Saturday, November 30, 2013

Unexpected Events

Well, maybe we should call them bloopers.  I thought since today is not a serious day we could talk bout some of the funny unexpected things that have happened in China.  Just so you could share in the Journey.

There are several events from past trips that I thought were funny.  I fell on the area that is pavers in the courtyard in Shanghai children's home.  Not so bad as I wasn't hurt, but my computer went flying in the air and landed 15 feet in front of me.  It was the best advertisement for a padded computer sleeve in history because my computer was fine. Later that same trip, Karen another physical therapist fell and landed flat on her face too.  She tripped over a door jamb.  Note to all of you,  jet lag makes you uncoordinated and punchy.  There was also the time I ate something I was allergic to and my eye swelled shut.  Not fun.

This trip had its share of Bloopers.  the best Shanghai blooper was when we lost Chelsea on the train.  She got in the subway and the doors closed in front of Gongzhan and I.  there were loads of Hand signals about where to get off and we caught the next train.

JiangXi province is always a challenge.  First and foremost the travel is always hard.  There also seems to be the new idea that the bathroom walls should be glass.  Now not so bad when you are in a room by yourself but not fun in a room with a friend.  After one hot long day in JiangXi we finally arrived at the hotel to get to our room to discover that all the bathroom walls were glass.   (BTW, there was a glass shower in Shanghai as well so its not just JiangXi,)   Darla kind of sunk onto the bed to find it was a board covered with padding.  We all laughed over this.  I have a wifi hub that converts the cable internet to wifi in the room.  Erin and Darla spent time that night sitting on the floor outside the room to talk to their families.  I don't know why they did not come in.  There would have been screaming if I came out and tripped over one of them.  We also ate very unusual things in JiangXi. province.  We were served all variety of food in JiangXi.  Changsha too.  Duck tongues, jelly fish and fried frogs.  We also had the Chinese equivalent of Turducken. Some exotic food are good, some are not to our liking but it is always a challenge to not be disrespectful to food your host offers you.  

Getting from JiangXi to Hunan proved to be a challenge this year.  We had reservations on the bullet train which was late by over three hours.  We ended up pushing our way onto a local train and sitting in the dining car as we did not have tickets.  That was after trecking up three flights of steps to get on the platform.  No joke. That was my epic meltdown. Now I can climb three flights of steps but I can't do it carrying my international suitcase and eighty four page profile sheets my computer and a carry on.  No escalator or elevator.  I cried.

Once we made it to ChangSha we were greeted by a buffet with Snake as an entree.  Now ChangSha is HOT.  JiangXi was hot and humid but ChangSha was hot and dry.  In ChangSha we were close to the orphanage.  We could walk form our hotel every day.  It was a little hazardous getting there.  there was a big intersection where three roads converged.  We always seemed to be in the middle of it when the light changed.  Leaving us scurrying off the road.     Once walking back from the orphanage we learned that motor bikes ride on the sidewalk.  I came nose to nose with one.  I was looking into the drivers eyes  and he was no more than eight inches from me. What did he do?  Beeped his horn.   Chelsea and Erin were practically rolling on the floor.

Last but not least,  the most unexpected occurrences are with the wonderful people we meet, the connections we make.  Friends we get to see year after year.  Staff, facilitators, orphanage directors, provincial officials. We are welcomed with open arms.   We can survive glass bathrooms, funny food and difficult travel.  We go with a great purpose and it is all worth it when we see one of our Superkids find their forever family and come home.

I am leaving you with some travel and food pics
the courtyard in Shanghai


traveling in mountainous JiangXi


Lunch in the cafeteria in Shanghai



. a delicious surprise in the bun

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankfulness

The past year has been a whirlwind for us at Superkids.  We were impacted on the east coast by Hurricane Sandy and at this time last year we were all thinking about recovery.  We got past that difficult time and moved forward to the largest Superkids trip ever.  We saw many, many children, provided therapeutic suggestions, played with and brought some fun into the lives of waiting children.  We visited seven orphanages in three provinces and were able to do in-depth assessments on 130 children.  That is a lot in less than two weeks.  Today is a day of thankfulness. 

-Today we think about every waiting child not only in China, but worldwide.  We are thankful for their persence in the world.  We are hoping each child will find that forever family to love them.

 
-We are thankful for the time we were able to spend with each child.  If we spent an hour or played with them in a group it was a chance to connect and reach out and let them know they are special.  And they are. Each and every one is unique and amazing.

-  We are thankful for adoptive parents.   They take an amazing leap of faith adopting a child with a histor different from their own.  Adopting domestically or internationally, you all rock!


-  Superkids is thankful for our amazing team this summer.  For the selfless work and dedication of Erin Martin.  She is a great amazing addition to our team and a wonderful advocate for the children.  Not to mention all the fabulous pictures she took.  For Chelsea Guffy, who supported the team and carried so much stuff throughout China.   She has turned into an amazing advocate.  She also took so many pics!  For the amazing work, flexibility and dedication of  Dr. Darla Wrage.  She added so much to our team and assesments.  She so increased the depth and amount we were able to do.  Lastly we are thankful for Gongzhan Wu, for getting us place to place, providing access to orphanages and supporting the team in country.He is the glue that makes everything possible.


-  We are grateful for every child that has found a forever family through our efforts.  This is an amazing gift to assist in their journey.  

 

-  We are grateful for the spirit of giving back that many adoptive parents are fostering in their children.  They have helped in Superkids projects this year and remind us how important it is to pass this on to our children, the next generation.  We are all helping build a better world for the future. 

-  We are thankful for others who are committed to adoption, like Martha Osborne, Rainbow Kids, Jenny Bowen, Half the Sky, Amy Eldridge, Love without Boundaries.   You all rock and the world is better for all you do.   

Lastly, thank you all for supporting Superkids, by reading the blog, sharing our posts, helping your children give back, donating and just your words of support.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

If you want any more informations about the waiting children we met  or Superkids, reach out to me at patiriciamarcuspt@gmail.com




Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Back

Today a group of children adopted from the standard China program spent the day giving back.  These were all girls who were adopted from China before it was mostly a waiting child program.  They meet monthly to keep in contact with their culture, friends and with their common bond, adoption.

These girls are not strangers to giving back.  My newest dedicated volunteer Amy ,who collected toys for her birthday for the waiting children in China, is part of this group.  Now this group is lead by two moms who believe in giving back.  They are great! They asked me to speak to the girls last year about what we do in the orphanages, meeting waiting children, caregiver training, and advocacy. The kids had a great time and so did I!  They wrote wishes for waiting children and attached them to lollipops, they made a scroll and contributed to the waiting child quilt that we presented to the CCCWA  It was fun to show them pictures and tell them how all the projects were received.  Here is a picture of the waiting child quilt in case you missed it the first time around.  So much fun to say to them, "  here is what you did!".


This time the girls participated by buying goodies for the waiting children.  They visited stores with cool hair ornaments, like bows, pony tail holders and head bands.  For boys we got pocket mirrors.  This was a very successful project on our last trip.  Just being able to give each child a head band or a mirror made a huge impact.  They knew we thought they were special and they felt it.  Their faces changed.  The kids club girls decorated some thin bags for the waiting kids to put their goodies in.  We did not put the items they purchased into the bags.    Waiting kids don't get to pick much, this is one area where they have a choice. We want to give them the feeling of options.

So thanks to the girls.  You are a wonderful group.  I love the spirit that your parents are nurturing.  You are giving back and even at your young age you have learned that everyone can do something.  I have no doubt you all will change the world for the better.
Here are the girls busily at work.  
  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family Friday

A child can teach us so much and  today we are sharing in the story of a family who adopted a very special girl.   This wonderful girl's gift to me was to teach me that the children in China are waiting and longing for families just as parents wait for them. She showed me what that really means.   She loved her parents before she even met them.  She told me to tell them that she loved them and I could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes.  She is really and remarkable girl who was adopted by and incredible family.  They are very supportive of Superkids and are generous and giving enough to share their story here.  Thank you Ellen and Dennis!  

  
Adopting the Older Child

For as long as I can remember, I had dreamed of adopting a little girl from China.  My dream was pretty typical – a baby or young toddler.  But, time passed and I was not married so I placed that dream on a shelf where it gathered dust.But God had other plans.  I met the man of my dreams, Dennis, and we began our life together.  Being “older” we choose not to have a family and for the next 9 years enjoyed our life together as a couple.  But again, God had other plans.

From time to time we would say, “Hey, maybe we should consider adopting.” Rarely did the conversation go beyond that comment.  Then, we kept hearing about adopting, the needs of orphans, our responsibility to care for them…it came at us in so many ways and places that it was hard to avoid.  So we pulled that dusty dream off the shelf and started gathering information and advice on adopting.  My dream looked very similar to what it had been so many years ago – a baby girl from China – but Dennis’ dream was a bit different.  He pointed out to me that as we were quickly approaching our 50’s, maybe an older child would be a good choice and that frankly, older kids had a harder time finding families.  My dream soon reflected Dennis’ dream and we began the journey to our daughter.  To make a long story short, we adopted our beautiful daughter, Brooklyn, when she was almost seven years old.  (If you want the long version of the story our blog is (www.Dennis-Ellen.blogspot.com)

For many people considering adopting, adopting an older child is filled with questions and we had plenty. 
·         What had her life been like up to this point?
·         How would we communicate?
·         Why was she not adopted before?
·         Would she accept us as her parents?
·         What about school when she does not know English?

Brooklyn when she first met Gladney staff

Let me tell you about our time as a family and hopefully answer some of these questions along the way.
Because Superkids Charity had met Brooklyn we had some basic information about her development.  This helped us to be able to talk with Pat who had met her when she was in China.  In addition, Pat met her again while we were in the process of adopting and took along a care package for us.  We have great first hand reports, videos and pictures from these trips that helped us as we waited.  We learned that the reason she had not been adopted was that her paperwork had never been completed and submitted to the Chinese government to make her available for adoption.  If our agency staff had not met her while in China and requested this be done, she may never have been made available for adoption.

Brooke receiving her care package

When adopting older children, many families worry about communication.  We were assured that this is not that great of an issue and that in fact, it resolves itself very quickly.  Let me assure you, this is very much the case.  Brooklyn understood some basic words in English even while we were still in China.  We all got very good at acting out what we needed to communicate.  Being older also had the advantage that she could read and write in Chinese.  A tablet and Google Translate got us through those early days as we could communicate back and forth with it.   In a matter of months she was using simple sentences.  At school, her teacher also used Google Translate.

Brooklyn let us know, after a very short time home, that she wanted to go to school.   We choose to enroll her in school even though the school year only had about 7 weeks left.  This was a great decision. Being with other kids helped her language develop very quickly.  As her language grew, she shared many memories of her life in China.  These memories have helped us to meet her needs and understand her better.  It is definitely an advantage in knowing what her life was like, what she misses and how she is feeling about it.  One of the really neat things is that Brooklyn told us about another little girl that was in her foster home.  We have been able to find that family and the girls have kept in contact even though they were adopted to families in different countries.  We would never have known about this strong attachment she had to her foster sister if she had not been older and able to tell us about her.

We readily admit that Brooklyn has been a relatively easy older child adoption.  She has attached to us from the beginning.  We are her family.  That does not mean that it has been without bumps in the road.  But, like any child, regardless of age at adoption, when a family comes together and works through hard times, it makes everyone stronger.  We have learned together what it means to be a family.


Adoption is not for everyone and older child adoption is not either but it can be amazing!  


Brooklyn with her Dad



growing up!


Sledding with Dad


Family Picture




















Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Boy needs a Forever Family

Xiong Xiong is a happy smiling boy who loves to play.  His special need is Epilepsy.  His favorite color is yellow and he loves the game boy and computer games.  He can run, jump an is well coordinated. He goes to the orphanage school and initially they thought he was delayed but now he is catching up and making average grades.  His smile lit up the room and there must be a forever family for him.  Could he be your son?





Remember, Boys Rock!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This Boy is a Cutie Pie

We met Wei Wei this summer on our Superkids trip.  He is cuter than cute.  His smile lit up the room.  We all fell instantly in love with him.  He is such a tiny boy and there he was holding two balls then a third.  Then one would drop and off he would go trying to catch it.  Giggling all the way.  Every time he dropped a ball someone would try to retrieve it for him.  He made all of us giggle too.

This little bug is doing well for two years old. He is saying simple words and stacking the cups up by size.  He can squat, stand and walk by himself.  All this is very good for a two year old living in an orphanage.  Wei Wei's special need is anal agnesis and spina bifida occulta.  He had surgery for the anal agnesis and did not require treatment for the Spina bifida.  This type of spina bifida can be without related issues and sometimes no symptoms. According to the orphanage there is some level of control of bowel that would be age appropriate.

So, Wei Wei's biggest need is a forever family.  Whoever brings him home will be so lucky to have this smiley boy in their life.  Could he be your son?

Remember, Boys rock!





Here are some cute pics of other Boys who Rock.  We love them all!




Friday, November 15, 2013

Boys Rock!

This month to highlight waiting boys, we are bringing awareness to adopting Boys.  We want all children to be adopted.  Adoption, Girls and Boys Rock!  So I thought I would share some pics of beautiful boys we met on our Superkids trip this Summer.  Keeping the words to a minimum.  I am going to add a few each day over the weekend so stop back and see our inspiring boys.





 
Remember,  Boys Rock! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Have Found My Family

I really don't know what to say.  Sometimes the enormous heart shown by families is just amazing.   When I see this little boy, I see such strength and beauty.  Erin Martin and I call him the boy with the beautiful eyes. To know that a family sees how handsome, special and wonderful he is just melts my heart and brings me to tears.

Just so you know, Erin and I are head cheerleaders for a wonderful team.( and only because we talk more often than the rest of the team). When ever someone is matched I ring a pretend bell to celebrate.  Celebrate the uniting of amazing kids with a family who will be forever.  So,  Ding, Ding, Ding!


Alex has a family.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Special Boy who we were Surprised to Meet

Today I am advocating for Brandon.  He is a real cutie pie.  His file came in but he was not with the kids we had met at his orphanage.  When the team got to talking about him we were surprised to find out he is in Butterfly house which is a special program in his orphanage.  It is a program that helps children with end of life care.  A pediatric hospice.  If these children did not know love before, they certainly do in this end of life facility.




Brandon is not there like the other children for end of life care.   Brandon had a congenital heart defect and he already had his surgery when he was sent to Butterfly house.  We think he was sent there because he was loved.  He is doing amazingly well.  He is thriving and now they are working towards adoption for him.  They are thrilled with his progress.  We are thrilled too.  You see when we went through Butterfly house we met Brandon.  We just did not know it was him at the time.

Erin and I remember him as a little kiddo who followed us room to room. He grabbed our attention any time he could.  He was confident, self assured and he stole the show!   He was so cute and clearly was being given love.  He was just blossoming.  Doing well enough to go between room and try to do things he should not. We all fell in love with him.  Even back then before we knew who he was.

So, what does he need? A Mom and Dad who will love him forever is what he needs.  Could he be your son?  To learn more about Brandon, contact me at  Patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com

Remember, Boys Rock!

 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Family Fridays

   November is Boys rock month.  A wonderful family shared their story of adopting an older boy and I want to share it here.  Juliette wrote this for me and she has been a great source of support for Superkids.  We met her son and had many conversations about what kind of boy he is and how he would fit into their family.  He is one of the sweetest boys I have ever met.  He has really done well and is a wonderful addition to their family.  Read about their adoption here and remember, 

Boys ROCK!!!

   
Almost two years ago, my husband Tom and I decided we wanted to adopt again. We were not sure if we wanted another son or another daughter. We were sure that we were getting a little older and a baby was out of the picture. That was when we saw Pin Pin. He had just turned seven and had been in foster care his entire life (save the first 6 months or so). We were both nervous and excited at the prospect of adopting an older child. How would he adjust to being taken away from everything he has every known? How would he adjust coming into a family and being the baby? What had his life been like in foster care? How would we handle the language barrier? There were so many “what-ifs”….Surely, the questions would not be answered until he was actually a part of our family and could tell us, so we put them in the back of our minds and contacted Pat Marcus, who had just returned from meeting Henry and several other children residing in foster care or at the Shanghai Orphanage. What happened next was pretty amazing. Pat called us back right away and gave us information on Henry regarding his special need, her assessment of his gross/fine motor skills and where he was socially. She even had a little video of him playing soccer with a friend. So while the questions we had initially were not to be answered yet, so much more was. He was healthy. He was developing normally. He had a strong spirit. That was enough. We knew he would be our son! Nine months passed rather quickly, and before we knew it, were on our way to Shanghai to meet our son. We brought two of our children with us, Noah (9) and Leah (9) to help ease the transition with Henry and so they could experience China and its wonderful culture. We all waited nervously with other families as the children were being brought in one by one. Most of the kids were three or younger and in a bit of shock as they came in and were handed over to the loving arms of the moms and dads who had waited so long for this precise moment. In a matter of seconds, families were changed forever- this moment- such a defining one in ALL our lives’- was so monumental we were speechless and everyone in the room broke out in tears of joy, happiness, wonderment and relief. I was getting more nervous, as I knew that I would not get to scoop Henry out of the arms of a nanny and carry him around. He already had a history; almost eight years living with foster grandparents and their extended family. He had friends. School. His being had begun to take shape and he was already independent in so many ways. He had a voice. He had likes and dislikes and a personality. I knew we would take our cues from him when we met for the first time. Then he walked in. He was sweating and nervous. We could see his heart pounding through his shirt as he nervously walked over to us and handed us gifts. He immediately attached to Noah and Leah, relieved to see others he could identify with on some level. We signed papers and left to get settled in at the hotel and eat and get to know each other. The rest of our time in China was filled with paperwork, adventure and bonding. By the second day, when we had to go and tell the government that, “YES, we want to continue with the adoption,” Henry was bounding up the stairs telling everyone he could that we were his “mama and baba” and that we had finally come for him…we finally found him. Now, we have been a family for a year. Tom and I look at each other everyday amazed at Henry’s progress and how he has just fit right in as if he had always been here. Henry talks each and every day about his life in China and even wants to go back to visit someday. He has told us funny stories, sad stories, and heartwarming stories. One of the things we love best is that he has a very clear memory of his past, an unexpected gift when adopting an older child. Henry has brought us so much joy and has completed our family. There are so many older boys and girls who are up for adoption. They NEED homes. They WANT a forever family. They DESERVE a chance. They deserve for their mamas and babas to finally find them.    -  Juliette Howard

 October 15th, 2012- Gotcha day




 Two Months Home 



 Six months home and sharing a recipe foster grandma used to make for him: 






One Year Home


Remember......  BOYS ROCK!



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Superkids volunteer

I would like to introduce you to our newest volunteer!  Her name is Amy and this year for her birthday she asked for a special gift.  Instead of presents, she wanted her friends to each donate a toy for Children in orphanages in China.  They contacted me and we narrowed down the focus to toys for young children from the JiangXi province.  Yesterday I got to meet Amy.   She has a special spirit, a heart for doing something for children she does not even know.  When Amy and I met, we discussed what the orphanages were like in the JiangXi province.  We looked at pictures of some of the children from JiangXi.  She asked questions and really got the idea that what she was doing would mean so much to the young children who wait.   Gongzhan of course was there and helped convey our great appreciation to Amy. Amy got to put her Chinese lessons to use speaking with Gongzhan. It was a great event.

Amy

 Amy and Lynne




Gongzhan, Amy and Pat

Amy has a special spirit, a heart for doing something for children she does not even know.

You know what was most important about this project.  We are seeing and building a heart for waiting children. Amy's mom, Lynne, and her friend Lisa asked me to speak with Amy's Kids club a year ago. They were part of the CCCWA quilt project. We had a great time talking about waiting children and then they tried out all my sensory toys.  Amy has a special heart.  Meeting with her, and her friends, only supports and begins to nurture the spirit of giving back.  I am so happy to be passing this spirit and love for waiting children on to a new generation.

Thank you to Amy for her special heart and wanting to improve the quality of life for these waiting children. Amy-you are awesome!    

Monday, November 4, 2013

Boys Rock!

Of course boys rock!  So do girls, and so does adoption.  Boys are at a disadvantage however and we are trying to level the field. I see time and time again, girls with the same needs as boys get picked first and the boys wait.  And wait, and wait.  I tried to find some numbers on this but could not get any stats.  From past shared lists,  I have seen lists that are mostly boys.  There are more and more boys in the orphanages.  I observe this in the orphanages I visit. 

So this is adoption awareness month, we want to highlight this situation.  We are going to highlight 30 boys for the 30 days of this month.  You can read the daily post here.  So remember, Boys Rock!Here are some cutie pies from the first four days of the month. 








I do want to say,  we love our girls so much too.  We want every child to find a home, a family and all the love they deserve.  The boys are just at a disadvantage.  So, adoption, girls and boys rock!

If you want anymore information on these cute boys, contact me at patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com

 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

They Are All Perfect

Today is Orphan Sunday and November is national adoption awareness month. I would like to take some time to discuss changes I have seen since 2007 when I first started going to China.  In 2007 we saw many, many babies.  There were considerably less older children and the numbers seemed large but there was a lot of movement.  Changes in children, comings and goings in great numbers.  Special needs adoption was so much less frequent.  On one trip to China, two china caseworkers accompanied the Superkids team.  They talked a lot about the babies,  the little girls who would be adopted as healthy infants.  Even then, boys and girls in the orphanages seemed to me to be in roughly equal numbers. I remember being surprised what was considered a special need.  Such minor things, a missing finger or arm, a missing ear, heart issues, were all special needs.  I cried almost every night on that trip.  If everyone was only talking about infant adoption, how would all my kids ever be adopted.  Right away I knew who my kids were.  Kids with needs who were maybe not perfect in the world's definition but certainly perfect in mine.  I waited patiently for them to become someones sons and daughters. Sadly many of them did not find forever families.

Fast forward now to 2013.  On our trip this summer we saw 130 children.  I know that is a large number. for the first time since 2008, I saw two healthy infants.  One boy and one girl.  Most of the children we saw had a mild correctable needs or a need that could be improved with rehabilitation.  We did see a few children who will have lifelong needs, like children who were deaf mute or children who were born with Downs syndrome.  Most of the children were in pretty good shape.  We saw an age range of children from three months old to 13 years old.  In many ways there has been positive movement here.  These children are no longer in orphanages just waiting.  I am no longer patiently waiting.  I am shouting from the rooftops about all the wonderful children we have met.  The entire Superkids team is shouting right along with me.  And some of this shouting is getting attention because these children are being adopted.  We are all working HARD to show everyone how beautiful, special, and yes, perfect they are. Because they are!  They deserve our attention, our love and our consideration. Also there are more boys than girls who wait.  you can look at the shared list and see this easily.    

I would like to share this thought with you.  A very special smart adoptive mom once told me, if I would not reject my biological child with a special need, why would I not adopt a child with a special need if i feel they could be my child.  Special need or not they will be my child.  So in many ways there is cause to rejoice and cause to work harder. Attitudes are changing.  Our world is changing.  Children who were sitting in orphanages in 2007 are coming home. They will fit into families and lead full active lives.  They will love and be loved. We will never stop shouting from the rooftops about these wonderful children who have found their families and about all those who still wait.

So consider this on Orphan Sunday.  Could you parent a child who is waiting? Lets help every child find their forever family.

Peace,
Pat

You can contact me at Patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com.  Visit our "Boys Rock" post on the Asia Waiting Child blog by clicking here   30 boys in 30 days because being a boy should not be a special need.






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