And then there were three

Yesterday was a quiet day.  We were tired but did a little  shopping,  We came back to .the Hotel and worked on the profiles of waiting children.  I think we were all a little quiet because on Saturday, Dr Darla Wrage returned to the states.  We will miss her.  She has provided invaluable help on this trip.  Our assessments were improved  by her expertise.  In a matter of one week she became our friend and one of the four musketeers.  She survived hot rooms, loads of children, Squatty potties and glass walled bathrooms with us.  We miss you Darla.

So Chelsea, Erin and I are in ChangSha, in the Hunan province. Again we are supported by Gongzhan and Rocky.  You just have to love them.  Always energetic, Alwaysup for the next challenge.  It is VERY hot in ChangSha.  It is considered one of the Asian "hot pots" according to Gongzhan.  Some of the unusual foods we were offered here included, braised snake, duck tounges, lychee soda and several types of Jerky.

Today we will visit ChangSha no. 1.  So here we go.  We are ready for meeting more special kiddos. 

These are some of the cute moments from the past several days.
Sometimes words fail to express the emotions associated with the day.  I want to share so many stories that this post would be three pages long.  I met a beautiful girl today who was deaf.  She made sounds for pleasure but could not say any words.  She was so happy, and sweet.  She is learning some sign language.  Unfortunately she was in an accident and is missing the fingers on one hand.  that will make it difficult for her to complete a lot of signs in the traditional manner.

I am meeting with a variety of younger and older kiddos.  Severe medical needs and small medical needs.  Many that are a puzzle.  I also met an older boy who was super skinny and could not use his legs.  All the other children were not so skinny so eventually we were able to deduce he has a disorder that causes muscles to shrink.  He was so smart and wrote his name in characters for us. I just adore him.  We made him promise to eat everything offered and try to move his arms around more.  Gongzhan showed him exercises with a water bottle.  Yes, thats correct, Gongzhan!  I guess he was listening all these trips.

I have hope that every boy and girl will find that forever family to love them.  A home, brothers, sisters and a bright clear future.  That is what we mean at Gladney by Guang Ming.  The bright clear future each child is entitled and so richly deserves.  Guang Ming kiddos! 


Here are some pictures from the day

Greetings from JiangXi province

We are in the JiangXi province and today gives new meaning to exhaustion.  We left our hotel in Shanghai at  5:45 am. We flew to the JiangXi province.  We were met by provincial officials boarded a van and drove two hours from the capital city to our first stop.  We evaluated six children there.  This is a SWI we have been to before so we knew the setup and the people.   This is the orphanage where one of the director's assistants was an orphan in this institution herself.  She has been working here for quite awhile and has her own family now.  So after we worked with the kiddos, we got back in the van and drove 3.5 hours to our next stop.  It was 8:30 pm by then.  The goal for today is to see 13 children in this city, then drive three hours to our next destination.  If everything goes as planned, we will see 50 children here before we move onto Hunan province.  We saw almost 30 children in Shanghai.  We are just trying to think of each day not total numbers as its too overwhelming.  All these kiddos need forever families.

In the early morning, I am reflecting on three of the children we met today.  One was a little cutie who came in with a cleft lip palette.  His foster mom brought him in and she was so sweet. She had been the foster mom to another child we met today.  When the other boy cried, she ran over with her current foster child and held them both on her lap. She really has a mothers heart.  There was another boy who has Spina Bifida.  He could do much more than we expected and he gets around by crawling.  We heard one of the other children speaking to the director.  The translation was, "hello, director mommy".  We came here last year so we know the director and the staff.  This is the SWI where one of the directors assistants was an orphan in this orphanage growing up.

The electronics have been challenging, here.  I could not get on email last night and my phone has just stopped working.  I will try for pictures later.  I am thinking about all the children we have met and all the children we are going to meet who need to find their forever families.  I am holding them in my heart until they do.  Hope you will too.


Our bags are packed

Well almost.  JiangXi here we come.  We will travel to Nanchung and the take a van out to five different orphanages so follow along.

It is always bittersweet to leave Shanghai.  We will miss the kiddos, the staff and everyone at the social welfare institute.  This orphanage is where Superkids began.  Yet we are excited.  On to new orphanages and a different pace.  I will leave you with a shanghai story.  We saw a little boy on Monday who every time I put him down he ran to me to be picked up.  Such a sweet little bug.  The joy is I have been speaking with his parents.  I am passing along their hugs to him.  What a special moment.  

Off to JiangXi.  

Goodbye Shanghai, until next time!

We have had an amzing two days at Shanghai Children's Home, filled with laughter and tears. These kids are amazing, full of potential and special spirit. We could tell that everyone in the orphanage, from the director to the caregivers and even one of the children really enjoyed and appreciated Erin Martin's video of Shanghai kids before and after adoption. While watching the video, people were talking, smiling, and yelling out the Chinese names of kids they remembered.

Darla getting down to eye-level with the kids
After sharing the video, we then began focusing on spending time meeting a new group of children who are designated to Gladney Center and are waiting to be adopted by their forever families. We also did a lot of baby hugging and played with the older kids. 

By the way, we hope you can spread the word about these wonderful kids! We head off to JiangXi Province tomorrow at 5am! 

First day at Shanghai Children’s Home

Here's a quick update! Yesterday we spent the day at Shanghai Children's Home and met a number of children. Although they all had a different story, they were each beautiful and special. Some of the children especially took a liking to us. Chelsea looked at some books with an older girl, who enjoyed showing us all the English words she knew. I turned around once to see Erin snuggling a baby, and one little boy walked over to me every time someone put him down.

These were such special moments we shared with the kids. The sweetness of the day came back to the hotel with all of us. We all feel so lucky to spend some time with these wonderful children.


Child Tribute Quilt

We are getting ready for breakfast and then off for the day at Shanghai Children's Home. We are so excited that Erin and I have been up half the night. Hopefully Chelsea and Darla did better. I thought before we go this morning, I would post some pictures of the waiting child tribute quilt for the CCCWA.

It's really big, so it's difficult to see it, but I took a close up too. 

Here we go waiting kids; you are in the hearts of so many. We want you all to have a forever family.

The team is on the ground

We are now all in Shanghai. Darla tangled with some nasty storms to get in but arrived safely at about 9 pm last night. She was met at the airport by Gongzhan, while Erin was met by our Shanghai contact.

Although jet lag is keeping me up at 2 am, I have taken this opportunity to look over all the pictures of children from Shanghai. Every one of them is so beautiful and I will miss this quiet, precious moment I am sharing with these photos. We are so excited and can't wait until tomorrow!

We arrive with gifts and wishes!

Greetings from Shanghai Chin! Chelsea and I survived the 15 hour flight by watching plenty of movies, sleeping, walking, stretching and of course, drinking lots of water. We were met at the airport by our contact at the Shanghai Children’s Home and chatted the whole way to the hotel. We are now trying to get acclimated. A shower, a walk and a bowl of noodles for dinner have all helped.  

We are looking at all the things we have brought for the children, which include balloons, sensory brushes, developmental toys, balls, bubbles, crayons and paper, profile sheets, and a scroll made by children in a Families with Children from China group. We also have a collection of wishes that children who were adopted wrote for the kids who are still waiting...kind of like an adoption fortune cookie. A quilt (almost 5 x 8 feet!) of pictures that children who were already adopted made to remember the kiddos that still wait. We will present this quilt to the CCCWA to let them know that we appreciate their work, but also to remember all those kids that still wait. Now I know why my suitcase was overweight!

The one thing we cannot bring these kids is the joy of having a forever family. But, we may help some parents get to know these children a little better and hopefully fall in love with them. 

Before I get some rest tonight, I want to leave you with a few wishes written for waiting children by children who already got their dream.

"I wish everyone has a family "

Her sister, also a China adoptee, wrote,

"I wish for people adopting kids"

I agree. Those are my wishes tonight too. Let’s all dream about that.

Next Stop -- China!

This suitcase holds the hopes and dreams of over eighty kids in China. So ready or not, here we come!

Shanghai Kiddos --- Watch the Miracle!

Here is the reason we all do what we do - the kids! Erin Martin and I were so inspired by a video we saw of pre and post adoption pictures put together by an adoptive mom that Erin created a wonderful video of children adopted from Shanghai. You can see how these kiddos change with the love of a forever family - look at their eyes. They are loved and happy.

Thank you to Erin and all the families who shared their children's pictures. Heartwarming images for everyone from Shanghai to you... 

Here is the link: Watch the miracle.

We are almost there.

Today is the day to stress out over  what I will forget.  Will it be my tooth brush, the camera or something else?  As long as I arrive at the airport with my passport and the profile sheets for the developmental screenings, it will be a successful trip.  So here we go.  we are all excited.  The entire team just wants to hug some babbies, hold some hands and play with some older kiddos.  We have been preparing for this trip for a very long time.   We are Just ready to work with the kids.   So  a quote to close. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step-  Lao-tzu.

Boy can you say that again.  Can't wait.



Only three more night’s sleep at home

Who could believe our trip would be here so fast?  Three more nights and we will leave for China.  Wow!  I can close my eyes and picture myself there.  This weekend, we all focused on final preparations including packing our suitcases.  Mine contains 80 profile sheets that will be filled with information about waiting children.

These children will be beautiful, unique and all waiting for their forever families.  Some will be girls, but many will be boys.  A large percentage of the shared list is boys.  This year, Superkids is going to highlight many beautiful children.  We are also going to highlight the problem that being a boy is a special need, in China it makes you less likely to be adopted.  The sad fact is, the girls on the list are picked first and the boys remain on the list for a long time.  So, I would like to share this goal with you all: we want every child to find a Mom, Dad and family to love them forever!  Boys, girls, older, younger, large special needs or small ones.  They all need families.

You can participate in this trip by advocating for these beautiful children.  Share information about these kiddos; put the link to our Superkids blog on your blog, or Facebook page.  Talk about waiting children.  Join us in our journey and our goal of forever families for all the children!

Itineraries Received!

Everyone on the Superkids team received the trip itinerary last night.  Final preparations are taking place.  Erin has collected a special slide show of before and after pictures from parents who have adopted from Shanghai Children's Home.  Developmental toys are arriving daily to my house.  There is just excitement in the air.

All for the children.  We may screen as many as 80 children.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if all 80 found their forever families?  We plan to reach out and help many more.  We are reminded that the greatest gift for a child is a loving home.  A Mom, Dad and loving family.  Our greatest hope is that all the children we meet find their forever families.  For those who don't, we love them, hold them and play with them.  They are in our hearts. 

So get ready kiddos, here we come!  Everyone, please step forward, make a difference, spread the word.  There are beautiful amazing children just waiting for their forever family to find them.

14 more days ‘til I leave for China

Wow!  Gongzhan said, pack 80 profile sheets.  Each sheet is 4 pages.  Wonder how much that will weigh?  I will also be transporting the Waiting Child quilt to the CCCWA.  The quilt is roughly 60x90.  Then, we need developmental toys, the wishes for orphans tied to lollipops, crayons and a few blocks.  I think with taking all these things, I can pack one change of clothes and that's it!

 I have been reading old blogs getting ready to see what I had documented about the number of trips I have made to Asia.  I was going to stop counting, but that seems almost wrong.  This is my ninth trip to China, and the tenth trip for Superkids.  I missed one trip.  As I look back at what we have accomplished, I can't count how many kiddos I have held and how many older kids I have spent time with, how many caregivers I have worked with or how many wonderful people we have met on these trips.

In 2007, on the first Superkids trip to Shanghai Children's Home, the babies did not crawl.  Now, by using very simple developmental activities, we see children able to crawl and reach milestones in development more easily.  Often times, we do simple things that make such a difference!  Ultimately, it means the kids are doing better with motor activities.  Sometimes, it is the littlest thing you do that makes the greatest impact.  It may be just a moment of connection that makes a difference for a child.

Lastly, a quote that describes what has changed since Superkids began, "Things do not happen, things are made to happen." -  John F. Kennedy

- Pat Marcus

Importance of Connection

The Superkids team has been discussing the projects for our upcoming China trip.  We have also been talking about what more we can do for waiting children, what more can we bring, what will make a difference.  In addition to developmental screenings, we have the opportunity to spend some quality time with the children.  We bring touch and comfort, and try to hold as many children as we can.  This holding and hugging is so important.

Children connect through touch.  At the New York premiere of the documentary "Stuck", Craig Juntunen, the producer, spoke about this.  He said “the universal language of orphanages is children running up to you with arms raised, wanting to be picked up and held”.  Each little child we hold is a wonder, a little person wanting a connection.

These are the quiet moments, when the rooms are busy, but we don't hear anything else that is going on.  Our little bit of time with that one child, a moment to hold them and play with them.  Sometimes we blow bubbles, sometimes it is a game of peek a boo or just a cuddle.  We all can't wait to be in China, holding the kiddos.

18 days and counting!