Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goodbyes :(

August 5,2013
Goodbyes or see you laters never get easier no matter how many times you say them. When I said goodbye to the ones I loved at home 10 weeks ago, I knew I would be able to talk and "see" them while I was away. I also knew they would be there when I returned. 
These past 2 weeks at New Hope have been hard as I have has to say many goodbyes. I had to say goodbye to 2 of my preschoolers as they left to become part of their forever family! I had to say goodbye to two other preschoolers as they went to other special care units. I had to say "see you later" to my new friend and roommate from the last month Stephanie as she headed back to CA. 
Marisol is now with her family! 

Alex left for one of the other special care units 

Sophie Joy left for one of the other special care units 
Liam is now with his forever family

Callie, Stephanie and me 

Today was the hardest of all my goodbyes. Saying bye to all the kids that have stolen my heart over the last 10 weeks. My precious 17 preschoolers that I have has the honor of teaching this summer. Saying goodbye to the Ayi's that even with the language barrier I have grown to love as well. Saying goodbye to friends that I have made during my time at New Hope : Robin, Katie, Joyce , Mikey , Becca, Jona,Kristine and Callie. They have all had a special place in making my 10 weeks in China amazing. 
With Jona and Kristine 

With Callie 

This morning I got up and went to do my last bit of preschool before making my rounds to the nurseries. The boys were in a super silly mood but it was just special to sit and hear them sing their favorite songs one more time. They all colored me one last picture to take on the plane. I was doing good on not letting the waterworks take over. That was until I walked out ,and started to say goodbye in my favorite room "the Bunny room". All but 3 little girls in this room attend one of my classes. As soon as I started saying goodbye to David and Eleanor my fight to hold back tears was over. 
My crazy morning class!

Sweet Eleanor arrived just this past week an she is a tiny 11 pound , 33months old (yes you read that right....she is just shy of 3yrs old) little girl that both Callie and I fell in love with. We were the ones that picked her English name which is Eleanor Grace. 

Eleanor Grace 

Soon the nannies were handing me tissues and asking if I was leaving. It made kinda easier as most of the kids were getting ready to go eat snack so I just had to give quick hugs and kisses from their high chairs. 
Kisses for Elizabeth 

Saying bye to Hayes! 

One last goodbye to Eleanor 

I had already said goodbye to David in his nursery but I had to get some last kisses and hugs! 

My favorite Ayi is the one of the cleaning ladies. She had Stephanie, Callie and I over for dinner last week. (Will blog about that in another post. )She has been so kind and always makes sure we eat! When she saw me crying as I was saying goodbye to the kids she asked if I was leaving. She even started tearing up which got me going more. She told me that I can fly back whenever I want and she would always remember me. 

These goodbyes were all different then when I said goodbye at the airport 10 weeks ago. Even though in my heart I know this will not be my last trip to China. I will never know which children will still be there when I return. Whether they have left for adoption , left to be with The Lord, or have returned to their home orphanages. I pray for their comfort through surgeries, changes, and I pray that each one will find a forever family. For me I also pray that I will be able to connect in some way with as many as possibles families. 
I am looking forward to big hugs and lots of love from those I left 10 weeks ago! I am asking for prayers for a smooth transition as I go home. Also, for my heart that will always have a piece in China.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Old Town Luoyang

July 30,2013

Stephanie and I were able to go into Old Town Louyang one afternoon. Kelsi, Vickie and her boys Caleb and Bradley (They are new Show Hope staff down in LY) and the translator Polly all were able to go out and explore around and have a wonderful Chinese dinner. It was a fun, relaxing time out and I was able to pick up a few pieces of artwork from the underground art market. Here are some pictures from our afternoon.


Happy is a soda that you can only get in Luoyang! 

The cutest firetruck ever! 

Check out all these grasshoppers

Anyone want a fish??

It poured while we were eating dinner 

Me, Stephanie, Kelsi, Vicki , Caleb and Bradley 


July 30,2013

Many of you knew that I was going to try really hard to try to visit Maria's Big House of Hope while in China. Thrilled that last weekend it worked out for the other Stephanie and I to make the trip to LY for a couple of days. Stephanie one of the other volunteers here at New Hope was very interested in coming down with me as this was her first trip to China. I was excited to go to the Big Blue house that I had visited and helped at on my past trips. For those that don't know Maria's Big House of Hope was built and funded by Show Hope ( Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapmen's organization ) in partnership with New Hope Foundation . Maria's is the home to 140 critical care special needs babies. Mariah who is the head nurse at Maria's and I have kept in contact over the past 4 years. My first trip to China was a week after she arrived. It was wonderful to sit and talk to her for a bit and show her some updated pictures of my crazy family.

Stephanie, Stephanie and Mariah 

I was super excited to reconnect with the staff at Maria's,some of which I've had the honor to call friends for the last 4 yrs. It was also great to hang out and talk to the 2 interns down there. Dan came over a couple weeks before me and will be leaving in August too. Kelsi arrived about a week after me and will be there until October. They are both so wonderful and you can tell they are a huge blessing to all the kids there. I was also able to meet the wonderful Martin family, which I have heard so much about. Dr. Steve is the in house doctor at Maria's. He lives there with his wife Laura and their 6 kiddos.

I loved being able just to float in and out of nurseries and have none of kids know me. Yes, I know that sounds strange but whenever I walk into a nursery at Hope I am attacked by my preschoolers. This means I never get to sit and hold any babies!! So I had 2 goals while I was visiting the nurseries at Maria's.  The first was to go and find the tiniest,(holdable)baby in house! I was able to do just that and for a solid hour I just loved on this tiny bit of God's perfection! 

My second goal was to find all the babies that have been blessed with an extra chromosome like my brother. I loved going around and playing or holding all the sweet babies with Down syndrome. They just melted my heart and made me miss Jameson and the rest of my siblings so much more.

It was a wonderful trip but I could not wait to get back to New Hope and see all the kiddos that I know and love. I missed the feeling of knowing all the kids names when I walked into a nursery.

I have attached a few pictures to the blog from my trip


It was a super clear day flying out of Beijing

The Sponsor team was still there for our last night so we enjoyed a rooftop cookout with them.

Painting done by Stephanie H.