatoes!

Julia's buried treasure -- sweet potatoes!

As an added treat, the second orchard had a small petting zoo, and the children were given a giant pile of vegetable scraps that they could feed to the animals. Everyone loved it. We fed a horse, cows, chickens, ducks, guineas, a smaller pony, and even deer! They also had ostrich and beautiful peacocks. The children thought it was so much fun.

After all this harvesting work, it was time for lunch. We dined in a restaurant, and the children devoured nearly 20 dishes!!

Aaron and Liam dine like kings!

At the end of the day, we had sleepy, but very happy, children. Thanks YeYe Donnie! We had a great time, and wish you could have gone along with us.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Madeline Meets Her Mama

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Just a Bottle


Little Cameron knows his stuff.

Recently someone was helping the nannies feed the upstairs babies, and they picked up a bottle to give to Cameron. He turned his head away and refused to take it. She persisted, moving him around to face her, and pushing the tip of the bottle into his mouth. Again, Cameron wriggled away from the bottle, becoming a bit more fussy with his resistance.

About that time, his nanny walked into the room and noticed that the volunteer mistakenly had another child's bottle. She switched them out, and Cameron happily ate his fill.

We recently found out that in just a few weeks, Cameron will be leaving with his new adoptive family! We're so thrilled with this news, and we're already planning to send the beloved bottle along.

Boys at Play

After lunch, a lot of the staff enjoy playing a Chinese game called jianzi. It's a lot like hacky sack, except everyone kicks around a little cluster of weighted feathers. Liam watched the grown-ups play for quite a while before wanting to join in the fun. He'd carefully observed the game, and he knew he needed to kick the jianzi. To prepare for his big kicking moment, we caught him doing this...

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Peter and Jack think therapy time is just play time. They don't realize they're learning important skills! We think they're adorable as they work hard to master the somersault, something all little boys must do.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Big Sister

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Samuel's one of our newest arrivals, and Victoria has taken him under her wing. Not only is she showing him the ropes of the foster home, but she's demonstrating how to use the toys! Before long, Samuel will be zipping around our yard with this scooter all by himself. It rolls by simply using your hands to move it back and forth, so it is perfect for him. But until he gets the hang of it, Victoria is happy to be his teacher.

Many of our nannies have pointed out that Samuel looks a lot like Victoria! Though they're from different parts of China, we agree with them that there is a strong resemblance. And, Victoria is certainly acting like a big sister!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Neighbors

We're back from our October holidays. Did you miss us?

Everything went very well during the holidays -- none of our children had any medical emergencies! We're so thankful that our entire management and medical staff had the opportunity to rest and spend uninterrupted time with their families. Our nannies had a quiet week with only a few visitors, so they had an opportunity to rest as well. (Unfortunately, we can't totally close down the foster home!)

Right before we left, we captured this cute picture in one of the hospitals in Beijing. Claire and George are both hospitalized at the same place right now, and they happened to be in neighboring rooms. We took this picture of George, but you can see Claire through the window!

Both Claire and George are doing a lot better. Claire is eating solid foods, and it won't be long until she's released from the hospital. George's condition is quite serious (and quite mysterious). While the doctor's still haven't diagnosed what causes the wounds on his body, the ones he had when he arrived have considerably healed and he is in much better shape. They still need to figure out exactly what causes the recurring wounds, so we're hoping to hear news soon.