Monday, November 21, 2011

Sorry everyone, I was unable to blog for the last several days in china. 

I've had a chance to reflect on what an incredible day we had at the foster care station.  I loved meeting all of the children.  It is over whelming to reach out and touch the hand of a child who is waiting for a forever family.  All these children are cared for and most came with a caring foster parent, foster grandparent or foster aunt.  Those who didn't, came directly from school in their school uniforms( so cute)with officials from the foster care station.  They'll smiled, laughed and were ever so cute.  The other thing that was great about this day was meeting children who are matched with families.  These children are bright, articulate and just beautiful. To hear more about these children register for the Gladney asia waiting children's webnair on Dec 1st.

Once Gongzhan and I got on our flight, we flew 3 hours to Harbin.  This is in very northeastern China.  We arrived there around 10 pm. We were met by Rocky and Susan.  Rocky would help facilitate travel/photography for the next several days, Susan is an official in the province with the CCCWA. We stayed in an older Russian inspired hotel that was very beautiful.  The next morning we were met by Susan who took us to see a center for the treatment of cerebral palsy.  There was some very good treatment going on.  There was also a nice mix of Easter and western treatment going on. I was impressed and would have liked to have more time there.

After this, we took the van for a trip to Jiamusi social welfare institute which is about 3 and a half hours outside of Harbin - very close to the Russian border.  It is a large orphanage that is clean, newly refurbished and the children I saw were very well cared for.  They have many new rehabilitation rooms and are beginning to build a rehab program.  I was able to greet many children and work briefly with some really cute boys.


Following our time in the orphanage we had a meeting with the officials, orphanage director, and staff.  This group was so welcoming we really felt connected to them.  We left the orphanage in Jiamusi and checked into a beautiful hotel where we were treated to a banquet by a provincial official.  What a beautiful welcome - the food was great!

The next morning I was off to the airport for a flight to Beijing.  I was a little nervous about the Jiamusi airport thinking it was so small.  I was convinced it would be a 6 passenger propeller plane.  If everyone does not know, I am afraid of flying and it's a miracle I fly to china.  The plane ended up being a jet and I got to Beijing fine.  Checked into a familiar hotel and spent the afternoon shopping. Off to bed by 8 then to the airport the next morning at 5:00 am.
What a whirlwind the last three days.  Continue to follow my blog in the next few weeks for more info, reflections and china updates.  Don't forget the webnair either.

Also, it is national adoption month.  Support, think of and pay tribute to everyone in this process. Birth mothers, foster families, adoption case workers, orphanage caregivers and all the children waiting for forever families.  They are in my heart today and always.


Peace, Pat
PT


I forgot to update you all on Edna.  Edna Gladney traveled to Harbin and rode in the van with us to Jiamusi.  You can see her picture at the airports in pudong with gongzhan and Jiamusi with me.  It was edna's choice to stay in china. She skipped the return journey home with me.  More children to see, more orphanages to visit.  Truly living out her reputation.  You go Edna!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gladney Partnership Children in Foster Care

I spent today evaluating Gladney partnership children from the Shanghai Children's Home Foster Care Center.  These children are available for adoption through Gladney.

In the morning, I saw four children who were in TERRIFIC shape.  They had minor to no issues at all.  One very bright, confident, and handsome boy spoke to me a few words in English! He was friendly and engaging and so full of love! 

In the afternoon, I evaluated two more children who had minor issues.  One boy had an issue with his stomach as a baby, but that issue has resolved, so he has no medical issues now.  The other child has a deformity of his wrist and hand on one side.  He was very capable and had a lovely personality.  They were both friendly and so, so sweet.

Many waiting orphans have very minor or no issues at all.  They are healthy- physically, emotionally, and intellectually.  I feel honored to work collaboratively with Gladney and the Shanghai Children's Home to find forever families for these children.  We want people to know that there are boys available for adoption as well as girls from China.  Many of these boys are smart, sweet, and just waiting for a home.


More partnership updates tomorrow,
Peace, Pat
PT

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lots of Love and a Busy Day at Shanghai Children's Home

 

Today, I joyfully returned to the Shanghai Children's Home (SCH) - for the 5th time!  I have grown so attached to the children and staff here.  They are a second family.
Most of today, I trained SCH caregivers and rehabilitation staff.  I was graciously received by Sonya, Roy and Valen.  I am happy to say that I had a great day!  In the morning, I evaluated children with a variety of needs and presented ideas and methods for treatment.  In the afternoon, I worked intensely with caregivers in charge of caring for orphans with cerebral palsy (CP).  
Once again, I was impressed with the caregivers, particularly those in charge of children with CP.  Children with CP usually respond very well to proper intervention.  The caregivers at SCH really love these kids and had so many insightful questions and ideas.  I demonstrated techniques that improve positioning, breathing, and movement so that these children have an improved quality of life, and the caregivers an easier job.  
I worked a long time with a beautiful boy with severe CP.  He was very difficult to position and without proper positioning, it is difficult for children with CP to move at all.  His caregiver, however, was bright and eager to learn.  She quickly learned how to set his body into good alignment and...... in 1 ,2 3, she positioned him without my help so that he could lift his head up and say "goodbye" to us.  
Children like this boy will unlikely find a forever family to call his own.  But helping children learn to sit up, so that they can see people face to face and view the world, brings them out of darkness and into some light.  
As our day came to a close, I was blessed to observe a beautiful expression of love between two waiting children.  A boy with only mild issues shared his cookie with the boy who had severe cerebral palsy.  

What a great day!
Getting ready to evaluate partnership children.  More to come soon.

Peace,

Pat,
PT



Monday, November 7, 2011

More Adventures with Edna

 Gongzhan and Edna on the high speed train


On Saturday morning Gongzhan, Edna and I traveled to TaiChung via high speed train.  This is no easy job considering the amount of luggage we had.  I am sending you some photos of Edna on the train.  The trip to Taichung, which is in the center of Taiwan, only took an hour.  The train runs thru mountains, fields and cities.  In the midst of mountains, remote areas, or cities we could see very beautiful temples.  Taichung is a large city.  Not like new york, but still large.  
We checked into our hotel and then were off to a quick lunch and meeting with the officials from the New Hope program.  They are very gracious.  I gave a presentation and Gongzhan did much work on the program with them. Everyone had a great time taking pictures with Edna.  She was an honored guest. 
It is clear that Gongzhan is very well respected. Traveling with him is an honor.  The officials from New Hope hosted us for dinner at a restaurant that specialized in seafood.  We saw fish lips, frogs, kidneys from who knows what animal, and lastly crocodile jaws.  I was good with everything but the crocodile.

Gongzhan, Edna, and New Hope Staff
 
The next day I was off to Shanghai.  On my way to the airport, my facilitator, Mr. Yeh decided I needed more sightseeing, so on the way to the airport, he stopped at the Grand Palace Hotel, host to Madame Chiang Kai-shek  Kai Sheck.  We also visited the Tomb of the Martyrs. I thought Mr. Yeh was great. 
I arrived in Shanghai without a problem but Edna got stopped for a security scan.  They were quite inquisitive about her.  I explained we are celebrating 125 years at the Gladney Center and it's Adoption month. They just shook their heads and let us through.  I was met at the airport by Roy from Shanghai Children's Home.  Edna and I both received a gracious welcome.  The last time I saw Roy was in NYC.  

Tomorrow I begin evaluating the partnership children from the Shanghai Children's Home.  I can't wait to see the kids.


Pat,
PT

Friday, November 4, 2011

Travels with Edna and a Great Day at Chengyi Orphanage

Gongzhan, Edna, and I made it to Taipei!

As part of Gladney's 125th Anniversary Celebration, Gladney staff, families, and volunteers are taking life size cutouts of Edna Gladney wherever they go.  When I arrived at JFK, Gongzhan was there - with Edna!

 
 Note Edna's stylish rain gear.

Edna enjoyed the airport. They let her thru security because they said she was not much to scan as she is a cardboard cutout.  We arrived in Tokyo aprox 14 hours later.  Good flight, but due to limited seating Edna was stuck in the overhead bin.  She did not mind the bin except during turbulence.  

Here is Gongzhan and Edna in Tokyo airport.  
 Edna looks refreshed , Gongzhan not so much. We had a moment when we realized Edna did not have a passport or visa.  She cleared security easily.  

Here were are in the hotel after a good nights sleep. 
 Here is Edna and Mr. Yeh our facilitator. We lost Edna for a while today because we forgot she was in the trunk.


 
 Here is Edna at the Chengyi orphanage. 


Today we visited the Chengyi orphanage in Taipei.  The director and staff welcomed us graciously.  It is clear they care deeply about all the children under their care.  There are older children without issues as well as special needs children for whom we will try to find forever families.  
I met two boys at Chengyi today and they were so great!  One boy is eight and is supposed to have trouble focusing.  He was well connected, he followed all my directions.  He was the sweetest boy whose focus was excellent when working with me.  He was such a beautiful spirit!  The second boy is ten and had been diagnosed with ADHD, but he no longer needs medication.  He has been at the orphanage over 4 years, goes to school, and is an excellent student.  He was a delight! 
Each boy drew me a picture and the older boy identified the things on his picture in English words because he is already learning English in school.  He was so sweet and his eyes sparkled. 
These two boys are happy and playful and so need forever families.  I wanted to take them both home with me.  They are just out there waiting for a family to love them and say they matter.  For right now they matter to me and I will think of them here dreaming of their forever families.   

More tomorrow, 
Pat,
PT

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Magic of Adoption


Less than 24 hours to go before I leave for China.  I was shocked today when we lost power for the first time since the storm.  Of course it was right after I put all my extra clothes into wash.  I had several minutes of anxiety and then remembered how many people have been without power since Saturday.  Needless to say the power is now back on and clothes are drying.

Today I am reflecting on something Janet Fink (Superkids founder) once said to me.  She said she did not want to miss out on the magic of adopting.  I think there is an amazing magic of a child that is grown in your heart.  Of that child finding his or her way to you, the parent.  Also, the magic of this new person you get to meet who will be part of the center of your family.  I think of the parents and the children as two glimmering lights on opposites of the world, waiting to unite.  I am uniquely lucky to be part of the process that brings these lights together.  I have been lucky to meet some of the parents who are adopting children from the partnership program.  I feel very lucky to be assisting in this process.  How happy and lucky can I be to meet all these wonderful children and so many great families! I can just feel the magic.

Pat
PT

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Mission

I am thinking a lot about what my mission is in China and Taiwan this trip.  Every time I travel it is with a great deal of hope and thoughtfulness about the future.  I meet many children when I am in China.  I meet a large number of children with minor disabilities.  Many of their issues are not really considered disabilities here in the USA.  They don't effect how the kids will live nor will they make life harder in the long term.  These are the children who are part of the partnership program with the Shanghai Children's Home. Our goal with the partnership children is to help them find their forever families.  We speak to prospective parents and try to give them an idea of what the children are like.

There are many other children that I get to meet and work with who have serious  medical issues.  These children will probably not find forever families.  My goal with these children is to make them feel special and loved - to assist in their rehabilitation and with any special needs they have.  I think about these children when I get in bed at night.

Today, let's think about all the children in orphanages, not just in China, but around the world.  Let's send all the positive energy we can to all these children.  I hope they can know that in some way, there are people who love them.

Peace,
Pat
PT