Friday, June 29, 2012

Were You Born In June?

Were you born in June? Because if you were, you would have been invited to our birthday party on Wednesday! We had two parties, actually. Cara, Micah and Eliana were celebrated in the morning, and then Rebecca came in during the afternoon for some frosting cake.


Being the oldest birthday girl at our party, Cara went first. She had to show the younger ones how to blow out the candles, right? Don't you love how the kids are all clapping along to the "Birthday Song" together for one another? Sometimes we sing it in Chinese, sometimes in English, but it's the same tune regardless.


And then Cara leaned over and blew her four bright candles out in one breath. Notice Emma in the background?


We had not yet finished singing to Micah, when suddenly his candles were extinguished. How did this happen? Who was the over-zealous-candle-blower? Examine the picture below and let us know with whom your suspicions lay.



True to her bubbly spirit, Eliana was nearly over the moon with excitement when her turn came. Nobody is ever a stranger to this little one, she loves everybody and it makes her so happy to know that everybody loves her too.


After the singing and the candle-blowing we ate cake, of course.


Come afternoon, it was time for the afternoon preschool birthday party. We tried to convince the preschool teachers that Rebecca was actually turning two, and she should start preschool the next day, but they were not to be blind sighted. We only wanted an opportunity to see her face every single day at preschool... You would have done the same thing, wouldn't you?


The only face we were missing at our party was that of Little Lena, who had to go to the hospital. She's been a bit unstable as of late, with a high fever and some trouble breathing. Please keep her in your thoughts this weekend and we'll update you if anything happens on our facebook page.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Micahel and Kate, Sitting on a Swing...

Micahel and Kate, sitting on a swing... r.o.c.k.i.n.g.

Yes, we're 'together'

'you mean it? YES!'

she said, 'yes!'

we are perfect together



oh, we're just SO happy.
We're pretty sure that if we entered any of these pictures into a photo contest, they would win hands down. Of the five pictures above, which one is your favorite? 
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Napping in the Sunshine


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Proof

In case you needed proof, which I'm sure you don't, that our kids are the cutest ever... here is some evidence. Concrete evidence, if you ask me.


The children spend a couple hours outside each day. Our morning schedule is usually breakfast, playtime inside, snack, outside playtime, lunch and then naps. After naps and snack time, the children are outside again for over an hour before it's time for clean-up, shift change and dinner.

When they're outside, the children love to play with our grown up volunteers, but they are also getting quite good at playing together. Take a look at the video below to see two of our cuties, Jonathan and Will, cooperate to have some fun.


Pretty adorable, right?
Monday, June 25, 2012

Trying for a Smile

Admit it, you spend way too much time trying to get your child to smile for the camera, don't you? When it comes to sweet and special Rebecca, we don't even have to try. We just tell her that she's cute and she grins a grin to melt any heart.


Calvin, however, is only known to smile when he's at home with his foster family. Whenever we see him, we beg and plead and make faces and clap hands, but no smile.


Last week, when Calvin and Rebecca came into the foster home for something, we decided to give it another try. We found a few little toys and offered them to Calvin. An expert toy-player, he knew just what to do with them.


A few seconds later...


We caught his smile! And isn't it the most adorable grin you've ever seen?

Do you have any foolproof methods for getting your kids to smile for pictures? We'd love to hear them!
Friday, June 22, 2012

Can You See the Resemblance?

We've been busy with a group of visiting doctors here at the foster home. They've been giving the children thorough physicals and helping us answer some questions about the more confusing medical cases we have. It's been exciting to watch them sit down with a child's chart and go bug-eyed with amazement. Lots of the giggles around here come from little ones who really shouldn't be alive right now.

So, we'll admit it, we showed off a bit and brought Joseph in to be seen. Can you believe this kid? Eight months ago he was "status not good" and rushed to PICU. Today? Well, let's just say that he had a change of heart, shall we?


After trying without success to get Joseph to smile for the camera, we looked down at our feet and snapped this shot. Can you see the resemblance? Little Michael is three months younger that Joseph, but had a similar arrival assessment. He was struggling to breathe, and when we admitted him into PICU we hoped beyond hope that we would get to see him again.

Well, here he is. Michael can currently roll over to his tummy and has finally learned how to roll back over to his back. What a relief this is, as he used to get quite frustrated being stuck on his belly for too long. His precious heart will need to undergo another repair, but at the rate this little chunk is growing and strengthening, we think that he'll do fine.


Michael and Joseph look a lot alike, don't they?


And let's give three cheers to Joseph for learning how to stand up! We can't wait to watch these two little miracles grow up into adventurous and boisterous little boys. It's a privilege, and a fun one at that.
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not In the City

New Day Foster Home may carry a Beijing address, but it's a far cry and a long drive from the city into our little village. Wheat and corn fields, huge gardens bursting with garlic and onions... all are proof that we live in a little farming village. The smells sometimes help with confirming that fact as well. We love that the air is a little fresher (though occasionally smellier) and the horizon a little wider. It does us all good. June is the season of wheat, and we walked the children over to the closest wheat field to watch the harvesting action.

Lily was hesitant at first, but with a little urging she scampered off into the field to collect her own harvest. My, hasn't she grown!

Little Roy was a content observer on this trip. He was happy to sit and watch the bigger children in the field as long as he got a piece of wheat for himself.


The next field trip on our agenda is to the swimming pool!

Check out our scrapbook for more pictures!

All Dolled Up

Maya and Lydia both got a package from their adoring sponsors this week. Inside the bags were outfits and cute headbands, perfect for our tiny little beauties. The headbands are great for little Maya, whose hair is thinning with the chemo treatments. But you should watch this girl grow stronger and happier each day! Despite having recently undergone major surgery to remover the tumor on her kidney, Maya happily rolls over to her belly to play. It's shocking - and amazing.


Lydia received this cute outfit, a headband with a cornflower-blue bow, and a special little bracelet. Darling, isn't she? Recovery is coming a bit harder for this little lady, but considering her circumstances, she's already a miracle. Seeing her white little face and peaceful eyes is enough for us. She's home, and as long as she can keep from getting an infection, she will stay here.


New outfits are the best. Thank you, Catherine, Timothy&Kristin for the sweet gifts!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Lucy in the Wheat

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Are Friends For?!


Many times when we're in the backyard at New Day, I see Holly helping out the younger girls by pushing them in this cool trike that the person pushing can actually steer if necessary.  Today Claire was the recipient of her kindness.  Way to go Holly!




Holly is such a beautiful girl, don't you think?!  We'd love to see her matched with a loving family of her very own......so if you know of anyone interested, please don't hesitate to contact New Day.  In the meantime, we certainly don't mind loving on her each and every day!
Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun Times

In case you weren't aware, the coolest place to hang out on a hot day is on the bottom shelf. Jonathan knows this from experience and will be happy to clean the shelf off for you, if you'd like.


While Jonathan's cooling himself off, Will and Rachel just sit and watch. Look at how Rachel's staring at Josiah... someone seems to have a little crush on him, we think. But who could look at those adorable rolls and not fall head over heels? We've never met a person who could resist his charm.


Besides being completely adorable, Rachel is also getting pretty adept at playing with toys, which is a good skill to master when you're her age. She should be leaving later this week with her new foster mama. We're excited that Rachel with get a chance to experience family life.


While all these fun things are happening in the downstairs playroom, the babies upstairs are busy quietly having their own fun. Michael and Ken enjoy some new toys upstairs. These two love to play with one another - actually, Michael loves to play with anyone.


In other news, look who came home yesterday! Sweet, captivating little Kate is home from the hospital after yet another bout with pneumonia. She seems to get it quite easily, but we hope that with a lot of love and nebulizer treatments, we can keep it away so that she's able to get her much-needed heart surgery.


Oh that smile...

You said that her eyes were "captivating," now, what do you think of her smile?

In Theaters!

Guess which movie the kids got to see last Friday? Madagascar 3! It was playing in the cinema nearby, and the children were invited by the theater to come and watch it in 3D. Of course, how could we say no?

The best part was seeing all of the children wear 3D glasses. Obviously.


Of course, with faces and ears so tiny, our little ones had to keep pushing the glasses up their tiny Asian noses. It was adorable.


Our hosts at the theater were too generous, and gave each one of the children a special stuffed animal keepsake from the show. Colton loves his giraffe, wouldn't you agree?


Have you seen Madagascar 3 yet? What did your kids think of it?

More pictures in the scrapbook!
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lydia's Amazing Story


November 11, 2011 a little girl was born in East China. But all was not as her family might have pictured those precious early days with a new baby... she was born with anal atresia and an intestinal fistula. Sadly she was abandoned three days later, a gravely sick newborn baby girl.

Because her body was unable to expel its waste, surgery couldn't wait. In her home province on December 8, Lydia had emergency surgery to create an anus. She was not yet a month old, and in the rush to save her life, the doctors failed to do certain tests that would have led to the discovery of another, very serious, congenital disease.

Only two weeks after the emergency surgery, Lydia was brought to New Day Foster Home. The next day she was admitted into the hospital with pneumonia. Tests were done which showed that Lydia had a serious heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. She was released from the hospital two weeks later, frail and weak, with even more hurdles to overcome.

But Lydia had already overcome her first hurdle – she was already a miracle. In almost all cases, doctors are unwilling to perform a non-heart related surgery on a child with a heart defect. It can be very dangerous, but Lydia survived her first anal atresia repair without doctors even knowing her heart was so broken.


In the following weeks and months, Lydia fell victim to the vicious cycle of an unrepaired heart defect. She was too tiny for her much-needed heart surgery so the doctors said to wait. But waiting with a poorly functioning heart left Lydia susceptible to illness, and she was admitted to the hospital after catching pneumonia. Unable to gain weight and strength while battling pneumonia, Lydia remained too tiny for surgery.

For five months, Lydia was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia. During her most recent stay, Lydia’s lungs had improved, her cough was gone, but there was still a persistent fever. We wondered if there could be an underlying infection and hoped that the antibiotics she was on would clear it all up. But Lydia’s fever remained.

After nearly a month of hospitalization, we asked a doctor who specialized in anal atresia to take a look at our little Lydia, who was remaining stable in PICU, but unable to shake her fever. The doctor examined her, and suggested that he do the final repair on her anus. The initial emergency surgery had not been done very well, and the doctor wondered if maybe that could be part of her problem. Surgery was scheduled for the next week.


It was Tuesday, May 22, that Lydia went in for surgery. Three hours after she went into the operating room, the doors flew open and Lydia raced past on a stretcher. There were tubes and wires everywhere. The doctors were bagging her and everyone was running as they transferred her from surgery to ICU.

We waited expectant, and a bit nervous, to hear the doctor’s news. We wondered what had happened, and if Lydia was going to be ok.

The surgeon’s report was astounding. During Lydia’s emergency surgery back in December, an anus was created and attached to her intestine. The repair was not done well and had been leaking. Excrement had been slowly trickling back into her abdomen, creating the perfect conditions for many, many deadly infections. No wonder she had always been running a low fever… it was a miracle she was alive at all.

Under the surgeon’s skillful hands, Lydia’s intestine was examined and found to be too damaged to repair. The damaged part would need to be removed, cut off, and then her intestine would be sewn back together. Lydia’s intestine was too enlarged at that time for the repair to be done. If the surgeon had made the necessary cuts, the two pieces would not have fit back together. So, he decided to wait, to allow her intestine to recover and return to its normal size. For this to happen, her damaged part of her intestines would have to remain outside of her body for two weeks until the final repair could be done.

17 days later Lydia had her final anal atresia repair. She made it through with flying colors and is now ready to gain weight and strength in preparation for heart surgery somewhere down the road.


She shouldn’t be alive today, but she is. Research and conversations with medical practitioners have confirmed that for Lydia to survive 5 months with the kind of damage she had in her intestine is medically impossible. But here she is today, recovering and alive... nothing short of a beautiful miracle.

***pictures taken on Lydia's homecoming, Friday, June 15th. 
Friday, June 15, 2012

One Beautiful Family

All of our foster families are amazing and beautiful. Each one cares for the children like their own, sacrifice and loves them hard. But something about Calvin and Rebecca's family stands out. It must have something to do with the fact that they have two children, both of them at that perfect age of growing-way-too-fast, and famous for their adorableness.

Whatever the reason, we can't get enough of these two and we're pretty sure that you can't either.


Rebecca and Calvin's foster parents are two incredible people. We've watched children, ones whom we were worried about, join their family and make amazing gains. Once, Vicki, as we've lovingly named this foster mother, was watching one of her foster babies as he was being assessed. One of the assessment items mentioned looking at a book. "We don't have any books here," she said, "how can I get some?" It's great and encouraging to see this kind of initiative in a foster family - taking responsibility for not only the child's immediate physical needs, but their developmental needs as well.

Their foster dad, Jim, is a village driver. He gets a lot of business and even teaches driving lessons. It just so happened that one of his students is the oldest biological son in another one of our foster families. NDFH has a great record of facilitating relationships.


Wu Shi Fu, or Adam, is the NDFH gardener. He as a very soft spot in his heart for Rebecca, and never fails to have a spare moment or two from his duties when she comes in, so that he can steal a cuddle or two. He's also making sure to instill in her little heart a fond affection for Tom, the dog.


Calvin is a bit shy around strangers (and cameras), but his foster parents say that he's quite the talkative and active little boy. He can say, "Mama,"  "Baba," "Gege," and when he wants Rebecca's attention he calls out, "lai!" come!

Guess what Calvin can now do with the help of his foster mama?


That's right - he can walk!



That's enough adorableness for one post. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 14, 2012

Miracles on Screen

For the next 7 days, you have the opportunity to help Johnny Drimmer  raise a relatively small amount of money to help him finish the video that he has been working on for us.  After that, his fund raising site will shut the campaign down.

For a year and a half we have all been working with Johnny to make a video about our kids and the work we do here. Johnny was a producer for National Geo and 60 Minutes and has contributed everything so far -- except for a few extraordinarily kind donations.  Our video will help us tell people here and in China about the joy and love and commitment that happen at New Day.

He needs to raise a relatively small amount of money to finish.

You can see a clip of the film at and make a donation there as well.


It will tell the stories of three of our kids


--  Judson who was found by the tracks, near death, with his entire GI tract outside his body. The doctors said it was hopeless. Today Judson has a wonderful, loving  family.

                       
 -- Claire, who spent half her life in the hospital.  While Johnny was shooting, her condition went from bad to worse. They said she might perish overnight.  The next morning, as if by a miracle, she was getting better.  Watch the miracle unfold on screen!

                       
-- And Jace, who used to look up and the sky and ask, "When are my mommy and daddy coming to take me home?"  He has been adopted by loving, dedicated parents. You might just get to see him meeting them in the film!

 The two supporting actors in our film. (Hint: the stars are the kids!)

Johnny is making 2 versions: An English version, and a Chinese version. 

 Johnny Drimmer and Jim Edwards our editor. Do they look like they're having fun?
The goal on Johnny's fundraising site is incorrect.  He only needs to raise $2,502 to complete the video.


Instead of making a contribution through the site listed above, you could also donate directly to his paypal account; that would  save the production 8%.  Johnny's email is johndrimmer@gmail.com
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NDSouth: Not All Outings Are Fun..

Warning!  Mature subject matter below.. not for the squeamish of heart!


All dressed up and ready to go!

Wait a minute.. we've been here before!  Oh no, its..

.. vaccination day!

poor baby!

Renee is a very smart little girl.  
She knew exactly what was coming!

Ouch!!

Benjamin is brave..

Benjamin is tough..

but even the bravest and toughest succumb on vaccination day!

bless his heart, little Asa had not one..

but two shots this day!

Sorry we didn't get an 'after' picture. The good thing about children this age is that all was forgotten in about 30 seconds, and they all enjoyed the ride home in baba's car!

.