Friday, August 28, 2015

#SuperkidsSeptember2015

In two weeks we will be heading to Shanghai, the first stop on our #SuperkidsSeptember2015 trip.



Our team will consist of: Gongzhan Wu, Keely O'Dell, Erin Martin, Chelsea Guffy, Janell Plana, and Lora Offer. We will be joined by Rocky from Beijing and Wendy from Changsha. Half way through the trip Janell will be returning home and Sandra Sinclair will be joining us. After our time in China is over, Chelsea, Lora, and Sandra will return to the US while Gongzhan, Keely, and Erin fly to Taiwan where Mary Chapman will join us. (Is your head spinning yet?!)

Our itinerary looks even busier than normal this time. We will be visiting 11 orphanages in 5 provinces in China and 2 orphanages in Taiwan. That means a total of 13 orphanages in 16 days! We will be traveling almost non-stop in China with very few (if any) nights that we stay in the same city more than 1 night.

We are so excited about traveling to new areas, being welcomed into new orphanages, and going back to the places that have become familiar and comfortable. We are especially excited about going to Taiwan to officially launch our Superkids program there!

We are planning to be documenting the trip as much as possible for those following from home. We will be posting here on the blog, to our new Facebook page (don't forget to 'like' it to get updates), Twitter, and Periscope (live feed videos anyone!?).

For anyone not familiar with Periscope, you can download the free Periscope app to your apple or android device and search for Superkids. Follow us and you will get a notification when we are live streaming videos! The videos will be available for 24 hours after we stream them, so you can still watch them even if you are sleeping while we are streaming! Since we now have a portable wifi device we travel with I'm hoping to be able to live stream from orphanages, trains, and everywhere else we find ourselves! If you watch while we are live streaming you can even ask question or make comments which we can see immediately. (Technology is so cool!)

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated items for this trip! We still need a few things on our donations list, so if you would like to help email Erin at erinmrtn@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday!!

We have matches to announce today!

Remember our sweet little Aaron? We are so happy to announce that he has a family!



And our wonderful little Jude. Yeah, him too.


Congratulations, sweet boys! Your families are getting there as quickly as they can!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Jonathan

I met the nicest boy in China this summer. And when he introduced himself to the group on the bus, I thought to myself, How is that fair? You see, my daughter and I went on Gladney’s 2015 China Service Trip in July. After playing with toddlers and doing crafts with older children for a few days, we took a trip to the mountains of Zhang Jia Jie, and the orphanage made it possible for twelve older children to accompany us. Jonathan was one of these children. He is 13. My daughter is 13. She was adopted at 7 months. He is still waiting for a family to come be his.



It was on this 3-day trip and its many exhilarating bus rides, that Jonathan and I ended up being seated near each other, across from each other, and next to each other, (my daughter always seemed to be somewhere else, I could hear her laughing); and so began a happy-to-see-you-again—on a bus, at a meal, in a line, and on a mountain—acquaintance.

Jonathan has the warmest smile and the kindest eyes. It is hard for me to describe how genuinely warm he is because it is something you have to see and feel. On one bus, we were seated next to each other on a long bench in the very back. Jonathan was by the window. As he was looking out the window, I opened his hand and put in two Skittles—red and orange. He turned to me and said, “Thank you” and smiled. His left side was nearest to me and he looked perfect in every way—handsome kid. Jonathan has weakness on his right side due to cerebral palsy. It is noticeable but not disabling. Jonathan walked over 5 miles, climbing hundreds of steps, just like the rest of us on our third day of hiking in the mountains

Jonathan’s personality reminded me so much of my daughter’s—introverted and often quiet: the type of kid who tries really hard even when they’re not great at something; the type of kid that doesn’t make a fuss when he’s given a pink plastic raincoat to wear at a major tourist destination; the type of kid that doesn’t mind a 45-year-old American woman taking numerous photos of him, even on a crowded pagoda; the type of kid who gets overlooked (for years), doesn’t hold a grudge, and still hopes for a family.




I could see Jonathan enjoyed being himself with his friends—all boy like my 6-year-old son and completely silly like my 13-year-old daughter. It never did rain, so Jonathan and another boy cleverly turned his pink raincoat into a parachute, tossing it down from the second floor to a courtyard below. And when we stopped to rest at a river, he was thrilled to throw rocks into the water. I got the impression he had never done it before. Back on the bus, the China Service Trip members had a counting-off system and Jonathan playfully joined in, counting up to ten in English for me.





When we first brought our daughter home in 2002, she was like a bear cub in hibernation. We had to draw her out. Jonathan isn’t a showy kid, but I saw who he was. All I had to do was pay attention. He is good, kind, gentle, patient, playful, strong, and brave. Loving parents would make all the difference in the world to this child—the type of parents who would tell him he is valuable just as he is.

Jonathan is running out of time; he turns 14 in June of 2016, when he will no longer be adoptable according to Chinese law.

Could Jonathan be your son? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about him!

-Melissa Hauffe

  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Suggested Donation List

Update: Everything on our suggested donations list has been donated! If you are still interested in donating to our trip you can do so by clicking on the donation tab on the right side of the blog. Thank you all for your generosity!


Every time we go to China people so kindly offer to send things with us for the children we will see. Since announcing our upcoming trip I have already received multiple offers to help. Here is a list of things we could use.

Weighted blankets (3-5 pounds)
Lollipops (updated: we still need about 200)
Memory card games
Lego sets (think small, happy meal size sets)
Drawing pads
Tortles
Fruit snacks
Hair bows
Beads sets (to make bracelets, etc.)
Crayons
Coloring books
Vibrating toys/teethers

If you can help with any of these items please contact Erin Martin at erinmrtn@yahoo.com.

Thank you all so very much for being a part of this trip!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Superkids Spotlight- What Is Congenital Limb Difference? {Webinar Recording}

Here is the recording for the first webinar in our new webinar series! Superkids Spotlight- What Is Congenital Limb Difference?  Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We Have Dates!!!

It has long been in our dreams and plans to begin going to China twice a year. This year those hopes are coming to fruition.



We are going to China... and to Taiwan!!!

And we leave in 25 days!!

We will be filling in the details later. But for now we want to let everyone know we are planning to leave on September 12 and return home on September 30th.

We will be visiting matched kids, checking on kids we have met before, and meeting a bunch of new kids. We are so excited!

We will be visiting orphanages we have been to many times and will also be going to places we haven't been to before. It is going to be a great trip!

Stay tuned for details on how you can be involved in this trip by sending donations for the kids.

Be sure to like our new Facebook page so that you don't miss any updates!

Due to a last minute conflict, we are looking for a medical professional to join our team. We will be meeting with and evaluating hundreds of children currently living in institutions in China. It is an amazing opportunity! If you know of anyone who is qualified and interested please contact Gongzhan Wu at gongzhan.wu@gladney.org.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A New Facebook Page and Other Miscellaneous Announcements

Every now and again we need to have a housekeeping post. Just the general up-keep type of stuff.

Like:

We have some new pages. 

Our most recent webinars are available to view on the Webinars page.

We are adding to our Special Needs Information page as we write articles about medical needs we often see in kids available for adoption.

We have a new Facebook page

Please follow us here. We will be moving to posting only on the new page very soon, so please like and share our page to increase awareness of our work!

We are going to China again soon; as in very, very soon! Stay tuned for exciting announcements to come!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Landon

I know we are always telling you about how extraordinary this child or that child is. The thing is, we meet a lot of children, we meet a lot of amazing children, and today I'm going to introduce you to a truly extraordinary boy.



Landon is 12 years old. He is an outgoing, friendly little boy who gets along well with others. He is a really smart kid! When Keely was doing cognitive tests with him she asked him to say a sentence. He replied, "What sentence do you want me to say?" He quickly figured out how to use the ball pump and pumped up several balls for us. He loved watching the photo printer! He wanted, not only his picture printed, but wanted to be sure his friends saw how it worked as well.



Landon has spina bifida. He is in a wheelchair. He is totally independent with self care. He bathes himself, dresses himself, and takes care of other personal needs.

Landon is in 5th grade. He enjoys learning and does well in school. His favorite subject is math. He also likes to draw.



When we asked him to describe himself he used two words to do so "good boy." Isn't that sweet?



Landon needs a family to support him and help him reach his full potential! This kid could go so far!

Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about adopting Landon.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Introducing A New Webinar Series

We are excited to announce that we are launching a new webinar series! Our pediatric physical therapist, Keely O'Dell will be speaking about common medical needs seen in children available for adoption.



This month we will be focusing on limb deformities/differences. We have Suzanne Meledeo joining us to share her family story of adopting three children with limb difference. You don't want to miss this one!

When: Thursday, August 20

What time: 3:00 PM EDT

Register here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just Look At Lucas! {Under Consideration}



Lucas is a darling little boy who just turned 2. His nannies describe him as clever, cute, and happy. He loves to cuddle and has the most charming little laugh!



When we met him in April he very quickly figured out that when he dropped one of the balls it would light up and flash. He loved it!

He is walking independently, walks up and down steps, and can throw a ball. He bangs blocks and likes to scribble with crayons.



Lucas has cleft hands and feet, but like Keely's post stated yesterday, it is all he has ever known, and it doesn't slow him down at all. He has figured out how to do what he wants to do.



He is speaking with single words and understands when his nannies tell him to do something. He is a sweet, outgoing little boy who gets along well with other children.



Could Lucas be your son? He needs a family of his own!

Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about making Lucas your son!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Special Focus: Congenital Limb Difference

I am constantly amazed by the resilience and amazing resourcefulness of the children we have met in China with congenital limb difference.  These kids consistently find a way to get things done.  They have never experienced their body any differently, so they intuitively find ways to make it work—to make everything they want to happen, happen.

What is Congenital Limb Difference?

“Congenital “ means the child is born with the condition and “limb difference”, as you may have guessed, refers to any anomaly in the arms or legs. Their limbs are different. It could mean they are missing a bone in their leg, or even an entire hand. It refers to fingers that are fused and feet that are cleft.  It may be that a part of the limb or the whole limb is unusually large, or unusually small.   

What might treatment look like?


Treatments for congenital limb difference varies, depending on the cause and severity of the condition. The goal of treatment is to maximize function, to help them do everything they want to do.  Some children will not need any formal treatment. Some kids might use a prosthetic limb.  For others treatment may include surgeries or therapies.  Other children, especially those with upper limb differences, might benefit from adaptive equipment.

Who should we get involved?


Ideally children with congenital limb differences should be followed by a multidisciplinary clinic including an orthopedic surgeon, physical or occupational therapist and an orthotist/prosthetist.  This team can help your family determine the best plan for your child at every age.

Here are some amazing kids we have met with Congenital Limb Difference:


Jude



Lucas


Gordon


Pearl



Gia


- Keely O'Dell

Resources and Support






Monday, August 10, 2015

Levi {Under Consideration}

Today I get to introduce you to a little boy who holds a very special place in my heart. This is Levi. He is almost 3 years old. He loves to talk and will comfort and kiss the younger kids when he sees them lying on the floor.



I first met Levi when he was just a baby. It was so fun to see him again in April and see how he has developed into such a typical 2 year old! He jumped and jumped and jumped! He blows bubbles and, while he doesn't want to stack blocks, he certainly loves knocking them down! He throws and kicks balls and points to objects in a book.



Levi has postoperative hydrocephalus. He has a shunt and seems to be doing very well. 



Levi speaks in short sentences. He answers yes and no questions and follows simple commands. He is concerned about other children and gentle with younger children. He loves to be praised by his caregivers and will smile broadly when they give him a thumbs up.



Doesn't he just sound amazing? I can assure you he is!

Could Levi be your son? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about adopting Levi.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fabulous Friday News!

Yep! You guessed it! More matches! Today we congratulate the families of:

Lucy


 Jaxon


May the paperwork go smoothly and may these sweet babies be home where they belong as soon as possible!

We are over the moon excited!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday {Kirby}


Kirby's file was just designated to Gladney, read more about him here and watch his video here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Precious Paige

Update 10/28/2015: Paige's file is now on the shared list! We would still love to speak with anyone interested in adopting her!



Paige is a very special, beautiful 11 year old girl with a special story. Paige was first seen by Superkids volunteers in 2012. She was using a walker that was way too small for her and yet she was so sweet and helpful in every way that she could be.




I first met her in June of 2013. She was still using that same tiny walker, but this time we determined that on the next trip to visit her we would take an appropriate walker with us! The thing that amazed me about her (besides her gorgeous smile) was the way the younger children gravitated to her! She was so gentle and kind to them. In spite of being unable to walk without assistance, she cared for the younger ones so lovingly.



In June of 2014 I was there when she got her new walker! At first she seemed a little uncertain about it since it was such a big change for her, but it didn't take long for her to gain confidence. One of my favorite memories of her in this year is of her singing a song with Rocky.

I saw her again in April of this year. I was able to show her some pictures of children who had been adopted from the orphanage that she is in. Her sweet face lit up and she was so excited and wanted to be sure that all of the nannies in the room saw the pictures too.





Paige has spina bifida. She is kind and sweet and beautiful. She walks with a walker. She is incontinent but is on a bowel and bladder program. Each time we asked about her file we were told that we had to find a family for her before they would prepare her file.

But... we received a very exciting, welcome surprise. Paige's file just showed up on our list! So now we can really advocate for her!


This precious girl needs a family! She has waited so long! Now is her chance. Can you help us spread the news by sharing this post?

Could Paige be your daughter? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information about adopting her.