Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NDSouth: Whole Lot of Growing Going On!

For her first few months at the foster home, Jewel would sit very quietly and watch all the activity going on around her.  In recent days, however, she has learned to crawl, and now she's on the move..



And not one to let a heart surgery slow him down, Benjamin recently took his first steps.  We are all so proud of him!

Wordless Wednesday: Four Cozy Babies

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peekaboo!

Joy and Roy are quite the pair. They love to giggle, babble, be held and cuddled by their nanny, and play. Walking up into the baby's playroom the other day, this is what we found:


Joy and Roy were playing peek-a-boo with each other, and loving it! Check out Roy's grin, can you hear those giggles?


Joy is now toddling around, and it's not a rare sight to see her taking herself places she doesn't have permission to go...like the kitchen, or a sleeping brother's bedroom. One of her favorite things to do is to grab hold of Roy and Jonathan's little walkers and take them places. Her little brothers love the "rides" that they get through their big sister's adventuresome spirit, and Joy has certainly benefitted from the practice.

A Song in His Heart

Noah's in morning preschool? Since when? Wow, he sure has learned the motions to the songs fast! When did he start?

Today.

Seriously? The day we took this video of Noah was his first day in morning preschool. He's brilliant, if we do say so ourselves. And, if anyone was more excited than Noah about his "graduation" into morning preschool, it was Timothy, his big foster brother. Timothy had the motions to "Mat Man" down pat, so he helped direct Noah's song-time enthusiasm to the right places... Noah was a little to excited to notice, but he did start catching on eventually.

Don't let Noah's "special genes" lead you to believing that his chances for a productive future are slim. We've already told him that he's smart and handsome and has a bright future. He's convinced. Watch the video and you will be too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hands We Can Trust

The phone rang in the office earlier this week. It was one of the hospitals we work with, but they weren't calling about a child's medical case... they were calling the PR department because they wanted to schedule a visit. This amazing hospital, with whom we have worked with for quite a while, was interested in bringing 30 of their doctors and nurses to see our facility, to see who we were.


We can't begin to describe how indebteded we are to hospitals like these. Some of their most difficult cases come from us, yet they embrace the challenge that these precious orphans bring them. They don't do chartiy work with us, we would never ask for that, but they have agreed to take on some rather ill children and do their best to make them whole.

It's under their skilled hands that we have often placed our children, begging them to "do whatever it takes, just give them a chance." They have done what it took, and for that we are thankful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful

...for Philip. It was said of him that he'd never learn and never walk. We're thankful that his will, determination and sweet heart have proven both predictions false. "Never" is not in Philip's vocabulary.


... for Angela. She's full of spunk, a complete doll, and has done so well in therapy that she may no longer need braces on her feet. Being willing to persevere even when it hurts, now that's spunk!


... for Landon, his big and gentle heart is now being nurtured in a foster family. He's doing so well, and if you happen to not be looking in his direction, will walk independently without his walker... As long as nobody's looking, of course.


... for Wendy. Her Indian face paint is beautiful, but not as lovely as the mask we don't see anymore. She's learning to trust and learning to love.


... for Elliot, who may look meek as he waits patiently for seconds, but just ten seconds would prove to you that he's a fearless leader who will stand up for his little foster siblings... and his pumpkin pie.


...and then we're thankful for you. We're thankful to our sponsors; because of you we can say "yes" to more children. We're thankful to those who donate to our medial fund, or sponsors surgeries; because of you lives are saved. And we're thankful to our blog readers; because you love these children, children who are not forgotten.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Two Little Indians

All morning long Lily has been chanting, "我是 Indian!" (I am an Indian). And when Claire saw that the second costume was for her... nothing could beat that joyful smile.


Happy Thanksgiving! Pictures of our potato peeling party are in the scrapbook right now. We'll post about the feast tomorrow, as soon as we're done sorting through the way-too-cute pictures and cleaning pumpkin pie off of smiling faces.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

With Great Power...

With great power, comes great responsibility. Jayce has been learning this lesson recently, as his little legs are growing longer, stronger and more willing to take the neccessary steps in order to walk... literally.

Josiah had a cold and a bit of a runny nose. Jayce, being the ever-present, "mama's boy," was standing close by when Josiah got his nose wiped. Josiah's nanny turned to Jayce and ask him to "put this tissue in the trash can." Disclaimer: we do not condone any sort of germ-passing, and believe that this action violated basic rules of sanitization... but it was just so cute we couldn't bear to stop little Jayce (we just had to make sure that his hands were well-washed afterwards.) So Jayce took the tissue from the nanny, toddled over to the trashcan, and dropped the tissue inside.

From our quiet little Jayce, still such a baby compared to all of the other sweet ones in the downstairs playroom, his actions were downright adorable. And then, a few mintues later, Josiah needed his nose whiped again. "Jayce, will you go get me a tissue?" Gan Lu asked. Jayce nodded his head, turned on his heel and headed towards the shelf where the tissue box is kept. He stood on his toes, stretched out his arms, and reached for that box (which was still too far above his reach.) A nanny came to his rescue and handed him a tissue, which he then carried carefully to Gan Lu, who wiped Josiah's nose.


We wonder if Jayce knew how much responsibility would come from his new power to walk... Regardless, he sure doesn't seem to mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Flower Girl

Mary. She's a precious little lamb with a whole lot of spunk. She likes to run off and explore (yes, she runs!) yet she also demands the security of having her foster mother nearby. She's a mama's girl, through and through. Maybe it's the dedicated "hair care" time they spend together as her foster mama does Mary's hair up in personality-loaded pigtails... or maybe it's the love of flowers that they share?


The pink and purple petunias grabbed these ladies attention as they climbed the steps to the foster home. "Look, Mary." her foster mom exclaimed, "look at the beautiful flowers! Smell them. Ahhh.... so fragrant." Ah Mary, you always have your nose in a flower.


Does anyone else notice the color coordinating going on here? It's pretty obvious that whatever the flower, Mary fits right in and is happily in her element.


As pretty as all those flowers are, it's quite apparent that Mary is the loveliest. Our flower-girl is the most beautiful flower of them all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Jiejie's Heart

While walking through the villiage the other day, I ran into Emelia, Lucy and Micah's foster mom. She was driving them home from morning preschool, and of course Emelia insisted that they stop to say, "Hi." I had just purchased some little manderin oranges from a street vendor and offered one to Emelia.


At first her face brightened... but then it fell. "Thank you," she said, "but may I have two more?" A quick glance into the cart was all that was needed to understand the nature of her request.


"Of course, Emelia." I said, and handed her two more, which she immediatly handed to her little foster siblings. She has titled herself, "The Jiejie" (jiejie is "older sister" in Chinese) and we can see all the way into her sweet heart to know that this is true.

Keep on loving, Emelia!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Together At last

Meet the newest morning preschool student: Cora. She turned three last week, but blew out her candles just yesterday. Scroll down for a super-cute video of that exciting moment.

 

Cora, only being a three-year-old, and a new one at that, didn't know quite what to think about her new class. The room was the same... the picture on the back of her chair was the same... Ah! But the kids were different, and playtime was much more classlike.

While Cora tried to figure out what was special about this class, someone else already had it figured. That someone was William.


He was as proud as punch to have his beautiful little sister, with her hair done up all pretty and wearing her new sweater, to show off to all of his classmates. She had to sit in his lap, and he made sure that she knew the motions to all of morning preschool's favorite songs. William's lookin' out for you, Cora.


And now, for that video...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babies No More


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Have you begun your Christmas shopping yet? Are you feeling a little anxious about braving the crowds this year? What about shopping online, and helping NDFH in the process.


Follow the link - just click the above button, and submit that order. Or grab the button (on our righthand sidebar) and share it on your own blog! A percentage of your purchase will go to NDFH, helping fund lifesaving surgeries and making dreams come true.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ambidextrous

Anton is feeding himself nowadays, but sometimes his hands get a little bit tired. What does he do then? Switches hands, of course!


Anton graduated today from CCU to one of the downstairs bedrooms. He's doing well and we're so proud of our big boy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning to Trust

When Wendy arrived, the scars of abandonment were two months fresh on her tender, broken heart. There was a story no one wanted to hear in her deep, longing eyes. She wanted to be free, to laugh and to play, but trusting us with her heart was going to take a lot.


It was outside one afternoon when we saw a layer of fear slowly peel itself away from Wendy's sad contenance. The day before she refused to go down the slide, sitting at the top... scared, until someone carefully lifted her down. Today it seemed like it would be the same. But then it was discovered that, with each hand being held, one in mine and one in Myra's, she would cautiously slide down, a smile emerging as she reached the bottom. It helped that Lily was right next to her on the other slide, encouraging her as well. Wendy's joy grew as she went down again, and again, and again. Soon she was laughing.


Then Myra held one of her hands and I encouraged her to slide down. "No." she refused. Two hands or nothing, sliding down is a scary thing. We encouraged her that she could do it, Lily reached out to hold her empty hand, and I crouched down onto the slide, promising to catch her. She slid. She laughed.


We slid down that way over and over, then Myra let go of Wendy's hand and crouched down onto the slide herself. "Come on, Wendy," we called, "You can do it!" Then, with both hands free, Wendy slid into Myra's waiting, open arms.


Some call it progress, but we'd rather think of it as a miracle of love.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When You Can't Nap...

Angela had been trying to take her nap, but it was just one of those days when a nap is totally the wrong thing. She was standing in her crib protesting loudly, so the nannies intervened (before she woke any roomates up).


The nannies took her out of her crib and gave her a chance for some quiet time alone with them. They were about to begin folding the day's load of laundry, and as you can see, they found something way better than a mattress and blanket for her to lounge in.


It took a while, but soon she began to cheer up, and even smile back at them. The last picture shows this just starting to happen.


Maybe you'll take a nap tomorrow afternoon, Angela?

Friday, November 11, 2011

For the Cookie!

Standing up is hard work, Josiah will be happy to inform you. Alot of effort must be exerted, and often all that you get out of it is a tired body. We tell Josiah that after he can stand strong, he will be able to learn to walk, which will open up a whole new world to his curious eyes, but he's still not convinced. Thankfully, our therapists are smart, and know how to motivate Josiah to do his best. Cookies.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hospital Mates

Jonathan and Ella were both admitted into the hospital the other week with pneumonia. We went to visit them the other day, and it turns out that they have been lodged in the same little room. Just two beds, one for each of them with their nannies. It was a cozy little party and it seems that they are getting along fine. Ella's lungs still have quite a ways to go before she can come home, but Jonathan seems to be recovering well.


And they seem to be becoming good friends during this stay. When his nanny asked him to look at the camera for the picture, Jonathan misinterpreted what she said and gave Ella a kiss instead. What a charmer!


Ariana joined the little trip to the hospital. Her once-cleft palate is healing nicely and she's growing so happy and beautiful.



We returned home to find that Claire had been released from the hospital. She had pneumonia as well, but is doing much better. She was very happy to be home, as were all the nannies and children. "Claire's home!" they cheered.


We're so happy to have Claire home, and hope that Jonathan and Ella will join us soon. Come on, babies, get better quickly!

NDSouth: You Can't Keep A Good Man Down

About a week and a half ago, we admitted Benjamin to the hospital for (what we thought would be) a pretty routine cleft surgery.  Although we knew he also had a small problem with his little heart, the Docs found that the situation had gotten a bit worse since his last test.

Always the trouper*, little Ben packed his bags (well, with a bit of help from his nanny) and moved to the cardiac ward where he had heart surgery a few days later.

In a few hours, we will be welcoming Benjamin back to the foster home.  As you can see below from earlier this week, this little fellow's spirit has been undaunted through it all.  We've sorely missed this smile for these last ten days and can't wait to have him home!


* Trouper:  A person who deals with and persists through difficulty or hardship without complaint  (Merriam-Webster)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vivian's Following

You haven't seen her picture for a while, and Vivian's grown quite a bit.


Word has it that she's trying to walk, and can take some steps with support.


Her foster mother has informed us that she's the belle of the apartment and has a devoted following. People seem to think that she's pretty cute...


...we can see why.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And The Leaves Went Crunch...

...and they crackled as a giggling group of children jumpt, lept and flew into the pile.


Can you hear his laughter?


Can you feel her joy?


Do you see her wonder?


Do you smell the autumn freshenss? 


There are even more pictures in our scrapbook. Oh, what a glorious time we had!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tiger At Large

Look who was prowling about during our leaf jumping festivities.


Can you guess who?


And now please excuse us... we're going to go cuddle our sweet little tiger.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NDSouth: The Votes Are In, Asa Keeps His Hair!

Although we suspect the results were heavily influenced by gender ;~) , the verdict is overwhelmingly in favor (75%) of Asa keeping his "do".

We'll revisit on his 3 month birthday, but for now, Asa's locks will continue their ascent..


很给力的!