China Service Trip Reflections

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When I first arrived at the orphanage I didn’t know what to expect. Being a Chinese adoptee myself, I had always wondered the conditions of which the little babies and kids lived under. It’s always been a “what if” question and this trip was the answer. Out of everything that I’ve experienced while in China, the trips to the orphanage were the most fun and enjoyable.

It didn’t mean much to me until now. Having said goodbye to my new mei-mei (little sister) the emotions have hit hard. I didn’t want to leave her and I still feel really awful about saying goodbye. She changed my view of everything and left a handprint on my heart. I won’t be able to forget her adorable smile when I lifted her in the air, and taught her how to high five and shake her hands in the air in accomplishment. She learned from me and this was the first time I felt true joy. The feeling you get when you see a four year old smile and you know that you’re the cause of it is priceless.

I was rewarded with a kiss to the cheek and the little girl saying “Wo Ai Ni jie jie” meaning I love you older sister. I bonded with her and I didn’t want to let her go (I hope I can sponsor her once I get home). She was my mei-mei and saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever done.

This experience has been life changing and I wouldn’t trade any of the time I spent at the orphanage for anything. It was an incredible experience and I feel as though I have finally found closure for my own story and I am thankful that I have left such an impact on the little girl as well as the other kids at the orphanage. I hope I can go on another service trip soon. Every single moment spent has changed me and that little girl stole my heart. I won’t ever forget her or how I felt while there.

- Mary Rose, age 18

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Meet the Cutie- Andrew

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This is Andrew.  We have advocated for him before and he is classified as non special focus.  He is full of life and joy and ready for a forever family.  He is a giggler and laughs almost all the time.  He can run and jump and is waiting to jump right into your heart.  He made us all smile.  We can’t wait for him to find his forever family.  He is just three years old and his special need is limb difference

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I am a cutie and I need a family.  Could I be your son?

For more information about Andrew or any of our other waiting children, please contact patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com

Gladney China Service Trip – Chengdu – Days 3-5

ChengduWe have arrived in Chengdu and begun our service portion of the trip – this is the reason we have all traveled so far from home.  Chengdu is located in central China, in the Sichuan province.  The city, although not as large as Beijing, is still large with several million people.  It is known as the “City of Relaxation” and also is known for the spicy food.  There is also a lot of tech production here; most iPads actually come from Chengdu!  Chengdu is perhaps most well known for pandas – they live in the surrounding mountains and the Panda Research Base, where they breed and study pandas, is also located here (more on pandas to come!).

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Our past three days have been spent serving the orphans living in the Chengdu Children’s Home.  The Chengdu Children’s Home cares for close to 700 children of all ages on two campuses.  We have been working with children ranging in age from toddlers to teens at the main campus.  The majority of the children have special needs.

On Gladney’s previous service trips, the team has worked to help improve the buildings and grounds at the orphanages – painting, planting flower beds, etc. – however in China, the children’s homes are maintained by the government.  The buildings are usually very clean and the grounds are well maintained, so the needs here are different.  There are so many children being cared for – and while they are very well taken care of and it’s obvious that they are very much loved – they often lack individual attention which can lead to a low self-esteem and self-image.  Our goal for our time at Chengdu Children’s Home has been to share fun activities with the children and help to give them some one-on-one attention.  

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Our first morning at the Chengdu Children’s Home, we were greeted by a huge red banner welcoming us!  We met with the director of the home, as well as Director General Li from the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).  CCCWA is the central authority in China that facilitates all adoptions and Director General Li is the head of the organization – so it was a big deal for him to travel from Beijing to meet us!  Gladney had to work with the CCCWA to receive permission for this trip and to work in the Chengdu Children’s Home, as no other trip like this has ever been done.  We hope that Director General Li and Chengdu Children’s Home will be pleased with our efforts and invite us back!

After several speeches and a brief tour, it was time to meet the children!  Most of the children have never seen non-Asian people, so when we first met the children you could see a little bit of shock and hesitation on their faces.  However, they quickly warmed up when they realized we were there to play and have fun with them!  Also, the fact that our team is made up of very excited, warm, energetic and friendly teen girls helped!

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Our activities have included clay modeling class, music class, crafting paper flowers, and free play, both inside and outside.  Each team member donated supplies for the trip – crayons, coloring books, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and games – these have been great for interacting with the children, as they can be fun for any age.  We have worked with many of the same children each day and you can see the connections building between our team and the children.  We hope that our work has helped the children to see that they are valued, loved and special.

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I am a Cutie- Bennett

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Bennett is a sweet boy happy boy who likes to play.  He walks and runs and will pull over a chair to climb up on to get things he wants.  He likes playing with toys and really likes throwing the ball.  He is living in s foster family and his special need is post operative anal atresia.  He is cute and sweet and waiting for a forever family to love him. Could he be your son?

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I am a cutie and I have so much Love to give.  I need a forever family

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The Superkids team met this cutie in June for more information please contact patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com

2014 Gladney China Service Trip – Days 1 & 2 – Beijing

After nearly a year of planning, Gladney’s China Service Trip is underway!  Our team left the US on Friday, July 10th and spent a long day traveling to meet up in China.  We started our trip in Beijing – probably the best city in China to visit to learn about the history and culture of this amazing country, and our first two days of the trip were spent doing just that! 

Saturday morning we started bright and early with our wonderful tour guide, Rocky, taking us to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  It was pretty powerful to stand in Tiananmen Square as we learned about its significance to Chinese history.  And I think we were all in awe of the size of the Forbidden City and the beautiful architecture.

Tiananmen Square       Forbidden City Lion

We next visited a traditional tea house and participated in a tea tasting.  It was surprising how naturally sweet many of the teas were – we really enjoyed them.

Tea Tasting

Next we headed off for a rickshaw tour through the Hutongs.  This is in Beijing’s oldest part of the city.  Traditional housing in China consisted of several family homes built around a central courtyard, the narrow alleyways that run between the various residences are called hutongs.  There are not many hutongs and houses left, most were torn down as the city grew and became more modern.  In recent years, the government has worked to preserve the remaining hutongs and we were able to visit one of the oldest remaining hutong residences.  We were also invited to have lunch in one of the homes by a local family – the food was amazing!!

Hutong LunchHutong Courtyard

Saturday evening we went to an acrobat show – it was immensely impressive and scary at the same time!  I think we were all holding our breath for the majority of the show!  The performers did not use any sort of safety measures as they were flying through the air on silks hung from the ceiling other than holding on to each other!  There were incredible tricks showing the performers great strength, grace and balance.  The show ended with 8 motorcycles all being driven inside a large (but not that large!) metal cylinder cage all at the same time!

Sunday was another early day.  The first stop was Olympic Park where the 2008 Summer Olympics were held.  We were able to view the Bird’s Nest arena, the Water Cube and the Olympic Rings.

Next, we headed out of the city towards the Great Wall!  Before reaching the Great Wall, we stopped at a jade factory and learned about China’s most precious and valuable stone.  We learned about the different types of jade and how to spot imitations.  Of course, there was a massive store filled with everything you could want made out of jade!  Our credit cards took a pretty good hit!

Finally, we made it to the Great Wall!!  The mountains were green and lush, a welcome retreat after being in the city all day the day before.  Despite the nearly 100 degree heat, we made a pretty good climb up the wall!  The climb was much steeper than we all anticipated, and most of the steps were almost a foot high!  We pushed ourselves and were rewarded with beautiful views!

 Great Wall Group     Great Wall

Upon our descent, we had a surprise birthday party for two our team members. Rocky arranged for a beautiful cake to be delivered – sugar was very much welcomed after our excursion up the wall!

On the way back to the city, we stopped at a Cloisonne factory to learn about the enamel decorations. The colorful vases and other wares look like they are porcelain, but in fact are made of copper!  We learned the unique process of how each piece is made and were able to view many amazing pieces.

Our day ended with a late flight to Chengdu.  Now, it is time to get to the main reason we have traveled so far from home – to offer our service to the orphaned children of China.

I am a Cutie-James

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James is a boy we have posted about before!   The Superkids team just had the chance to meet this cutie in China.  He is all boy and cuter than cute.  He was speaking in short sentences.  And he loved all the toys we brought.  He had a good time trying each one out.

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James is three years old and is already potty trained. He can really kick the ball too! His special need is cleft lip palate for which he has had surgery.  He also had inguinal hernias on both sides repaired.

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He is so So sweet!   Mr. James needs a family to love him.  Could he be your son?

For more information about James or any of our other waiting children email patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com

 

Meet this Cuddle Bug- Grant

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See this cute little one.   He is cuter than cute.  He is crawling around on his hands and knees.  No belly dragging for this boy!!!!  In the room crawling around he is fast.  He is walking with some help and gets himself from his belly to sitting like a champ.

grant2The Superkids team just met this boy.  He is not yet two!  He is also a cuddle bug.  His special need is cleft lip and palate.  He has had an initial repair.  This little love is waiting for his forever family.  Could he be your son?

 

For more information about Grant or any of our other waiting children contact wendy.stanley@gladney.org

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