Friday, September 4, 2015

#SKSept15 Introductions {Part 1}

I asked each of  the team members traveling to China this time to introduce themselves. I'll be posting them over the next few days. Here are some of their intros in their words.  These are in no particular order, read and enjoy learning to know these wonderful people! 


Sandra


I’m very excited to have this unique opportunity to provide assistance to the team. I believe that this is time very well spent, since our work will result in fulfilling the dreams of many children who we will meet as well as future parents who have been yearning for child to love and care for.

From a professional standpoint, I have been a pediatric nurse for 30 years. I spent 20 years at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh providing direct patient care to children in a variety of acute care settings. For the last 10 years, I have been teaching pediatric nursing at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa where I primarily teach at the bedside in a women and children’s hospital. I have a BSN, MSN, and PhD in nursing.

From a personal point of view, I have 5 amazing daughters. The oldest two are biological. Tiffany is the oldest and is studying to be a pediatric surgeon, and the Brittany is married and owns a business with her husband. The younger 3 girls were adopted from China. Hannah was born in Hangzhou and joined our family at 7 months of age. She is currently a freshman at UH studying elementary education. Holly was born in Changsha and also joined our family at the age of 7 months. She is in 8th grade. Heather was born in Nanning and just came to join us 10 months ago at the age of 11 years.  She is in 6th grade and adjusting beautifully. We went to China this summer for a heritage tour and had the time of our lives!

Lora


My name is Lora Offer.  I am so excited to be able to be a part of the Superkids team this year as a volunteer.  My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years.  We have a daughter who is 21,  and two sons, ages 17 and 8.  Of these, one is biological, one is domestically adopted, and one is adopted from Taiwan.  We are also in the process of adopting two children from China, a girl and a boy, ages 7 and 4, who we hope will be home this winter.  Being a part of this trip is something I have always dreamed of doing.  I can’t wait to meet all of the wonderful children that we will be able to visit while we are in China!

Mary


Mary Chapman is one Gladney’s Caseworkers in our Taiwan and China programs. She has been at Gladney for over 7 years and has worked in the Asia programs throughout her time at Gladney. Mary is the lead Caseworker for the Taiwan program, and is so excited to be traveling to Taiwan for the first time! Mary will meet up with Superkids team members, Erin, Keely, and Gongzhan in Taiwan. Mary communicates on a daily basis with the social workers at our partner agencies in Taiwan, Cathwel Service and Chung Yi Social Welfare Foundation, so she is excited to finally meet everyone in person – including many of the waiting children Gladney has been advocating for!

Friday, August 28, 2015

#SuperkidsSeptember2015

In two weeks we will be heading to Shanghai, the first stop on our #SuperkidsSeptember2015 trip.



Our team will consist of: Gongzhan Wu, Keely O'Dell, Erin Martin, Chelsea Guffy, Janell Plana, and Lora Offer. We will be joined by Rocky from Beijing and Wendy from Changsha. Half way through the trip Janell will be returning home and Sandra Sinclair will be joining us. After our time in China is over, Chelsea, Lora, and Sandra will return to the US while Gongzhan, Keely, and Erin fly to Taiwan where Mary Chapman will join us. (Is your head spinning yet?!)

Our itinerary looks even busier than normal this time. We will be visiting 11 orphanages in 5 provinces in China and 2 orphanages in Taiwan. That means a total of 13 orphanages in 16 days! We will be traveling almost non-stop in China with very few (if any) nights that we stay in the same city more than 1 night.

We are so excited about traveling to new areas, being welcomed into new orphanages, and going back to the places that have become familiar and comfortable. We are especially excited about going to Taiwan to officially launch our Superkids program there!

We are planning to be documenting the trip as much as possible for those following from home. We will be posting here on the blog, to our new Facebook page (don't forget to 'like' it to get updates), Twitter, and Periscope (live feed videos anyone!?).

For anyone not familiar with Periscope, you can download the free Periscope app to your apple or android device and search for Superkids. Follow us and you will get a notification when we are live streaming videos! The videos will be available for 24 hours after we stream them, so you can still watch them even if you are sleeping while we are streaming! Since we now have a portable wifi device we travel with I'm hoping to be able to live stream from orphanages, trains, and everywhere else we find ourselves! If you watch while we are live streaming you can even ask question or make comments which we can see immediately. (Technology is so cool!)

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated items for this trip! We still need a few things on our donations list, so if you would like to help email Erin at erinmrtn@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday!!

We have matches to announce today!

Remember our sweet little Aaron? We are so happy to announce that he has a family!



And our wonderful little Jude. Yeah, him too.


Congratulations, sweet boys! Your families are getting there as quickly as they can!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Jonathan

I met the nicest boy in China this summer. And when he introduced himself to the group on the bus, I thought to myself, How is that fair? You see, my daughter and I went on Gladney’s 2015 China Service Trip in July. After playing with toddlers and doing crafts with older children for a few days, we took a trip to the mountains of Zhang Jia Jie, and the orphanage made it possible for twelve older children to accompany us. Jonathan was one of these children. He is 13. My daughter is 13. She was adopted at 7 months. He is still waiting for a family to come be his.



It was on this 3-day trip and its many exhilarating bus rides, that Jonathan and I ended up being seated near each other, across from each other, and next to each other, (my daughter always seemed to be somewhere else, I could hear her laughing); and so began a happy-to-see-you-again—on a bus, at a meal, in a line, and on a mountain—acquaintance.

Jonathan has the warmest smile and the kindest eyes. It is hard for me to describe how genuinely warm he is because it is something you have to see and feel. On one bus, we were seated next to each other on a long bench in the very back. Jonathan was by the window. As he was looking out the window, I opened his hand and put in two Skittles—red and orange. He turned to me and said, “Thank you” and smiled. His left side was nearest to me and he looked perfect in every way—handsome kid. Jonathan has weakness on his right side due to cerebral palsy. It is noticeable but not disabling. Jonathan walked over 5 miles, climbing hundreds of steps, just like the rest of us on our third day of hiking in the mountains

Jonathan’s personality reminded me so much of my daughter’s—introverted and often quiet: the type of kid who tries really hard even when they’re not great at something; the type of kid that doesn’t make a fuss when he’s given a pink plastic raincoat to wear at a major tourist destination; the type of kid that doesn’t mind a 45-year-old American woman taking numerous photos of him, even on a crowded pagoda; the type of kid who gets overlooked (for years), doesn’t hold a grudge, and still hopes for a family.




I could see Jonathan enjoyed being himself with his friends—all boy like my 6-year-old son and completely silly like my 13-year-old daughter. It never did rain, so Jonathan and another boy cleverly turned his pink raincoat into a parachute, tossing it down from the second floor to a courtyard below. And when we stopped to rest at a river, he was thrilled to throw rocks into the water. I got the impression he had never done it before. Back on the bus, the China Service Trip members had a counting-off system and Jonathan playfully joined in, counting up to ten in English for me.





When we first brought our daughter home in 2002, she was like a bear cub in hibernation. We had to draw her out. Jonathan isn’t a showy kid, but I saw who he was. All I had to do was pay attention. He is good, kind, gentle, patient, playful, strong, and brave. Loving parents would make all the difference in the world to this child—the type of parents who would tell him he is valuable just as he is.

Jonathan is running out of time; he turns 14 in June of 2016, when he will no longer be adoptable according to Chinese law.

Could Jonathan be your son? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about him!

-Melissa Hauffe

  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Suggested Donation List

Update: Everything on our suggested donations list has been donated! If you are still interested in donating to our trip you can do so by clicking on the donation tab on the right side of the blog. Thank you all for your generosity!


Every time we go to China people so kindly offer to send things with us for the children we will see. Since announcing our upcoming trip I have already received multiple offers to help. Here is a list of things we could use.

Weighted blankets (3-5 pounds)
Lollipops (updated: we still need about 200)
Memory card games
Lego sets (think small, happy meal size sets)
Drawing pads
Tortles
Fruit snacks
Hair bows
Beads sets (to make bracelets, etc.)
Crayons
Coloring books
Vibrating toys/teethers

If you can help with any of these items please contact Erin Martin at erinmrtn@yahoo.com.

Thank you all so very much for being a part of this trip!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Superkids Spotlight- What Is Congenital Limb Difference? {Webinar Recording}

Here is the recording for the first webinar in our new webinar series! Superkids Spotlight- What Is Congenital Limb Difference?  Enjoy!

video