China... Part 4!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday! Celebrating with family and friends, not forgetting the reason for the season. 

Tomorrow I am back off to China!! I'm excited!! Today we are having another big meal with family friends, who we have done this with for the past 15 years on St Stephens Day (Boxing Day/ the day after Christmas Day)! It's a perfect send off! 

I will spend a week in Beijing visiting a new organisation (to me) and then a week with the kids I was with all summer! 

Please pray for me for safe travels and that it will give me further ideas for my future! (Just a year and a half till I graduate now!)

Will try keep blog updated while I'm there!

Wesley (has a family!)

UPDATE, APRIL 2015: Wesley has a family!!! They will hopefully be able to bring him home sometime after Summer 2015.

This post was originally all about Wesley and written for prospective adoptive parents, to tell them all about the amazing kid that he is. I have since removed the info as he is being adopted! :)

You can follow his family's blog:

Launching Defend!

Two weeks ago a dream of mine finally became real! Through my advocacy work with Bring Me Hope, which landed me being the first advocacy coordinator - I started before the summer, I wanted to create a new advocacy site for the kids who come to the summer camps and are available for adoption. All of these kids are older (3yrs plus), most have special needs (from mild like repaired cleft lip and palate to more severe needs like cerebral palsy/ spina bifida, mental delays and medical needs) and on top of all that most are boys. Each of these three factors inhibits their chances at finding a family, but putting them together makes it so much harder.

To advocate means to plead on behalf of someone else or to stand up for their needs. Without an advocate who has spent time with the children, gotten to know them and love them as happens at camp, these children would be just another bunch of the thousands waiting. But they are NOT. We have met these kids, they are very real. They have real lives, personalities, tastes, emotions, and real pain. They have all experience real rejection at some point in their lives and some do on a daily basis. We believe that all children deserve to grow up in family so therefore we advocate to find them families.

The aim of Defend is simple - upholding the cause of the fatherless. Please go check out the site at . I am so pleased with the result! There is still work to be done, and lots more kids to be added but it is a good start!

Please share the site. You really never know who's lives and hearts will be touched for adoption!


NOTE: I am in Ireland, so for my Irish followers unfortunately special needs adoption is currently not possible for us. There will hopefully be a new program established in the very near future! So these children's best chances are in America.

The journey continues...

Ok I haven't posted in a while. I have a few posts waiting to be finished off, will try get around to those soon.

But in the meantime I have some very exciting news!!!!!

I am returning to China, for my fourth time, just after Christmas!! I'm really excited!! I will visit some old friends and kids, and some new ones too!

Please pray for me as the detailed become finalised. I have flights and rough schedule thought out. I just need my visa and then I'm ready to go ;) pray that God will lead me where he wants me and that it will help me decide what to do next summer. There are so many organisations I want to work with its hard to decide!!

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
Psalm 121:5

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2, NLT

In the nick of time....

To those who aren't friends with me on Facebook you won't have seen this but Matthew's adoption went through in the nick of time. Everything that could go wrong in this adoption did, but each door was opened at the very last minute. Literally. It can only be a miracle from God. No other explanation suffices!!

So on Tuesday afternoon last week he met his mom!! The following day they signed all the paperwork. And on Thursday, his fourteenth birthday they visited his orphanage for a birthday party with his friends! When he got there he ran around dragging his mom everywhere saying 'this is my mom!!'. He was so excited to finally have his own mom!! He had waited so so long!!

They named him Levi Matthew!

They've been together for nearly a week now! Please pray for them. I think they are ready to go home now but have to travel to another province to finish all the paperwork and process. All that is just formalities though! She has him!

I want to add what his mom wrote in a blog post:

While we were watching a seal show at the aquarium, Levi told our guide, "I am SO lucky!!" which she promptly relayed to me as he leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek!! He has bragged to everyone who speaks to him when we are out " This is my Mamma!!" I don't understand anything other than the word "mamma" but the beaming and the grinning and the happy faces of those with whom he speaks say it all in any language!!

Advocating for Sam

Introducing…. 12 year old Sam. Sam has the cutest smile and is very ticklish. He needs a family of his own more than anything.

Look at those eyes!
One of Sam’s favourite things to do is to play outside with his friends. He especially likes hide and seek and soccer. One day we played hide and seek. He was so funny. When I was trying to find him, he giggled as I got closer which gave his hiding spot away! He also loves drawing and art. Look at the picture below that he drew. I almost couldn’t believe that he drew it. Isn’t he talented!!

Sam told us that he likes school, especially language classes. I’m not sure how much English he actually knows but he said it was his favourite class, after art!

When asked if he would like to be adopted, he said yes. He has seen many/most of his friends adopted in the past two years. He said he likes dogs and would like a dog. And he said he would like some siblings too. (though really I think he would be happy with anything). He said that he would like to say thank you to a family who adopted him.

Sam is so happy and honestly smiles and laughs all the time. His special need causes him to talk with a bit of a limp but he can still run around and from what I saw he can do everything any kid can do. He can walk by himself but he did love holding my hand, and would do so after just meeting me.

Sam is a very happy kid and I pray he finds a mom and dad. As I left his orphanage after spending two days there, he sat outside and watched the car pull away until it was out of sight. The windows were tinted so he couldn’t see me but I could see him. He has so much love to offer. Email me for more info. :)

Saying goodbye

[Feel free to share the link to this post with everyone you know, maybe someone you know is the family for Sam.  Feel free to use the words I wrote but please do not share the photos without asking me first. Thanks!]

Barry (adopted in 2014!)

Update: Barry was adopted in July 2014 and is doing really well with his family in America!! 

This post was originally all about Barry, written for prospective adoptive parents, to share about the awesome kid that Barry is! Since he has been adopted, I have removed the rest of the post.

Pray for Matthew

Please  pray for Matthew over the next few weeks. I first met him in 2011 at Bring Me Hope camp, he was the second orphan I ever worked with! I then got to spend two weeks at his orphanage in 2012. It was a big surprise for him and he was so excited to see me again! After that I started advocating for him and watched as time ticked and it became less and less likely that he would be adopted. Before I left for China again this year I had heard that he did have a family, but hadn't gotten any confirmation from anyone that it was definite. While I was in China I got in touch with his family and knew that he did indeed have a family racing through the process to adopt him! So towards the end of my trip I got to visit his orphanage for two days and see him again! Another surprise and he was equally excited to see me! I even got to talk to him about his family as he had already been told there was someone trying to adopt him.

Matthew has such little time. Could you please pray that the last few steps in the process are done so quickly. If they don't get to him and complete the necessary paperwork in China before his 14th birthday then he ages out and cannot be adopted. Pray that the last bit of paperwork can be sped along to give them enough time to get there!

Matthew is so excited about the prospect of a family! I just hope it will happen!

me and matthew this year

Video of My Time at Eagles Wings

I made a video to show at my church this morning of my time at Eagles Wings. I had an incredible 5 weeks there!!

Enjoy and feel free to share the video:

Daniel (adopted 2014!)

 UPDATE: Daniel was adopted 2014 and now lives with his forever family in America! 

This post was originally all about Daniel, written for prospective parents. Since he has been adopted, I have removed the info.

BMH Week 2; Last Goodbye's

I had been dreading this day before I even came to China this year. I knew early on that my second week of camp would have the kids who have stollen my heart more than any others. The kids who I truly feel are like family. I spent 5 weeks with these kids this summer and then met them at camp again. Thats nearly 6 weeks being with them. That is a LONG time. It is 6 weeks of full days with them. Saying goodbye was just as hard as I thought it would be.

We woke up tired and not looking forward to what was ahead. We had breakfast as normal. Then Mark had a phone call with his sponsor, a lovely lady from California who knows him and wanted him to come to camp so much that she organised it all and paid for him to come. When we showed him a photo of her he shouted 'Mama!!'. He was excited to be able to hear her voice! After that he emailed her to tell her how much fun he was having at camp.

Then we had our last assembly, sang our favourite songs for the last time. My favourite is 'Wo ai ni'. The lyrics are like this:

I love the oceans and the breeze, I love the rhythm of the seas, Wo ai ni, I love you, Wo ai ni, I love you
Don't you know it's trueeeeeee.... you're the reason that I do..... Wo ai ni, I love you, Wo ai ni, I love you

Then we had letter reading time. I wrote each of my three kids a long letter and read it to them and it was translated too. The kids then take the letters home and can treasure them all year! I also wrote a letter to each of the kids at Eagles Wings 6, who I loved with while there. I went to each of these kids and read my letters to them too. When I went to read Wendy her letter I knew I had to stay strong. So I read through it bit by bit as it was translated for her. Just before we got to the end she suddenly burst into tears. I could see it happening before it happened as Wendy sticks out her lower lip really far just as she is starting to cry. Sometimes if I say 'Don't you show me that lip' and push it back in, she will laugh and get distracted but not this time. She sobbed as I finished the letter. I somehow held it together and sat her on my lap. My princess.

We took the kids for a nice last lunch to a chinese dumpling <jiaozi> restaurant which everyone loved! This place do really good fried dumplings which are lovely and crispy on the outside. Then we book the kids back just in time to say goodbye and put them on the bus home. As we walked them outside to the bus I gave each kid a hug and said goodbye. Barry was ahead of me on his wheelchair. I tried so hard to hold it together but couldn't help but cry. Everytime he turned around I pretended not to be crying but I'm sure he noticed. Zach was trying so hard to hold it together. He was so cute. He just starred ahead and sniffled a bit and had the funniest expressions. I was there when he burst into tears though and scooped him up and kissed him on the cheek and told him I love him and wrapped him tight in my arms. The kids were slowly put on the bus one by one. Some crying some not. Barry was fine for the whole time and was the last one to put on the bus. I put him beside one of the big criers in hope that Barry's calmness would help the other kids. It was so hard stepping off the bus and watching it leave.

I spotted my translator Paul in the corner and as I walked over to him he broke down in tears. These kids affect us all. No one could walk away from a week with orphans unchanged.

Then just after that, it was Mark's turn to leave as he comes from a different orphanage. He too was crying as we said goodbye. I got him to stop smiling by making him perform some of his cool breakdancing! I can stay in touch with Mark by email which is awesome! I really hope I can see him a gain!

All day I missed those kids so incredibly much. As I still do now. I will forever miss those kids when I'm not with them. It was my last goodbye to my kids of 2013. And the hardest one right at the end. So many emotions rushing through my mind and heart that day.

God let me see them again next year. Let me stay in touch.

[photos to come]


BMH Week 2; Day 4

Thursday morning is the dreaded letter writing time where we each sit down and write letters to each other. This week of camp was especially hard as I would be saying goodbye to kids I know better than any others. I wrote three letters, one for each kid and my translators helped them write letters to me. I then decided to write short letters for all the Eagles Wings 6 kids who I lived with. I’m not gonna lie, I did well up a bit when writing Wendy’s.

One moment that stood out was that Wendy asked me if I’m going back to 6. I clarified by asking if she meant the 6th floor, where my room was. No she meant back to Eagles Wings 6. My heart fell. I had to tell her that no I couldn’t go back and that I was going home to Ireland on Monday. Her little face looked so sad almost like she would cry but thankfully her buddy pulled her away for the next activity. Someday I wont have to say goodbye like that.

In the afternoon we did life-charts. This is where we sit down as a family group and talk about our lives, sharing about both the high points and the low points. So I started by sharing about my life then one of the kids went. Weird thing though was that Barry seemed to have forgotten a lot of his story since we did it last year. Either that or he wasn’t sharing. They just said they were happy, which I do believe for the most part. At Eagles Wings they do have happy lives.

Later on we had swim time. Zach is becoming a little more comfortable going in the water. He no longer says he doesn’t want to swim. And will be held by people other then me! One of the younger boys Bill wouldn’t go in the water all week. In fact he wouldn’t even take off his shoes or sit beside the pool. So I made it my mission to get him in the water and for him to see how fun it can be.  So I sat down beside him and got him to take his shoes off. One step at a time! Then we went and sat beside the water and after a minute or two I picked him up and slipped in the water. He clung so tight to my neck but didn’t shout or scream to get out. We walked around for a short while and slowly got used to the water. After a few minutes he was happily squirting people with a water gun! He even went to another volunteer who held him for the rest of the time as Zach was calling for me!

That evening we had a big celebration party! It was so much fun! It was all centred around the theme of the week which was CHOSEN. So we dressed them all up in cool outfit and then each volunteer called their child up one by one and crowned them. Everyone loved it! It was their chance to be special! We had some yummy cake to finish off the party.

Thursday night was a little sad and you could feel it in the atmosphere of the volunteer meeting that evening. Everyone knew it was the last night and no one wanted it to be over.  We made bed time even more special. We had lots of fun with glow sticks in the dark with barry, zach and one of the other boys. They LOVED it!! We let them stay up really late chatting, joking around and having fun! Saying goodnight and tucking them in was sad as it would be the last time I would do that. 

BMH Week 2; Day 3

This morning we had a really fun outing to a cool amusement park!! The boys
all loved it and had so much fun on all the different rides! Other than the
bumper cars... I whacked my knee and had to get off and Zach didn't like it
either so he got off to join me.

Continuing to get to know my kids better which is so much fun. The older
boy who I will now call Mark for this blog LOVES taking photos! Tonight
during assembly I let him use my camera and he took some good ones and was
getting really into it! Mark is one of the sweetest boys around. He just
loves to help people around. When I was asked if I could take a third kid I
said yes straight away but then wondered whether we could really handle it
but it does work! He loves helping push the other boys and lift their
chairs up and down steps.

Tonight we had a talent show! We were stuck for ideas, so we joined in
another family and sang a song with actions. I loved seeing the other
families perform! The kids loved being the centre of attention and each was
given a big applause and celebrated for their 'talent' no matter how small
it may seem!

Bed time is one of my most fun times of the day. Chatting with them and
tucking them in and reading them a story. I loved bedtimes growing up with
my parents so it is nice to pass that along to these kids too.

I'll be home Monday night... SO not ready. Earlier on my Princess Wendy
asked me if I was going back to Eagles Wing with them after camp.
Unfortunately I had to say no Wendy, I'm going home to Ireland on Monday.
He face was so sad. It broke my heart. Really not looking forward to saying goodbye to these kids yet AGAIN :(

BMH Week 2; Day 2

Another awesome day at Bring Me Hope camp!! Loving spending time with the
kids I know already, and enjoying getting to know the new kid.

I'll tell you about a few of todays features.

So at meal times I've been prying before we eat with my family group. To
say thank you to our Father for the day and for the food and to ask for a
good day. This morning Zach held up his hands before eating so we could
pry. One of my translators who is a believer even pryd in Chinese which was

This morning we sang songs and just played games and hung about. My older
one loves playing lots of different games! Especially Badminton. He is a
little deaf and wears hearing aids but he can hear mostly and he can talk.
He is very athletic and is very good at sports!

Then we did arts and crafts time. We were designing a page titled 'All
about me' for their memory books with stuff like their age, favourite
colour, their hobbies etc. One section is 'This year I hope to...'. Zach
drew a picture of a plane and said he wanted to go in a plane this year. He
will actually be adopted before the end of the year so if only he knew that
his wish will indeed come true!! Barry said he wants to be a driver and the
other boy (who I haven't names yet) said he wants to build a space shuttle!
They all have such big and different dreams for the future.

In the afternoon we had swim time again which is always a lot of fun! Zach
didn't want to get in at first but when he did he loved it! Barry loves it
too but only when he is being held by me or someone else.

It's really just so much fun being with the kids again! I love seeing them
have the attention they deserve, but which isn't possible in a group
setting. They get SO much at Eagles Wings and I am so grateful for
everything they do there, especially Linda the founder and Donna who has
directed for the past three years but it is still not the same as a forever
family. My pryr is that lots of these kids can find families.