Superkids is moving on

Yesterday we moved on from the JaingXi province.  This completes the hardest leg of the trip.  We are all exhausted and way over the top.  JiangXi is the hardest leg of the trip.  It is also in many ways a place of great rewards,  Many of the orphanages have new directors.  We meet new players every day.  This makes it hard to establish a long term strategy and plan.

Here we saw children whee our efforts have helped save their lives.  Then we saw sick children so sick, Darla wanted to drive them to the hospital herself.  The children are beautiful and its so rewarding to be there.

This is the time when we have the highest highs and lowest lows.  we now need time to recover but we have one more province to go.


It's the Small Things....

Darla is writing today about our trip

It's the small things....

The SuperKids trip is like a long roller coaster rides.  It has its ups and 
downs. There are times we literally stand up and cheer, like the beautiful ten 
year old with spina bifida that stood several inches taller as she uses her new 
walker Pat had transported across the world to deliver.  Unfortunately, there 
are the lows of evaluating very sick young children who really need immediate 
medical care that may not be possible.  Then there are all the in betweens.  I, 
personally, want to capture each moment and celebrate the small things.

Small victories like the obvious extra care of freshly washed hair that the 
nannies are carefully styling.  The sweet vision of orphans pretend playing with 
a doll, hugging and feeding her. The noticeable clean clothes and beautiful 
shoes that fit properly.  The fruit of Pat's labor of training nannies to place 
babies on their tummies, as the babies easily raise their heads to smile at us.  
The obvious joy in a foster family relationship, as the little boy runs to his 
smiling foster dad.  Albeit hard to see that bond broken, that child has the 
experience of attaching that will make the transition to his adoptive family 
easier.  The vision of the orphanage director coming close and talking quietly 
as she puts her arm around an older child who is struggling.  Those are the 
small things that really touch me, because they are significant.

JiangXi day 2

Superkids team member Chelsea guest writes for the blog today this is what she has to say
Today was a long day, but it was rich and full. The whole team was together at 
last and we have three more precious days together before Darla goes home. I 
cannot express how grateful I am to share so many incredible moments with such a 
compassionate and capable team and I am deeply humbled every time our efforts 
benefit the life of a child. So many children that we met last year have been 
matched with families of their own. We have had the joy of brining gifts and 
family pictures to children whose wait is finally coming to an end. Seeing these 
children again and knowing they now have someone on the other side of the world 
waiting for them is exactly what Superkids is all about. But our work is not 
done. We have seen children on this trip that we met last year that are still 
waiting. Children that have grown and changed but their circumstances have 
remained stagnant and although I have missed these children dearly it is rather 
heartbreaking to see them again. We affectionately call them "our" children. We 
will walk into a room and say to each other-- "look it's one of ours!" We saw a 
lot of "our" children today, which can make for a long day filled with both 
grief and joy but today we got a special gift. Last year we met a tiny infant 
with only a slim chance at life and this year when we saw that sweet face again 
all we felt was joy-- no grief, just gratitude. 

Bringing a Walker to China

There are all sorts of reasons to do this.  We needed one and we do not have time to try and find one. They are more accessible in The US.  We wanted to help a sweet girl.  So eventually I got her height. This is not really how you measure for a walker but it would do.  I spent 2.5 hours in the surgical supply store getting this drop shipped.

So, I obtained the walker.  I got it to the airport.  People watched me as I wheeled it through the terminal.   The walker was gate checked.  Then off it and I went to China.  When I exited the plane there was some confusion abut where the walker really was.  Eventually, I found it and began wheeling it through the airport.  Every 40 to 50 feet, someone offered me a wheelchair.  Too funny. The walker was carried from Beijing to Hunan on a domestic flight and then we hand carried it to the JiangXi province.  So here we go  Why???

This is why!!!

One of our very special Gladney families donated the funds to buy this walker.  They have Heart to serve and are committed to making the world a better place for one child at a time. SO can you see what wonderful things come out of taking a walker to China.

The Simple things

Tuesday we reflected on the simple things.  We were at the orphanage early and in walked a little girl with wet hair that was tangled.  She sat with us for a while. We knew her hair needed combing and wondered when the nanny would be in to do this.  Shortly she came in with a wide toothed comb and slowly began the task of combing this girls hair.  As she did the little one started to cry and right away three of us got up and started to kiss and whisper sweet nothings to her. She stopped immediately and just soaked up the love.  I was happy we could do this.  We all reflected in such simple things.  Loving on these kiddos.   More important than anything.  Except finding them a forever family.

We also found something that made almost every child smile.  We have a Polaroid camera that prints stickers.  We have been sticking them on the backs of donated credit card mirrors.  (the wonderful girls club of adopted kiddos in NY donated them.) They have brought smiles to the faces of all the kiddos.
here we all are with the director of the SWI.  We saw quite a number of children yesterday.  We finished at 6 pm and had dinner at the orphanage.  Came back to the room and crashed.  Today another long day, Hunan in the morning to see kiddos, then we travel to JiangXi province to see more children there.  This begins the hardest leg of our trip. one night in each location as we cross the province. Gongzhan will join the trip after midnight tonight.

Send prayers and positive energy as we cross the province.  We hope to do good work and help as  many children  as possible find their forever families.

Here we are again

Its hot and we are sleep deprived.  Darla and I almost fell asleep sitting up at dinner. I later fell asleep on the chair in Erin's room where we were trying to do some work and get organized.

We met so many children here yesterday.  It does not bode well when we will be entering the most strenuous part of our trip, the JiangXi province.   This is where we go from orphanage to orphanage. We are all over tired and jet lagged. I anted to tell you all abut the day.  There were so many special moments that it just is overwhelming.

Here is a cute story for the day.  I got to see this girl last year and this year.

Her file took a long time to come in.  Here are the pictures we took together.  The best news is right before I left a family asked to be matched with her. I am so happy for both them and her. Here are some cute pics of the day.  

Hunan Hot Pot

We are waking up in Hunan this morning.  But we just went to bed this morning here in Hunan.  We got to the Hotel at 3:42 am.  Ugh!!!!  Delayed flight from Beijing. We had trouble connecting with Chelsea in the airport but finally all got together. ( we lost her in Shanghai once too, neither through any fault of hers).  We waited from 1:30 pm till our flight took off at midnight.  We got to know the Beijing airport a lot more up close and personal than we ever wanted to.

We are all up early on only several hours sleep.  We are collecting our materials etc.  Getting ready to go to the orphanage.  Can't wait to see the kiddos!!!!!

Think good thoughts.  Here we go!!!!  


Today we are looking forward to being reunited with Chelsea and Darla.  How sweet this will be.  We are so waiting to see them.  When a team functions well together its a special magic thing. I cannot wait for all our time together  We get together and things just work.  Here is a silly picture of Hannah, Erin and I.


There are so many children we hope to see in Hunan.  I don't want to say the number for fear ts true. We are so hoping to get a wonderful snapshot of how each child is doing and beautiful pictures too! We will bring all this home and convey to waiting parents how special these children are. And how much each and every one needs a family.

At the same time we are waiting to be reunited with our team, we are waiting to be reunited with all the beautiful children we have met.  We will see them too! Just thinking about hugging each one and telling them they are special.  Bringing hope for each one of these precious children to find a forever family.

Out from Beijing.  

All Systems Go in Beijing

I arrived yesterday afternoon and Erin and Hannah arrived last night. We are beyond excited.  This enables us to get some sleep and get adjusted to time before we stat traveling. The Journey was uneventful except with all the things we were bringing for the children we have way too much luggage.  I have two international bags and a carry on and a walker.   Because I had the walker I attracted stares and airport workers kept offering me a wheelchair. I tried to explain to no avail.  The walker is for Paige who we met last year.

Had dinner and chit chatted with Rocky then back to my room and waited for Erin to arrive.  They got in about 10pm and was so happy  to see them.  Off to bed and had a good nights sleep.  I think I went through four days where I only got 2 hours sleep per night last year. this is really a bonus and a great tart to an exciting trip.

Tomorrow Chelsea and Darla arrive.  We will get to Hunan around 10 pm.  Then up and ready to go for a 9AM start.  We are so waiting to hug our Sweeties we saw there last year and some have not met before.

Here we go!!     

Watch the miracle!!!

Well, Erin Martin has been hard at work again.  She has compiled a video of before and after adoption pictures from Shanghai Children's home.  It's so beautiful.  Stand by and watch the miracle.

You can jump over here during our trip and see what we are up to.

Ready to depart!

While we are getting ready to leave we wanted to share some Dings with you.  You All know by now what this means.

 Ding Ding Ding Ding !!!!!!!

I have found my family!!!

We are so happy for this little man!!!!

Count Down to China!!!

We do different things when we are in China.  Sometimes not what you would expect.  Sometimes not what WE would expect. Sometimes we are aware its happening and sometimes not.  Sometimes all of a sudden we are led into a conference room full of waiting orphanage staff who think we will lecture all day.  Then sometimes we get very real questions like can you help this baby. The caregivers may line up and bring kiddos with them or we may be asked for something more formal.  Here is where real collaboration takes place.  How we can turn the want for a lecture into a hands on developmental training session.

We ask about the children.  We play with the kiddos and treat them and the caregivers with respect.  Acknowledge that they are doing the best for the children that they can with sometimes very limited resources.  Working in the spirit of collaboration and always thinking on your feet.

All the same, its many of these children who steal our hearts. Sometimes its their special relationship with these caregivers that helps first open these children's hearts to be able to bond to their forever families.  Such an important role and its a place where training can have so much impact.

So this time in JiangXi we will do a large training.  We are working to make this the a meaningful and hands on training.  You will hear more as this progresses.  We will report in from JiangXi!

Two more sleeps and there is not a thing in my suitcase.


Three more Sleeps

We cant wait to be in China. right now we are all so excited that we just want to get on the plane.  If I did that now I would fail miserably.  I have nothing packed.  EEK!  We are all in a flurry of last minute preparation.  Most every one's care package is here by now.  My packing mound looks like a mountain.  A week from today WE will be hugging little sweet children on the other side of the world.  We will also be so happy to see our Asia contacts.  Yeah!!

China has different smells and will be very different than the where mos of us live in terms of temperature.  We have had a cool summer so far in the North East so this will be a shock.  Very hot and humid.

SO follow along and here we go.  We hope to have unique content daily on the blogs.  VPN cooperating.  A

WC blog will have our daily reflections and we hope some video and Superkids will have special stores and more pictures.  This is on a wal in Yu Gardens in Shanghai.

Here we go  in just three more sleeps!  

Uncle Gongzhan

This week we have been exploring favorite memories from our last trip.  I asked what his favorite memory was and it was about this girl.  He spoke a lot about her.  He is usually quiet so I was surprised he had so much to say.

We met this girl on our trip last year.  she looked over the team and decided that Gongzhan was the most impressive.  She stuck close to him the entire day.  Holding his hand tighter than anyone ever had.  She stayed close to him.  She followed him to the door of the rest room and waited for him to reappear again.

She had lunch with us but sat between him and the door.  Checking that he would not leave.  Now every one in the room was anxious.  We were worried that she would be so upset when he left.  They took a number of pictures together.  We were all hounding him that this was going to be a problem.  He said don't worry.  I will prepare her.  He told he he was going to go so he could go home and find parents who would love her forever.  He told her he would also return.  When it was time to go, she let go of his hand and waved from the steps as we drove away. She was so Brave!!!!

We all can't wait to tell her about her parents and how much they love her already.  We saw them on Thursday and we are all so excited.

Five more sleeps to China!!!!!!

Rocky's Best Moment

Rocky is our in country facilitator.  I spoke with him the other day and asked him about his best memory of the last trip.  Rocky has been on several trips with us.  He, Gongzhan and I even went as far north as Jamusi, which is pretty much as north as you can go in China.  You throw a rock and you are in Russia.  Rocky is more than a guide.  He is more of a coordinator.  Makes paperwork get to where its supposed to go.  coordinates in country facilitation in other cities and is just a generally great guy.  Rocky is definitely an integral member of the Superkids and Gladney family.

Rocky told me his best moment was when we toured Butterfly house.  There was a little boy there that he met.  Now to tour you need gowns, gloves because we had been in the orphanage with children all day. They don't want these children to pick up anything from other children.  They are medically fragile.   So the team gowned up and so did Rocky.  We went in and in the very first room a boy somehow ended up in Rocky's arms.  He just stood there and held that boy.  He laughed and giggled.  the boy was so happy.  We all went on with our tour except for Rocky.  We saw Butterfly house and came back and rocky was still holding the boy.  Both of them smiling.

Doing what we do changes you and it has truly opened Rocky's heart.  He said it occurred to him at that moment that he knew he wanted to help the children and it was so simple and clear.  He could help so much just by holding them and talking to them.

Erin, Chelsea and I remember this well too.

And By the way, eight more sleeps!!!!

Erin Remembers

Erin writes:

When Pat asked me to share my favorite memory of last year's Superkids I thought it would be easy to decide on one, but I've been mulling over it for a few days and I still can't come up with one favorite.  There are just too many very special, wonderful memories. 

I think one of the sweetest moments was when Pat was working with an older girl who was mentally delayed.  Pat was showing her how to do various things like stand on one foot, jump, etc.  When Pat held both arms straight out, instead of copying her, this sweet girl went straight to Pat and threw her arms around her in a huge hug.  It was so precious! 

Or another time when Pat was trying to get "Penny" to go through the same assessment type of things, Penny did cartwheels instead of merely balancing on one foot.  We all cheered for her and she was absolutely thrilled!

And, of course, I can't share memories without talking about Bea.  Bea and Billy, both six years old at the time, walked into the room holding hands.  As soon as they were in the room Bea broke away and ran up to me and gave me a big hug!  I picked her up and her little arms immediately went around my neck.  My heart just melted!  One of the things I am looking forward to this time is seeing both Billy and Bea again knowing that they have a family eagerly waiting to bring them home!

I could go on and on sharing stories and memories.  Each child is so special, and each one leaves a different, sweet imprint on my heart.

Darla's reflections

When I asked Darla what was her favorite memory of the trip, She shared a special story. We met this boy in one of the last orphanages of our trip.  It was in an orphanage where we saw a large number of children. We were all running around working with the children.  Gongzhan was there talking intently with a very thin boy.  We could see instantly he had stolen Gongzhan's heart.  He was sitting at a table drawing.  Playing quietly with Gongzhan.  We notices them talking quietly.  Gongzhan taking a banana from his snack bag and giving it to the boy.  He was excited and ate the banana.  Gongzhan was telling him he had to get stronger.  to eat more and to exercise.  He was showing him how to use a water bottle as a weight.

When Darla and I got to this boy we discovered he is not able to walk but they take him to school in town every day and pick him up at the end of the day.  He does not have a wheelchair.  They told us he is one of the smartest children in the orphanage.  He, in all likelihood, has some type of muscle issue that accounts for the thinness. We asked Gongzhan about this later and he said. "I told him he must get stronger and we will try to find him a family. "

We both loved how this boys heart touched Gongzhan's heart. Such a bittersweet memory.


Yesterday we shared Chelsea's favorite memory.  Today I will share my favorite memory.  I actually have two favorites.  The first is about this little one.  I became aware of OI as a diagnosis for two children at a large orphanage roughly two years ago.  Last year we were successful in getting a file prepared for a child with this special need.  When they brought this girl to me and I held her, that was such a wonderful moment.  Nothing could have made me happier.  To know that this child has a chance at a forever family, made my heart sing.  This year I will be going back with pictures and a gift from that forever family.   That will be a whole choir of singing in my heart.

The second memory is for one of our self advocaters.  She asked each of us to find her a forever family.  She was not restricted by the language barrier.  She found the bulletin board of adopted children and showed us she wanted her picture there too!  This year her family will have their gotcha day right before we get to China.  Yeah!!!!  We are so happy and can't wait.  Pretty awesome although it did not feel so great then and we worried about it the entire trip.  Was there a family for her?  This was such a blessing and miracle that this family found her through our outreach.

Lets all celebrate with these two beauties!!!!

Tomorrow we will talk about Darla's favorite memory and then Erin's.  10 days and counting, oh boy!!!!

favorite memories- last trip

How did this happen?  I woke up this Am and realised 11 more nights and we will be in China.  Wow!  so many things still to check off on the to do list.  Like clothes, travel insurance, phone plan.  Whats waiting on the other side of the world?  Well, so many beautiful memories in the making.  Chelsea and I recently got a chance to catch up on what is waiting.  What our favorite memories from the last trip were.  I am going to share here just a little bit.

Chelsea's favorite memories were of this sweet boy.  Who was walking on his knees.  He is handsome, smiley and just a delight.   He was so special to her because she kept coaxing him to get up but he did not want to with us.  Finally he did. SO beautiful and so sweet.

I will share my favorite memories tomorrow. 11 more sleeps.  Then its China!!  Yeah !!!