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.