Friday, July 3, 2015

Message for Xinxiang Staff

Video of the Day

Unpacking the Donations for our First Hugs Room


Thursday, July 2

This morning we unpacked our many bags of donations. Thanks to all of you who donated things on from our Amazon wish list. Below is a special message from QiRui, our room manager, just to those who sent supplies.

The kids were thrilled with everything from puzzles to a tunnel to crawl through. There was a walker with buttons to push and lights that light up. A toy cell phone and baby links were also popular. We brought tons of moisturizer, a roll on to help with bug bites and antibiotic cream. We also brought many many sleepers and receiving blankets, cleft bottles and homemade hats for the winter!


We all pitched in and helped decorate the room. The old decorations had peeled off and thing were looking pretty rough. Once we got the trees and flowers up and the kids returned for naps, it was great to see even the small babies turn their heads to examine the colorful flowers and butterflies decorating the walls.

As we were getting the last of the decorations up we heard a big commotion on  the hallway.  It was outside the room where trafficked kids are. There are also some special needs kids in there. A little boy was screaming and I occasionally could hear cries of “mama, baba”. We wondered what was happening. We found out that he had been found by the police and after being checked out at the hospital was brought to the orphanage by the police. They were leaving him there and he did not want to stay with strangers. Krista was in the room by then, holding a newborn (just 5 days old) and I went in to see if I could help. The little boy was rocking on a little toy and holding tight to his bread in one hand. I brought a truck that made noise. He was intrigued but would not touch it. I sent Claire and Isabelle to get some small toys they brought back a little plastic fish and a power ranger toy we had brought for big kids gifts (thanks Colleen!) and he looked at them.  I placed them o his lap and he picked them up. The policemen chose to leave then and they were his familiar people now. He starting wailing again and threw the toy. We left the room so the ayi could comfort him. As we saw him later that day, he seemed happy and smiling. I can only imagine what night time was like for him. He says he is three but seems at least four. He knows hi name and his parents names. I hope they find his parents. I have said it before but…So much sadness at the orphanage.

After lunch ( and the orphanage makes a delicious lunch….ohhhh the won ton soup!!), more playing with babies. We heard that the baby who went to the hospital on Monday s doing better. We hope he will be back in First Hugs soon.

Bethel China sent us some DVDs on working with bind children. Our manager QiRui is reviewing them for a second time and will teach our staff how to interact with visually impaired children.

One more day at XinXiang Social Welfare Institute. If you want to know more, please follow us on facebook at Dianjiang Kids or check out our website at We are able to pay the nannies’ salaries only through your donations and child sponsorships. Some of our kids still need to be sponsored.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Some Videos from Xinxiang Visit



You might remember I mentioned a hydrotherapy room.  And if you have been following us for a while you might have seen this before. I thought I would show you the side view of two kids in the hydrotherapy tub! They look like they enjoy it.

Happy Canada Day, Wed July 1st

 Wednesday July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!!

Today we put up mobiles on the cribs. Cathy brought six to put on cribs for the babies. It was so fun to look at the children when they were put in the cribs. They were looking and reaching. When we turned the mobiles on and the music began, the babies were entranced.

This morning, Krista, Isabelle and Matt went to take video of older children who are on the shared list. For those unfamiliar with Chinese adoption, each agency is assigned children to place with families by the central Chinese adoption body, CCCWA. There is also a large list , called the shared list, that any agency can choose a child from. These children are often older and/or they may have more severe special needs. Their files can also sometimes be quite outdated. Krista and her “team” gathered information and video on these kids. Hopefully families for these kids can be found.

More play time with the kids including the daily walk and, if the weather cooperates, trip to the playground area. Jack, Claire and Matt took Kevin, Adam and Essy to the playground. Essy could not  hang on to the “ride” safely so Matt bravely sat on the ride and held her. Adam and Kevin both took turns on the  slide.

One baby who makes us all laugh is Bud. He is a happy baby who can be quite intent and then suddenly reward you with a big smile, dimple and all. He is just learning to walk but is a little top heavy so prefers to crawl. He loves to play and adores looking at himself in the mirror, shaking his head and laughing!

Olivia has been in our program since she was one month old and she is now 10 months old. When she first arrived she was very tiny and had a feeding tube. She is now a good eater. Olivia has a cleft lip but no cleft palate. She is very strong and likes to exercise on her belly. She has beautiful, large expressive eyes and loves to laugh.

Emily is another baby with a cleft lip. She also has a cleft palate. Cathy describes her as a fighter. She is almost four months old. She is very strong, pushing with her legs and making fists when she is playing with you.

On the very first day we arrived, I picked tiny Matthew up from his crib. He has an unknown special need and is under observation. He is just six weeks old. He has a habit of coughing quite hard when he wakes up and turning blue. We have asked for an echocardiogram.

we unpack most of our donations and redecorate. We are so grateful to our supporters who loaded us down with donations for this trip!

Sent from my iPad

Xinxiang First Hugs

 June 30, 2015

When we entered the room this morning and settled in with the babies, I noticed a child I had not seen before. He was very fair and quite sweet looking. Why would I not remember him?  I asked QiRui. It was LiTong. The family brought him back. They decided not to adopt him. Why? He is gorgeous and sweet. He seemed smart and delightful. What could they possibly have discovered in 24 hours to make them change their minds? So sad. So much sadness here  at times. We hope he finds a forever family soon.

We first saw baby Jade in the rehab room yesterday. Today Claire, Jack, Matt and Isabelle spent quite some time figuring out a name for her. They wanted it to be something special because they thought she was like a princess. With her sweet flowing dress and big smiles, she is a pretty special girl. They decided on Jade and all agreed it suited her. She is big, healthy looking girl who enjoys lots of attention, songs and brightly colored toys.

Jonas met us at the door when we arrived yesterday. He has been in First Hugs since February of 2012. He has some visual impairment but it does not seem to slow him down. We were sad when we read in his most recent report that he had a hard time after two of his closest friends were adopted earlier this year. He now tends to stick with his nanny, the report says.He likes to help her. He also goes to the speech room for speech therapy. We have been keen to have his adoption paper work prepared but were told today that it will not be possible as he is a trafficked child. Because he is trafficked he cannot be internationally adopted but can be adopted domestically after two years. Sadly, no one will want to adopt him here in China because he is not “perfect”. Jonas continues to win the heart of all who meet him. Matt, Jack, Isabelle and Claire all love playing with him., He especially loves it when the boys throw him up in the air!

Essy is a sweet little girl who has been matched with a family. In fact, we heard just today that they will be here for her in less than two weeks! Essy has impaired vision but we know she can see some things. She loves a little ball that Krista brought that lights up when you bang it. She also loves to be held and have her back and legs rubbed. She is a petite little girl. We cannot wait to see her blossom with her family!

Today I named another baby. She is a beautiful eight month old little girl who can light up a room with a smile. I named her Effie after a strong, amazing woman I know. Effie appears to have some weakness in her legs and goes to rehab daily. She rolls over from back to front but not from front to back yet. She loves to be held and will fall asleep in your arms. She is a real beauty.

You might remember I mentioned a hydrotherapy room.  And if you have been following us for a while you might have seen this before. I thought I would show you the side view of two kids in the hydrotherapy tub! They look like they enjoy it.

Headed to the Orphanage

Monday, June 29, 2105

We headed to the orphanage first thing in the morning, eager to see “our” babies. We were greeted at the door by QiRui, our room manager, holding Jonas by one hand and Adam by the other. We had found out just two days before we left that Adam has a family. We were so excited and QiRui was just delighted with the news!

We headed into the playroom where we were greeted immediately by Kevin with big smiles. Before we got settled in, the orphanage director asked QiRui to take us on a tour of the building to see the older kids. As much as we wanted to spend time with our kids, we headed off.

We saw the rehab rooms and met some of our kids there. One little baby, David,is  already 11 months old but is only the size of a newborn. There was also another little girl, we call her Jade, in the next room for therapy. We saw the room where the kids get hydrotherapy, a room for physiotherapy and a speech therapy room.

We then visited some of the older kids in their classrooms. One class of children were doing math and a younger class was doing puzzles and coloring. They were all very sweet. Some of those kids are on the shared list and are available for adoption.

We were then able to return to our room and check out our kids. We dove right in and started playing with the children and catching up with QiRui on the condition of some of our kids. One little boy, several months old, seemed to be having a hard time breathing. His chest was rattling and you could see his chest struggling to get air. Cathy happens to be a former EMT, among other things (in the real world, she is an accountant ) so she got a stethoscope and listened. She could hear upper lung sounds but no sounds in his lower lungs. We asked that he be taken to the hospital. He had been getting treatment at the orphanage but we were worried he might have pneumonia. He was taken to the hospital that afternoon.

Another little boy in our program, who we named Jack, has had a great struggle with hydrocephalus. He has been in and out of  the hospital, has had several shunts but he still is in pain. We are seeking to get him transferred to Shanghai for further treatment. All children deserve the absolute best care and for complicated and challenging cases, that can mean going outside the city or even the province.

Back at First Hugs, we reveled in the children who were well cared for. Kevin, who this time last year refused any solid food at almost three years of age, now feeds himself solid food! He is  talking and communicating well and has grown so much in the last year. Kevin often wants a toy another child has. He fully expects, as one of the older kids, to be able to grab it from most kids. However he has learned the art of negotiation and brings a toy, offering it in exchange for the toy he wants. He will be a shrewd businessman some day! Kevin is on the shared list.

Our little Malachi has also grown so much. He was just four months old when we were here last spring.. Now at 19 months old, he is walking and playing well. He is a very quiet and shy boy. It was so sweet when he finally wanted to play cooperatively. He enjoys building blocks, playing in the ball pit and stacking toys. Malachi has been matched with a family.

Adam is 26 months old and as I mentioned earlier, we just found out he has been matched with a family. He is a dynamic guy. He likes to play pretend and loved the stacking toy as well. He is constantly on the move and has a smile for everyone. He loves to go from walks and explore rocks. He also likes the slide.

We have some very tiny new babies in our program. One is called Liam. He has a club foot and hand and arm differences. There is no given diagnosis except limb differences. Liam is four months old and loves to snuggle.

About 20 minutes before we arrived this morning, a young baby in our room was adopted domestically. He is almost 11 months old. We were so excited for him but sad to have missed the occasion. It would have been so cool to see. He had been described in reports as “ with white skin and loving to smile, LiTong has been described as the spokesperson of our orphanage. Everyone likes him.” We wish him and his new family well.