Gladney China Waiting Child Program:
Man Man headshot Xiang Xiang headshot Ya Ya headshot
Today we have just posted three new children available for adoption to our photolist page!  The children are all in the Shanghai Children’s Home.  If you have not yet visited our photolist page and are in need of the password, please email

Project Play Going Strong

What a difference a month makes

Back in Cali, 4 weeks later. Who knew there would be so many updates!

Wow! Little kids really are amazing…. and apparently so is ProjectPlay.

In my return, I entered the baby room at Oscar Scarpetta and was astounded to look around and see babies moving all over the place. Babies that one month ago were laying in care seats and propped sitting were now walking and crawling everywhere.  Know I realize that some of these changes are just normal development, but I have to believe that ProjectPlay also has something to do with it too.  I am thrilled and impressed with the success of ProjectPlay to date.  There are definitely a few kinks to be worked out, but overall… the bare bones of the operation (as they say) are running smoothly.  The adolescents are taking their responsibilities very seriously and are very invested in the improvements of the little ones.  I was met by hugs and kisses and questions of  “did you see so-and-so walking?” “so-and-so is starting to say a few words” “so-and-so can sit up all by herself.”  They felt really proud.
The ProjectPlay gym is an exciting whirlwind of activity when the adolescents are working with the little ones.  And the supervisors, Wan Su and Ana are doing an amazing job keeping them focused and motivated. They are reading books, running, jumping ,climbing, coloring, painting, laughing, hugging, playing pretend. Here, see for yourself:

Is the doctor in?....
Bouncing Tramp and Ball Pit
A little time to paint
So many babies so little time
Chiquetines Update
The amazing volunteer crew at Chiquetines are still VERY motivated working to improve the gross motor skills with the baby’s and toddlers here, especially those with neurological disabilities and developmental delays.  We taped our first in-service right before I left for Peru. While I was gone they all watched the video… and began implementing the programs.  Ee had a follow-up hands-on session this week.  This core group of women is absolutely amazing and totally committed to these kiddos.  There are about 5 of them that plan on working to provide “physical therapy” using the programs we designed together (with my “You can be a physical therapist too” handbook).  Hopefully these little ones continue to make progress.

This is what I look like when I explain stuff in Spanish
My buddy continues to struggle to heal from her injury… and after her hospitalization has had to spend LOTS of hours in bed. So, I spent the morning coloring, playing board games, taking goofy pictures with her.  I didn’t want to leave… those moments where I can’t help but think– this should not have to happen to a little girl like this, not just to go through all the health stuff she has been through, but to do it without a mom. Without someone to dote over her, play with her, hold her and tell her it will be okay.  Instead, she spends all day in her bunk-bed, most of the time alone. It’ll break your heart. But she is so darn happy.

High class all the time
The Crew
I am thrilled to be back with Magnolia… this time I am staying in her house with her and I am enjoying every minute.  It has been great sharing my stories of Peru, pictures and lots of laughs with all my many friends here.  Was lucky enough to get to go with Magnolia and a wonderful Australian family to visit some sights on Saturday.  This family has two little girls 10 and 13 adopted from Colombia and are spending their vacation showing the girls their country.  So fun to get to see this side of the coin! What a fantastic crew!!!!

Lunch with the Aussie Girls
On Tuesday off to Medellin to reconnect with everyone there… more to come.


Two More Waiting Children Matched!

We are excited to announce that Gladney has matched two more Waiting Children with their forever families this week! 
Le Le and Zheng Zheng will be joining their families soon.
Also this week, we received several more profiles of Waiting Children who are designated to Gladney.  We are working on getting their profiles translated and will be posting them to the Photo List page soon!  Be sure to check the Photo List page often, as it is updated regularly as we receive new profiles and new information for children

Kelly and Nick's Journey

Superkids physical therapist, Kelly Mortellite, and her husband, Nick, are thrilled to begin the journey to adopt a child from Ethiopia.  Below is their inspirational story.  

Nick entered the military right after graduating high school and spent ten years between active and National Guard duty. He finished up just a month before we got married so after the wedding, we were assured there would be no more deployments. We were married on May 27, 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nick moved down to North Carolina where I was in school.

I graduated from University of Cincinnati with my Bachelors in Health Sciences and continued on to Duke University where I earned my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. A short ten days after graduation, I boarded a plane to spend two months living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, volunteering as a physical therapist in the government orphanages. I was so blessed to have this experience and know God used it to change me. I came home, excited to see my husband again, but devastated to leave the kids behind.

What Now?

Knowledge is a great thing right? I mean most of us spend a great deal of money and time trying to acquire knowledge through schooling, travel, or through the counsel of our older and wiser friends and family. We strive to know about the world around us, but when we gain some of that knowledge, what do we do with it? Kelly and I are at a stage in our lives where we have been confronted with some new information about our increasingly small world and we’ve asked ourselves the question: what now?
What we’ve learned has come from a combination of research and Kelly’s first-hand experience in Ethiopian orphanages. She had the chance, as many of you know, to spend two months in the capitol city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working as a physical therapist directly with the children of the government run orphanages. Kelly’s job wasn’t just to help children, but also to educate their caregivers on better ways to take care of the children or “kiddos” as she calls them. Things like ensuring the kiddos get out of their cribs and spend time outside in the sun They are so understaffed that spending time with each child throughout the day isn’t a possibility. Children often feed themselves with a bottle and there simply aren’t enough hands to pick every child up every day.
The pictures and videos Kelly sent home definitely had some eye-opening moments for me and a bigger reality hit both of us as we learned more about the magnitude of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. This link will take you to a video made by the Gladney Center for Adoption and you will see some amazingly awful numbers and some beautiful children:   

Now that we know there are over six million orphans in one country what do we do with that knowledge? Do I pretend I didn’t see the part of the video that said twelve percent of six million children will die before they are five years old? Let’s pretend something else. Let’s pretend I was good at math (a stretch I know!) because numbers this big don’t seem real to people like me on the other side of the world. 12% of 6 million is 720,000. If that number is still too far out there let’s think about a football stadium. My team, painfully, is the Cincinnati Bengals and their stadium holds over 65,000 people so you would have to line up ELEVEN Bengals stadiums filled to capacity along the Ohio River to match the number of orphans that will die in Ethiopia before they are five years old. 
Multiply by eleven, then imagine all of those people gone. That's the number of orphans that won't make it to their 5th birthday in Ethiopia.
So what now? Something! Just do something is the thought screaming through my head when I try and understand this massive problem. Of course it is too big for my wife and I to tackle by ourselves, but we don’t feel that’s what we are called to do. Kelly and I are confident we have been given a chance to gain this knowledge so that we can simply do something. For us that something is adoption and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Earlier I asked if knowledge really is a great thing. If you can turn it into wisdom by applying it to your life, then I say yes, knowledge is a great thing!

Kelly was given a fantastic opportunity through Superkids that turned into a love for the people of Ethiopia and when she brought that love home with her it was infectious. The passion she showed and the desperate desire to return to help as much as we can was passed to me and I’m so grateful. As we learn we are continuously faced with the simple question of “what now?”  The best answer we can come up with is, just love.

Kelly and Nick returned to Ethiopia this past February providing much needed aid to orphans in Addis Ababa.  You can follow their entire journey on their blog

Keely in Lima (week 2)

Week 2 in Lima (as I write this now two and a half  weeks later) was such a flash.  The whole time I was in Lima really… it was a pretty intense and jam-packed few weeks. An abbreviated catch-up would go something like this:
  • Birthday party for the girl’s great aunt… a mariachi band showed up (no pictures, but worth an honorable mention!!)
  •  We did a follow-up session for the teachers of the preschoolers in Pamplona working on behavior management– we did a role play activity to practice positive reinforcement of behaviors.  It got a little crazy, but they had a great time! It really felt like we barely hit the tip of the iceberg with the training possibilities for these wonderful ladies. I really hope to come back one day (with lots of preschool teachers!!)

"Students" during role play

Me and the crew of preschool teachers
  •  I visited several preschoolers to help the teachers start to implement some of the new information that I had given…. and mostly just goof around with the kids.

The stare down at snack time
  • But this is not the only group of teachers in the “head start like” program in Pamplona… there are also about 30 teachers that work with kids 6 month to 3 years old.  We had an in-service for them one morning. And then the next day I spent the morning in 2 and 3 year old classroom. And it is one of the models they are trying to implement in which the moms (or grandmas) come with the kids.  Such a cool idea, but very challenging. It really has taken a lot of commitment from this teacher AND these mothers to participate in this class several times a week.
The bunny dance

Peek-a-boo time

Kids and moms during song time
  • And I continued to have tons of fun with my “family” in Lima.  All us girls had a photo shoot at the park a few blocks from the apartment

Me and my buddies

It took a LOT of attempts to get that previous picture perfect shot!!!
  • And we also went one evening to this cool park in Lima.  It is HUGE and has all kinds of fountains. Impressive during the day, but at night they have an all-out light display and it becomes a sort of wonderland. It was awesome.  Here we are in the tunnel– there was a little concern before we went if I would fit in the tunnel… but alas, no problem.

The infamous tunnel
After Lima it was off to Cusco and the Inca Trail! I loved loved loved my time in Lima and can’t wait to the next time I am there… and yes, there will be a next time!
Muchisimas gracias a mi nueva familia en Lima!! Nunca olvidare ustedes y todo que hicieron para mi. Amigos (primas) para siempre. Nos vemos pronto y un fuerte abrazo!!!!!

Pat reflects on her visit to Shanghai

Now that we are back for a few weeks I am constantly thinking about Shanghai and the amazing children we had the privilege to meet.  I wonder when these "Special Needs" children will find forever families.  What we define as special needs in the USA is very different from what China defines as special needs.  So many of these "special needs children," would not be defined as such in the U.S.  Many of the children we evaluated will have no residual issues once they are placed in loving homes. Many who had problems as infants had no issues when we saw them.  I'm sure its scary reading profiles and then thinking, "What are the children really like?"  I'm sure everyone would be pleased to  know the children we saw were all in good shape.

We were pleased this time to visit a foster care station that supervises 120 foster care cases for a suburb of Shanghai.  They were kind, personable and efficient.  The foster care station was so clean you could have eaten off the floor.  It was bright and colorful and decorated with bright colors.  The children in foster care were confident and at ease.  They played with the toys and made themselves at home in the activity room.  The people at the foster care station knew these children well and enjoyed their work.   They laughed and joked happily with all the kiddos.  I loved being there and meeting all the children.  It made me want to work there too.  There was just a sense of happiness in the work.  I hope when we go to shanghai again we can return to the foster care station and give them an update on how everyone is doing with their forever families.         


Beautiful Zheng Zheng

We continue to look for a family for Zheng Zheng (age 5).  Pat and Kathy met Zheng Zheng while they were in Shanghai, this is what Pat would like to share with prospective families for Zheng Zheng:

"When we met Zheng Zheng, she was wearing a little red jacket.  She was brought to the district foster care center by her foster mother.  They have a really nice relationship.  Zheng Zheng and her foster mom had watched all the activties we were doing with the children before her, and she was so eager to show us all that she could do!  When she entered the area we were seeing the children in - she spontaneously started demonstrating all the gross motor skill activities we had asked the other children to perform - standing one on leg, hopping up and down, bouncing a ball!  Zheng Zheng demonstrated her fine motor and cognitive skills as well.  She drew us a picture of a pink bunny, with a red sun and blue clouds.  She also drew a house and wrote her name on it in chinese characters while she waited for us. Zheng Zheng is a sweet child who really wanted to please.  At first she was quiet but the more time we spent with her the more she relaxed and opened up.  We had brought some toys as prizes and she chose the dinosaur finger puppets as her prize.  When Zheng Zheng  is adopted she will need some speech therapy/oral motor therapy.   My hope for Zheng Zheng is that she will find a great home..... just like she drew in her picture."

A second webinar featuring children from the Shanghai Children's Home whom Kathy and Pat met on their recent trip will be held later this month. When the date is set for this webinar we will post it to our Waiting Child Blog and also send out an email to everyone receiving this letter.

Russia So Far..Gladney VP and Whitney go to Russia

Russia so far

Whew! Since Marshall and I have been in Russia it has been a whirlwind tour! We arrived in Moscow very early Monday morning. We took a quick nap and then met up with Tatyana (our in country coordinator) and went to see Red Square. It was amazing! Then we ran a few errands and then we went to the train station. We took an overnight train to Pskov. We arrived at 6:30 am on Tuesday, took another quick nap and then went to the Pechory Baby House. We met with Dr. Natalia and then toured the baby house. After visiting the baby house we went to see the very famous monastery in Pechory.

The next day, we met with Armaine, the director of social services in Pskov to sign the humanatarian aide agreement between Gladney and the orphanage in Pskov. This project will give girls who age out of the orphanage and are pregnant a place to stay as well as provide education for older children in the orphanages on how to take care of themselves once they age out. After signing the agreement, Marshall and I toured the orphanage where the project will take place.

Then we went to the train station and took a train overnight back to Moscow. We checked into the hotel and then had a late lunch at the Hard Rock here in Moscow. Tomorrow we will be driving 3 1/2 hours to the Ryazan region to meet with officials. 

A Day in the Life of an Orphanage

A Day in the life

So… many of you probably wonder- ”If I were to hang out for a day at an orphanage… what would I see” And thus I present for you the following pictorial journey:   A Day in the Life.

You might get to meet the hen that enters the adolescent girl’s dorm.

Chicken in the dorm while the girls are doing their homework

 … for the sole purpose of laying an egg on one of the girl’s bed. Yes, the same girl. Yes, almost everyday.

Freshly laid egg on bed

 You might see a whole bunch of adorable little toddlers playing in the baby pool.

Our first swim!!!

 Or the huge group of 5-year-olds who jealously stand by watching and wishing they did not have to go back to school.

Man that looks fun!

 You will definitely see laundry… lots and lots of laundry!

More clothes than lines!

 And possibly a bunch of school aged boys who found a VERY fun toy (aka.. a wheel barrel, shovel and rocks).

Hard at work

 You might even get a dance lesson or two.

Kristi's first dance lesson in Colombia

 But only a select few… the most lucky of the lucky. Those who dare to dream. Will end their day at the orphanage by picking lice out of their hair.

The lucky ones.... de-licing

So folks. I hope that begins to give you an idea… mostly that one can NEVER know what to expect when stepping foot in an orphanage.  But you can be sure you will be amazed.