Monday, April 24, 2017

A Cultural Lesson

The Superkids team spent day 4 of this Taiwan trip at Chungyi Social Welfare Foundation. When it was close to lunch time, we learned that we will have lunch at Chungyi. A beautifully designed flower printed lunch box was laid down at the front of each seat. Along with the lunch boxes, there were three big fruit bowls, one for grapes, one for guava, and the last one is sliced pineapples.




While we were still waiting for the last child evaluation in the morning to complete, we were all standing there around the table. Jokingly, some young Chungyi social workers asked us if we knew  the meaning of pineapple in Taiwan. Several of us said we don’t know, but Janel, a Superkids volunteer, said that in Hawaii, pineapple means “welcome.” She was expecting it means the same thing in Taiwan. Vina, a young Chungli staff member continued, “pineapples in local dialect in Taiwan means PROSPERITY. So we social workers do not eat it at all.” That statement puzzled me, and other Superkids volunteers as well. What? Your social workers don’t like being PROSPEROUS? Isn’t it that being prosperous is a goal that many people pursue? I looked around and found my colleagues eagerly waiting to learn why Chungyi social workers turn down prosperity.

The girls were giggling, naturally as they noticed the puzzled looks on our faces, so they went on to explain.



“Prosperity is a good thing, but social workers, as case workers, do not want to be “prosperous.” To them, being prosperous means the increase of case numbers, hence work load. Giggling young social workers even pointed one of Jane, a colleague of theirs, saying that the last time when she had pineapple, the next day, she got two new cases from Penghu Island.  Everyone began laughing. Penghu is one of the 64 islands from the Taiwan strait. This means she had to travel to that island when there is a need. That means hardships.

Erin was quick in thinking. She said you all should have pineapple. Prosperity, when it comes to inter-country adoption, is a positive thing. We would like to see more and more children going to families through adoption! So, let’s try pineapples. Several plastic forks were extended, immediately.    

-written by Gongzhan Wu (program director)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 4 Superkids in Taiwan

Our last day in Taiwan is over. It was another good day. It was a fun mixture of seeing children we know and are advocating for, children we have never met, and children who are matched.



This morning we met some great, funny boys that I wish everyone could meet in person. This little guy was so polite asking for a second set of Legos. And he certainly enjoyed them!



We also met some young matched children. They are so sweet! I know their families are anxiously waiting for photos and videos! I promise, we are working hard to get them to you. It will be top priority when we get home.



Then in the afternoon we got to see both Daisy and Darby. Oh my, such cuteness! Daisy is quiet and shy while Darby is outgoing and silly. Both are so precious! Guess which one is in the picture below?



We also gave care packages to sisters who will be going home soon. Giving care packages is a wonderful part of what we do!



Tomorrow morning we head to the airport early. Next week will be busy as we process all of the material we have gathered!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 3 Superkids in Taiwan

{Just a reminder that we are not allowed to post full face photos per Taiwan's guidelines. }

Today was a very busy day! We spent the day at Chung Yi, our other partner agency, and visited with 16 children. Some of the kids we’ve met before, this is the first time we’re meeting some of them, and some are actually matched with families already! It’s always extra special when we can see the matched children and ask specific questions their families (their forever families!) thoughtful came up with and are curious about. We even got to give an early birthday present to one awesome girl!

We met Denver and Dallas for the second time – what amazing brothers! Each boy has a very distinct personality. They would bring so much fun energy and happiness to a family! Dallas struck a very “cool boy” pose with his sunglasses for us, while Denver gave a sweet smile and quietly went back to his Legos. When asked how he would describe himself, Dallas said he was like a ninja turtle!



We also saw Dixie again. It took her a little while to warm up but once she felt a little more comfortable she was talkative and even recited a Taiwanese poem she has memorized. When I asked her what made her happy she said sneezing!

10 year old Danica was shy and quiet at first, but she was proud of the self-portrait we asked her to draw. She has a super cute, sweet smile. When asked what her favorite color was she quickly responded “yellow!” in English!

We will be seeing even more kiddos tomorrow! Remember to follow along on the Facebook page for more photos and videos from the day!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day 2 Superkids in Taiwan

We spent our day at Cathwel again today. The morning was spent seeing children and in the afternoon  we spent time visiting with and sharing a presentation with the social workers and staff there.

We saw this bridge from the restaurant where we ate lunch

Let me tell you about a few of the children we met. Anthony was so very sweet! He aced all of the developmental stuff we did with him and had the cutest little grin while doing it. Then he kept coming over to share little treats with us, marshmallows and little cakes. The staff said he is always very generous. What a precious boy!



He had a little friend there too who was just as cute. He had so much fun doing all of the running, jumping, and ball throwing!



The thing that just amazes me about this place and these children is how very much the staff cares about them. They want to be sure we know everything there is to know about each child. They want them to find loving forever homes. And it shows in the children! They are thriving. Don't get me wrong, this is an institution, and an institution is not a family, but they are doing what they can to minimize the effects of being in that setting.





Their care and concern was evident again in the afternoon sharing time. They listened carefully (Don't ask about the jet lagged American ladies who couldn't understand a word of the presentation. We were thankful for the lady who saw how tired we were and offered us coffee!)  And the discussions continued after the presentation was over. Even when it was well past the time that we had planned for. It was so encouraging to see such a thoughtful group in charge of these little ones.

Learning a little about the history of Gladney

Tomorrow we head to ChungYi. Thank you for following and supporting our trip. We are so hopeful that more and more children will find there families as a result of us being here!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 1 Superkids in Taiwan

What a day! We are staying in a lovely location with a beautiful view. When I got up this morning and looked outside as it was just getting light, I just knew the day was going to be a good one.



And it was! We met the sweetest brothers right away this morning Mel & Milton. They are amazing! They are polite, they do well in school. They are smart and sweet and funny. They get along well with each other. And they need a family.



Soon after we met little Mia followed by so many other precious children! There were the precious brother and sister, the little boy with strabismus who needed an eye patch who brought us each a little treat before he left, Micah who came into the room ready to show us all how adorable he is, and so many other cuties!






We walked to a little market street near Cathwel for lunch. They specialize in stinky tofu. Oh my! The whole street wreaked of tofu. But we found a little restaurant with delicious food options (we all opted out of the tofu).



And tonight we went to the night market. We tried some interesting food and walked along enjoying the sounds, smells, and sights of Taiwan.


Tomorrow we go back to Cathwel. We can't wait to meet tomorrow's children!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Gloria!

We have met Gloria several times, the last time being in October of last year. I was so excited when I got the news that we finally have her file. I can't wait to see this sweet little one come home!



Gloria is 3 years old. She has a skin condition called ichthyosis. She needs the medical care that will make her life more comfortable that she will receive in a family!

Gloria is described as a curious little girl. When we saw her in October she was walking independently, stacking blocks, and could kick a ball around the room.



She was sitting on her caregiver's lap while we spoke with the caregiver. There was another little one in the room who was crying and little Gloria just kept watching the little one with such concern on her face. It was very sweet!

Gloria's file does indicate that she may have some developmental delays. She is not yet very verbal, but she does seem to understand what is said to her. She follows simple instructions. And she is beginning to speak more.



We have met little Gloria multiple times and would be happy to speak with you about her! Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

New Files {And Eddie}

What do you do when you are just getting ready to leave for a trip to Taiwan and you get new files from China

You quickly schedule a couple of extra blog posts to introduce a few of the new children!

Meet Eddie!



Eddie is 2 years old. And as cute as a little button! He has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. His file states, "he is active and lively, he likes listening to children's songs very much" It also indicates that he likes to dance to the music! Can you even imagine this little cutie dancing to music?! {Swoon...}

Eddie crawls and stands independently, he is taking steps and very close to walking! He stacks blocks and bangs them together. He feeds himself finger foods. He likes toys that light up and make noise.



Eddie lives in a group foster home which Superkids visited the last time we were in China. It seems to be a place where children receive more individualized attention than is normally seen in an orphanage setting.

Eddie has a $4,000 grant through Gladney! Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Two Sleeps

TWO SLEEPS! Before we embark on the next great Superkids adventure! This time it is a week in Taiwan. We expect to see around 80 children in our two partnership organizations there. We plan to be in Taipei the whole week.




You want to follow along and see what a Taiwan Superkids trip is like? Well, right here is a good place to do just that! We hope to post here daily. But you should also follow us on our Gladney's Superkids Facebook page. We will post there as often as we can depending on our wifi connection. And, since Taiwan is pretty strict about which photos and videos can be shown online, be sure to ask to join our Taiwan Advocacy group on Facebook. (We will send you a message then approve your membership, so be sure to keep an eye on your "others" folder for a message from us if you request to join.) Since it is a private group we can share photos and videos that we can't put on a public page.

We are busy packing our bags and finishing up our last minute preparations.

 Next stop... Taipei...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Meet Eloise!

This little smile will warm your heart today!



Meet Eloise! She is a sweet 2 year old baby girl who has Down Syndrome and post-operative CHD. She smiles easily and likes to be held and bounced to music. She crawls and walks with assistance. She bangs blocks together and can build a small tower.



She feeds herself small finger foods and her favorite food is cake (I'm already imagining a smash cake photo shoot for her third birthday!). This little one likes toys that make sounds and have flashing lights.



Eloise needs a family! She has a $4,000 grant through Gladney! Could she be your daughter? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

An Update for Dennis! {Taiwan}

We recently received Dennis’ full profile from our partner agency in Taiwan. We were able to meet Dennis during our last Superkids trip, so it’s exciting to finally have his profile to review!



Dennis’s caregivers note that he has good attachment to his caregivers and will often give them kisses. He enjoys playing with the caregivers, especially working on puzzles and pretending to cook. Dennis also loves to ride a bike with training wheels, and is said to be pretty fast! He knows his colors and shapes, and can count to 5. Dennis is in preschool and his teachers say he gets along well with his peers.



Dennis is currently participating in speech and language therapy. Dennis has Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and overall delays. We have full medical information, developmental information, and social history for Dennis. If you’d like to review his full profile, please be in touch with Taiwan program caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org

Friday, April 7, 2017

Harriet

Harriet is a sweet, spunky 9 year old girl. She likes to sing and dance, but, when asked what she dislikes, her reply was running.



Harriet has Thalassemia and receives a blood transfusion on a monthly basis. She is doing well developmentally. She does well at school and is a good reader.



When we met her she joined in a rousing game of ball, but then settled right down and put together a Lego set by herself. She absolutely loved those Legos and was very proud of the little castle she made.



She is independent in her self care. She enjoyed stringing beads and made herself a cute little necklace. She is a friendly, outgoing child who warmed up to our team quickly.



This lovely little girl needs a family. The care in China for children with Thalassemia is not as good as it should be. Due to a shortage of blood, children often don't receive transfusions as frequently as they should. This sweet girl needs to come home soon! Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Daisy {Taiwan}

Sweet and pretty, just like the flower, Daisy is a 5 year old girl waiting for her forever family. We recently received Daisy’s profile and hope to meet her during our upcoming Superkids trip.



Daisy is shy around new people, but in a comfortable environment, she blossoms into a happy, energetic little girl. She loves to draw and do jigsaw puzzles. Her caregivers state that she is very sweet and likes to cuddle. She will draw pictures for her caregivers and express how much she likes them. Daisy is in school and will complete her homework independently once she gets home from school.

Daisy is healthy with no medical or special needs. We have several photos and a video of Daisy that can be shared privately. To view Daisy’s full profile, photos and video, please contact Taiwan program caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Meet Victor!

Victor is every bit as adorable as his pictures and report describe!  We were able to travel to meet him recently, and he is a friendly, silly and typical 9 year old boy.   He is very inquisitive and curious and has a lot of questions about almost everything, as he likes to figure out how things work. His teacher back in China shares that he is intellectually on target, and he works hard at school. His favorite subjects are PE and cooking class! He takes English classes every week, and he likes it very much!



Victor makes friends easily and is helpful with those he knows- pushing his friend in his wheelchair and helping with the chores.  He loves singing and can play chess.  We were smitten with his polite manners as he offered a snack to everyone at our table before eating it himself. 

Victor is independent in self-care and he willingly helps with chores, such as putting  away the dishes, setting the table, and organizing and folding his clothes.



Victor longs to have a family of his own as he has expressed multiple times to his foster family.  He is familiar with the concept of adoption and what it means to be a part of a loving family. In his foster home he has been exposed to the Catholic faith and his faith practices have become an important part of his life.

Victor’s need is post-operative left nasal ala deformity. Victor had cranial facial surgery in early March 2017. He traveled to the US on a medical visa to have this surgery done in Dallas, TX.  When we met him two weeks post-surgery, his medical team was quite pleased with his progress and surgery outcome.



He is staying in the US for several months for on going medical care and follow up. Wouldn't it be amazing if he had a family commit to him before he needs to return to China? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information. We have so many pictures and videos we would love to share! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Update on Dale! {Taiwan}

We just received Dale’s full profile from our partner agency in Taiwan and let me just tell you…not only did we get his full social history, medical reports, and developmental information, but we also got videos. These are some of the cutest videos I have ever seen – and this is not something I say lightly because we get a lot of cute videos!



Each video gets progressively more adorable! Since we can’t share them publicly on the blog, you’ll just have to trust me! In the first video he is reading aloud from a storybook. His smile at the end shows how proud he is to stand and read for everyone in the room. In the second video he sings along to a song playing from an iPhone – such a sweet voice!



Then came the third and final video – this one is what really takes the cake! He performs a dance/exercise routine to a video that he has clearly watched below. He is so good that he probably doesn’t really need to watch the video - he has the moves down! He performs each move cleanly and has a good rhythm with the music. And at the end there’s that same proud smile.



Dale is an awesome 7 year old boy who would thrive in a forever family! He is healthy with no medical or special needs. He is described as kind and shy. In his profile it states that he recited the full multiplication table from memory to the social worker – impressive! He loves drawing and is said to be a talented artist. Could Dale be your son? Please contact Taiwan program caseworker, Mary Chapman, at mary.chapman@gladney.org to review Dale’s full file, including the amazing videos!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Meet Ezra!

Ezra is a darling little boy who just turned 3. He obviously considers himself quite handsome...



And I'm sure you can't argue with this cute little face!



Ezra has Down Syndrome. he is described as being quiet and sweet. When we met him in October he really loved playing with our stacking cups. He also participated in little songs with motions when the caregivers helped a group of children sing. It was so cute!



Ezra was saying a few simple words and was walking independently when we met him in October. He giggled when the caregiver was teasing him and seemed very engaged in what was happening in the room around him.


Ezra has a $4,000 grant through Gladney!

Ezra needs a family! Could he be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.