Monday, August 30, 2010

It's a Tea Party!

The girls decided they wanted to have a tea party. They all dressed up and was so excited! They asked if they could use my China tea pot in the china cabinet. I thought "Why not, just be careful." The older girls prepared a few snacks and the tea as they set up. I let them be for awhile to enjoy their party alone and then decided I must get a few pictures. However, when I found them, they'd set up their party between the beds in the smaller room where there was little room. Although, I'd wondered why, I just guessed it was a small private party! I promptly told them I'd take a few pictures and leave them be. Later I found out that they'd set up there cause the bigger room with the younger girls was a complete mess they said! Can you imagine that?!! A kid's room being a complete mess?! I know you guys out there surely can't relate to that one!!

Quick-thinking and Twitterpated

Kids always say and do the cutest things...

Take Timothy, for example. He had a second surgery to correct his spina bifida last Friday. It went well, and he's expected to make a full recovery.

But, he was supposed to have the surgery a couple of weeks before. He was checked into the hospital and everything. A few minutes before the surgery was to start, the surgeon came in to go over a few last-minute things with our directors.

Timothy cleared his throat and coughed a little bit. And then noticed the surgeon looked his way. "Is he sick?" the doctor asked. "No, we don't think so," replied our staff. "Good," the doctor replied. "If he were sick, we'd need to delay the surgery."

Timothy's eyes lit up and suddenly he developed a coughing fit. And a few short hours later, he was discharged... sans-surgery.

We haven't ever seen a "sick" kid with that much of a twinkle in his eye before.

And then the other day, there was Jack's and Raegan's minor "twitterpated" incident. Raegan got a beautiful new dress from a sponsor, complete with a purse and a hairbow. She clearly felt pretty in her new get-up, and rightfully so -- she was a doll!

As she pranced around the foster home, she caught Jack's eye. "Ahhh!" he said "Raegan looks very good today!"

We've got our eye on these two.
Friday, August 27, 2010

A Swimming Date with the Forever Home Girls

On my last full day at New Day, I was given the privilege of spending the day swimming with the Forever Home Girls. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my time here. Being a Southern California girl, I have dearly missed the beach this summer. So when I heard the Forever Home girls were taking a plunge this week at a local public pool, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.

With 11 of us in one car, we were packed like sardines but no one seemed to complain…until we arrived at the pool that morning only to discover it was closed! The man at the entrance told us that the pool was scheduled to open around 1PM that day. Since it was only around 10:30AM at the time we had no clue what we would do with our next three hours. On a whim, we decided to head to a mall right next to McDonald’s—a treat that the girls have been waiting for all summer. Each of us girls held onto our partner’s hand as we hopped onto the escalator of a Chinese department store. We “oohed” and “ahhed” all the pretty clothes, dolls, and school supplies. The girls’ eyes beamed as they asked, “What’s this? What’s that?” We also stopped outside a bakery to look at the different cakes in the window. I asked Elizabeth (not myself, but the smaller one) to point out which ones had cherries on top and which ones looked the tastiest. As we looked at those delicious cakes, our tummies began to grumble, so we headed off to McDonald’s for lunch.

Each of the girls got a chicken sandwich with fries and a drink. Little did we know that the chicken turned out to be wayyy too spicy for some of the little ones. Jenna, especially, could hardly keep down one bite. So mom and dad got her Chicken McNuggets, which she happily munched on and finished!

Afterward, we headed back to the pool to cool off. It was so funny watching the different girls’ reactions to the water. Elizabeth dipped one toe in and shrieked, “It’s cold!” Hannah, on the other hand, jumped right in, dunking her head in the water and bubbling up to the surface with a huge grin on her face. Jenna, dressed in her ballerina bathing suit, had such a blast with dad, who cheered her on as she kept going back to the water slide.

Spending the day with the Forever Home girls was so great that I didn’t want the day to end! Sunny and I sat in their living room for a while afterward making faces at the girls and enjoying our lollipops and candy bracelets. As we got ready to leave, Serena came over, gave me a big hug and asked, “When are you coming back?” I was so shocked and didn’t know what to say, so I told her, “I don’t know, but I want to try my best to come back as soon as I can.”

Thank you, New Day, for an amazing month. I have seen miracles in the faces of your foster children and it has been a joy to be among you all.

Praying to some day see you all again,
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ready for a Race!

We're getting ready for our party next week to celebrate Scott's triathalon, and while he's busy running, cycling, and swimming, we're busy coloring and threading!

For those who don't know, Scott is competing in a triathalon on behalf of New Day Foster Home. Every cent he raises comes to the foster home, and so far they've raised over $1,500! He's still got a ways to go to meet his goal of $2,500, but there's still time to chip in and support him as he spreads the word about NDFH and competes on behalf of our little ones!  I bet together we can do it!

The race starts August 26 in Louisville, KY and ends on the 29th. Participants have 17 hours to complete the grueling 140.6 mile journey.

Next week, our kids will be participating in their own triathlon of sorts, with running, swimming, and cycling in the back yard....

But we thought we needed to celebrate the race kick-off with a little training of sorts, too. In this case, some pretty intensive coloring activities.

We're confident they're ready for the big event, and Scott, we know you are too! We're all cheering you on from the other side of the world!

You can cheer Scott on, too! Check out his family's blog for more updates and leave an encouraging comment! We're thankful for what Scott is doing on behalf of our little ones, and we know he'll do great!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Forbidden Fruit

Monday, August 23, 2010

Anyone for a Haircut?!

Jenna and Hannah work on their fine motor skills. They love to use the scissors and Hannah is quite good at it as she's been here longer and had more practice. When she first came, she couldn't use scissors, but now is very proficient at it! She can turn a piece of paper into confetti in no time at all!! Now picking it all up, that's a different story! Jenna, on the other hand, has much difficulty with using scissors. Like many of these children when they first come, they just have never had the opportunity to learn these skills. It is difficult just to get them to do what she wants and cut the paper, that is unless it is something like cutting hair! That goes for Hannah and Jenna both. It's the very reason they aren't allowed scissors without supervision. They've been known to cut hair and anything else in their paths! Anyone up for a haircut?!! They'd love to try their skills on you!
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Bonanza

Last Friday we celebrated our August birthdays in the preschool room. The foster home halls echoed as those little voices sang “Happy Birthday” six times for our August babies! With some kids singing in Chinese and some in English, we had a beautiful New Day choir going. Each birthday boy and girl got a chance to blow out their own candles on the giant birthday cake.

Serena (10)

Judah (2)

Angela (1)

Joel (6)

Polly (3)

Jamieson (2)

These kids went crazy over the cake! In preschool, we usually stick to healthy snacks like peaches and rice crackers. But we thought that this was an occasion to let the kids splurge a bit. With plenty of cake to go around, these little mouths were as happy as can be. Here's Robert with a mouthful of cake that was just too cute to miss.

Anton officially became 1-year-old on August 19th but couldn’t make it to the party because of an illness. Because of his cleft lip and palate, he has been having an especially difficult time eating. We made sure to visit him at the healing home on this special day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Healing Home Therapy

The babies at the healing home have a lot of fun at therapy every day. With help from New Day's physical therapists, the babies are making lots of improvements.

The therapists have been encouraging Lucy to walk and stand more on her own. And it's been showing. She often walks over to the bookshelf all by herself! Since she loves picture books, she's always asking nannies to read for her.

Rosie loves stretching and is one of the most flexible babies at New Day. She can touch her toes with ease. Every afternoon she does some warm up stretches before getting to work. The physical therapists like to use the big red ball to teach her to balance herself.

Although Joel is not yet able to walk on his own. He does exercises to strengthen the muscles in his legs. With some help he can stand up and take a few steps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Therapy Notes

We are SO excited to announce Samuel's latest accomplishment...

Samuel Walking from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

WALKING!  Using a small walker for balance, Samuel has reached a new level of independence.  We are so thrilled, as most of us didn't even know he had the potential to walk!  Can you believe this little guy?  Isn't he such an inspiration?!  We're also super-impressed by our therapy team who work with him every day and celebrates each milestone he reaches.

And in slightly less inspirational but downright funny news, we have another funny story about Joshua's therapy.  Remember reading about him claiming a heart condition to get out of therapy?  Well this week, he tried another angle.  Last week, a group of visitors from Beijing brought hamburgers from McDonald's and sandwiches from Subway for all the children to enjoy.

Evidently Joshua was a fan.

Because the other day in therapy, his therapist waited at the top of the stairs and said, "Come on up, Joshua!  I have some cookies for you when you get here!"

Without missing a beat, Joshua retorted: "Do you have McDonald's?"

Joshua Climbing
from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

This isn't related to therapy, but it's a funny McDonald's story.  Robert and Ethan particularly enjoyed their McDonald's lunch... so much so that upon finishing their hamburgers, they noticed a few leftovers still in the box.  They ran up to their nanny and asked her to put some in the refrigerator for the two of them to eat later!

Wordless Wednesday: Lest You Think Our Children Are Angels

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wii Fun!

With the girls all being off school and home this month, they've been enjoying a variety of their favorite activities. The Wii is certainly one of them! It's not just fun, although to them it is, it's also great for improving eye-hand coordination. Some of the games are a bit too difficult for them. Take bowling, for instance, that requires they release the button (or ball) at the precise moment. Jenna really struggles with this task and the other girls' patience seem to run a little low when, after about 15-20 tries, she finally is able to release the ball at the correct moment! Other games are easier for them. They then moved on to boxing that only requires them to move their hands back and forth, something much easier for them to do. Elise and Hannah played the first game and when Hannah got knocked out (in the game of course), Elise told her to "Get up! Get up!" Hannah said, "I can't! I'm dead!" We all had a good laugh and showed her how to make her guy get up again! She did get up to fight some more, by the way:)

A Chance to Grow

Have you ever read the story of how New Day started?  Did you know that in addition to the foster home, there's a manufacturing company, an English school, and a volunteer/community center

Since it's founding, New Day has grown and expanded in many ways, and its leadership has been here since the beginning... but there are many challenges facing New Day as an organization, and our leaders are always looking for new ways to expand their skills and get training so that they can lead with excellence and wisdom.

Right now, one of the founding partners of New Day, Byron and Karen Brenneman, are in the running for a full scholarship to attend Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Conference, to be hosted in the fall in Mexico.  It may not be immediately apparent why we're talking about a business conference on the foster home's blog, but each part of New Day is intricately connected, and the growth and success of each department depends intimately on the growth and success of the others.

So, friends, we need to help get their entry to the top!  Please vote for New Day on the EntreLeadership website.  You can vote everyday, if you want! And help us spread the word via facebook and twitter.  Even if they don't win, the higher we get on the list, the more new people will see the New Day story.

This is just another chance for us to grow, and we want to make the most of it.
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Signing Off...

Today is my last day at New Day. This afternoon, I will hop into a car that will take me to the airport, and with that, my 6 months here will be over. It's amazing how quickly time has passed-- yet, it is even more amazing how many things can happen in just 6 months' time.

I have seen children go from weak to strong. I have helped children learn to sit up, scoot, and walk. I have waved goodbye to children as they left to join their forever families. I have lost Chase, whom I had the privilege to name. I have heard children whom we thought could not talk, speak. I have seen miracles happen.

When I came to New Day, I thought I would come for the benefit of the people here-- to love the children and maybe teach some English to the nannies. I did those things and more, but I have come to learn that the one who benefited the most from my time here was me. I will never forget the lessons I've learned and the wonderful people I met in China. Thank you, New Day! I'll be back as soon as I can :)

Just a few recent memories:

Signing off for now,
-Jess L., intern March-August 2010

Joshua's Armor

For the past month, our little soldier Joshua has been wearing a new back brace to relieve compression in his spinal cord. We like to call it his "armor" because it weighs a whole pound! Despite the extra weight, Joshua's making amazing progress.

He doesn't let the back brace keep him from his daily activities. He can climb up the stairs all by himself for physical therapy every morning. And he doesn't let a little rain stop him from going out to play.

He's also quite a smart cookie. At only two years old, he's already got his shapes down. In English, he can identify squares, hearts, diamonds and more. His favorite shape is the triangle. And here he is showing me the circle he drew.

Joshua's quite the creative thinker, too. The other day, when he didn't really want to crawl up the stairs as part of his therapy program, he asked his nanny to carry him. He knew he needed a really good excuse to get out of therapy, and he thought he'd stumbled upon the perfect one that was sure to win the heart of his nanny. "Please carry me," he said. "I have a heart problem!"

She didn't fall for it. But we've fallen for this little boy!


Post by Elizabeth, our new NDFH intern.