Sunday, May 30, 2010

Congratulations Harper!

Congratulations to Harper and her forever family! Harper's family is the first to be officially matched with one of our Journey of Hope Children. She is such an amazing little girl and she is going to an awesome family; one that we here at AAC have really enjoyed getting to know. We look forward with you to the time that she joins your happy family.
Congratulations guys!

Beautiful little Harper, soon to be united with her forever family

Child of the Day- Our Angel- Rachel

Rachel is a sweet little soul. She has the face of an angel and the personality to match.

When we first met Rachel, we were in a small preschool type room with about 20 children and a few nannies. She took right to us. She played puzzles with us, and showed us the books she liked. She really liked books. I think we each read her a couple of them. We noticed that Rachel was very friendly with the other children too and shared easily. She had a beautiful smile and we just loved her.

Later on that afternoon, during the talent show we learned that she's not to keen on being in the spotlight. Rachel is very shy when she is the focus of everyone's attention. She pushed through the performance like a trooper though. When she forgot the words to her song, the other children chimed in to help her; it was really sweet. I can't blame her for being shy though. You know they say that the number one phobia people have is public speaking. It's something like 75%. I can totally relate to that. Shy or not, she still did a great job.

During the first part of our interview with Rachel, she was still a little shy. I'm not sure she knew what to think of all of these adults sitting around looking at her and talking to her and about her. It probably didn't help much that she had a video camera pointed at her. When Rachel recieved her giftbag, she was able to forget a little about all the strange people. She was very excited to see her coloring book. She really likes to color and her favorite color is yellow. Rachel always had a ready smile.

Her personality really opened up again when she was back with the other kids. She loved playing the games and was eager to participate in everything. She beamed when she was having some of Daniel's birthday cake.

Rachel is the definition of sweety pie. She is loving, friendly, and beautiful. Her Thalassemia, causes her to need blood transfusions every 4-8 weeks.

Please watch the video in the post earlier this week and consider talking to your doctor about Thalassemia. If you have room in your heart and home for this child, please give our office a call.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Child of the Day- Caitlyn- The Little Sweetie Pie

One word comes to mind when I think of Caitlyn... adorable! Everything about her is adorable, from her cute little face to her sweet little face and everything in between.

We met Caitlyn on the first morning of the camp. All of us were enamored with her. Who could resist that beautiful face?! Caitlyn was pretty outgoing and played with us right away. She liked to participate in all of the activities going on; story reading, puzzles, name it. We also noticed how well she got along with the other kids. My favorite time was when she showed us her necklace that her "auntie" gave her. It was so cute how proud she was of it.

Later on, Caitlyn made us all melt when she performed in the talet show. She did an awesome job! She was really coordinated and even graceful. We all "aaahhh"ed over her sweet little voice and girly little dance. The amazing thing about it was it was how confident she was. She was really comfortable in front of the croud.

During our one on one time with her we saw more of her outgoing personality. She was more talkative than many of the other children. Caitlyn is very self assured and will tell you what she thinks. She told us the things that she does and doesn't like. For instance; she likes singing, reading stories and playing with blocks. She doesn't like cookies, but likes vegetables. (Yes folks, another child who prefers vegies over sweets... I love that).

Caitlyn's Thalassemia causes her to need blood transfusions every month or two. She realy needs a family who can love and nurture her. If you think that your family might be the one, please contact our office.

Check out the pictures of our beautiful Caitlyn in the post above.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Child of the Day- Miss Personality- Madeline

This girl has got personality! Madeline is one of the most charismatic girls you will ever meet. She's outgoing, funny and sweet.

When I first met Madeline, she had just arrived at the orphanage where the camp was being held. She and eight of the other children had traveled from a different orphanage about 3 hours away. Most of these children were a little shy. Understandably so, since they were in a new place with strange people. Not Madeline though! Marissa and I went over to say Nihao. Madeline jumped right up to great us. We shook everyones hands and exchanged some introductions that, because of the language difference, none of us really understood. Maddie was all smiles and charm just radiated from her! Marissa and I took some photos of the kids. They really liked it when we would show them the picture of themselves. Madeline would giggle excitedly and then strike another pose. She was definately comfortable being the center of attention. Check out the photos of her below. The girls were so silly and cute! You can really tell what a ham Madeline is. You just gotta lover her!

We played with them for a short period of time while the others were setting up for the presentation. At one point Maddie gestured that she like to opperate the camera. I enjoyed watching her as she played photographer with her friends for a few moments. I couldn't help but notice that Madeline is such a leader. Her instant connection with us helped the other kids to open up to us too.

Later that afternoon, the kids put on a talent show for us. They all did such a great job! Some of them were a little nervous to be in front of so many people. But once again, not Madeline. She was the such a confident little performer. Hmmm, do we have a future superstar on our hands here?

The next day Marissa, Larry and Sandy lead the children in games and activities. They got to see more of Madeline's spunky personality. She was always eager to participate. Also she got along really well with the other children. Her caretakers say that EVERYONE likes her allot. We can see why cause we liked her very much too!

Christie was able to spend some one on one time with Madeline. During that time, she told us that she likes playing barbies and dress up. She also likes to draw. Maddie enjoys icecream, fruit and vegetables. Yes that's right she loves vegtables! She doesn't care for meat though. Madeline is smart too. She speaks both Maderine and Canotnese. Christie really enjoyed getting to know her.

Madeline is one of the four girls in this group who have been diagnosed with Thalassemia. Her case is very minor and she does not need transfusions or chelation. Her blood is simply monitered. This girl really needs a family where her amazing personality will be nurtured. She would bring so much joy to any family. Please watch the video posted yesterday about Thalassemia. If you feel that your family may be the right family for this child please contact us. We would love to give you more information.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Could your family love and care for a child with Thalassemia?

The process of adopting a waiting child begins far before you get to the paperwork. Often times it begins with a transformation of your mind. The thought of caring for a child with "special needs" may be frightening at first. Through life's experiences you then realize that bringing a child with a medical diagnosis into your family may not be as scary as it seems. I love hearing people's stories on how they came to that conclusion. Each one is unique and moving.

Once you have decided to add to your family through this route, there will be many more decisions to make. One of the most daunting questions you will face is "What medical conditions are you open to?" You may be asked if you would consider caring for a child with a condition that you never heard of before. We always ask that you discuss these conditions with your doctor. However, there is more to the picture than that. We ask you to explore and find out what it is like to parent a child with one of these conditions from people who actually live it. We ask you to look past the diagnosis and see the heart of a child.

This week we would like to talk about a medical condition that can be very confusing, Thalassemia. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that effects the production of hemoglobin. It is an inherited disease and is not contagious. In some cases children with this condition must have blood transfusions and chelation therapy on a regular basis. Four girls from our Journey of Hope program (Madeline, Caitlyn, Rachel and Tara) have this condition. We will post highlights about each of these girls through out the week. So stay tuned! For now we would like to share with you stories of children with this condition and the families who love them. We would like to thank Love Without Boundaries for their work in putting this video together. Our hats are off to them for all they do for children in need of families.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still Many Children In Need of A Family!

AAC would like to thank everyone and for spreading the word about our Journey of Hope Kiddos. We have had quite a bit of interest and a few of them are even on hold while families await Initial Approval. We will keep you updated as they find their families.

However, there are still many children in need of a loving home. Tomorrow we will kick off our "Child of the Day" posts. Make sure to follow our blog so that you can read all about these wonderful children.

If you feel that you may be able to make a difference in the life of one of these children, please contact AAC today. You can also help by continuing to tell anyone and everyone about them! You could be a part of their Journey of Hope!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girls Girls Girls !!!

About half of our Journey of Hope girls are now listed on AAC's website. The other half will be posted tomorrow. Check them out... you may see the sweet face of your waiting child =)

Monday, May 10, 2010

More TAs

AAC received Travel Notices for three families today !!!
Time for all of those travel plans that you have been thinking about for so long to be solidified.
You will soon hold your sweet children in your arms. Congratulations guys!

Journey of Hope Day Two

We were all very excited for the second day of our visit to Long Gang Social Welfare Institute.

Upon entering the courtyard, we were impressed by the cleanliness beauty of the building. Whatever your expectation of an “orphanage” might be, this wonderful place would surprise you. You enter through a large hall where there are brightly colored pictures on the wall. Going up the stairs our hearts were pumping fast. We didn’t know what to expect, but we came prepared to have a good time with the children.

AAC had put together bags and bags of arts and crafts supplies. There were markers, paint brushes, paints, stickers, felt boards, bubbles..(lots of bubbles!), games, noise makers, and two very big “parachutes”.

We were setting up for our day of fun when the children came into the room. They entered holding the shirt of the child in front of them. It was such fun to see them “march in” looking like tiny elephants coming into a circus ring. They were excited to see us and gave us huge smiles when they recognized us as the visitors from the day before.

Christie and Nicole were set up in a room to interview each child. During the interviews the orphanage staff tried to make sure that the teacher who was most familiar with that particular child was present. They talked with the kids about what they like and what they thought about being adopted by a family in America. They were also able to ask the child's caretaker about the child's everyday personality such as how they get along with other children etc. They discussed with the orphanage staff the child's special need and asked many questions.

Sandy, Marissa and Larry got to PLAY!! And play we did!! Among our many very active games were “Ring Around the Rosy”…the children loved singing and going around, but were very unsure that it was necessary to “all fall down”. They laughed and shouted.

The parachutes were a huge hit. The parachutes have handles on them about every 12 inches and the children (and us) held on to the handles and then, 1,2,3…UP!! Then DOWN. We put big beach balls on the chutes and tried to keep them going higher and higher. Then, one of the children would go under the chute and we cover and uncover him. The children could have done this forever, but the adults were getting very hot and tired.

I had a great time with a red flag and a green flag that Marissa had made. The children lined up and marched to music and had to STOP!! when the red flag was raised, and GO!! When the green flag was raised. If they failed to stop, they were out. It was so much fun to laugh with them when they forgot to stop.

Another great hit was working at art projects. At many tables, art supplies such as cut-outs of parts of flowers, houses, children, horses, cows, and many others, were glued onto big poster boards. The dexterity of the children and the great imaginations of these little people was amazing. They were able to create beautiful posters of houses with flowers (with many details such as exactly the right number of leaves) and lots and lots of abstract designs.

It was great to watch as many of the children, (remember they are young and have some handicaps) made necklaces and bracelets by stringing beads. They were patient and concentrated hard to thread the small beads. The necklaces and bracelets were really beautiful.

Perhaps the most memorable event of this amazing day was when we had a “birthday party”. Daniel was turning 16 the next day and so we had the kitchen at the hotel make a big and heavy cake saying “Happy Birthday” on it. Just before it was time for us to leave, we put a lot of candles on it and lit them and brought it out, singing “happy birthday” to Daniel. He was thrilled, embarrassed, shy, happy, unsure it was for him, and over-all tickled to pieces. The children kept singing and then we cut the cake. Oh my gosh!!! They loved it. It was just so much fun, but most of all, it was such a great pleasure to see Daniel and his never changing smile. We just can't tell you enough how special of a boy that Daniel is.

We were very greatful to the orphanage for the wonderful care they give to these kids. We got to experience first hand how much they care for them. It must be hard for them to come to love them so and hope for them to have a family and then to watch them leave and most likely never see them again. In effort to give the staff something to remember the children by, we had a special project planned. Marissa had brought blocks of fabric with holes punched in the corners and each of the children drew a picture on a block. We then tied them together to make a quilt. The quilt will be hung on the wall of the orphanage. What a great reminder of a happy day that will be! The children were delighted to see their work being brought together.

Leaving was hard to do even though we were all very tired and hot. It had been a day of joy, sadness, running, playing, working, hugging, crying, and most of all, loving!!

Christie and Nicole did wonderful, hard work and got great information about all the children.
Larry, Marissa and I had one of the most wonderful days of our lives enjoying every activity with the children.

It will be a day we will all remember and every one of us hope that EACH of the children will be adopted and have a forever family who will love them and encourage their amazing skills and desire to learn new things.

Back at the hotel, we couldn’t quit talking about “our” experiences. (each of us has different special memories). What an amazing experience!!!!

Then we were off to to Korea.
~By Sandy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Attention Attention, Read All About 'Em

Go to the waiting children section of AAC's website to see the Journey of Hope kids! We have posted all but two of the boys as we are still waiting for Daniele and Zack's medical information. They will be put online as soon as we get it. We still have allot of information to sort through so the girl's won't be posted for a few more days.
Check it out. Maybe your child is listed there! Also make sure to spread the word to family and friends. We all need to work together to help these kids find families.

Monday, May 3, 2010

First Journey of Hope Program a Huge Success

On Saturday April 24th Larry, Marissa, Christie, Sandy and myself headed to China for our first ever Journey of Hope Camp. After a 33-hour voyage, we finally arrived in Shenzhen City, Guangdong. We were so excited to get things goings that we unpacked our camp supplies right away. Here we are putting together the kids gift bags.

The following morning, we were able to meet the twenty children from Long Gang Social Welfare Institute.

As we approached the classroom, none of us really knew what to expect. Would the children be shy? Would it take a while for them to open up to us? To our delight, when we entered, we were greeted excitedly. The children were all thrilled to see us! Many of them grabbed our hands to show us things; eager to have us join them. It was amazing how open and loving they all were.

We were able to spend a few hours getting to know them. Marshall showed us his creativity with play-do. TJ was energized and “all boy.” He really enjoyed playing ball with Larry and Marissa.

Lydia was a little quiet but was content to sit on my lap and read books. Well they were all in Chinese of course, so we made them up as we went along. Zach loved doing puzzles with Marissa and Sandy. He did a great job feeling the shapes and matching them. I had an awesome time with Harper linking together these intricate little wheels. And I must say, Peyton amazed me! She has genuinely overcome her disability. I watched her put together small foam alphabet puzzles that showed her remarkable dexterity. Grant was all smiles; a very friendly boy. Leah’s outgoing personality astounded us all. She went right up to Larry and started playing with him.

After lunch, the nine children from Guangzhou SWI joined us. We only had a few minutes to spend with them at that time. Some of the older children like Beth, Cadence and Daniel were a little shy. That was totally understandable. They were, after all, in a new place with a bunch of strange people wanting to take their picture. Madeline and Rudy were very outgoing. They were such camera hams.

It was then time for our presentation. Staff from the orphanage and CCAA along with all of the children assembled together in a large room. We told the children about America and many things that they might experience if they were adopted into the US. The kids loved seeing pictures of America and of adoptive families.The children had a presentation of their own too!They put on an adorable group routine. They were all so awesome! You could tell that they had practiced very hard. Following that, the kids each did an individual performance. Many of the children sang songs or did dances. A couple of the boys showed off what they had learned in Kung Fu class. Even Leah was out there kicking and punching. What a doll she is.

We were able to play some games with the kids before it was time for us to say goodnight.

After dinner we were pleased to learn that the nine children from Guangzhou SWI were staying in our hotel and that we would be able to spend some more time with them. What a treat it must have been for them to travel to another city and stay in a hotel. It sure was a treat for us to be able to spend some one on one time getting to know them. We learned that Cadence is a real girly girl. Beth is the opposite. She will only wear jeans and t-shirts. We saw that although Isabelle is deaf and doesn’t know sign she is a really smart girl and can communicate what she wants. She is also able to mimic people actions very well. Madeline and Rudy are very outgoing and love to sing and dance. Here’s our little princess Cadence.
Beth was being a little shy at first. She’s so sweet!

That night, Daniel captured our hearts most of all. He spoke to us about his strong desire to have a family of his own. He is 13 now and only has a year before he is ineligible for adoption. We will post more about Daniel as well as the other children later. Please be praying for him!

We ended the day with our hearts overflowing with love for each one of these children. I don’t know how many times that our eyes swelled with tears throughout the day. Our hearts broke for them and at the same time we were filled with hope for them. They are all truly amazing. What a blessing it was to have met them.
We couldn’t wait for the next day…. To be continued.

~By Nicole