One of our favorite things here in the New Day Foster Home office is hearing that a child has been matched with their forever family.
"Guess what...? We just heard from x's orphanage, he/she's been matched with a family!"
Lots of happy faces, and GanLu adds an asterisk next to the child's name on the website, then we play 'the asterisk game' on Facebook (which, for the uninitiated, is where everyone goes looking on the website for the new asterisk, which is way more fun than it sounds).
It's always big news. It's the beginning of a child's journey from orphan to son or daughter. The journey may take a while, because the adoption process is long and sometimes unpredictable, but at least it has begun.
The arrival of long-awaited-good-news is an extra-big-deal though. Lucy has been waiting to be matched with a family of her very own for a LONG time, and we've been waiting and hoping with her.
Lucy was left at a local hospital on the day she was born, and came to New Day when she was 15 months old. That was April 2009, and since then we have seen around 150 children leave us to join their forever families. Lucy wouldn't have understood when she was very young, but these last few years it's been hard for her. She's said good-bye to many friends, and wondered when it would be her turn.
When the good news finally arrived, Karen made the most of the opportunity to share it with the staff and volunteers. Keeping a very straight face, she handed out Kleenex and said she had something important to say. Everyone tried to figure out what the news might be... There may or may not have been tears, and a happy dance!
We couldn't wait to see Lucy's reaction to the news. Just before lunch-time, a small crowd gathered in the backyard, where Lucy and her friends were playing. Amy, the foster home manager, was given the privilege and she crouched down on the grass next to Lucy. At first the news didn't really seem to sink in...and then it did...and Lucy was off. She went around to everyone in the backyard, telling them her big news.
"I have a mama and a baba!" she told people, before rushing off to tell the next person. Some people were told the news more than once, such was her excitement. It was time to go to the dining hall for lunch, which gave Lucy the opportunity to tell even more people. She went around telling volunteers, New Day Creations employees, anyone that she could find. When you've waited so long for your good news, you want to make the most of being able to share it!
We also heard that Lucy's family have chosen a new name for her, Hannah Joy. Children here are called, for the most part, by their Chinese names, but now that we know that this is the name she'll be called for the rest of her life, we will make sure that she starts to get used to it. Foreign volunteers will call her by her new name, and it will be used in school time. A new name for a brand-new season in Lucy/Hannah's life...
Now she doesn't need to wonder and ask "where is my family?". Instead she can (and surely will) ask "when is MY family coming to get me?", and we can answer that we don't know, but with the reassurance that they WILL be coming.
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