I'm Home

Well, I'm home and missing China already!

I got home late afternoon.  I am up for 2 hours and then want a nap.  I am still in china mode.  Thinking about the kids, dreaming about them as well. - saw the sweetest kiddos!!!!

Going out into the villages in JiangXi really gave me perspective.  In Shanghai I am used to more medical models.  The children are really managed medically with all China has to offer.  In JiangXi the children were cared for.  For the children with Cerebral Palsy, they would tell me, please find them parents because we want better for them than we can do here.  There are no sitting or positioning devices for those who cannot sit.  Chairs and positioning equipment is in short supply.  In one of the orphanages they did not put the children down enough.  They held them too much.  I know, that's weird right.  They were used to being held but not moving. They could not move from position to position.  Like lying down to sitting up.  Put place them on their feet and they could walk.  I did encourage some tummy time but think if I am not there, they will be afraid to try.

The caregiver ratio was pretty good.  Average seemed to be four to five children to a caregiver.  Really hard to be sure as it was a first impression.  All loving and kind.  Still all well bonded to caregivers.  I talked with the foster family to a baby and the grandma held the child all the time.  She would not cook for the husband or rest of the family if she thought the baby needed holding.

I am still processing all I saw.  Will share more stories soon.

Peace, Pat

Just as a Point of Interest Folks

I thought everyone might like to know what i have been eating and enjoying in China
I have been to China many times and have never been asked to eat anything unusual.  Until this trip.  Here is the list.  We ate most of the more unusual food in JiangXi.
Stinky Tofu-  a very smelly bean curd.  it is fried and served with a spicy pepper paste like sauce.  This was in Shanghai and i liked it very much.
A lot of the food in JiangXi was very spicy.  I do like spicy food, so no problem. 
Jellyfish-  tasted fine.  like those clear noodles in texture.  served in a sauce with vinegar and vegetables.  Tasted good.  I liked it.  if no one told me i would have thought it was those thick clear rice noodles.  They say Americans do not usually like it so i must not be American.
Frogs -  fried with veggies.  I skipped this one.  I do not eat anything i met in the bio lab.
Lots of duck -  not my favorite but we had duck skin in pancakes with sauce, scallions and cucumbers. quite good.
chicken claws.  they were deep fried and i passed on those too. 
Loads of fish and chicken with bones.  I reminded everyone i was working and not used to eating around bones and they did not want me to choke right?
i really have loved my time in China.  The kids are always in my heart.  Always great to be here and i miss it when i go home.  Think of all these children i saw this trip.  I like to be here but am missing my family too.   
I may blog tonight or not.  I have slowly been working through updates to Gladney families.  Love to all those special families who have opened their hearts to children.

Sweet Update

I finally feel well rested!  I can remember so many little moments from this trip. Helping the girl with Spina Bifida with her walker. Helping a baby get her hands down on the surface and on her tummy. A caregiver who took a baby who was crying from me and kind of gave me a lecture about making her cry. There were so many little moments in this trip.

This is my favorite:  - about a little boy who i first saw in November who was quite motorically delayed, really needed alot of help with developmental activities - he is now walking! Thanks to the caregiver i told you about before. I am lucky to be in contact with this amazing boy's amazing adoptive mom. She will be comming to get him soon. I think she travels in July. How i got connected with his momm is a funny story. She was sent my name by someone here who knew i had seen him. She is a speech therapist on the other side of the world. Here is his picture. This is a good lesson for us. - with proper therapy they catch up.  So many happy endings. I had this Mom's pic and showed his caregiver. She immediately took the phone and began explaing to the boy that was his MaMa.  Makes me cry with joy even now.



Can't Say Enough Good Things About Gongzhan

Gongzhan Wu is VP and managing director of the Asia Program.  He is truly an amazing man.  I want everyone to know that what I (we, Superkids )do for the children would not be possible without him.  He is an amazing individual.  I often tell him he should write a book.  His accomplishments are not important in this post but what he does for the children is.  Behind the scenes, he works with CCCWA, the Chinese government, provincial officials and orphanage leaders and directors.  Without his contacts we would not be able to get to the places we have been, or help the kids in the way we do.  I ask him to try to support the rehab staff to work more with the orphans, it happens.  I as for time to provide medical screening for children who are not with Gladney, it happens.  I have a baby that needs something special, it happens.  I tell orphanage staff that I will be skyping with Mr. Wu and they sit up and listen with more openness.  That is just the administrative side. 
He loves the children and will fight to get what is right for any child.  He is also the pied piper for the little ones.  90 % of the pictures you will see from this trip are taken by him.  He is playing soccer with the boys - asking the hard questions, how do you feel about being adopted?  Often at these moments i see him place his hand on their arm, an arm around their shoulders etc.  Creating a connection with them so they feel more comfortable.  This connection with children is not only concern for children in the orphanage.  Yesterday at the airport, a three year old came over and sat down next to him.  Started up a conversation.  This happens everywhere, even with the older kids. 
I have developed a great relationship with Gongzhan.  I treat him as the older brother i never had.  Enjoy teasing him and giving him a sass.  I affectionately call any trip to Asia, Gongzhan boot camp.  
All kidding aside, I am privileged to work with him,but the luckiest ones are the kids because he is in their corner and has their back.   
a little catching up
Remember the assistant director at one of the orphanages i told you about. Well Gongzhan and i worked on the photos this AM. here is her photo so you can all share in how i felt when meeting her. Here we are together and here she is working.

Today we met Nanchung Mary after breakfast. She took us to the Pavillion in Nanchung on our way to the airport. We took the elevator to the top and walked down. We also saw a performance that included dancing, singing and bell ringing. The pavillion is a lesson to us all as it has been destroyed and rebuilt something like 29 times. Maybe symbolic as these children we advocate for have to rebuild their lives. As the Pavillion got newer, It got bigger and more grand. As our children get older, life gets more complex and the scope gets bigger. I loved the pavillion today and i love Nanchung. I will send a pic or two.Last but not least. Here are Gongzhan and I again in another airport.
Now off to Beijing. 

Fountain Show

Thanks guys for all your support.  Love the kiddos.  That is why i am here.  To be a volunteer and be able to make a difference is the most rewarding even thing.  Like day before yesterday.  The support of adoptive parents makes it all worth it on the other side as well.  Its wonderful to be able to hug and love these kids

 Pat and Mary

I had a treat last night.  Mary, who is a notable guide in Nanchung had dinner with us.  She is terrific.  She actually motivated the weary travelers to go to a fountain show on the river here in Nanchung.  Her English is excellent and she is just one of those people who it is comfortable to talk to.  We will see her this am.  She will take us for a quick ride and tour around the city as we head off to the airport.  everyone is so Proud to show us the sights in Nanchung.  The hotel last night was great.  I am also sending a pic of the fountain show.

A Sweet Story

Hi readers thanks for commenting.  Yes all of the files are designated to Gladney.  I have seen children with mild needs to serious needs and yes there will be more on the girl with Spina Bifida.  This trip i have seen approximately 30 in JiangXi  and 8 in Shanghai.  We will be posting more about these children on Gladneys Asia waiting child web page.  I appreciate everyone who is praying for me and for these children.  They need your prayers and forever families to love them.  Lets pray for that too.

Today we went to an orphanage in Ying Gan.  Very sweet people.  Here is the story of the assistant director of Ying Gan.  

Ying Gan is 49 years old and was an orphan herself.  She was at the Ying Gan orphanage.  She was in foster care until she was school age the she was returned to the orphanage.  Heartbreaking.  She grew up the rest of her childhood in the orphanage.  She worked herself up there.  She is now assistant director in charge of the daily running of the orphanage, accounting etc.  She is married and her son is now 27 and is a teacher.  Doesn't this just make you love this place.  She is very open about being an orphan.  She was pleased we found her story inspiring.  Today when i was at the orphanage seeing children there was a 20 year old boy who lives at the orphanage and helps with the children.  He was great and they all followed him everywhere.    I wonder where he will go.  I find this exceptional.  The commitment to see their kids do well.  Will post more pics tomorrow.  


These are pictures from yesterday 

Thank You!

First, I would like to thank all my followers, friends and families who are supporting me during my trip.  You give me incredible strength!    I feel so honored to know all of you.  I am moved and inspiried by how much you care about these children who are so difficult to place.  There are no words to describe how special you all are.  Today I was reminded of how important our working together is - if we are going to bring aid and find homes for these kiddos.

Today was an extra emotional day. We left Shanghai on a 8:30 flight.  off to Nanchung.  We then drove 3.5 hours outside Nanchung to a more rural area social welfare institute.  We saw 12 children there.- amazing, smart, resilient children who's eyes sparkles with so much love!!  Some if these children, however, had significant medical issues - which still, after 30 years of experience, breaks my heart. Then we went to another orphanage over an hour away.  We drove down a very rural road, much of the time on the other side into oncoming lanes.  We saw more children there.  What am i worried about?  that they will not find forever families because they have medical issues.  Saw a beautiful child with spina bifida and i just do not know what will become of her if she does not find a family.  She is a blessing - is there a family out there who will recognize that?  She really needs the best care possible to be able to function.  Please pray for these kids.  Send them all your positive energy.  They really need it.      



Pictures of Cutie Pies

Bring em On!

I actually met 17 children yesterday.  Can you believe!  Back to my hotel for sleep.  Han apple and tea for dinner. Worked and then went back to sleep 1:30 to 6:00 AM.   Today i went to the orphanage, and saw about 20 children. Treated 3 in rehab, hung the sensory swing and in general made a pest of myself -p opping up in rooms, seeing as many children as I could, meeting caregivers i remembered.  I even met a doctor i knew who used to work in the rehab center.  It was old home week.  

Today' s post is not about me or my day.  It is about the caregivers of SCH.  Two in particular.  The first was the head of the "rose" garden for years.  The children are in different rooms that are in general classified by age or medical need.  Several rooms or an entire floor or building, make up a garden.  This caregiver is off from work now.  I'll call her "Miss R."  No one worked as hard as she did.  She wanted the best for all her children.  Fought hard for them. She on more than one occasion told me to stop making a child cry.  She would treat on the mats with me and manage the staff with one hand behind her.  Or she would come over, take the child from my arms and sooth them.  No one messed with her babies.  She was a fierce warrior, fair arbitrator and a could work tirelessly the whole day.  The second caregiver is "Miss J."  She is a wonder.  I had two children in her room today.  What lucky kids.   She started here with Miss R.- they worked in the same room for years.  As Miss R moved up, Miss J became head caregiver in the room next to Miss R's room.   I saw activities taking place in this room -  lacing, blocks, children on mats, and a sweet boy I saw in November made who made more than a year of progress since i last saw him.  All due to her tireless work.  She said to me today, a little rough translation but basically "its all about the right activities for the right child."  There is structure but there is play too.  I love her and i thanked her from all of us.  

These women are exceptional and the children more than deserve the exceptional care they give.   I am constantly amazed in the hardest of hard jobs, these women go above and beyond.  This is only one of the stories.  there are many more but lets call it a night and say a thank you to these women who work so hard to care for the children.  
Peace, Pat
Pics coming soon

Pat's in Shanghai and Working, Working, Working!

Ok radio silence here.

Guess what guys no twitter in China. I have sent a bunch of tweets to April who will post them for me. Should we call her my guest tweeter

Gongzhan and i arrived at shanghai Pudong airport at 9:30 pm Sunday night. I had not realized that there was no time to regroup prior to getting right in to the swing. I will summarize my day. Up at four because my inernal clock is screwed up. Off to SCH at 8:30. Met Gongzhan at the orphanage. We saw 15 children yesterday. Yes i cannot believe it. in addition i gave a special sensory swing to the rehab center, had lunch with the orphanage director. I do not know what we ate but it was good. Saw many children in the afternoon. Spent time in a baby room and did some treatment with some babies who the caregivers were concerned about. This was great. they saw me and the nannies just brought the babies. We stayed in the room and saw many children getting their evening meal. Congee with some sausage and veggies in it.

I was dirty and tired from all this work. We caught a ride back to the hotel with an official and Gongzhan had to almost force me from the car. I could have gone to sleep right then for the night. took a quick shower and then a nap. I have been up putting together expierences. I had tea and an apple in the room for dinner. I have been working since Around 9:30 PM and am now going to bed. I will post more pics tomorrow.



A Word About International Travel

We flew Delta and it's the best of the best.  Nicest crew and best food planes etc.  Everyone is just downright nice.  Need more water Hon?  What can I get you?  Just great!  But there are the seats,  quite cramped in economy.  The food was edible and fairly decent.  The entertainment was great.  Individual video screens, all the movies, TV and games you could ask for.

We have a layover In Tokyo then onto Shanghai.  We will get in around 10 pm.  That means
 there is no airport pick up.  Gongzhan wants to take the mag lev train.  Oh boy luggage and all.  Let's see how that works out.

Everything else aside, I will wake up tomorrow in Shanghai.  I will get up, go to the orphanage and see beautiful children.  Should be a productive great day.  Can't wait.

Gongzhan and I have switched roles.  He is off shopping duty free.  More updates tomorrow.


Follow Pat on Twitter

Pat is leaving for China today!  Her suitcase is sooooooo full!  She will be blogging as much as she can, but she and Gongzhan will be tweeting more.  Please follow her journey on twitter to get the play by play experience:)

Her twitter name - Superkids_Pat

At this Stage

At this stage of trip planning, I get very nervous. What will I forget? I have a recurrent dream, where I get to China, open my suitcase and it's empty. Then I remember, it's China, not the moon. What kids will I see? Will I have enough time to see everyone and do everything I want to? Of course not! Will there be time to have those quiet moments where time slows down, you don't see the room, only the child.

Sometimes when you connect with a child, the room gets quiet. The other people present fade away, it's just you and that child. Even without translation you can really find out who that child is. Will they begin to play, do you have to lead them there, once they start playing can they keep going?

When I enter an orphanage room, I look around and notice things. How many kids? How many caregivers? Is it clean? Are the children clean? Are there toys? How are the babies handled? Do they reach for the caregivers? When the caregivers hold them, do they faces them towards themselves or away from themselves? Then when you want to connect with a child you need to let all this fade away. I could be sitting in my living room when I connect with that child. I need to be that comfortable so surrounding does not matter.

I sometimes go back to my hotel at night and am hot, tired, dirty and sad. I take a hot shower, regroup and do the same thing the next day. Its all about the kids.

I have another recurrent dream. I walk into an orphanage and the rooms are empty. All the children have forever families. I lke this dream much better.


Pat PT


I am often struck by how people believe something can't be done. They just assume, it will be hard so why try. By hard I mean next to impossible. I try not to think like that. I think, well how can we do this impossible thing. I try to approach things with an out of the box train of thought. This often requires a back to front type of logic. See the end goal and work backward step by step.

What is my end goal from this trip? Homes and forever families for every child I profile and meet. How will we do this? Get the word out, raise awareness, talk to anyone and everyone. I used to believe children with severe disabilities would be unlikely to find families. Not anymore. I see so many families adopting children with significant disabilities. Their heats are so big. They see all children as people not as their disability. I talk to anyone who will listen about the children I meet. I read constantly, looking for commonalities. Anything that can help in my quest.

I have always been an optimist. I am the one who believes big companies want to know if their product does not live up to expectations. I fill out every product survey. Answer every opinion poll. Etc. why? Because I believe we can change anything if we try hard enough. Can one of us make a difference in anything? Yes, of course we can. It is why I volunteer. I will succeed if one child finds a forever family, because that child may be the next Albert Einstein, the next YoYo Ma, the next madam currie. I will succeed if I hold one child's hand and make them feel loved even if its only for the afternoon. 

But let's aim for helping more.............

Does that change the world? You bet it does.

Peace, Pat, PT

What does it take to go to China?

what does it take to go to China?  Well here is my packing list.  I am actually learning how to travel lighter.

6 scorts
3 pairs of pants
Sweater for flights
10 shirts
Light jacket
Rain coat
12 pair undies etc.
10 pairs of socks

Face wash
Face cream
Tooth brush
Acid reducer
Epi pen
Asthma meds

Wireless hub
40 profile sheets(4 pages each, which means a lot of paper)
Dry erase board and markers
Lists/profile translations all the kids
Things from families for children
Sensory swing(quite large)
Gifts to the orphanage staff,shanghai
One group gift for jiangxi

50 cutout Edna's
( you will see more about this, we hope to have kids color the Edna's and post.  Edna Gladney cut outs were used to celebrate Gladney's 125 anniversary)

Oh my gosh. I just got a new suitcase with spinner wheels. One of those hard cases.  I hope it all fits.  Maybe I will need to take less clothes.  That would give me room for more toys.



One week to go

A week from Saturday Gongzhan and I will be leaving for China.  I am nervous, excited and feel not ready at all.  My life is filled with lists and items checked off daily.  Unfortunately, items are also added daily.  Am I ready for complete reversal of day and night?( 12 hour difference to Shanghai)   Am I ready for the intense heat and humidity?  Am I ready for carrying tissues and Squatty Pottys.  No.

Here is what I am ready for.  I am ready for seeing all the kids.  I am ready for helping children find forever families.  I am ready for working with the kids in the orphanage.  I am ready to see the rehab staff.  I am ready to see some of the already matched children.  I am ready to tell children that they have parents who are waiting for them.  I am ready to hold and hug children who may not find families.  I am ready to let them know they are special.

I guess I am ready for what is important.



The Great Wall

I am getting ready for this trip to China. Doing outreach to families, conferencing daily with Gongzhan, April and Janet, making personal preparations( clothes, phone, etc.) thinking about what I really do in China.  Gongzhan and I were speaking the other day and we were reviewing all my trips to China.  This will be my 6 th trip.  I have been in five provinces and seven cities.  I have hundreds of pictures and am often asked to show my pictures of China.  I do this and sometimes people are surprised.  Almost all my pictures are of the inside of orphanages.

My cousin asked me to come by his office to see my pictures. I showed him and he said, very nice but all your pictures are of orphanages, children.  Are there any adults in China?  Did you see anything else?  Not so much.  What about the Great wall???  I've seen a Great wall.  A Great wall of children. Tall, short, smiling, crying, laughing, It breaks my heart.  Some will find families, some won't.  So many children.  How can we make a difference.  Have you heard the starfish story?  A grandma and grandson are walking a beach littered with starfish. Grandma leans down and picks one up throws it back into the water and the grandson says, grandma, look at all these starfish.  what difference will it make throwing one starfish back?  How does it matter?    Grandma says, it matters to the starfish.

We can all make a difference to a child.  Raise awareness, advocate, talk about waiting children let people know they are out there.  As long as we do this, they are not alone and forgotten.  Every child that finds a family is one less starfish stranded on the beach. I like my beach free of starfish baking in the sun.  I like all the starfish swimming happily in the ocean and all children with forever families.


I am still fundraising for this trip so if you can help, visit my trip page on the link below.  My goal is $3000 more for this trip.  See more why we need the funds in upcoming blogs but briefly, travel to china is expensive, we try to make the most of each trip and move between at least three cities.  We also bring supplies, toys, sensory cushions, and books to orphanage rehab staff who are forever grateful.  Here is the link. http://ontheirown.org/join-the-challenge   Follow the link and contribute under my name.


Adoption Found Me in a New Way

Pat with teens from SCH

I am Pat Marcus and have worked for more than 25 years as a pediatric physical therapist.  Up to 50 percent of my practice has encompassed adopted babies and children.  I have worked with children from Eastern Europe,  Africa, Asia, and South America . The greatest majority of children have come from Asia and Russia.  I have always been amazed at the courage of the families and the children who find each other and become a forever family.

One day when working with a family who had adopted a daughter with special needs from China, the mom asked me if I would like to help more children from her daughters orphanage.  Of course I would.  Ha!!  I thought fundraiser for a playground or formula.  No no..  What she had in mind was hands on help.  Go to china, hold the babies, train the caregivers, do some hands on therapy,  Wow.  All that is great but I Hate to travel.  Can I get there by boat?  Hate to fly, even hated it pre 9/11.  I am not sure why planes stay in the air and there are all those people who have to maintain and service them.  Are we really sure about all that.  Not like a car if the check engine light goes on can you pull into the nearest gas station.

OK, get past the travel and the plane, there are children who could use love and help and I am there.  We partner with the Gladney Center for Adoption and Gongzhan Wu arranges our entry to the Shanghai Children's Home.  Our first trip included, myself, another PT, and Janet Fink, Superkids' founder.

We had eight days round trip.  Boy did we rock that trip.  I flew without dying of fright, we saw so many children in the orphanage, it was overwhelming.  Half a day spent with rehabilitation professionals in china, half a day in the orphanage activity rooms, children neither walkers coming in class after class, at least 15 children at a time.  We worked on tummy time, facilitated crawling and movement to prevent developmental delays.  We tried to keep a count and thought we worked with 200 children in the afternoons that week.  very night we all came home, hot tired and cried in the shower.  How many children were there.  Would they ever find families.  We left after a week, exhausted, sad, happy but anxious to go back.

Each trip has been different.  I have cried and laughed, held many waiting children, gotten many high fives and hopefully helped.  So far in China I have visited, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, Hunan,  Harbin and Jiamusi.  In Taiwan, I have visited, Taipei and Taichung.  This upcoming trip I will go to Jiangxi provence.  Heavens, China in the summer.  Please say prayers for me, for strength, for wisdom and for families to love these children.  We know I already do. 

So if it's in your heart please help me help these kids.  It is my heart and love to help children experience the joy, sense of belonging of a forever family. Hopefully it is in yours too.  

Peace, Pat

How Superkids Began


In February 2005, we traveled with our son to Shanghai to adopt our daughter, Jeannie. Jeannie was a special needs orphan living at the Shanghai Children's Home (SCH), one of China's nicest and largest special needs orphanages.

Jeannie was placed in SCH at age three months because her eyes flickered rapidly and crossed (her eyes are now straight). Jeannie's special needs status made her difficult to place for adoption and we received her referral when she was almost two years old.

On Februrary 16th, we went to SCH to take Jeannie home. As we entered her nursery, a large gang of toddlers hobbled over, arms reaching forward calling, “Mama!” to each of us. We were overwhelmed with joy at seeing Jeannie dressed up for her special day in the midst of the chaos and happy cacophony of the SCH Snoopy room. The Snoopy room serves as home, dining hall, playground, and classroom for about twenty toddlers with various medical conditions – all happy, energetic, and wonderful.

Jeannie bonded with us immediately, especially when we helped feed everyone congee for lunch. Jeannie loved playing peek-a-boo with her new big brother, stacking paper, and taking walks outside in the rain. She was happy, inquisitive, and we were a terrific family of four.

Children with mild medical issues can show significant motor and speech delays. Although Jeannie was intellectually and physically healthy, her visual issues and monocular vision affected her development. She was afraid to walk and had trouble targeting objects, so her muscles atrophied. She walked pigeon-toed, falling down frequently. She could not feed herself, roll a ball, or turn pages in a book.

Jeannie started physical, occupational, and speech therapy as soon as we returned to New York. Within a month, Jeannie's feet straightened 70%, she fed herself (constantly) with a fork and only fell occasionally. Blessed with outstanding therapists, she started to catch up.

Jeannie made such astounding progress with therapy that we naturally wished she could have received these needed services in the orphanage. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all orphans could receive these vital services, even those without special needs! Early therapies would make a tremendous difference for hard-to-place children, who need and deserve all the advantages we can give them.

From these wishes, with the help of the Gladney Center and some incredible therapists, Superkids was born and took it's first trip to the Shanghai Children's Home in 2007. Since then, Superkids has expanded it's services to children living in Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Taiwan. Please follow our blog to catch up on our latest trips. http://superkidscharity.blogspot.com/

 Janet and Jeannie

Jeannie is now nine and half. She is an outstanding reader and singer. She loves to swim, fence, and laugh everyday with her big brother.

Superkids is making it's 7th trip to China next week.  Superkids' physical therapist, Pat Marcus, will travel with Gongzhan Wu (Gladney VP and Director of Asia Programs) to Shanghai and the Jiangxi province.  (Read her post below to learn more about her u ).  Pat is passionate about advocating for orphans!  She gives them a voice and a chance to find a forever family.