Friday, March 30, 2012

Lena Starts Therapy!

They don't come much tinier than little Lena. Eight months old and weighing just over eleven pounds, she is every definition of "little". She's also a precious victim to the never ending cycle of needing to gain weight so that she can have heart surgery, yet unable to gain weight because of her sick little heart. But the sweet little thing is growing, bigger and stronger, just in her own special way.

This week, Zoe started doing therapy with Lena, to help her work on and master some of those important developmental milestones that an eight-month old should meet. Lena has a ways to go, but considering that she used to be unable to lift up her head, was too weak to shake a rattle and was content to be held all of the time, it's amazing that she's now lifting her head to look around, reaching and grabbing for toys and loves to play on the floor by herself.

We're excited to watch all of the progress that Lena will make in therapy. One thing we know for sure, Lena is having fun. Just check out that happy grin.

Keep working hard, Lena. We're all cheering for you!
Thursday, March 29, 2012

NDSouth: Welcome, Miss Charlotte!

Well, we thought the main 'happening' at New Day South this week would be Benjamin's surgery - until we got a phone call from Marshall's orphanage around noon on Monday.  Another call for help, this time for a two week (!) old baby girl.

A quick huddle, a couple of phone calls, and a few hours later, our 9th baby was on her way to Zhongshan.  It was close to midnight before little Miss Charlotte arrived, and after a few hours rest, we were up early the next morning and on our way to the Guangzhou hospital.

Charlotte has quite a bit to overcome, but we are so glad to be here and able to say "yes" when the call came.

We've had a few complaints lately about all the children at New Day South being fully sponsored ;~)   Well, here's your chance to be part of one very special little girl's life..     (link to child sponsorship page)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Joel

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Forever Home: Sunday Giggles and Smiles

On Sundays, the Forever Home girls all gather together in the backyard classroom for their own special sessions. We use this time as another fun English learning experience.  They enjoy these times so much and are always excited to go.  They do many things such as sing songs, play bingo, other games, draw, crafts, or whatever their teacher for the two hour session thinks may be fun for the girls.

 Singing is one of their absolute favorites and since I was teaching them this week, I took a video.  Most all of their activities are English structured, but we do have the occasional Chinese song--especially when they know it in both languages.  How fun is that?!  Okay...well almost know it in both languages!  It won't be long and they'll have the English version down too!  Keep up the good work girls!
Monday, March 26, 2012

Transformation Tuesday: Jonathan

Jonathan arrived scared, skinny and sad.

Today he is a happy, stocky boy with determination, spunk and irrisitable giggles.

It's amazing what love and surgery can do!

The Orange Slice

We always serve a fruit before we cut the cake during our preschool parties. This time, the fruit was orange slices, which are usually a huge hit. Noah, however, wasn't all that excited about his orange slice. He stared it down, picked it up and shook his head. Nope, not gonna eat this. So he placed his orange slice on Elliot's plate...

Elliot, already working on his second slice, didn't want a third. So he put the orange slice back onto Noah's plate.

Noah wasn't too happy about that, so back went the orange onto Elliot's plate. Again and again and again. Elliot each time replacing the orange onto Noah's plate.

Eventually, the boys had a stare-down. Neither was willing to give in.

A teacher noticed the silent battle going on at this end of the table, and placed Noah's orange back onto his plate. "This is yours, Noah, eat it and then you can have cake!"

But as soon as her back was turned...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

All Dolled Up

A ruffled pink dress and a suit n' tie... what were we to do but play dress-up on a few of the kids!

Rebecca is a doll, and looked more adorable that we thought possible in the sweet ensemble.

When we showed Josiah's nanny how sweet he looked in his get-up, they couldn't contain their excitement. Oooh's and Aaahh's and giggles filled the playroom. He is very much adored by everyone here.

Of course we had to try the outfit on Roy too. He loved the hat but didn't care for the tie. Did you know such cuteness was possible?

Then we added Joy into the mix, who liked Roy's hat even more than he did.

She liked it so much that she tried it on herself!

"He looks like a driver!" the nannies said when they saw Jonathan in the hat. We decided not to put the green shirt on him, just to have him wear the vest and tie. Do you think that we made the right choice?

Can you guess who these two are? A cuter couple you will never find.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Susan's Little Blessing

When Michael was transferred from PICU into the heart hospital in preparation for the surgery that he needed so badly, we sent one of our nannies to stay with him. Her name is Susan. Daily, we heard from Susan as Michael underwent tests the next few days. She told us that he was not doing well, that she was not able to sleep at night in fear for him... that he never left her arms.

When Michael was rushed in for emergency surgery Friday morning, Susan was the one who handed his quickly failing body to the nurse. Our hearts were in our throats as the surgeon operated on Michael... but for Susan, who had been his only Mama for the past week, she felt that Mother's anxiety and her heart literally hurt as his was repaired.

Two days after Michael's surgery, I met Susan on the road. "You must be tired" I said to her. She nodded, "He was so sick. I was always shouting for the nurses to come and give him some medicine... to do something to save this little boy's life. He's inside of my heart now. My heart hurt for him. I feel love for him like he is my own son."

And then, a week later, when we got the shocking phone call that Michael was well enough to be released from the hospital, Susan could hardly believe it. Her face lit up in joyful surprise, and as he was carried back into the foster home, it was her arms that welcomed him.

Today, Michael is doing very well. He's growing, smiling, and talking in that sweet baby way.

Susan calls him, "小幅" which means, "Little Blessing."

It's a perfect name, we think.
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Look Who Came!

Pictures on the blog of Sage are long, long overdue, don't you agree? She has grown up a lot since we last posted about her. Actually, she's grown up a lot since her last check-up! She came in for her check-up last week, walking.

She had also shot up an inch since last month.

Later that morning, we saw this cart driving past the window, and we wondered who it could be. Sage? Jadeyn? Lucy? Caleb?

Surprise! It was Kendra, lovingly bundled up by her foster mama.

Kendra has grown too. She's getting so independent and strong, that we're looking into getting her not-quite-the-same-height-legs a brace. She'll be walking steadily in no time!

Now it's your turn. Tell us about the gains, firsts and growth spurts you've witnessed this month!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celebrating the Firsts: Baby Becca Crawls

Rebecca has just learned how to crawl.

...look out. Here she comes!

Wordless Wednesday: Colton

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Forever Home: Makin' Yummy Treats

Every chance we get, we try to involve the girls in cooking, especially things like making sugar cookies. There's lots of ways they can help.  There's rolling them out, cutting them, then icing and eating these wonderful sweet treats!  This was Mollie's first time helping in the kitchen. She looks a little unsure doesn't she?  I wonder if she's thinking, "Are you sure I can get my hands all messy doing this?"  

 This was Emma's first time helping out with cooking too.  She seemed to enjoy making cookies, of course, the best part being eating them!

 Holly loves to help out with such things!  She's wondering, "Is it Christmas again already?!"  No Holly, but Christmas tree cookies still are quite tasty no matter the season, right kids?!

Hannah's an old pro at this!  She's been with us for more than 2 years now so she's done this many times over.  No need showing her what to do, right Hannah?!

Elly looks like she's having fun, doesn't she?!  She doesn't mind getting her hands all messy for a chance at some good eats!
Monday, March 19, 2012

Have You Grown, Evie?

Patiently waiting...

Giving "that look"...

And they're measuring my foot, why Ma?

I'm done. Please may I be done?

But Evie, dear, look how much you have grown!
Sunday, March 18, 2012

That's When The Fun Happens

Coming in for a check-up can be fun, Caleb will agree. He's always happy to find that his favorite rocking horse is still in the therapy room (which is where the kids and their foster parents wait for their check-ups) and as long as he doesn't get a shot, it really doesn't hurt at all!

But the best part of all is when you're done, and your foster mama takes you outside. That's when the fun happens. You can run around and do whatever you want! Like chase the dog... or be chased by him. That's a lot of fun too.

Playing with the dog is fun, but when there's a new bike outside that you've never ridden before...

The dog will just have to get over it.

We're not sure what the weather has in store for us here. For a week we thought that spring had sprung; now we're not so sure. But for all the little boy's sakes, we sure do hope that the temperature stays romping-outside-quality for quite some time.

Do You Know Who?

Someone just arrived for preschool... do you know who?

Maybe this will help. Do you recognize those soulful eyes? And that button nose?

If you guessed Jadeyn then you were right! Goodness, if she isn't growing into the most beautiful little lady...

...then she's certainly getting very close.
Friday, March 16, 2012

Costumed Dancers

What happens when you combine The Chicken Dance, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes together into one song? Then, add happy, costumed kiddos? The resulting solution is almost too adorable to be real. It far exceeds our specified cuteness allotment per day and we almost didn't post this video because, technically, this sort of "Awww-Factor" is illegal worldwide.

But some rules were meant to be broken, don't you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Long Time No See

Okay, so it actually hasn't been a long time since we've seen Calvin... or Ariana for that matter. But according to our calculations, you haven't seen Ariana in months, and it's a proven fact that over a week without Calvin-exposure is detrimental to one's health. Right?

Because Ariana and Calvin are in the same foster family, they came together for their monthly check-ups. Calvin's foster dad carried him in. It looks like they've bonded well, doesn't it? We're always so happy to see our little boys connect with their foster Baba's.

Don't these two look like they've been siblings for ever?

Ariana's foster mom was excited to show us all that Ariana can do. "Look at her standing, and if I give her something... like this stool, she can walk. Come on, Ariana, show them how you can walk." A little hesitant with all of the attention given her, Ariana took a few steps to our cheers and praises.

To be measured and weighed, Calvin had to remove a few of his layers. After his check-up, and then a bit of showing off, Calvin's foster dad started to put Calvin's layers back on. He picked up a pair of pants, looked at them hard, turned them around in his hands... opened them up and tried to match the leg holes with Calvin's kicking feet. It was a funny process to watch, as Calvin had at least two more layers to put on. The ladies in the room couldn't help but laugh while watching  the foster dad's valient efforts.

Eventually, though...

Ta-da! Fully dressed and sitting up.

How fast they grow.