Saturday, May 31, 2014

NDSouth: Hayden's Classtime

Hayden had only been going to preschool for a short time when I arrived at New Day South and we began our one-on-ones. At first he was unsure of things, but he soon began to love this time. There were many days that he would be the one to lead me to the classroom so that we could begin "school."

One of Hayden's favorite things to do is play with blocks. He quickly learned that by signing "more" he would get more blocks. Soon he wasn't just signing "more," he was saying the word, too!

We spent a lot of time reading books, putting together simple puzzles, and coloring. During preschool and our one-on-one time we practiced the alphabet and counting. We also spent lots if time laughing and being silly. Hayden's laugh is contagious and he has a smile that can light up the room.

It was amazing to witness the changes in Hayden over the short time that I was at New Day South. He began to learn the preschool routine, solve simple tasks, and repeat words. Along with the nannies and other volunteers we celebrated his every accomplishment. The love that Hayden receives at New Day South has given him the confidence to love, learn, and to find his voice. I am excited to see how he continues I grow and learn in the months to come!
This was written by short-term volunteer, Laura, who spent two months this spring at New Day South. 
Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Amazing Staff: Hospital Nannies

Our nannies here at New Day Foster Home are truly amazing.  They work hard at loving and caring for the kids every day.  Probably the hardest part of their job though, is a part that we don't get to see.  Read on, and your admiration for these ladies will go to a whole new level.

When a child needs to stay in hospital, a nanny will stay with them the whole time.  The only exception is if the child needs to be in the ICU, in which case no-one is allowed to be with them.  As soon as they are released from the ICU into the regular ward, a nanny will go straight to the hospital ready to care for them.

The medical care that the children receive in the hospitals in Beijing is excellent, but the conditions for those staying with the children are not easy.  The child will be in a shared room, and the adults don't have their own beds.

But who better to tell you about the experience of staying in hospital with a child than the nannies themselves?

Talking about what it is it like to stay in hospital with one of the children-

"We must take great responsibility, have patience, be careful and listen to the doctors".

"At the same time as taking care of a child, we must listen to the doctor, and do tasks such as take temperatures, record input and output, give medicine and watch the IV and/or nebulizer, observe the monitor, observe the child’s life signs, observe how the whole body looks… We have to report how the kid’s doing to the doctor and nurses, and take them to do a lot of check-ups."

"We must observe the kid's situation all the time, so that we can report to the doctors if anything happens."

Talking about the longest stretches of time that they've stayed in the hospital, answers ranged from 15 days to one month.

"The longest time was one month, the whole time I didn't walk out of the room, I didn't even know the season was changing".

"The longest time was about 20 days.  I missed home a lot.  My child went to school in the city and visited me sometimes, bringing some fruit.  My husband called me to ask when the child would get well and be released from the hospital.  He hoped that I would come home soon".

Talking about what was the most difficult part, there was general agreement that it was the first days after surgery.

"The first three days after surgery there will be a lot of equipment tubes on the child so you must take care of them really well.  I’m really busy, I have almost no sleep and don’t drink much water." (to avoid needing to leave the child in order to go to the restroom)

"The most difficult part is right after surgery, there are so many tubes on the child, you are afraid they might come off and put the child in danger.  Also, when the kid has a fever."

"Because the child's life is in danger, we worry about every single detail, which makes us anxious.  I wish I could take on half his suffering".

"Taking care of the child who has a very serious disease because he might be in danger for his life at any time.  We worry about that, we are afraid of something happening.  Anxious, almost no sleep day and night."

Talking about how they felt when they were asked to go into hospital, the answers revealed the huge hearts of the these amazing ladies in unique ways-

"I feel that I am accepting a very important task.  I will have to complete a new responsibility, it will be very busy, very hard, and I will not get enough sleep."

"I feel that it is a difficult task, one that needs to be prepared for well.  Not only materially, but also spiritually, which is even more important.  We are going to accompany them going through their suffering."

"I feel happy that the foster home leader trusts me so much!  I would love to do my best to serve the kids."

"I don’t think much about it, so every time, if I can, I will go."

It's good to take the time to honor the sacrifices that these women make for the children in their care.  For them, being a nanny at New Day Foster Home is their job, but they go so far beyond the demands that most jobs make, and they do it willingly.

Staying in hospital during serious illness and after painful surgery is such a traumatic time for a child.  Having the care of a devoted mama is a huge need, and we are so glad that our kids get that from their nanny. During Iris's recent hospital stay, hospital staff commented on the incredible level of care that Iris was getting compared to other children in similar situations. We are so proud of these heroines.

To finish, a quote that perhaps best sums up the whole hospital experience for the nannies-

"If you are dissatisfied with your life, volunteer to go to the hospital, and when you come back you will feel so happy to be at home!"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

NDSouth: A New Work

Meet New Day South's newest arrival, Polly. Polly's situation is a little different than other children we have brought here in the past. If you have been over on our website recently, you would have noticed that under our children, we have  new category: Temporary Medical Care

"New Day South is assisting local partner orphanages by arranging, scheduling and managing surgeries for the children below at the best hospitals in Guangzhou. These children are from well-staffed and equipped orphanages, and most will return soon after surgery and recovery." 

Polly is the first little one in this program. We work with several orphanages that are well-staffed and equipped but in need of assistance in providing quality surgeries. Our role will be helping them schedule surgeries and providing after-surgery care for these children until they return to their home orphanage.

We are excited to be partnering with the orphanage in this project and believe that through this program, we will be able to help even more children. 

No matter how long Polly is with us, we are thankful for her life and anticipate to see how surgery will make a difference in her life. 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

NDNorth: Hannah's Progress

When we first met Hannah she wasn't too delayed developmentally, having been cared by her birth parents (we think) up until the day she was abandoned, and being about six months old at that time. She could lift her head up while she was on her belly...

but that was about it. About a month later, Hannah had gotten even stronger (thanks to lots of time in the bumbo seat) and could almost sit on her own...

...almost. We don't think that it will take too long until she can sit without support and not topple over. 

We're so proud of you, Hannah, and hope that you continue to make progress and grow into the beautiful little lady that you were created to be. 

Read more about Hannah here:

Wordless Wednesday: Lydia in Pink

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Letter to Ari

Sweet Ari, you've been in our care for more than four months now, but most of us have had so little chance to get to know you.  When you arrived back in January, your head was very enlarged, and you were so uncomfortable, so we wanted to get you into hospital for surgery as soon as we could.  Thankfully you only had to wait about two weeks, and the surgery went well.  We were happy to have you back, and were disappointed when you got an infection and had to go back to hospital.  Another hospital stay, for a month this time.  Home again, and then another infection this month and back to hospital...It's not been much fun has it, little guy?

So, Ari, get well and come home again.  Little body, fight that infection and recover.  We want to have you here, so that we can get to know your precious little personality.  We want to hold you and sing to you. We want to throw a birthday party for you when you turn one in July.

We're so glad that you've had your nannies with you in hospital.  They love you so much, and we're happy that we get to hear about you from them.  Apparently, you like listening to music and smiling.  You'll fit right in around here!  We heard that you sometimes babble and can say "mama", and that you eat and sleep well.

One of your nannies told us about what you got up to in hospital...

"In the hospital, everyone liked him. Some of the ladies there came to see him every day. When he would see someone come to played with him, he always offered them a sweet smile. When Ari saw other people eat meals, he would also open his mouth and want to eat. Once I put the apple on his lips, and he bit down hard. But I took away the apple because I was afraid it would choke him. When I took it away he cried aloud. All the people around laughed because our little Ari has grown up already, he also want to eat like big child."

Good job, Ari.  We promise that you can charm the ladies and eat lots of apples once you get home.

We do hope to see you soon,

With lots of love from all of us here at New Day Foster Home

Sunday, May 25, 2014

NDNorth: The Purple Block

We try to assess the little ones every month, to track their development and help give the orphanage some insight into what normal children should be doing at each age. The nannies and shift leaders and managers are usually very good with the children, but when we mention things such as "tummy time at one-month" they gasp and gape with disbelief. Many of them have never had children of their own, and if they did oftentimes grandma did most of the rearing, and so a majority of the childcare experience they have is through training and then watching the development of under-stimulated orphans.

There are always a couple of developmental goals that take the children extra long to complete. Building blocks is one. Why? Well, blocks aren't always the most common toys in baby playrooms, and it really does take some guidance for a 12-18 month old to learn that it's fun to knock over a block tower. The nannies don't have much time to work with the babies on this "vital" skill during their shifts, so it's one of the activities that we bring out whenever we visit.

The first step is always building a tower for the kids, and then helping them knock it over. This particular day, though, Philip had little interest in knocking a tower down. He was more interested in stacking the blocks together, one block in his right and and another block in his left. It didn't quite work that way. Need some help, buddy?

Something funny happened when Philip started getting the hang of stacking blocks on the floor. The first level of his tower was a yellow block, and that one stayed stable. The next block was purple. It took a few tries and a lot of encouragement, but finally Philip put the purple block on top of the yellow block. We clapped. We cheered. We told Philip that he was amazing and encouraged the nannies to cheer for him as well.

Philip looked up in shock - somehow he had just done something amazing. He liked the response, so he began to try to recreate whatever it was that he had done to cause us all to cheer. It must have had something to do with the purple block, he must have thought, because that's suddenly what he became fixated on. A few more times he put the purple block on top of the yellow... and he got the same cheers and hugs. But then we showed Philip how he could put a blue block on top of the purple and he became very confused when we clapped for that.

That was Philip's first block-building breakthrough. The next week he did even better. Just check out his progress!

Two blocks...

You clapped for the light blue block? So do I take it off now?

Oh, add another one? That's a strange idea, but okay.

This is a lot harder than it looks. Balance, block, balance. 

And here history is made! Philip's first time ever stacking four blocks. Except that the fourth block knocked the whole tower down. But it still counts, at least we think that it does. 

And judging from Philip's face, he does too. 

Either that, or he just found the purple block hiding behind his tower. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

NDSouth: Baby Sweetness

2014 has been an exciting year at New Day South so far with the arrival of little babies. Our baby apartment has changed a lot in the last few months and our little one ones are adjusting well to their new home. We love seeing the transformation that takes place with love and good care in the lives of these sweet children. Babies change so quickly and we thought you might want a glimpse at our little ones!

Grady and Anna are enjoying some time on the floor to wiggle and kick their legs. They are active little ones! 

Anna really loves her thumb, can you tell?

What a big yawn, Grady!

Do you remember how tiny and weak little Grady was back in January when he first arrived at New Day South? He is doing so well!

Grady loves his big sister, Anna. Anna isn't quite so sure about her doting little brother though.

Chloe has been with us for almost two months. After spending several weeks in the hospital, we are all glad to have her home and able to shower her with love and snuggles. She is changing daily right before our eyes. Chloe isn't sleeping quite as much during the day and is becoming much more active and alert.

She is wondering what all this picture taking is about! It's okay, you will get used to it in time, baby girl.

Then there is sweet Thad, who continues to be in the hospital. We can't wait for the day when he will be released and can come home to us. 

Who knows how much these babies will change in the next few months. They grow up way too fast!
Friday, May 23, 2014

'Swagman's' Field-Trip

One of our current volunteers, Logan, kindly agreed to write a guest post about her experience accompanying Seth on a recent field-trip.

When you are a kid, field-trips are awesome. It’s a fun day of skipping out on normal routine, like taking naps for instance, and enjoying the adventure of a new place. When you are an adult, field-trips become slightly less enchanting. When you are an adult and your field-trip buddy is a three year old boy, field-trips become a workout.

New Day got the wonderful opportunity to visit the Beijing Wildlife Park this past Wednesday, and I got the opportunity to go along. I met my buddy Seth as we were loading the bus that morning. I couldn’t stop smiling and talking about how cute he was in his Batman T-shirt and sideways hat. His nickname quickly became “Swagman”, and he had the personality to fit.

Among New Day’s parade of strollers at the park, five lucky kids were getting the privilege of independence that day, otherwise known as walking. Seth was one of the walkers, and he walked all over that park….through the dirt, in the bushes, down random paths, in between other visitors… I quickly discovered that Seth was not a big fan of holding hands, so I spent most of my day running after a rambunctious toddler. Seth, however, was having the time of his life! He tried to feed his snack to a chimpanzee, chased peacocks in the Tropical Bird House, and almost made it into the rabbit enclosure.

Like most three-year-olds Seth is fiercely independent when he wants to be. But also like most three-year-olds, there were times when he wanted to depend on me. As we visited each new animal at the park, I would lift Seth up onto the ledge and let him press his hands against the glass. I stood behind him the entire time holding him up with my arms wrapped around his waist. One time, while we were looking at some monkeys, I moved one of my hands from his waist to his back. With barely any other reaction, he reached out his arm, grabbed my hand, and pulled it back around him. This happened many other times throughout the day as we were looking at animals, when we went on a safari drive, and while we were riding the carousel.

Seth’s desire for the comfort and security of my arms wrapped around him reminds me of how most children are with their parents as they grow up. As kids we long for our independence, we want to run around with no rules or consequences when everything seems safe. We don’t want boundaries or hands to hold when we’re having fun. But as soon as a situation becomes overwhelming, or we feel frightened, we instinctively know where we can find comfort and security. The arms of our parents, and those that love us, will always be our safe place.

All in all, the field-trip was a huge success. Everyone had a great time looking at the animals, enjoying the sunshine, and running around. But the best part just might have been the bus ride home when Seth was perfectly content to cuddle in my arms and fall asleep. Even Swagman needs a break once in a while.

This post was written by Logan.
Thursday, May 22, 2014

NDSouth: Ready for Summer

We had a recent group of volunteers visit and they brought us all kinds of fun gifts, including some stylish sunglasses! In preschool the other day, we decided to try them out. We are ready for summer here at New Day South!

Amy was a little confused which way you wore them. That works, Amy, even if they are upside down!

Ada was also going for the "upside-down look."

Or that works as well.

Hayden loves his new shades. Especially the blue pair.

Sally, you are like a little ray of sunshine!

Sadie has a question....

"Is this how they go?" - Sadie

You kids are too cute... sunglasses or not. 

We have had lots and lots of rain down here at New Day South. Our shades are ready to be used and we are more than ready for the sun to shine!

Summer, we are ready for you!