Sunday, February 24, 2008

Love in any Language

If you missed the post to win the garmin and help bring Mavery home, please scroll down! Thank you SO much to those of you who have already given and to those of you who told me you have TONS of time, but are planning to give! ;-)

I heard this song the other day, and while I have heard it before, this time it made me pause and God just placed Mavery so strongly on my heart. Turn up your volume and here are the words.

Speak - and say the words that no one else will ever say
Love - love like the world we know is over in a day
I'm gonna show you love in every language I'm gonna speak with words that need no form
I'm gonna give you what you never had before
You're beautiful and I am weakened by the force of your eyes
So shine bright to separate the truth from the lies
I'm gonna show you love I'm gonna show you love in every language
I'm gonna speak with words that need no form
I'm gonna give you what you never had before
So tie me to a tree and let the smoke and ash collect
No, I won't regret to let love do what love will let
We can drown in mixed emotions or walk across an angry sea
This is the cost of being free
I'm gonna show you love in every languageI'm gonna speak with words that need no form I'm gonna give you what you never had before

This little girl, who has never had a mommy or a daddy or a brother or sisters or who has never ever heard English or seen a white person, is going to be my daughter! This angel, that I have not yet seen smile in a picture, I get to make her smile! I get to show her love like she has never, EVER known before! That thought just makes me weep. What a responsibility but what a privilege! I get to give her things she has never had before. I get to give her hugs and kisses and hold her when she is sad or sick or bored or tired. I get to dress her in pink and put pretty bows in her hair. I get to take her for her first trip to McDonalds and the zoo and simply outside of an orphanage. I get to LOVE her!
Some days it is easy to get wrapped up in the “process”. You just work on paperwork, sign your name over and over, work on letters, make phone calls, write out checks, and checks and checks! You fret over waiting and you wonder and you worry.
I am thankful for these days when God reminds me WHY I am going through the process. It is because HE is holding my daughter. It is easy to forget those days of thinking she was not going to be mine, the days when Mark was so sure I was wrong. But today I am reminded; I ONLY get to hold Mavery, because God said so. I ONLY get to love her, because He first loved us both. It is not because Mark said yes, or because we are doing the paperwork, or because China said so. It is simply because God said yes, You get to love this child in any language; you get to love her like I love you. Thank you Jesus for this gift of our daughter.
Today in church our pastor spoke on true love. He and his wife are in the process of adopting a daughter from Vietnam and things are very uncertain there right now. And this is what he said. “True love is this, falling in love with a child, that you do not even know yet. I did not expect that to happen, I thought you just went through the process and then you met them and then you fell in love. But I was wrong, I love this baby girl already, and yet I may never even get to meet her. That is true love.”
So today my heart is full of Mavery. I am ready, oh so ready to hold her! Please continue to pray with us as we wait for the I-171. Tomorrow we have our fingerprints done. I am encouraged because my friend said it took her 5 weeks in Illinois to get the fingerprint appointment. It has not even been 2 weeks, so maybe my letter worked. I will breath easy once we are holding it in hand! I BELIEVE it can come next week, I really do!
And yes, these are updated pictures of Mavery! Taken in January. Isn’t she just gorgeous? I can’t wait for the day we make Mavery smile!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Want to Help?

I have watched other blogs do some really fun giveaways and in turn watched them raise some money for their adoptions. Well, I love to giveaway, and I need some money for adoption! So we decided we are going to try and see how this goes..

We are giving away a Garmin GPS Navigation System. I LOVE the one we have and would never make it anywhere with out it! Here is a link so you can read all about it. A few highlights about the Garmin.

· Travel from place to place with ease, using this GPS navigation system as your guide. The built-in MP3 player lets you listen to your favorite tunes as you navigate.
· Preprogrammed with City Navigator NT, providing street-level detail and addresses, plus listings of restaurants, hotels, ATMs and more throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico
· Integrated traffic receiver notifies you of traffic, construction and weather delays and automatically suggests alternative routes (requires a subscription service)
· Bluetooth compatible with built-in microphone and speakers for convenient, hands-free dialing on compatible Bluetooth mobile phones (not included)

Here is how the drawing works..

For EVERY $10 you donate through chip in on the side bar, you will recieve a number. So if you donate $20, I will send you 2 numbers.

Chip in is VERY easy to use. You just click and you can pay through paypal or by Credit Card.

As soon as I recieve your payment, I will email you with your number(s). If you do not hear from me, please leave a comment on here.

The drawing will take place on April 1st and we will mail the GPS out to the lucky winner immediatley! Last entry will be taken on March 31st at midnight CST. Make sure to check back in on April 1st to see who the winner is. We will be announcing on the blog!

We have been back and forth on if we should try this or not. This adoption for us was for sure a leap of faith and like most families, the money is just not there. However, we felt that God said, this is our daughter and we knew He would provide. We felt this would be a fun way to try and raise the funds, while being able to give back a little bit to you! (or at least one of you anyways!) We are still having the yard sale in April and are anxious to see how that turns out. We have been blessed with STUFF that is for sure in that area!

We appreciate each and every one of you who are willing to help, but most of all we ask for your continued prayers especially on Mavery as she waits.

Our Karate Kid

Mark claims he and Sawyer need a boy blog around here, and I told him he should become a dad blogger. We will see, I won't hold my breath!

In preschool, Sawyer took a little karate at his preschool and really enjoyed it. And while Mark was not against him taking karate, I think he was holding out hope that he would decide he loved baseball, soccer, basketball, something that HE enjoyed. But those were just not Sawyers thing and we finally let him try karate "for real" in December. Well I am happy to say, Sawyer has found his thing! He really loves it and I really love that! Instead of hearing him whine about attending practice, as I did all summer during khoury league, he can't wait for karate nights! He was thrilled last week to finally move from a white belt to a yellow belt, though he was certain I was going to ruin him when they said to have your mom just dye your white belt yellow! hehe!

The one thing I am still trying to figure out about karate(or tae kwon doe to be precise) is this. When you enter the "room" everyone bows as they walk through the door. Who are you bowing to? Sawyer claims it is respect to the room. What? Mark says it is respect to the "teacher", but the teacher is not even watching me when I walk in the room. Mark says just do it and don't question authority. I think HE is worried I might get myself kicked out of the place for not following rules! ha!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Oh So True


1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.

7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

-Author unknown

I took this from my friends blog and like her I will add my own number(s).

15. You understand what it means to look into the eyes of your child on a computer screen and KNOW you are her mommy without anyone human telling you that.

16. You get excited over words that are known by initials that only other adoptive mommas can keep straight. LOI, PA, LID, TA, HS, CCAA
17. You have witnessed true miracles take place with husbands who said NO MORE CHILDREN but then they to looked into the eyes of their daughter and listened to God's voice, which thankfully was louder than the human doubt of themselves.
18. You can instantly make friends with someone you just met whose daughter "looks" like yours simply by asking, "hey, ever been to Guangzhou?"
19. Your arms can ache for a child that you did not feel kick inside of you or feel growing in your stomach, but most certainly grows in your heart.
20. You forget which children are adopted or birthed and are amazed how exactly like you they ALL are!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sweet Blog Award

One thing I have said over and over is that I have been blessed not only with children through adoption but SO many friends! Thank goodness for blogs, so I can keep up on all the kids that have grown so dear in my heart! Shelly, one of my bloggy friends I met through my wait with Sage gave me this award today, she is so sweet and I hope that someday we finally get to meet in person!

"I thank my God every time I remember you." Phil. 1:3This award is for all those special blogger friends who have touched your life & are True Blessings from God!! What would you do without them? "We love, We laugh, We Cry, We pray, We share, We care!!"

So now I get to pass the award on and I have a list! My "cousin in law" who I am so thankful for.Then there are my Hunan Sisters. If you have never seen their Beautiful Girls, run and check them out here & here. I will bet you can tell from the posts who was Sage's roommate, as the spicy nature will give her away! This one you will remember I met during the wait and I got to see her sweetie today! Here is one of my favorites, her writing is so inspiring and it always makes me laugh and cry at the same time! Her daughter is a Chenzhou sweetie to and a mutual friend introduced us. This is one of my new friends that I just recently met and who is on the journey to her new daughter. She actually had looked at Mavery's file and we share the same adoption verse! And last, my dear friend Kathy, who has a password protected blog so I can't link her in, but she most certainly gets this award from me. She was my very first adoption online friend and I am so thankful to know her. Love you guys! Thanks for blogging and sharing your lives and hearts!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sage visits the ER

Well, we knew it was bound to happen. One can not be so spicy without landing herself in the Emergency Room at some point! This weekend Mark surprised me for Valentines Day with an overnight stay at a hotel. 24 hours of just us time! Unfortunately during the middle of seeing the movie National Treasure, we got a phone call. Sage was running with a wand from the kids magic kit in her mouth and fell, jamming it in the roof of her mouth. My friend, a nurse, went to the house to look at it and thought she should see the doctor just to make sure it did not need a stitch. So we met the Grandmas at the ER. We waited longer to see the doctor, than we saw the doctor! He glanced in, and said feed her soft foods for a week and gave her a popsicle. Thank goodness, I was wondering how in the world they were going to stitch inside of her mouth. She acts totally fine and is happy to be getting lots of popsicles & yogurt! And do you think it slowed her down? Nope. Tonight i stopped her from running through the house with a toothbrush.
This did not happen till after we had stayed at the hotel, so we did still enjoy dinner out and sleeping in with no one joining us in bed in the night! And I guess as soon as National Treasure is out on dvd, we will be renting it to see how it ends!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

US Citizenship & Immigration Services

A good valentines day! We got our invitation to be fingerprinted by the government. This is for our application to bring an orphan into the US as a citizen. They filed our petition on 2/11/08, so that means we begin the countdown with that file date. This is the paper that we were told to expect we might be waiting 8-10 weeks for, after application. I did send in a picture of Mavery and a pleading letter asking that they expedite us, so I am happy that we already have our invitation back. We just mailed it off on 2/6. And our appointment is EXACTLY when we needed it to be, we were worried because we could NOT go before the date they gave us! So on the 25th we go for fingerprints. Please join us in praying that we get this paper back quickly. I am praying to have it in hand by mid-march. After that our dossier (ALL our paperwork) can go to China! Then the countdown really begins!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birthday time

Happy Birthday to an amazing Husband and Father. A man who has allowed me to be a stay at home mom and raise lots more kids than he ever DREAMED he would have! A man who believes we are both teachers in this homeschool adventure and happily gets up early to teach math. A man who is ok if we have cereal for dinner and who actually thinks me going out is fun for him and the kids! We are blessed to have him!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Robert Esther and Malaine making cookies!
Amy, Amber and Megan in need of some chinese clothes! haha!
Some wore chinese clothes!
Robert, TC, Esther, Eva and Davina teaching us a song.
TC, Stephen, Esther, Davina, Eva, Robert, CamLe & Shane

Me with Esther

This weekend was busy but full of many blessings! Along with celebrating Makenna being baptized,(see next post) we celebrated Chinese New Year, which for our family is becoming quite the celebration! Everyone always says our family just looks for things to celebrate! and while that may be true, we DO enjoy a good party, we have much reason for this celebration! China will forever be special to us for the gifts we were given there. It is where our youngest daughters were born, along with many other special little girls we treasure. And after this weekend, many big girls and even boys that we now call friends!

Instead of exchanging red envelopes,as is the tradition in China, we had asked if anyone would like to bring a donation to our party that we can send to China. When all the weather hit, we knew just where we would be sending that collection to this year!

My brother, who attends seminary in Louisville, Ky, brought home a group of his friends that he has made while at school. He had introduced me to Esther a few months back and she and I had become wonderful online friends. I had been praying for some time that God might allow us to have a friend that was asian that I could have a close connection to. For my sake, to learn more, as well as for my girls. As always God's timing is perfect and she and I met while I was praying about Mavery. She was a huge prayer warrior for me and just a sweet, sweet spirit. Well FINALLY Shane brought her home with his friends and I was thrilled to get to meet her! She is gorgeous on the outside, and even more so on the inside. The kids adored her as well and we were all sad to see her go. I look forward to a long friendship with her and We hope she comes back again very soon!

We were also excited to meet other new friends! We now have friends from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia! Oh and Shane's friend Steven from Virgina, can't leave him out! (who was homeschooled from 4th grade on and SO so polite and encouraging and made me think that homeschooling IS worth it!)

They all came in early for the party and cooked part of the food, which was delicious and NOT your chinese buffet fare! ;-) They taught us a song and were so sweet w/ the kids.

Saturday we all went to the zoo, and the weather was perfect. They tried to go in the arch, but the lines were to long. So, we said they must come back to St Louis for that!

So once again a Happy Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat! and yes, the girls were happy to have our rat safely tucked in his cage while sleeping here! I know one thing after spending a weekend w/ our new friends, I most certainly need to learn chinese, so I know if they are secretly making fun of us! haha!

(I am working on a flickr account, so I can post all of the pictures, check back later for that)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Never Let Go

Today Makenna was baptized. She made a decision a few years ago to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, but was nervous about being baptized. And we did not want to push her at all, we wanted it to be a decision that she felt comfortable with and we wanted to be sure that she understood what it means to be a christian. She went in and spoke to our childrens pastor last month and decided she was ready to show all her friends and family that she was a believer by following in obedience of baptism. I was really shocked how calm she was and I know it was just because she was so sure that our Heavenly Father was speaking to her to do this.
After she was "dunked" (hehe) we came out for worship service and we sang this song, "Never let Go." I really love it and while singing it today I was reminded of this promise that God has made to Makenna as she has made this decision. No matter what, because Jesus lives in her heart, He will never let go of her. She is His, forever! Our oldest daughter, the big sister, the oldest grandaughter, niece, cousin and friend. But first and always a Daughter of the King of Kings. I am so proud of her and the testimony she has in her life. I am thankful for the Christian Heritage that Mark & I both come from, Parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents that "Never let go" of that light of Jesus. My prayer for Makenna is that she will hold on to that and walk strongly and boldly in the Love of our Father. That her heartbeat will always be to serve Him and that she will Never let Go of His light no matter what.

Friday, February 08, 2008

What once LOST has now been FOUND!

How appropriate that we celebrate the Year of the RAT and today, we found our rat! (otherwise known as chinese dwarf hamster.) Maybe it was all the talk of stereotypes that brought him forward, hehe! Whatever it was, perfect timing as we have alot of parties going on this weekend along with overnight guests! I was quite worried that this sneaky little hamster was going to make his way to surprise one of our new friends during the night! ha! He happened to run across Marks office this morning and Mark cornered him. Thankfully he still seems as tame as before, even after his 3 month run of freedom. So if he will be in the yardsale, still to be determined! ;-)

This weekend we have our Chinese New Year Party, get to meet new friends AND Makenna is being baptized! More to come on that!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I have to say, in the time I have been blogging, I have not had anyone leave me a comment that bothered me. I have always had an open blog because I have felt it is MY blog to say as I want. But today, someone did. Under this post they said this

"Hi, I understand you didn't mean any harm when you called your hamster smart and then illuded that it was because it was a Chinese Dwarf Hamster, but as adoptive parents of children from China, we need to be extra careful about avoiding hurtful sterotypes such as "Asians are smart." Even though it is not seen as a negative stereotype, we need to try to avoid them altogether and teach our kids not to assume things about people because of their race. Just something to think about... " It was anonymous.

First of all, if you need to correct me on my blog, please sign your name. Honestly.

Second of all, if you do not know me to know that was a JOKE, then don't correct me on my blog.

Third, please don't be so sensitive. Especially if you are going to read my blog. It is annoying.

I will admit, I am NOT a sensitive person. And I believe the more sensitive people, have sensitive children. How can they not? If you are offended by EVERYTHING, your children will pick up on that and in turn be sensitive to everything in life.

That said, I DO agree we have to be careful with our children and their feelings. Be it adopted or not. BUT the ONLY reason I said that is because It IS such a STEREOTYPE! And because the STUPID hamster has run free in the basement for FOUR months! SMART, however you want to look at it!

I asked my dear ASIAN friend who is an adult if I she found my comment(joke about the hamster) rude or offensive and she said "No, we asians ARE smart, it is a gift from God!" I about rolled on the floor laughing at that.

It is a hard thing to be an adoptive parent. There are so many rules I never considered when God said adopt. He did not mention that we had to be careful of EVERYTHING we say. Don't breathe the chinese stereotypes, you will ruin your child. Don't dare call her a china doll or allow others, it means bad things in china. If someone asks how much it costs to adopt, tell them it is none of their business. If someone asks who her "real mother" is, turn your nose up and walk away. The list goes on and on.

I am just not like that. People need to be educated on adoption, and if someone says something to me, I look at it as an opportunity to share how the Lord has blesssed us with Sage! They might just be nosy, but in turn they might get a sermon on salvation!

Our goal is and has always been to raise our children to find their heritage in Christ. It does not matter if they are white or brown or have blue eyes or black hair. Inside we are all the same and that is what matters. Some of us get stereotypes because we are flexible, some of us might get stereotypes because we are blonde, and some of us get stereotypes because we have big noses! (this is what our chinese guide told all of us in china, don't you know ALL americans have big noses!) Yes, it is annoying to be classified because of stereotypes. Growing up a christian, I AM a stereotype. Annoying or not, it is life and I am not offended by all the comments. I pray that this is the way I can raise my children, ALL of them. Not to constantly be on the offensive, but to be confident in their heritage of Jesus Christ and to be able to LAUGH! Enjoy life! Smile and live the blessings that we all have been given. I pray that they are always comfortable in the skin GOD has given them.

But hey, if you want to leave a comment, did you notice I got PRE APPROVAL!! Everyone is welcome to congratulate me on that!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


PRAISE THE LORD!!! I have to admit, there has been a little fear in my human heart that for some reason they would deny us based on medical "stuff". And earlier this morning I had an email from our agency that they did not get any news yet so they figured not till after the Chinese New Year. BUT, they just called and they DID get our Pre Approval from China!!! 22 days is a GOOD thing! Now, we can only pray that the next step rolls along that quickly. Tomorrow we will mail our application for the I171. We BELIEVE it can come back much quicker than the 8-10 weeks we have been told. Hang on Baby girl, we are working as FAST as we can!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

New Hair

Us girls got new hair tonight! Malaine was worried her's was to short in the back, like a boy. We reminded her that it was most certainly princess hair, or movie star hair at the very least! Makenna decided to go back to bangs(which I have BEGGED her to add for 6 months now, sigh)I think Hannah Montana might have something to do w/ the bangs, whoever, I am glad to not see them falling in her face. Sage getting a hair cut is always a treat and she had great fun laying on me trying to figure out why my hair was wrapped in foil!
Speaking of Hannah Montana, we saw the 3D movie this weekend. Makenna enjoyed it. I was reminded of how old I am all of a sudden! hehe! The thing I was disappointed in was that I have heard that Miley Cyrus professes to be a christian. But I would never have known that from this. Not that she did anything bad at all. But I sure hope that if we were in that type of movie, my #1 priority would be that people would see us praying together as a family before shows, or just acknowledging the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Might not be what makes the $, but if it is truth, then I would want to show the world that YES we can love Jesus and be a rock star!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Good Read

Mark requested this book for Christmas and I have to say, it was a REALLY good read! If you have adopted or have a heart for China as we do, it is a must read in my opinion. While much of it made me very sad, it opened my eyes in many ways to the land that gave birth to 2 of my daughters. Some of it is a little "technical" for me, and goes into way more history than I can swallow at once. (Mark on the other hand just loves that!) The best thing is, he is traveling along, meeting ordinary people, and writing their hearts. Some parts we read and looked at each other wondering how in the world we explain this country to our daughters in their future. Below is the back cover. Happy Reading!

National Public Radio China correspondent Gifford journeyed for six weeks on China's Mother Road, Route 312, from its beginning in Shanghai for nearly 3,000 miles to a tiny town in what used to be known as Turkestan. The route picks up the old Silk Road, which runs through the Gobi Desert to Central Asia to Persia and on to Europe. Along the way, Gifford meets entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on China's growing economy, citizens angry and frustrated with government corruption, older people alarmed at changes in Chinese culture and morality, and young people uncertain and excited about the future. Gifford profiles ordinary Chinese people coping with tumultuous change as development and commerce shrink a vast geography, bringing teeming cities and tiny towns into closer commercial and cultural proximity; the lure of wealth is changing the Chinese character and sense of shared experience, even if it was common poverty. Gifford notes an aggressive sense of competition in the man-eat-man atmosphere of a nation that is likely to be the next global superpower.

Friday, February 01, 2008


This is long, but please read and pray. It comes from the Half the Sky Foundation, which is the program we were blessed to have Sage in for 9 months in China. I still do not know anything about Mavery. I do not see her province on this list, however, she is NOT in half the sky so not sure they are even in Zhejiang. Read all the way to the bottom and you will see the needs of the orphanages. My heart just breaks for these kids and the caregivers who are with them.

Dear friends,

Greetings from Beijing. Every year at this time we send you a note celebrating and welcoming the Lunar New Year. This year, the Year of the Mouse, promises prosperity (we hope!) and good fortune and there should be plenty to celebrate.

But in these days leading up to the holiday the weather has dealt China a heavy blow. You’ve probably heard about the millions of workers stranded all over the country, struggling to return home to their families for the Spring Festival Holiday. But I don’t know if you know how rough these days are for our children in welfare institutions, who, of course, have no families to go home to. You won’t read about them in the news.

Despite power outages and downed phone lines, our Beijing staff has been reaching out to all Half the Sky orphanages by whatever means possible.
We’ve reached all but five. In some places, conditions are pretty grim.
We’ve managed to get word to all of our sites that we are going to do whatever it takes to get the children the help they need. I am asking for your help.

Today Half the Sky launches the “Little Mouse Emergency Fund” to help the institutions purchase what they need to get through this disaster. If there are funds left over when the weather clears and services are restored, we will take the balance and help each site establish a store of emergency provisions so that this never happens again.

You can give to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by clicking “Donate Now”
on our website. Please note in the “Special Instructions to Half the Sky”
that your gift is for the Little Mouse Emergency Fund.

I am trying to get on an airplane right now (even airports are crazy!) but I will write more details about the needs and conditions in individual orphanages as I fly. Will send more just as soon as I can. I'd be very grateful if you'd forward this message to others who you think might care about the children.

Please be safe and warm and well….

Love and thanks,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Hello again,
Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice. The most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need warm clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food.
Here are the reports I have thus far, while in-flight. I will send more soon. Where you don’t see a report, either all is well or I don’t yet have information. I will tell you when we’ve heard from everyone. We’ve also given all the directors an emergency number to call when/if the situation changes.
Hunan Province –
Chenzhou has had no electricity or water for six days. They are relying on coal for heat and cooking. The supermarkets and banks are closed.
Staff is using personal money for baby food, diapers, coal and water.
Costs are rising due to shortages. They have a natural well which, thankfully, is not frozen. Even the older children are helping to fetch water. They have perhaps six days of food remaining. The local government is overwhelmed by the disaster and is unable to help much.
Shaoyang has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is sufficient water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm.
However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one stands and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark. Children and caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students are cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that the power pole will continue to stand.
Yueyang also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator is being used in the children’s dormitory. They are relying on coal heat but the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food and have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy more.
Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often slipping on the ice, "even though they try to be cautious."
Xiangtan has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is "broken again." There is no water for cooking right now but they do have electricity, coal and blankets. They are still able to buy food but prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work every day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies every day, along with the institution’s caregivers.
Jiangsu Province –
Changzhou has seen some heavy snows but the director reports that the children are fine. The director says that he’s doing his best to ensure that the children do not suffer. Public transportation is crippled by the snow and HTS nannies and teachers are waiting for hours to catch a bus for home or even walking home in the snowy dark.
Nanjing reports no problems at all despite the heavy snows. I tried to fly into Nanjing yesterday but it was not possible.
Anhui Province -
Chuzhou has both water and power. Only public transportation has failed.
HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home extra early to be there for the children.
Guangxi Province –
Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture rooms and they’ve asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold.
They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our HTS nannies who’ve been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as they come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.
Jiangxi Province –
Fuzhou lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal. The snow stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors and HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep them warm. They’ve bought New Years clothes for the children and will have a party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has enough food and water. They want us to focus on those in more serious trouble and ask us please not to worry.
Jiujiang says they’ve never faced such bitter weather. They desperately need disposable diapers. Washable diapers cannot be dried. They need warm clothes, shoes, gloves hats quilts and warm mats for the floors.
They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.
Hubei Province –
Wuhan suffers heavy snows but they still have power. Heaters are working but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels this may be the best decision to keep them safe.
Huangshi reports that the freeze is so severe that all heater/air conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm clothes for the children. They need disposable diapers. Several HTS nannies have fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat cuts and bruises.
Gathering these reports together makes me think about how careful we have always been at Half the Sky to maintain our focus on nurture and education programs. Ours is not a medical or relief organization. There are many wonderful groups who do that work. Probably the primary reason we’ve been able to accomplish so much and reach so many children is because we’ve maintained our focus on our core mission -- providing nurturing care for children who’ve lost their families..
But a moment like this really cannot be ignored. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be, its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling.
We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage most.
I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky’s rules and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse Emergency Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers, quilts, clothing) to any orphanage where children need help. Let’s see how this goes. If people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs in every hard-hit community, and offer assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.
Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +1-510-525-3377 or in Asia at
+852- 2520-5266 or by visiting us at Once there,
can click on "Donate Now"
or go to to download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax-deductible in US, Canada and Hong Kong.
Please forward this message and tell your friends and family.
I will be back with an update very, very soon.
Thank you!