Thursday, June 27, 2013

30 days

June 23,2013 

It is hard to believe that I have already been here for 30 days! There has been times that the days have seemed super slow and others that they have  gone by super fast. I miss my family a lot and have had some days that the homesickness has hit pretty hard. The kids have stolen my surprise there, and they keep me very busy. I am so thankful that I have been given this time to serve here and teach the kids in preschool.

 I leave tomorrow for my VISA run to Korea. I'm so excited to see the Harris family but I know I will miss the babies a lot. It was hard to explain to them that I would be back in 2 weeks but I'm confident that the other "Stephanie" will do great.

I will try and blog at least once while I am in Korea so be on the lookout. I just want to say one more time THANK YOU for all your love, prayers and support!

I am adding a few pictures from around the village


June 17,2013

It has been a busy week! We have had different visitors and teams coming and going. I am thankful for the blessing on being busy because it helps pass my “free” time faster. It is also nice to have other people around that speak English. We currently have a group of 11 here for a few days. They are such hard workers I am running out of various projects for them. I am SO thankful for all the work they have done over the last 2 days.

This week and preschool class we are starting alphabet books for all the kids. We are doing different types of artwork for each letter. I am excited about this new project and I hope they all have finished books or almost finished books before they leave. ( I don’t know of any kids leaving anytime soon, but you never know when it is going to happen.)

Today was super special in the sense that I got to be a part of telling a little boy from my class that he has a family! This is such a blessing for him and it was fun giving him the goodies from his family. Please pray for him as he is trying to understand the news and for his friends that are still waiting to have a forever family find them. For right now I can’t post any pictures of this event or share any name details. So just know that it is one of my handsome little boys from my class!

Another exciting thing is that one of my little ones that has been working on walking took a couple of steps to me today!!! I was so excited. I was able to have someone record a video later on of him taking a few more steps. I will try and get it posted up somewhere so that ya’ll will be able to see! I was so excited, now to just keep working on taking a few more steps alone each day. I have no doubt that this little man will be running by the end of summer.

This is week is kinda bitter sweet for me, as this is my last week of class before I head off for 2 weeks on my visa run. I finally have them on a bit of a schedule and I know we are going to have to start all over again when I return. Hopefully they will be on their best behavior for the other volunteer that will have just arrived before I leave. I am excited about heading to Korea and telling everyone about the sweet faces of New Hope and different ways they can help from afar or come on their own trips.

I would love to hear from you my readers on the different things you would like to hear about from my trip! I would love some different ideas as I don’t want my blog to sound the same each week! Thank you all for your love and support!


Rainbow out my window

My room 

Summer Fun

What kid does not like going to the pool on a hot summer day?? Well the preschool kids here are no different!  At first I was not sure what the nannies would say when I asked and the first response was it is too cold (it was already 80 degree’s at 8AM!)  Last Wednesday (June 19,2013) we had a group of moms and daughters visiting, so the first 2 preschool classes got to skip school, and spend the time at the pool!  For some of the kids this was their first time ever in the pool! So it was fun to see their reaction to the water. The ones that were here last summer that went swimming jumped right in and started playing. It was so much fun to watch their little faces light up with joy while they were cooling off on a hot summer day! It is moments like this that I love being able to give some of the kids a bit of what a “normal” summer is like. Every day since going to the pool the kids have asked me if they can go to the “water” again.  Swimming time again is in the works we just have to have enough hands available, and of course the weather has to be on our side.
The group that was just here visiting was such a blessing to me in more ways then I can write. They were a wonderful group of ladies  from a church in the states and all them were homeschoolers. It was so nice to sit and chat with them in the evenings and to have them around to help with afternoon preschool classes. I am so thankful that they arrived just when they did, as it was the absolute perfect timing.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of our swimming adventure! 


1st class is ready to go! 

Liam splashing in the water

Liam and James love the pool

I love my class 

Timothy having fun with the water and bucket 

Love this sweet boy

Such an amazing group

Sunday, June 9, 2013


                        June 8,2013 
 A neat momento that New Hope staff tries to do for each child here at the orphanage is create a scrapbook of their time with them.  Their book follows the child wherever they go…and ultimately with the prayer that it will be a special gift for them and their forever family when they are adopted.   I spent yesterday organizing, and sorting through pictures, paper, stickers and old scrapbooks. My goal is to have every preschool child's scrapbooks done before I leave this summer. I am also hoping to get the books finished of those that have been matched with a family as well. It is a lot of fun to go back through the old pictures of when they first arrived and to SEE how much they have changed. As I have been taking pictures throughout the week I have been adding them to their files so that hopefully one day their forever family will get a disk of pictures from throughout the years! 

Painting lots of pudgy hands and sweet little feet for their personal scrapbooks.

Today we celebrated a birthday in our preschool class. Little Timothy turned 3 years old!   It was so much fun making his special day, extra special.  We have a team of 3 high school students visiting from Singapore right now and one of them is very artsy. She was able to make Timothy a Happy Birthday shirt! I am going to be sad to see this team leave tomorrow.  They have been so much help in preschool and working on scrapbooks. One of the special things that we try to add to every scrapbook is the child’s hand and footprints. With help from this team I was able to get every child in preschool’s prints done! This is a big task and baby wipes (or the makings for homemade wipes)  are going on my shopping-list they are    wonderful to have when painting in class.               

This weekend is pretty low key here so I will be spending a lot of time working on getting future craft projects ready and scrapbooking. Missing everyone at home and hoping they are having a blast at Make a Wish and the Club Beyond spaghetti dinner is a huge success!

Love to all,


Bringing some summer to New Hope preschool

 WOW! I have been here for 2 full weeks now! During these 2 weeks I have adjusted to my role as summer preschool teacher. The kids have officially stolen my heart. 
I have been able to get into the rhythm of preschool class schedule….I've even learned the Chinese names of all 18 of my kiddos! I have been looking on Pinterest for lots of fun craft activities to do this summer. My current big project is updating our big board! I had all the kids sponge paint paper in class and now I am busy cutting out petals. During class on Monday we are going to glue the petals to flower centers that have each child’s name on them. I am hoping to add some summer feel to the classroom with big bright flowers on our board. I am also looking up other craft ideas that would go along with a summer fun theme. One of the kids favorite book is "Shoey and Dot"  by Mary Beth Chapman, since the story teller in the book is a ladybug, I've been looking for some fun lady bug crafts and activities. Looking forward to trying to find my inner craftiness

 This past week I had to say goodbye to my friend from Belgium, Anne as her time visiting came to a close. I am so glad for our time in China together and all her help in the preschool class during my first week! I also had to say “see you later” to my sweet friend Chelsea. I met Chelsea 2 years ago on my last trip and she was the one that really encouraged me to applied for the summer internship. She just recently got married and is now  headed back to the States for a bit to spend time with her husband! Although I am sad to see her go, I am so excited for her new adventure as an Army wife.  

I love Chinese food, and having the "real deal" is amazing.  I have enjoyed walking into the village to get fresh fruit to have on hand throughout the week. (yes, this is from a totally safe store and all the fruit is washed with bottled water!) I do miss cooking and having some of my favorite dishes.  The stove we have available for our personal use is in  need of  repair, so I'm looking for some quick and easy microwave recipes.  Pinterest to the rescue….I've made macaroni and cheese and even pancakes!  

Thursday, June 6, 2013


In a few weeks I will be heading to Seoul, Korea for my VISA "run".  Why Korea, what is a VISA "run"….why this change???  

Well to start, about 1.5wks before I left Belgium, I received my passport back with my VISA for China…..for 2 entries at 30 days each…….WAIT…hmmm, I supposed to be in China for 74 days and this only covers me for 60 days.  So, lots of tears, frustration and phone calls later I found out that rules have recently changed and due to the fact that I did not utilize my multi entry VISA the last two trip meant that I wasn't awarded one this time.  This was devastating news, but after I calmed down, had time to talk to my parents,to Chelsea here at New Hope and to Rob, one of the founders of the orphanage I realized that this had to be part of God's plan for my trip and his will would be revealed to me as time went on.  I had a few choices that I could foresee, 1) was to change my plane ticket  and shorten my trip by 2 wks, 2)  to head to Hong Kong on my VISA run and pray that they would renew my VISA at their Chinese embassy to cover my whole trip, 3) was to go to Hong Kong and stay somewhere for the 14 days and then come back. 4) to escort a baby needing care in HK and stay with them for 14 days or longer (there was no one in need of such care at this time and when they do need an escort it is usually with very short notice)   Rob thought it would best to leave everything as it was and pray the plan would reveal itself in the first few weeks here.  

A VISA "run"  is a quick trip to a neighboring country so that you leave the country requiring a VISA and start your clock over again….I knew I would likely have 1 VISA run and had budgeted for a 1 day flight to HK and back.  

Thru a conversation with Chelsea during my first couple of days, we got to talking about military bases overseas and one thing led to another and Korea came up.  Chelsea off the cuff, asked if I knew anyone stationed in Korea because it was about the same cost for a VISA run there as it was to Hong Kong….I said "YES" I have 2 family friends stationed in Seoul.  So, I emailed both families to see if they would even be around and have room for me to visit for 14 days.  Ms Christy Harris said she would love to have me come visit, and my mom breathed a huge sigh of relief at this plan….she wasn't exactly happy about 2 wks in a hotel in Hong Kong, and frankly neither was I.  I talked it all over with Rob, giving him all my choices, including shortening my trip.  He said it would be best for New Hope if I went to Korea for the VISA run…so I checked flights and I could get one round trip for what I had budgeted for my VISA run.  I thrilled for the time with the Harris family.  They are a Christian family with a very strong faith, and I know that my time with them will reap blessings that I can't even fathom yet.  

No worries I will still be doing work for New Hope while there.  I plan to travel with a pretty empty suitcase, so I can shop for supplies for the preschool.  I plan of sharing my testimony and telling everyone I meet about New Hope and the ways to help those in China.  I will use this time wisely.  

So though I know leaving my new little friends here in China will be hard, I can't wait to see their little faces when I return with so new things for them to do.  I not a big fan of change, but I really feel this particular change was God directed and I'm excited to see what comes of my time away.  Thank you all for your prayers and support, I cherish them everyday.  So minus my siblings in this pic, this is will be my family in Korea for the 14 days I'm with them....THANK YOU Ms. Christy and family!!!

My dear friend Anne

It was so great to have my friend Anne,  from Belgium spend a week and half at New Hope with me.  Anne has a heart for orphans like myself, and was so excited to have the opportunity to meet the babies that I had often spoke about.  She was invaluable during the transition from Chelsea leaving, and me taking over the preschool class.  After lots of hard work around the orphanage, I was excited to take her out for a day of sight seeing.  

 First stop,  the Great Wall and then to let her do a bit of shopping at the Pearl Market. Though New Hope is located in Beijing, it is on the outskirts, so taking a trip into the big city is a drive!  Beijing is it is the size of the whole country of Belgium or the State of Maryland!  Our day started  with an hour and half drive to the wall. We were able to go to the same section of the wall that I have been to on my past trips. I was excited about this because I was familiar with how it was set up and the area. We took the cable cars up and then we walked all around for almost 2 hours. It was so nice because the weather was warm (I could have screamed for not wearing shorts!) and the wall was not that crowded which made it even better. Anne really enjoyed it and we had a nice time just having some girl time before she leaves.  I so thankful for this little extra girl time b/c before I know it I will be here alone.  After the wall we headed to the Pearl market which is always an adventure of which booth to stop and look at and who can get the best deals! Anne had her mind set on what she wanted to get and she was able to accomplish her goal. After a fantastic day out we were invited over to dinner at Robin and Joyce’s house ( the founder ’s of New Hope), it was a nice evening of chatting with them and eating some more “Western” type dishes.

My first full week

Hard to believe that just one week ago I had just left Belgium and was headed to China.  I'm quickly settling in to my new role as the summer preschool teacher at New Hope.  I have several groups of children that rotate thru my class during day.  This week I've been busy on getting to know each of them, and figuring out their routine.  Besides my role in the classroom, sometimes I get to chance to show different groups that are visiting the orphanage around the property, and introduce them to the babies…super excited to link of with one of the ShowHope groups thats scheduled to arrive this morning