Sunday, May 30, 2010

Victoria's Gone Home!

We're really going to miss her around here... Victoria has been such a part of our foster home for so long; it won't feel the same without her!  Most of our older children were placed with foster families, so we were used to seeing them infrequently.  But Victoria has always lived in the foster home, and it will certainly be a different place without her.

To help her prepare for her big move, she made this video with one of our interns; to help her remember her time here.  And today was the big day... she joins her adoptive family today.  We'll miss you, Victoria!  But we are so thankful you are going home now!



Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Tornado

Annie never goes someplace slowly.  She's always in a race - spinning, whirling, and running full force like a tornado.  Everyone's always reaching out to catch her, anticipating falls at every turn.  But she rarely takes a tumble, and when she does, she stands up, brushes off, and keeps running!  We love her fearless spirit; she's had it since she was a tiny toddler and we don't think she's growing out of it anytime soon! 



The Tornado from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lucy Keeps a Beat

She may not know the words, but Lucy knows how to keep the beat with a bobbing head!

video

Wordless Wednesday: Bicycle Cart

Monday, May 24, 2010

Serena, The Vocalist!

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Serena loves music and sings a lot. She is beginning to open up and adjust to living in our home. She often sings throughout the day and I've captured several short videos of her singing various songs. Thought you might enjoy hearing them! If you'd like to hear more about the Forever Home girls, you can check them out on our personal blog.

GeGe

It's funny when the babies become the big brothers. It happens before we even notice anything changing!

Owen has been with us since he was an infant. But, even though we've failed to notice how quickly he's growing up, he's pretty certain that he's ready for a full-fledged role as "GeGe" or Big Brother.

When the children were playing in the courtyard today, we caught Owen making the rounds with the "babies." Bringing toys to Judah, hugging Jennifer... He just couldn't get enough of the little ones.

It was particularly cute as he tried to "help" Judah. He kept bringing Judah toys and then would try to help him play with them. That lasted for a while, and then he decided that simply being helpful wasn't enough -- he needed to pour on the affection. So, he started patting Judah's head.


But in between the head pats is when it got even more amusing. Owen was so thrilled with his performance as a Big Brother that he couldn't really contain his excitement. So, after he'd pat Judah on the head, he'd stand up straight and quickly dance back and forth on his feet while rubbing his own belly! He kept doing it, over and over again! He was making everyone laugh.

It didn't take him long to move on to the other babies, making sure to share the love. He was full of kisses and hugs -- not sure what Shaun thought about the attention, but we know Owen loved giving it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ready!


The preschool children are so adorable.  They love taking turns passing out plates to their little friends when it is time for snacks.  Each child has a special day to do this very important job, and each of them takes it very seriously -- requiring the others to fold their hands politely and say "Ready!"  For those of you who adopt New Day little ones, don't be surprised to hear them saying "Ready!" when you give them food.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Come Pictures

When one of our children is matched with an adoptive family, we do our best to prepare the child for what lies ahead.  Oftentimes, we give them pictures of their adoptive family and begin telling them what they can expect. 

We never really thought about how this must look from the child's perspective, until yesterday...


This is Philip and Matthias.  They've been foster brothers for several years and are brothers in every sense of the word.  Matthias has been matched with an adoptive family and will be leaving soon to join them.  We've begun preparing both boys for the coming transitions.

Ganlu, our staff photographer and website designer, often gives the children pictures of their new families, as the families usually want us to take pictures of their child seeing their faces for the first time.  As a result, Ganlu is the one common person in almost every child's first encounters with their adoptive families.

We were asking Philip and Matthias some questions about Matthias' upcoming departure, to help them both begin to process and understand this new season of life.  In the course of asking questions, someone asked Philip, "Will you be going to America, too?"

Philip cheerily replied, "No!  I can't!  Ganlu hasn't given me any pictures yet!!"


His perspective made us laugh, but on a deeper level, made us long for the day when we can present him with a photo album of his family. 

Wordless Wednesday: All Boy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ye Ye Strikes Again!


As you know, New Day's very own designated grandpa has been visiting here at New Day. He has been a blessing to all of the children showering them with love and gifts not only from the states, but while he's been here too. Saturday was his last day here at New Day and he struck again! We took our girls all to play at New Day's playground. Although he was scheduled to leave in less than an hour, he found the time to shower them with yet one more gift. He blessed them with some hats. Kids love hats as they are just so much fun to wear. Here's a picture of Serena sporting her new hat!


Elizabeth quickly spotted a cool hat that all the girls coveted, but she was the quickest to snatch it up. How fortunate for her! It is not only the very desirable Xi Yang Yang design, (a very popular lamb cartoon figure here) but this particular hat was clearly much different than the others. It has a small solar panel on top, (which you aren't able to see from the picture above) and a small fan to keep you cool when the sun is beating down on your head! What a cool hat!! She sported it quite proudly all day!

Jenna also found another good use for her hat. It's good for sleeping too! If you'd like to hear more stories of the Forever Home girls, visit our blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spotlight: Elva Chen

This was supposed to be last Friday's Spotlight, but we were busy with a going-away party, and I didn't have a chance to post it.  This spotlight features Elva Chen, a much-loved woman who worked in our PR department.  Unfortunately, last Friday's going away party was for her!  We're truly happy for her, as she's been offered an incredible opportunity to work at a hospital's foundation in her hometown, where she can be nearer to her family.  But, we will definitely miss her a lot here at New Day Foster Home!  So, even though she isn't here anymore, we want you to get to know this special woman who has been such a blessing to so many of our children.  Oh, and don't forget to check out all the pictures from her going away party on the foster home's scrapbook!

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in southern China in Zhejiang Province, in a city called Wenzhou as the eldest of four girls. I finished school with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. It wasn’t necessarily a subject I was really passionate about, but I knew with that degree I would have more job opportunities. I always have been more of a people person and social work is close to my heart. I feel like the work I am doing at New Day really fits my personality and what I enjoy doing.

What do you do in New Day?
I work for the PR department. My work is to promote the Foster Home, encourage people to get involved in our work and provide ways for them to get involved.

What is the best part with your work?
The best part of my work is all the people I get to meet everyday. I get to introduce them to the Foster Home, provide them information about how they can make an impact in other people’s lives. A lot of times the ones who come and visit here are really interested in helping out. Many people have this preconception that they only way you can help people in need is to donate money, but that isn’t the only way. Giving a bit of your time and raising awareness in your neighborhood of people in need – they’re all ways to help.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
What I remember most from my childhood are the outings we used to take during summers. We had BBQs, swam in the lake, played, and everyone spent time together. My aunts, uncles and cousins – everyone would go on these trips. We would take hundreds of photos during the trips, and I love looking back to those memories… they always bring a smile to my face.

What was your childhood dream?
I wanted to be a good housewife, haha! I don’t think I had one specific childhood dream. In some ways, I think I am living my childhood dream right now. I am very content with what I am doing right now and it brings a lot of joy to my life.

Did you have a role model growing up?
Hmm… one doesn’t come to mind. Most of all I tried to set a good example to my younger sisters.

What do you do during your free time?
Hang out with friends, watch a movie, and eat seafood or Thai food; my two favorite foods for dinner.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall


Mirror, Mirror from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

Who is the prettiest of them all?  Well, Addison knows the answer.  It's her, of course!  Every day when she comes to class, her first stop is the mirror.  She never fails to take an opportunity to admire herself!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting Involved

It's been a wonderful week here at NDFH; three of our children met their adoptive families! And, the summer season has arrived, which means lot more volunteers and new faces to play with the children. We've also enjoyed watching our online community grow and get more involved in the work of the foster home. I wanted to share a few things that people have done recently.  We're so thankful for the unique ways people are partnering with us, and who knows - maybe they're creativity will inspire you to get involved as well! (Side note: if you want to join our volunteer network, please e-mail me at carrie@newdaycreations.com.)

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Last week, donations started pouring in for "Lucy's Birthday."  We really didn't know who Lucy was or anything about her birthday, but finally were able to put the pieces together and got the full story from Lucy's mom, Sarah.  Lucy was turning one, and for her first birthday, her parents decided to host a party and invite their friends and family to make donations to NDFH's formula project instead of buying Lucy gifts.  They raised over nearly $600!  That's enough to feed two babies for an entire year.  What a beautiful way to celebrate their little girl's life -- by giving life to two other children!  You can learn more about her party and see pictures on her blog.

Lucy and her family.

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Have you seen these little buttons popping up on blogs?  Well, Valerie is the one who is making them, and she has offered to make one for anyone who is a ND sponsor.  So, if you want one for your blog, contact her and she'll make you one!  We think Valerie came up with a great idea, and the buttons are beautiful!  What a wonderful way to spread the word about sponsoring children at NDFH.  


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Tori and Jasmine (that's them up above, in the white and purple shirts) contacted us at the start of 2010, asking if there was anything they could do, as students of Hong Kong International School, to support the work of the foster home.  We sent 40 calendars  to them, and they were able to sell them to their fellow students, friends, and family.  After selling all 40 calendars, they decided to create a "Humanities Class Fair Day" on May 8, hosting activities at the school and raising more funds for the foster home.

More than 200 kids of all ages came down and supported the event, giving almost $4,000 HKD to New Day Foster Home.  They had activities such as tattooing, face painting, water balloon fights, a slip n’ slide, a bake sale, etc. It was a huge success!

Thanks HKIS!  We look forward to partnering with you again in the future!
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Each year, Tacoma School of the Arts visits our foster home with a team of high school students, and each year, they support our work in some unique and creative way.  This year, they partnered with Klinko, a small furniture company started by some of the clever minds at New Day Creations that specializes in designing creative kids' furniture.

They bought these puzzle desks for several of our foster families, giving our children a fun place of their own to grow, explore, and be creative.  The desks are a huge hit, and we're excited that our children get to enjoy such a fun piece of kid-sized-furniture.


Wordless Wednesday: Whatcha Lookin' At?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day at the Forever Home



Mother's Day is always a special day and it was no exception at our house. The girls decided to surprise me with some special treats and home made cards and letters. Sunday morning before breakfast they sat me down to open all of them. How wonderful it is to have home made cards and letters written from their hearts! Yes, I couldn't help but shed a few tears in the process. What can I say, we have wonderful girls!


Then they gave me some special treats of chocolate chip cookies and banana/strawberry muffins they'd made the day before at a friend's house. Those weren't exactly a surprise as I'd accidentally found them the evening before while preparing dinner. They obviously were successful at sneaking them into the house without my knowledge, but they learned a very valuable lesson that day. NEVER hide anything you don't want your mom to find in the kitchen!! I guess that is unless your mom isn't the cook at your house, but that certainly isn't the case at ours! If you'd like to hear more stories of the Forever Home girls, you can check them out on our personal blog.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spotlight: Amy Jia

We've introduced something new on our blog called "Spotlight." Each week we'll introduce you to someone who works here at New Day.  Last week, we featured one of our interns, Anneli Johnson.  This week, we're spotlighting Amy Jia, our foster home manager.

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Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew in up in South of China in a small village in Anhui province. I moved to Beijing in 1996 to study finance. In 2000 I got married and we moved to Qingyundian, the village where New Day is located. One month later I started working for New Day Foster Home as a nanny. Most of the nannies had either experience in the field or had children on their own. I was the only one without any children or experience, but I knew that this was the right place for me. I worked as nanny for two years, then a few years in the office, and then five years as a preschool teacher at the Foster Home. My years in various roles have been very useful for the work I do today, managing the daily operations of our foster home. I’ve experienced the challenges the nannies face and I know how much patience and genuine love a preschool teacher must have for the children.

How did your burden for orphans start?
It started when I was in middle school. I grew up in a big family with 6 children and parents that loved us very dearly. My parents worked hard to support us. They would do anything in order to provide a bright future for me and my siblings. One day in middle school, I met a girl who didn’t have parents and I felt so sorry for her. During my whole childhood, my family had always struggled financially. My siblings and I never got new clothes like the other children or toys for our birthdays. And there were times we had to drop out of school because we simply didn’t have any money to pay for the education. But we never doubted that our parents loved us. So when I met this girl and found out that she had grown up without parents by her side, it made me so sad. I realized that the hardest lot in life is not to grow up with “nothing,” but it’s to grow up without a family. No matter how few things my siblings and I had, we had each other. From that day on, orphans have been very close to my heart.

Is there a child’s story that you’ll always remember?
There are several children’s stories that I’ll never forget, and Chloe’s (Adopted 2007) is one of them. Chloe came to New Day when she was five years old with severe development issues. She couldn’t speak, she had difficulties understanding when people talked to her, and she wouldn’t make any eye contact with anyone. We knew that Chloe had been through many traumatic experiences and she was carrying deep wounds from that. But we knew that love could change her and we all poured out our love for her. Slowly we started seeing improvements in her development and behaviors. By the time she left New Day with her family, she was a changed little girl. The memory of seeing her leave New Day with her family is still vivid today, three years later. Chloe smiled at me and she gave me a kiss and said “Bye-bye” as she left.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
In the area of Anhui province where I grew up, we were famous for our pears. My favorite childhood memory is seeing the pear trees bloom and smelling the scent of rain.

What was your childhood dream?
I dreamed that I could fly!

What is your dream today?
That every child at New Day will be matched with a loving and caring family.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Beautiful Sound

They told us she couldn’t speak. She’d been in our foster project in another city for nearly her whole life, and we’d never known her to speak in all that time. She understood language, as she’d respond to people’s instructions and requests. But even though she is 5 years old, she never said a word.


In one foster family, she began mumbling and muttering a little, but she never really spoke. But then she was moved to yet another family, and any progress she made disappeared.  Finally she was moved back to the orphanage, and when we told her orphanage directors that we had an opening in our Forever Home if they had any eligible children, she was the first one they mentioned.

So she came back: quietly, silently, uncertain.  We wondered why she was silent… a medical problem? The result of all the emotional upheaval she’d experienced? We weren’t sure, but we planned to get her evaluated and treated as best as we could.


She arrived about one month ago, and in the last week we have seen an incredible transformation. We began teaching her sign language, to help her communicate and eliminate some of her frustration. We’ve watched her open up and laugh a little more. And then we heard something we longed to hear…

She said the Chinese words for dirty, cat, want, and car, and she said Dad and no in English.  It’s a beautiful start, and we’re rejoicing to hear the sound of her voice!

Wordless Wednesday: A New Perspective

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Can We Take Him Home, Mom?!

Randy and Rita Rippee, house parents in NDFH's Forever Home, have begun keeping a blog about the adventures of raising so many little girls. Rita has agreed to post a story once a week on the NDFH blog, but be sure to follow their blog so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in the Forever Home!

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Friday we needed to take all the Forever Home girls to the foster home back yard for a group photo. That was fun! Try getting so many children all in a group, then staying in the group, and getting all the adults out of the picture! We had one that kept trying to crawl away multiple times. Some of the others weren't happy at all and began to cry! After-wards, we let the girls play and socialize with all the other kids. They had a great time in the warm sunshine. Finally, some warm days!! Elizabeth quickly snatched up Samuel and thought she was such a big girl carrying him around. After carrying him for some time, I saw her put him in the stroller. He was complaining about having to sit and I heard her telling him "No Samuel, you need to sit for awhile. My arms hurt!" After a short rest, however, she carried him some more. When it was time to go home she came up and asked, "Mom, can we take him home with us?" How cute is that?! Sadly, I had to say "No Elizabeth, our home is for children 5 and older. I'm so sorry!" The next day she began to complain of the muscles in her arms hurting. While she didn't realize it was connected to the previous day's incident, I explained that it was from carrying Samuel around so much the day before. Now, she understands! We'll see if she remembers that next time the situation arises! If you'd like to hear more stories of the Forever Home girls, you can check them out on our personal blog.