Friday, August 31, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday: Bunnies

Babies and bunnies... double cuteness indeed. We're so blessed by a great gardener who not only tends the grass and flowers, but also looks after a few animals! We've got a naughty beagle, Tom, a pleasant goat and a fluffy bunny. Once, we had a goose, but he got messy and mean and had to go.

Esther and Wendy couldn't take their eyes off of the bunny rabbit when we took him out yesterday.

Add a bunny to a picture and it becomes adorable. Add a bunny to a picture of Nora... instant overwhelming cuteness. Don't you agree?

More photos in the scrapbook!
Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bringing Great News

We just told Michael that he's healthy and big enough to move downstairs with the healthier, bigger children.

This was his reaction.

Do you think that he was excited?

Now, his poor nannies upstairs... they're going to miss him so much! But they have already promised him that they're going to be sneaking downstairs to tickle him when the babies are sleeping.


And then Michael moved downstairs...

Claire was thrilled to have a new little brother in her room. Levi wasn't so sure... it sounded like competition to him.

Don't they make a nice looking family?

Since Michael has been downstairs, he seems to have grown. Just look at that chunk!

Either it's the food downstairs that's making him grow, or all of that smothering love that he's getting on a regular basis from his loving big sisters, Wendy and Claire.

We'll go with the love.

NDSouth: Happy Birthday, Asa!

It was one year ago we got the call asking if we could help with a newborn baby boy in need of emergency surgery.   We first met Asa at a crowded bus station on a busy, busy Friday evening in downtown Guangzhou.  It was close to midnight before the doctors were able to start what would be the first of three successful surgeries over the last 12 months.

How time flies!  A few days ago - one year and two haircuts later  - we celebrated our little man's first birthday - healed, healthy and ready to party!  A grand time was had by all, as you can see from the pictures below,

Excitement in the air!

"happy birthday to Asa.."

Asa learns the joy of chocolate cake!

..of course sharing with all of his brothers and sisters!

"Seconds, please!"


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bringing Dale Life

A string of miracles already binds this little life together.

Dale was born March 21st and abandoned soon after. His cleft lip and palate are obvious defects, and so is his severe heart disease. One look at Dale and you would know; his chest retractions, that blue skin, the way he fights for every breath... Just by looking at the creases on Dale's forehead, we know that he's been through so much.

The fact that Dale is alive to today is a miracle. He needs heart surgery as soon as possible - he should have already had it. But Dale just arrived. His orphanage took his case to Shanghai, but the doctors there knew their capacity. A case of his complexity would be inoperable.

Dale arrived at NDFH two weeks ago (August 15th). Today he is 5 1/2 months old and weighs 6lb. He's a fighter, but he doesn't have much fight left in him if he doesn't get surgery soon.

We are actively trying to get Dale's surgery scheduled. It's not an easy process, his case is complex and only the best surgeons can do it - we only use the best. But aside from the logistics of scheduling and tests and open beds, there is another problem.

Dale is weak. He needs to gain weight and strength if he's going to have a chance surviving heart surgery.

We have contacted some of our trusted resources and they are giving us suggestions for caring for Dale. One key is nutrition: Dale needs good quality, easy to digest and high-nutrition formula. So this is what we are doing; we're going to raise money to purchase some of this formula for Dale. An intern is flying to Beijing next week - she's taking off September 5th, so we need the formula before then.

Will you help?

We're raising money to purchase the formula and to pay for an extra suitcase for our intern. If we raise all of the money, we will have enough formula to last Dale up to, through and post-surgery. And if he gets strong faster than we anticipated? Well, we certainly have plenty of little ones who could use some extra nutrition.

Medical speaking, he doesn't have much time left. But miraculously-speaking... this story has just begun.

Deep down, we hate fundraising, but considering our situation right now... please share this need with others. We welcome you to link to this post on your facebook pages, blogs etc. Copy the chipin widget (copy-past the button code in the upper right-hand corner) and put that on your blog as well! We only have a short time to raise the money.

Wordless Wednesday: Need A Smile?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Forever Home: Meet Sylvia!


Sylvia is our newest girl here at the Forever Home.  As you can see, she's a pretty happy girl and smiles often.  We look forward to seeing her grow and develop while here with us as she waits for her very own forever family.

Mollie and Emma wasted no time taking her in and "showing her the ropes" at our home.
Monday, August 27, 2012

Celebrating the Firsts: Birthdays!

A recent comment on our facebook page, referring to a picture of Henry at his birthday party, said, "I think watching newly arrived kiddos celebrate their birthdays are one of the most poignant photos you all take. How much his little heart will be altered by his next birthday!"

Well, we thought that this was inspiring, and so we're going to take a little walk down memory lane...

This is William's first birthday at NDFH - also his first birthday!

...and his second...

...his third...

... his fourth...

and, most recently, his fifth.

Wow. Pardon us as we wipe the 'proud parent' tears from our eyes. He's grown so much, both in size and in personality (hehe) and the best part about this whole series of photos is that his next birthday will probably be celebrated with his forever family. If that doesn't make you tear up and want to jump for joy, I don't know what else does.

This month - August - we celebrated not one, not two, not three... but nine birthdays. That's right 9. That's a lot of candles, ya'll. 34 all together. (You can check out the pictures from this party in our most recent scrapbook!)

A lot of the birthdays this month were "first" birthdays. Little ones turned one year old, and others celebrated their first birthday party at New Day.

It seems like just yesterday that Calvin was little enough to play baby in our Christmas play. Now he's a year old? Really? Where did the time go!?

And then Joseph. His one-year anniversary at NDFH is coming up, and we remember when he was a tiny, blue, fighting-for-every-breath baby. He scared us... but Amazing Things happened in this little guy's life and now look - he's a year old! He's not a baby anymore.

Henry arrived at New Day just last week. This handsome little guy is still figuring out how things work around here, but he's liking it already. We're so happy that he came in time to celebrate his third birthday, and though we certainly hope that his fourth will be spent with a forever family... we know that a huge transformation is going to go on in this little guy's life this next year.

You're special and you're loved, Henry, and we sure hope that you get enough sleep at night, what with the twins being your roommates.

Happy birthday, sweet kids.

Much Steadier

We've been watching Rosie make remarkable improvements lately. She's back to walking, making eye contact (when she feels like it) laughing, humming and just being happy. It's beautiful and exciting to watch her fill back up with joy, and we were thrilled when yet another piece to the "How to Help Rosie" puzzle fell into place.

Our therapist took Rosie to the doctor to check and see if inserts would be an option for her, and they were! Rosie got a pair to put in her shoes, and it's made a huge difference.

She's not only walking steadier, she's walking more often. Rosie is more confident in her own abilities and we're sure that this is just the beginning. Who knows, maybe one day she'll be running and jumping?
Sunday, August 26, 2012

What We Do Best

The preschool kids do a lot of things well. They're great singers, crafters, players and learners. But one of their greatest skills is their ability to line up.

Each child grabs the shirt in front of them and holds on tightly as the line leader leads the group of children wherever the teacher leads him or her.

Usually they march, chanting, "Yi, er, yi. Yi, er, yi!"  (One, two one. One two one.) and sometimes they toot like a train.

The line usually stays mostly together...

...but is sometimes split off into two different pieces.

We'd like to think that our lining up rivals any kindergarten class... what do you think?
Saturday, August 25, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday: Levi's "New" Smile

Every few months or so, kids come up with a "new smile" of their own. Sometimes it's frustrating, because you're ready to take a beautiful family picture, but little Jimmy's "new smile" doesn't look anything like a smile! You know what we're talking about, right? 

Well, we would like to introduce you to Levi's "new smile."

It's a real winner, isn't it?

"Kan kan!" he said, after we took the picture. I want to see! The picture even made Levi giggle.

These pictures might be wise to bookmark, just in case you're ever having a bad day. One look at them and all will be right with the world again. Trust us.
Friday, August 24, 2012

In Memory of James

Thursday, August 23, 2012

She Couldn't Help It

We needed a picture of Lily with her raincoat and umbrella for our new Amazing Stories brochure. The one we had on file was almost perfect, and we knew that if we could re-stage the photo, it had the potential of becoming just perfect.

But Miss Lily didn't want to smile. In fact, she even gave us a "there is no way I'm cooperating face."

"Come on, Lily, just one little smile!" She looked up, and tried very, very hard not to smile. We knew that she was bursting with happiness inside. She loves her raincoat and what child doesn't get a kick out of holding an umbrella!? But still, no smile...

...until she just couldn't keep it inside anymore. The joy burst out and Lily couldn't help it- she smiled.

I guess some people just weren't made to be unhappy for very long. Does Lily put a smile on your face like she does to ours?

NDSouth: Good Hair Day

Most of our children had gotten a bit shaggy as of late, so this morning was time for a trip to the local salon that so generously takes care of our haircare needs.  Some of our haircut experiences in the past have been less than pleasant, so we were all a bit anxious to see how the kids would respond this time..

First up was Jonah who bravely climbed into the seat without a whimper!

Jonah's brave and calm demeanor was rewarded with a spiffy-looking do!

Next was little Asa.. who was quite unhappy with the whole process,

but with a little help from his friends, the ordeal was soon over.

Annie remained quite stoic through her time in the chair;
first, checking out her hairdresser..

then, keeping a close eye on every snip and cut..

In the end, however, we think she was quite pleased with the result!

We knew Benjamin didn't quite seem his normally spunky self..

but we were a bit surprised when he feel asleep in the chair!

(seriously! and didn't wake up until it was over!)

 With jiejie by her side, Hope decided she liked being so pampered!

final touches!

Although she handled herself well, Jewel was a bit bored through it all.

Just like her big brother, Benjamin...

.. Charlotte slept through it all!

Looking good and ready to go home!