Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Lots of Love

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Guest Post: 10 for 10

We have a very special guest blog post for you...a big Thank You to Kate and the amazing fundraisers at her school in Canada.

I'm a former New Day intern, long time fundraiser, teacher, and now a very excited waiting adoptive mama.  ‎For years now, my school district has been promoting character education, encouraging the development of empathy, integrity, responsibility, etc.  I've always been a believer that students should have the opportunity to "be" all those things we're asking of them.  Enter "modern learning", the educational philosophy that we should be educating future-ready global citizens through authentic, meaningful tasks.

In 2007, I initiated a now-annual fundraiser at work.  While this is year-long endeavor, it culminates with a giant Bake Sale in May.  The Third and Sixth grade teams join forces to advertise, set-up, bake, and sell homemade treats over the course of one very special week (fractions, mental math… skills in practice.)  Teachers?  We're there purely in a supervisory role.  The kids?  It's all them.  Every year, I watch, transfixed.  My ESL student who barely said two words all year?  Well she's spent the week selling drinks (like she's at a ball game, I might add), because she's found her voice.  My learner on the Autism spectrum who has so struggled to connect?  He's brought in every single cent of his birthday money, not to buy treats, but to donate "just because the babies need it more than me."  We are being the change we want to see in the world. 

The theme this year was "10 for 10": ten kids to sponsor for our tenth Bake Sale.  This involved surveys, tally charts, and the compilation of data.  When all was said and done, and a few tears were shed, we had $6,886.30 for Cooper, Celeste, Ava J., Amelia, Sebastian, Ava, Ronan, Tim, Joanna, and Connie.  My kids love "their" babies and can’t wait to follow their impossibly bright futures!

What seems unique is that, while we do have the odd (and much appreciated) donations of "bills", we actually reached this milestone with pocket change: $1.00 cookies or $2.00 cupcakes (or $3.00 waffles, as was the case this year).  Each small, seemingly minor contribution has added up to something truly remarkable: just about $40,000 raised over the past decade (for New Day since 2010).  Students now know that even the tiniest seed can grow and grow.

As my husband and I wait for our daughter somewhere in China, it's so full circle being on the other side.  We take heart in knowing there could be a business, a school, or even a little kid with a lemonade stand, ‎fundraising to help our girl grow brave and strong.  I think most waiting (and formerly waiting) mamas and babas would agree (hi, Lucy Kate!)... donors, we so appreciate you, especially the well wishes you bestow on our waiting children.  It truly takes a (big, amazing, global) village to raise a child!

Blessings always, Kate
Monday, June 27, 2016

Sharing is Caring

On Friday afternoon, the weather was absolutely perfect – a light breeze and the sun beaming down so brightly. We caught a glimpse of the beautiful weather firsthand but an even more endearing moment displayed through our cute kiddos, Halle Grace and Freddy.

During backyard time, Halle Grace and Freddy decided to bring out the colorful chalk and to work on their artistic abilities. 

After coloring and drawing all over the sidewalk, they needed a much needed snack after their hard work was accomplished.

The kiddos love snack time – as you can see.

After giving each child two crackers in total that were broken down into four smaller pieces, Halle Grace and Freddy became a little distracted by their friends and all of the fun going on nearby. 

Soon after, Halle Grace returned to the sidewalk and began admiring her artwork. She quickly remembered that she had one piece of cracker left to munch on. 

A few moments later, Freddy returned to the sidewalk ready to join Halle Grace.

But before he began, he needed some brain food for inspiration so he could finish his masterpiece. He looked towards Halle Grace and offered his piece of chalk in return for her last biscuit cracker.

Halle Grace agreed and traded in her last piece to Freddy.

Freddy was thrilled! He began eating his cracker and a smile quickly grew across his face.

These kiddos are such a delight to be around and the simple act of kindness that was presented today truly warmed all of our hearts. Sharing is truly caring for another. We couldn’t be more proud of our kiddos for understanding this and implementing it.

This post was written by one of our interns, Lauren
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Farewell, John and Ellie

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Mother Theresa

The world is full of different kinds of amazing people. There are those who make big splashes, and others who cast tiny stones; both are used in immeasurable ways. John and Ellie Gao are two people who have faithfully cast tiny stones, occasionally made big splashes, and the impact that their faithful service has made is beyond anything any of us could ever dream of quantifying.

Ellie studied nursing because she had a dream to care for orphans in China. In 2005, not long after graduating, she arrived at New Day and was a vital and critical and amazing member of the medial team at New Day's Beijing location. 

In 2007 a fun-loving English teacher from Northern China was hired to the PR department at New Day. His name was John and the two of them , John and Ellie, fell in love over games of badminton during lunch break and baby cuddles and delicious dinners out on the town. They were married in 2009 in the backyard at NDFH with some of the cutest flower girls and ring bearers there ever were. 

Over the next few years these two served so happily and faithfully at New Day. Ellie looked after and loved on and saved the lives of SO many of the little ones at New Day. John gave tours to hundreds of Chinese sponsors and businesses and celebrities. Without the two of them? The place wouldn't have run as well, and it certainly would not have been quite as much fun.

John took older boys on fishing trips... Ellie spent hours figuring out how to help a little one get the nutrition she needed to grow big enough for heart surgery... John told a group of stern-faced businessmen miracle stories that made them cry... Ellie conquered pneumonia one nebulizer at a time and then sat down to give a little baby boy his most needed medicine- cuddles. 

Micah was born in 2012. In 2014 John and Ellie left their comfortable home in Beijing - it had been almost 10 years, for Ellie! - and joined the team that had just journeyed up to Inner Mongolia to start New Day North. There is no way we at New Day North could have done all we did starting a new project in a new province without the many indispensable things John and Ellie did as part of the team.

 And those of us up in Hohhot got to watch the adorable little Micah grow up...

...and welcome his little brother, Matthew. Their faith grew as their family did and John and Ellie opened up an English school in the apartment complex - a dream of John's for years! While they taught so many little ones how to say, "How are you?" they continued in faithfulness and met the needs of New Day North and our projects that were also growing at a surprisingly fast pace.

Today? John and Ellie have just left upon another adventure. They are going to the USA, and seeking opportunities to be house parents in foster homes for older orphans. They are leaving home and going to a new place; leaving familiarity and adventuring into some unknowns... and we are going to miss them dearly.

Thank you, John and Ellie, for your many years of faithful work in China for the fatherless. Thank you for the fun that you've brought to our families and our communities, and for the incredible example of obedient risk-taking. You are going to touch lives deeply wherever you go. New Day is not the same without your family, but we're all cheering you on from China. 
Friday, June 24, 2016

Hudson and the Bunnies

You may have noticed we have two bunnies in the backyard. While they stay in their enclosure most of the time the kids have enjoyed meeting them and petting them when they get the chance.

The other day Hudson was outside waiting for his foster mama to come pick him up after all the other kids had gone inside. The bunnies were still out so he decided to play with them.

While he was holding one of the bunnies it lightly scratched him on the arm. Hudson exclaimed, "Wow! Your nails haven't been cut!" to the bunny.

He put that bunny down and tried to catch the other one, but it was too fast.

While he was playing his teacher, Helen, suggested he might name the bunnies. Without skipping a beat Hudson proclaimed them Kuai Kuai (really fast) and Nao Nao (scratch).

 So, we'd like to formally introduce you to the two cutest bunnies in the backyard, and thank Hudson for their awesome, and appropriate, names!
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Cassie

Monday, June 20, 2016

New Girls in the Classroom

When you're two years old it's time to start preschool. Natalie, Charlotte, and Ava have all recently turned two, so that means we have the pleasure of these sweet girls coming to class each afternoon.

Natalie turned two in February, but because the unpredictable temperatures her foster mama didn't want to bring her and her 'little brother' Tim (who started working hard in therapy!) in everyday until it got a little warmer. Once Natalie came she decided it was a pretty fun place to be! We love seeing her sweet smile as she enjoys learning, playing, and exploring.

Charlotte has had many peeks inside the preschool room, and even joined the older kids to sing and dance during our sponsor party, but it's finally her turn to join us in preschool everyday. After a few days she knows the routine and loves having her seat with her picture on it for snack time! We're excited to see how Charlotte continues to learn and explore through preschool time.

We found a special seat to help give Ava a little extra stability during table time and snack time and she was ready to go! Ava has taken all the preschool changes in stride and we are rewarded by lots of smiles and giggles. She especially loves music time where we are treated to her dancing.

Our three new girls fit right in among the boys, and it's fun to have to pink and bows back in afternoon preschool too :) 
Sunday, June 19, 2016

NDNorth: English Camp

Recently, we had a group of Americans who came and led an English camp at the orphanage.

We had four stations that the kids rotated between, each with their own activities. There was a bingo station, Uno station, balloon station and a mask making station. The bingo station was a big hit because every winner got their own bag of candy!

As you can tell they really loved making masks. They’re really creative!!

We were really impressed with the mask that our American friend made.

They had a fun time singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”... As fast as they possibly could!! 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Splashes of Joy

Recently there have been a lot of spring thunderstorms. Thunderstorms mean the backyard is filled with puddles. And if you're a kid, puddles mean one thing, something to jump in!

The other day Rosie went outside and decided to explore a puddle. While other kids were jumping in the puddles she had another idea. In order to obtain maximum splashing potential Rosie sat down and splashed with her hands!

The joy that spread across Rosie's face as she continued to splash was contagious.

Her smiles and laughter spread across the backyard and we decided we couldn’t keep them to ourselves, so we had to take a little video to share with you!

In the end, Rosie was soaked from her head to her toes, but the smile spread across her face made it all worth it.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Teaching Ava

Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Amazing Connie

Back at the beginning of May, Connie and Brenda, one of her nannies, headed off to the hospital to begin Connie's radiation treatment.  She's already had chemotherapy, following the removal of a tumor (read her Amazing Story if you haven't already, it's truly amazing), and we're hoping that this is one of the final steps in her journey to recovery.

Under normal circumstances, radiation treatment can be done as a day-patient, but it's such a long round-trip to the hospital in the city that it was decided it would be better for Connie to be admitted.  Here she is in her hospital room:

Connie (and Brenda) did SO well enduring her month of radiation treatments.  Initially they tried sedating her so that she would lie still, but found that once they lay her down for the treatment, she would wake up.  Brenda helped Connie to practice laying super-still and they tried the treatment with her awake, with Brenda talking to her over the intercom.  We have a video of it; little Connie lying completely still in the big machine, and Brenda's quiet, soothing voice reassuring her the whole time.

A month later, Connie came home!  We were so glad to see her, and she was pretty glad to be back.

Yes, it's a different nanny; they switched part-way through the time because it's such a long time for a nanny to be away from her own family (you can read a blog post all about our nannies in the hospital here).

And what's next for brave Connie?  Her most recent test results look really good; the doctors just want to run a couple more tests, and then, hopefully, she will be all done with treatment.  From 'no hope' to 'all-clear'...that'll really be something to celebrate!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NDNorth: Stephanie's Birthday Cake

Guess who just turned 9? Must be this pretty lady!

Looks like your friends, Emerson and Kristiana, are excited for cake!

But this cake is missing something...

Must be the sprinkles! Which ones do you want Stephanie?

Oooh! Good choice! Can you help me put them on?

The cake looks perfect now! Leon cannot wait to eat a piece!

But first we need to do something very important...Blow out your candles, Stephanie!

Wow...we are so impressed. You blew out your candles by yourself! All that practice blowing on pinwheels and blowing bubbles must have paid off!

You really are growing up, Stephanie. We love you and are so proud of all the progress you have made this year!