Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Miracles

Since I have been back from China, life has not slowed down one bit. Profiles, updates, outreach and advocating for the beautiful children I met. Each one has a place in my heart. Last Friday night, I met Erin Martin and her family for dinner. She was in NY and we met somewhere in the middle. Erin, Keith and the kids got to experience Friday night traffic in NYC. So sorry for that guys. Summer traffic , on a Friday everyone is going somewhere. I know Erin because she adopted her youngest daughter from Shanghai thru the Guang Ming partnership program. I had the privilege to meet their daughter twice when she was still in Shanghai. The first time I met her, was to create a profile for the partnership program. The second time I was able to bring pictures and sit with her daughter, look at pics together. Of the family and their life. I don't know how much she understood as she was young but her nanny understood. She started crooning to her, MaMa as she pointed to Erin in the pics. I am sure this process continued until Erin arrived to get her. To meet this wonderful little one, first in china and now here is one of the best moments of my life. To know how much her life has changed is one of the miracles of this process.


When I think about this process, I am amazed at how many families step outside their comfort zone and open their hearts to a waiting child. Many open their hearts to children with special/medical needs. Waiting children get a new future, a forever family. Truly a miracle. In our current life, how many times do we really get to see something like this. It is a bit of good news in the world today.

The Martin family gave me a wonderful gift by visiting. The chance to see their story as it unfolds and the joy of seeing their daughter with her forever family. Erin is advocating for waiting children on her blog. I will also be advocating for these children. We are hoping for these children to find their forever families. To see this miracle again and again.


Peace,

Pat

Monday, July 30, 2012

Abby is Packing Great Toys for the Kiddos

As my trip to Colombia is now only a few days away, the packing is officially underway! While attempting to pack for a two month trip to a country I’ve never been to has been difficult, I’ve been having a blast gathering supplies for the kids at Chiquitines. Last Friday, I spent a good half hour sitting cross-legged on the floor of Barnes and Noble browsing through Spanish children’s books. I was in Heaven. Si le Das una Galletita a un Ratón (If you Give a Mouse a Cookie)… I mean come on, how adorable is that?! I love reading children’s books in general (something I realized after working as a preschool tutor with Americorps’ Jumpstart program at Mizzou) and I find Spanish to be incredibly fascinating so children’s books + Spanish = bliss!





A few of the items I will be taking with me to Colombia: 

Contributions on my SuperKids donation page made the purchase of books and supplies possible, and I am truly grateful for that. Other items I will be bringing with me include:
  • Bubbles to target oral motor movements needed for feeding
  • Theraputty to improve developmentally appropriate grasp patterns
  • Toys with lights and sounds to target appropriate play and gross motor skills
  • Fastener boards with buttons, zippers, velcro, etc. to encourage fine motor skills needed for dressing
If you have any suggestions for other items to pack based on your experiences in similar situations (Colombia, orphanage, volunteer, etc.), feel free to send them my way. I would appreciate any input you may have!

Peace,

Abby

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Abby Leaves for Colombia in Two Days

I leave for Colombia soon!   Aaaaaaaaahh!

At this point, I am full of way more excitement than worry. Although, maybe it should be the other way around since I have yet to…
  • Begin packing
  • Find toys and books to take with me (anyone have any suggestions regarding finding used Spanish children’s books??)
  • Meet my fundraising goal (Hint hint: visit my donation page by clicking the “Donate” button above!)
  • Brush up on my medical Spanish (By “brush up”, I mean re-learn almost entirely…)
  • Find an apartment and arrange travel/moving to Atlanta for the job I just accepted and will start a whopping 12 days after I get back from spending eight weeks in South America. (I’m thrilled about this most recent bit of news! I’ll be working in spinal cord injury rehab at the Shepherd Center)
I reiterate: aaaaaaah!

In all seriousness though, it’s very exciting to have so many things before me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have such a long to-do list as the result of such a wonderful opportunity! I’ve been communicating with Janet Fink, the director of Superkids (the organization organizing my travels to Cali), more frequently lately, and she recently passed along the names and stories of three little ones who will be getting adopted into American families while I am in Cali. This made my upcoming trip seem significantly more real, and I can’t wait to meet them and be able to share pictures and videos with their future adoptive parents as I work with them at Chiquitines!

So if you have any tips for packing, studying, fundraising, Atlanta apartment rental or preparation for Colombia, please feel free to send them my way via commenting or by emailing me at abby.schuller@gmail.com. I also ask that if you are so inclined to pray that you keep me in your prayers and ask for adequate preparation, safe travels and a rewarding experience for the kids I will serve and myself. I appreciate it mucho.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Update from Pat

Christopher Robin to Winnie the pooh

"Promise me you'll always remember:  you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." -  A.A. Milne

I have been back from China about three weeks now and in many ways it seems like I was never there and in other ways it seems like I am still there.  I had such a diverse trip that I continue to have trouble processing all the things I observed there.  As I work this thru, I am fighting Jet lag, working on updates and thinking about the future.  What would be of assistance to these new children in the orphanages we visited?   That is when I call upon Winnie the Pooh.

On one trip, while working with an Ex Pat. volunteer, she told me if she had very little time, she would try to touch as many children as possible, because the children in orphanage crave touch. Indeed she was right, and they respond amazingly well to touch.  I have used this many times, to calm a crier.  In fact you will see me in many pictures, not looking at the kids but having them sit with me, in my lap.  Not looking, not making eye contact, but just holding them.  Touch is so powerful.  It is therapeutic just to touch the children more.  The other thing that is powerful is normal developmental positions.  Getting children on their bellies.  The dreaded Tummy time that has become such an issue here is also needed in China.  When in my mind goes to complex solutions, I remember to start simple.

Tomorrow, April, Erin Martin and I will be doing a webinair featuring some waiting children I met in China this trip.  April is the Asia program caseworker for Gladney.  Erin adopted a daughter through the Guang Ming program at Gladney.  Help us advocate for these children.  Let's help every child find a forever family.  I think that is simple enough.

Here is the link to the webinair.  Also stop over and visit Erin at her blog.
www.asiawaitingchild.wordpress.com

Http://martinsinchina1.blogspot.com


Peace,
Pat

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Webinar, available children


Superkids Trip to China - Gladney Center for Adoption

Webinar Registration

Please join us for an informational webinar where we will hear from Pat Marcus, a pediatric physical therapist who volunteers her time and talents visiting children in orphanages with medical needs through Gladney's Superkids Charity.  The webinar will focus on Pat's recent trip to China and she will talk about the children she met that are available for adoption through Gladney Center's China Waiting Child program.

Please pass this invitation along to friends and family members that may also be interested.  We hope everyone will be able to join us!  Click here to register https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/522900258

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meet Abby! She's going to Colombia!

Follow the travels and trials of a young lady with a head full of curls as she sets out to make her mark on the world as an individual in pursuit of something más.

In exactly 22 days, I will be embarking on my biggest adventure yet: an eight week volunteer trip to Cali, Colombia, where I’ll spend my time providing occupational therapy services to what I expect to be some pretty stinkin’ cute kids.  I’ll be working at the orphanage, Chiquitines, which serves children from birth to approx. age 13. 

In February, I received word that Superkids had an OT volunteer position available in Colombia.  A few weeks ago, I bought my plane ticket and in a few weeks, I’ll be off!  My official travel dates are August 1st through September 26th.

At this point, I know very little about what to expect when I arrive in Cali, but I anticipate I will find both very challenging and rewarding experiences.  As I prepare for my trip, arrive in Colombia, attempt to relearn Spanish and do my best to help the Chiquitines kids in any way I can,  I hope to share my experiences with you via this blog.

So here’s to my next adventure and discovering “something más” out of life! I’m glad you’re here to share in it with me!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Superkids 5K, Strasburg CO


 
 Hello all.

This news may seem a little early, but we are pleased to announce the SuperKids 5k: Run for Orphans is happening a little bit earlier this year.  The third annual race has been scheduled for August 12, 2012. We are very excited to be part of Strasburg Colorado Home Town Days celebrations this year. So make a trip to Strasburg and enjoy all the events, capping it off with a run to support orphans around the world.
 
Here are the details:
Date: Sunday August 12, 2012
Registration: 7:00-8:00 a.m.
Race Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
 
Location: Strasburg Valley Bank
*** note that the start location has changed from previous years***
Price: Pre-registration (T-shirt guaranteed)
online: $20.00
mail: $25.00
Day of Race: $30.00 (T-shirt while supplies last)
 
Prizes awarded to the top males and females in the following age groups: (Under 19) (20-29) (30-39) (40-49) (50+)
Online Registration:
Remember, if you can't be here... you can still support the cause as a Spirit Runner for SuperKids or sponsor and help provide valuable resources and education to support all the fantastic kiddos Gladney Center for Adoption and SuperKids works with around the globe.
Mail-in registration

Sponsorship Packet:
Email   janet.fink@gladney.org with any questions. Send all registration forms or sponsorship commitments to:
PO BOX 335 Strasburg, CO 80136

 
 
Happy Running!!
Keely O'Dell, DPT

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The China Team


I have been to China 6 times now. I leave a little bit of my heart here each time I come home.
 I wanted to talk about the support team here in China. I spoke about Mary in Nanchung last week. This week I need to talk about one of the most crucial members of the China team, Beijing Rocky. I first met Rocky last year when we were going to Harbin and Jiamusi. That was a really hard leg of a trip where we needed back up. He was great. Dealing with officials, as my second translator when Gongzhan was busy and all manner of making me feel comfortable. Preparing me for what would come next. Dealing with any problems that arose. Rocky also accompanied us to Nanchung this trip. Endured all those hours in the van and then helped me with the babies, translating medical records and serving as an interpreter for me with orphanage staff and foster Moms. He is familiar with hotels, airlines and all that is official in China. We call him our facilitator. He is a travel guide but even more, smooths our way, coordinates any issues that arise. He is in the central location of Beijing. That is where the CCCWA is located. They jokingly told him last week they had a desk picked out for him. Missing pieces are his specialty. Pulling a rabbit out of the hat, finding, collecting or working on what ever needs it . He will coordinate travel, rebook flights, help families who's flights are delayed. He once waited 8 hours in an airport for a family. Sometimes he will even make snacks for families, helping them any way he can. He retrieves documents, gets them where they need to be and is the helpful face at any official agency Gladney needs him at. If you go through Beijing with Gladney, you will meet him.  He has been so helpful in my trips, translating, facilitating and making me feel totally comfortable in even the most foreign situations. I do not know what i would have done without him.   
I have been privileged to meet and be supported by Beijing Rocky. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. Along with Ashley in Hunan, and Jack in Guangzhou this makes up Gladney's china support team. I have met Ashley who is also wonderful and an excellent English speaker as well as a kind and caring individual. I have yet to meet Jack. Maybe next trip.
We are so fortunate that Gongzhan has put together such an amazing team.  It allows me to be so effective and allows families to travel with comfort and support.  This is my thank you to Rocky, my thank you to Gongzhan for another incredible trip and my hopes that many families open their hearts to the wonderful children I met on this trip.  Then they too can travel to china to be united with their children and meet these incredible individuals who comprise the China team


Sunday, July 1, 2012


Superkids Love Pendant
 
Lisa Cohn, adoptive mom and studio jewelry designer, decided to apply her creative talents towards helping orphans after she and her husband adopted their daughter Lulu from China in 2004. Lisa couldn't forget the precious faces that she saw in China when they left to bring home their daughter, and after learning about Superkids Charity, she found a way to help the kids that were left behind and waiting to be adopted.

Lisa designed a unique Love Pendant that features the Chinese character for love.  After learning about Superkids' work in South America, she also created a special Mayan pendant.  The proceeds from these pendants go towards supporting the work that Superkids volunteers are doing in Asia and South America.





 



Lisa's lovingly handcrafted pieces are a beautiful way to support the work of Superkids and benefit children with medical needs whose biggest need is to have a family to call their own. You can learn more about the pendants here.