Saturday, October 30, 2010

Programmers Needed

Oftentimes people with highly technical skills aren't sure how they can use their gifts and abilities to make a difference in the world.  We believe there's a place for everyone, and here's a unique opportunity to help meet one of our urgent needs.

We are in need of one or two experienced software engineers or other web application development professionals to remotely volunteer (from your house, office, or local coffee shop) on a project for use by New Day Foster Home.  (With possible expansion to other child welfare institutions.)  There's a project summary below... please pass this link along to anyone who you think may be interested in volunteering on this project.

Project Summary:
Convert our MS Access child record database into a web accessible database application.

The foster home utilizes a MS Access database to keep records on all our children and to track sponsorship records. This database resides on a local file server and is shared across our network. We would like to make it accessible via any web browser and offload the hosting to the cloud, thereby increasing reliability, ease of access and reducing dependence on local infrastructure. The end result would be a database web application that could be installed on any shared web hosting service. The basic requirements are as follows:
  • Convert our access database structure and data to a MySQL database.
  • Develop a browser accessible application utilizing an open and standard language and development tools. Although others will be considered, some possible frameworks include codignitor, yii, and cakePHP.
  • The application needs to be multilingual (English and Simplified Chinese). Our local staff will assist with Chinese translation.
  • Work-flow and behavior needs to closely resemble a desktop application.
  • The application needs to be as easy to understand and modify as possible, as various people may maintain it over time.

To help interested programmers get a better understanding of the application, we have included the following links:
Child Info Screen
Sponsor Info Screen
Database Relationship
Basic Structure

If you would like more information or are interested in helping please email
Friday, October 29, 2010

Where Babies Come From

For those of you who read my personal blog, you know that I’m nearly 8 months pregnant. Also, one of the foster home’s Chinese nurses is expecting a baby around the same time. Since the kids at the foster home have been around two pregnant women these last few months, their little brains have been spinning and turning as they try to wrap their heads around the fact that we have babies in our tummies.

The result of all this heavy thinking is often quite adorable…

A few months ago, when Vincent, Robert, and Timothy first learned that I was expecting a little baby, their nanny told them to be gentle with my tummy because there was a baby inside. The results of this enlightenment are sure to give you a giggle.

More recently, Vincent was sitting on my lap and playing with a small toy cow… the sort that comes in an animal yard play set. He was “walking” the cow across my belly, but then all of a sudden, he dropped the cow down my shirt. I asked him why he did it, and he grinned, “I wanted to give your baby something to play with!”

And then the other day, I was outside holding a baby in the swing… little Evie is the perfect size for cuddling. Robert came up to me and noticed I was holding a baby. Evie was all bundled up, and he couldn’t see her face at first. But when he saw who I was holding, he got quite a serious look on his face and told me, “That’s not your baby.” I smiled and played along, asking: “Really? Where is my baby?” He leaned over and patted my belly and said, “In there!” So then I asked whose baby I was holding… he pointed at Evie’s nanny, who was standing nearby, and emphatically announced “She’s hers!”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Triplets

Special Delivery

Look what's making their way to us!!  All 17 strollers have been delivered to the warehouse where they are waiting to be loaded on the shipping containers for China.  You can see more pictures on Emma's momma's blog.

We'll keep you up-to-date on their progress to us!  (Though it might be a while before we have an update saying they've all arrived here, as we may have to divide them into 2 shipments and shipping via boat takes a while!)
Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Busy Days

Noah has a song in his heart! During music time, Noah really gets into the clapping and singing... he really loves this part of preschool, and watching his enthusiasm fills us with joy, too!

Noah's Dancing from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

Last Friday, the children got to visit the Wildlife Park, thanks to your generous donations!  They had a great time, and you can see lots of pictures in our scrapbook.

Noah always makes us smile, and he was also pretty cute at the wildlife park... always excited to be exploring and visiting new animals, Amy came up with this clever method to ensure Noah didn't run off.  It did mean she lost her scarf for the day...

Jack was another of our busy boys... he was fascinated by all the animals.  By the end of the day, he was wired, and his grown-up partner was wiped out!

Samuel was a bit more subdued, especially when it came time to to visit the big cats.  He seemed pretty concerned and wanted to stay safe and sound in someone's arms.

We were especially excited that Judah got to go on the fieldtrip!  It was actually his first time to go on an outing like this, and he was fascinated by everything he saw.

Thank you so much for making this possible!
Thursday, October 21, 2010


Within 48 hours, every last stroller we needed (plus 2 more!), were spoken for, purchased, and shipped.

You guys rock.  (And stroll!)

Thank you so much for faithfully meeting each and every one of our needs...  We are truly blown away by your generosity and compassion.  Words seem a bit inadequate, but thank you.

Emma's momma and daddy are the ones who are helping to ship the strollers to China through their company, so I thought the celebratory picture she posted on her blog was especially fitting for this occasion.  Emma's pretty excited that you guys helped get strollers for her friends, too! 
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Young Love

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Keep Us Rolling!

UPDATE: The strollers were all ordered!  This is no longer a need.  THANK YOU!

We have the most amazing online community! Do you realize that within a few hours of us posting the ChipIn for the upcoming Wildlife Park field trip, we had it fully funded? That’s so encouraging to us… we love knowing that so many people love our kids and are standing with us to help love and raise them. (To those of you who donated, THANK YOU! I’ll be sending you pictures of the fieldtrip after the children get back.)

For the last year, we have had an item on our needs list that just never really goes away… double strollers. Our current double strollers are used nearly every day and are almost as old as NDFH! (Ten Years!) They are threadbare and broken, and we’ve patched them together as best we can, but it is time to get new ones. Unfortunately we can’t replace them in China, as the front/back double stroller model is simply unavailable here. Because almost all families only have one child here in China, a double stroller doesn’t have a huge market. We sometimes see side-by-side double strollers, but they are too wide for most walkways and are usually not high quality.

Well, we finally have a way to meet this need, but we need your help to take advantage of it! A recent adoptive family’s business requires regular shipping to/from China, and they’ve offered to put strollers on one of their containers coming to China! That means the international shipping costs will be fully covered! (A very big deal when you consider the size and weight of a single stroller!) All we need is for people to buy a stroller and have it shipped to this family’s address in the USA. They will take care of getting them to China.

We would like to get between 12-15 strollers. (Enabling us to set a few aside for future use.) Seven of them have already been sponsored, which means we only need 5-7 more to meet our goal!

We want them all to match, so we’ve selected the Graco DuoGlider LX Stroller in the Brentwood pattern, and the cheapest online price we have found is through Albee Baby for $130 – with no tax and no shipping/handling!

If you would like to sponsor a stroller, please email me at for the shipping address. Oh, and the shipping container leaves in 3 weeks, so we need to have these purchased, shipped, and delivered by the end of October! I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Friday, October 15, 2010

Vroom! Vroom!

Today after our morning preschool class, we had a little surprise for the children. Motorcycle rides! Some of our staff members own scooters, and they agreed to take our kids for rides through the parking lot.  For those of you who are especially safety-conscious, we promise they didn't go too fast and they never left the parking lot!

Can you tell from the smiles that it was a hit? You can see more smiles on the scrapbook page.

In addition to going for an exciting scooter ride this morning, Timothy joined his foster family this afternoon. He was pretty excited about that, as well. When he first found out he'd be going to a foster family, he told US which one he wanted to go to!! We all got a kick out of that, as he seemed quite confident about which family would be the best fit. We think it had more to do with the fact that one of his favorite friends was in that family, and he imagined they'd be able to get into all sorts of mischief if they lived together.

Robert and Philip seemed to enjoy the scooter rides most of all. Both of these boys giggled and shrieked non-stop through their rides, and would eagerly ask for another turn just as soon as they got off. We're glad they had fun. Robert, especially, seems to be really wanting a family these days... yesterday he watched a plane go through the sky. He pointed up at it and named off some of the other children who have been matched with families. (The children all associate airplanes with getting adopted, as they know they leave on airplanes.) Then he said, "I don't have pictures of my family yet. I don't have a mom and a dad." Our hearts long for the day when we can bring him pictures of his very own family... so many times before, when you begin to advocate for a child, they quickly get their family... would you do that for Robert now?
Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Day South

One of our assignments during this last month was to 'fatten up' little Kenneth. We've found a way to help him increase his food intake, and so far he has gained over 2-1/2 pounds. (How 'bout them chubby cheeks?)

Kenneth has his routines well in place now. Every night after supper is his 'active time'. He can't sit up by himself or crawl yet, but he gets a great work out rolling, kicking and thrashing about on the floor:

A Roaring Good Time

UPDATE:  Within a few hours, you had funded this above and beyond what we needed!  Thank you!!  We will be sending all the donors pictures of the trip next week after the field trip!

Last May, we were able to take a group of our children to the Wildlife Park... the kind of zoo where the people stay in the cages and the animals roam free. It's a great experience for our little ones, and we have some new children who haven't yet experienced being up close and personal with the animals they learn about in preschool.

We hope to go again on Friday, October 22.  It will cost about $400 USD to take our children to the wildlife park. That includes admission, transportation, and lunch for the children and their "grown-up partner" for the day.

You can contribute to this trip by making a donation via PayPal using the ChipIn box here on the blog. If you want to contribute, but prefer to send a check, please e-mail for details.  If we reach our goal and are able to go to the park, all sponsors will get e-mailed pictures of the trip that you made possible!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Light and Laughter

Look at What I Can Do!!

This summer, Elizabeth learned to ride her bike. Look at her now!! She can not only ride well, but is getting a bit brave doing tricks and all!
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cute As Can Be!

We love cuddling babies. On a crisp, chilly day, you are more than likely to find that one or more of us has slipped upstairs to snuggle with a little one. With Judah getting so big, and Jayce and Josiah deciding that they want to spend the better part of the mornings with some tummy-time (they're working really hard on rolling over right now) we've been having some trouble satisfying our daily cuddle quota. As always, the deficit hasn't lasted long and now with little Caleb, Evie, and Melissa to hold, we've gone from having trouble sharing the babies to... still having trouble sharing the babies!

Yesterday was crisp and lovely so, before going out, we bundled up our little ones into coats that were almost as cute as they were! 

Melissa and Evie are little bunnies and Caleb is the fuzziest bear you could ever wrap your arms around!

Josiah joins the picture here. He's just as cuddly as ever and is becoming a sweet older brother.

We're blessed with having such sweet children to care for. Come on over and steal a cuddle of your own! We might share... maybe...

Post by Hannah