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.

BMH Week 2; Day 1

Woke up today really excited for the kids who were coming - my Eagles Wings buddies who I said goodbye to over a week ago! I have missed them so much so am glad to be back with them.

We met up with our translators this morning, I have two awesome guys who are great with the kids. One is a Ch. one is now, but we have had some interesting chats about it. The kids arrived about 12 and we met them excitedly from the bus! I have two of my favourites (through really they are all my favourites!) I have Barry, as i had last year and I also have Zach. (Barry is 7 and Zach is 5). Both have spina bifida but to different degrees. Barry has a super cool wheelchair but as Zach can walk a little bit, he is either carried or goes in a push chair. All the kids were so excited to see me! My little Princess Wendy's face lit up and she gave me the biggest hug ever!!! I love how after investing a few weeks in their life actually blesses me so much.

We had lunch, went swimming, played games, had dinner, had assembly time with stories and songs. Zach wasn't so sure about the swimming part! He clung to me like crazy!!

Before dinner a little surprise camp along. There was a new kid coming to camp and they asked if I could take him in my family, giving three kids. I happily accepted and he is the sweetest kid ever! He's either 11 or 13 if you believe the paperwork or him! He has the same Chinese name as Matthew actually. I will have to think of an English name for him to use here too. He is a little deaf but can hear a little. I love him already! He can be a little shy at first but he will join in if encouraged! He was persuaded to get up and sing in front of everyone!!

My family!
Ciara and her family!

It has been a very very tiring day. But in a very good way. Being back with my kids is so amazing. Missed them so much.

Rest of BMH Week 1

[Sorry I've been so bad at blogging again! I'll add the photos as soon as I can. It's my last week in China now so I'm gonna do my best to blog every day]

After being sick on Wednesday I woke up on Thursday feeling much better and ready for action. Still some bowel issues but I felt better and could face the day happily! My boys were happy to have me back! We had a fun day packed full of lots of different things from arts and crafts to swimming and life charts. Life charts is when you sit down as a family group (volunteer, kids and translators) and talk through the high points and low points of your life. As both of my boys had already shared earlier in the week they had little more to add but it was a good time to get to know my translator more.

We also did letter writing that day which is normally when it starts to dawn on everyone that camp will indeed end...

Thursday evening we had a special party. We got the chance to crown our buddies. The theme of the week was chosen so each volunteer stood at the front of the room and called their kids up one by one. They had to walk up a red carpet and be crowned while everyone cheered. It was such a special time where we really got to show each child how special we thought they were in such a hands on way! They loved it!!

My kids went to bed really really quickly as they were so tired so I went and helped out some other kids to bed. Two of the volunteers were sick that night so couldn't put their kids to bed so I was happy to help! I laid down beside little Sammy and tried to encourage him to go asleep! He tried to mess about by kicking and punching and rolling everywhere but I sang softly and eventually he fell asleep with his leg over my arm! I didn't want to move or wake Him up but I got my chance when he rolled over!

Friday morning was sad as the last morning. We read the letters and had our last song time singing the Bring Me Hope camp classics like Beautiful Day and WoAiNi/I Love You. The kids were all sad to leave but we took them for pizza just before. My older boy Kai cried and cried and cried. I wasn't sure how well he had bonded with me as he would easily run to anyone and give hugs and say he loved them but he cried in my arms repeating my name over and over again.but he sobbed and repeated my name over and over as I help him. It's tough sending them back.

Weekend of relaxing and recuperating and ready for week two.

A week till I leave china. I'm not sure how I feel about going home yet...

Pry for a good week please

Day 1; Week 1 BMH

Day 1 of camp.

I arrive at camp on Saturday so had two days to get readjusted and to get into camp mode. Was great meeting up with old friends and making some new ones too!

Flexibility is key here in China and that came through a lot today. One thing I really wanted to do was to visit zhengzhou orph where the kids are from this week, to help pick the kids up and take them to camp. I was told I could go but then some things changed and I couldn't. However at the very last minute I ended up going! Was so great to see where some special kids live. I even got to see one of my buddies from last year which was awesome!! He want coming to our camp this week though.

We finally got all the kids ready to get on the bus and one small boy started crying. I picked him up and put him on my lap. He cried and kicked for about ten minutes but then we were fiends the whole way back.

This week I have row boys. One age 13 from ZZ, one she 11 from EAGLES WINGS!! (6ew kids came this week). I'll tell you more about them when in less tired. The younger one has the biggest smile ever and is always so happy and such a lovely kid.the older one was so excited about swimming earlier he kept asking!!

Please keep us in your thoughts. We will need lots of energy!!!

Seeing them again: day 2

Remember a few day ago when I said I hate goodbyes? Well I've just said goodbye to some more kids who I've been visiting for three years now. Three of them are being adopted (two by the end of the summer and the other by the end of the year) two more are still waiting :( Now that I think of it, it's the two youngest that are still waiting which surprises me. This time I met three more boys I will advocate for. Two are paper ready now and have been waiting since 2007. One will be paper ready soon. I will do individual blog posts on them as soon as I can. I think you will all love them too!!

Today was awesome day. A friend who lives here kindly offered up her apartment for me to stay at and she went and stayed with someone else. I didn't really know what to do with myself having so much personal space which I wasn't used to after living with the kids!!

I spent most of the day hanging out with the boys. I went to the orph about 9 and stayed will 3.30 when I went for my train. We did all sorts of things. At first we played outside then most of them went to school but Matthew stayed to play with me so we played around outside for a while. We played soccer, in the playground and goofed around. Some of the younger kids joined us too which was fun. Apart from when one 2 year old boy peed!! (that's more normal in china than at home!)

We then sat with some of the new boys and asked them a few questions which can help with advocating. Some of the responses they gave were very funny!! You will hear in their individual posts!

As I had such little time I was allowed to eat lunch with them an stay while the others napped. One of the boys asked me if I was coming back in the afternoon. I asked him how about i stay and have lunch. He was much happier with that and told someone he liked me! My boys don't normally take naps. We played UNO which they loved! We did some colouring and puzzles. Then we went outside and played all sorts of silly games like hide and seek and running about. Basically we had lots of fun!

Time to leave came way too soon, before I knew it i had said goodbye and left. George asked me if i would come back next year. I was like YOU'LL BE IN AMERICAN BY THEN!! He had the look on his face like oh yeah forgot about that haha.

It was a crazy fast trip but so worth it to be with some of them for such important moments. The most amazing thing is that the best time i get to visit, three of the kids I know the best will be gone. Adopted ton america.

Let's pry the same Can happen for the others too.

Seeing them again!!

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day! (My photos have to be screened from the orph and I'm not sure yet if i'll be allowed to share them online)

My train to SMX (where I spent two weeks last year) was at 8am so I had to get up before 6 to leave at 6:30 to make it across ZhengZhou. I didn't miss my stop on the train this time (which I did last year!!) and made it to the Orph.nage at 9:30! I walked in and looked around for people I knew. Lucas recognised me and called gege. He cycled over and gave me a hug! He has grown a bit since! I was told to wait outside for Matthew to come out as he didn't know I was coming! It was all going to be a big surprise! Benjamin saw me and came running over and tried to take me to Matthew! And sure enough a minute later Matthew walks outside! He looked at me and then suddenly his eyes popped open and a huge smile erupted on his face as he realised I had come!!

All of the kids were happy to see me!! I went inside and we played some games. At one point Matthew whispered to me 'wo qu meiguo' 'i'm going to america'. I was taken aback and smiled back at him. Later on I checked, and yes, he had been told that a family is trying to bring him home in time! (as he ages out of adoption mid september). Later on in the afternoon we sat down with three of the boys who are being adopted (Matthew, George and Kai) and talked to them a bit about their families. Kai is very nervous. He's quite shy so the thought of meeting all of those new people scares him. We talked through his family picture book that they sent and I told him a bit about the different people in his family (as I am in touch with them) and then we let him ask any questions. He seemed a little more comfortable later on. Especially when we said that he can stay in touch with his friends who also go to america as the moms all know each other now. Next Matthew. He was so happy and excited. He had only one or two questions and said he wasn't nervous about anything. He said he had never thought about being adopted so it was a big surprise but he is excited! He was he will sing them a song when they come for him!! George was a little quieter. He hadn't heard anything about his family yet so it was all new. I showed him some photos they sent me and told him a bit about them. He asked a few questions, just normal stuff like how will he learn English and as they have a swimming pool how will he learn to swim. He seemed happy and later on was showing his friends the photos proudly!!

It was a very special day to share those moments with those kids.

I noticed a lot of progress with the kids. Benjamin has better balance and I feel he can run better and not fall over. Lucas talks a lot more than he did last year and his speech seems clearer than before. That was great to see!

I feel so blessed to be able to advocate for these kids and then help them deal with being adopted.

Goodbye Eagles Wings

I am not good at goodbyes. I get too emotional normally or just don't think about it at all and pretend its not happening. Last time I said goodbye to these kids at Bring Me Hope camp last year, I was a sobbing mess. So this time I decided I had to show them a more healthy goodbye. Also this time was different as I will see 20 of them in just over a week at camp so it's not real goodbyes.

So this morning I visited the babies for a short while. I gave lots of hugs and they all waved goodbye. I also had to say goodbye to Erin the American volunteer who has been working with the babies. Erin and I have become really good friends so that was sad. Erin is great for some comic relief or to discuss poop stories with. (Haha yep I'm serious)

Then I went to the school to say goodbye to all of those kids. I went around class by class and said goodbye to each of them individually. When I got to the class with my Jiabei in and Wendy it took a turn. I said goodbye to JB and said I would see him at camp soon. While I was doing that Wendy burst into tears. I hadn't even said goodbye to her yet. Inside I was shouting at myself don't cry don't cry. So I sat her on my lap and told her not to cry and that I'd see her in just over a week. But she kept crying. All I could do was tell her I loved her. Wendy is my little princess, which I told her too! Between crying I did manage to make her smile though! I went to say goodbye to the last group of kids and as I was finishing I hear her sobbing again. She comes over to me and sits on my lap and sobs her heart out. I'm gonna miss not seeing my princess for 11 days every morning afternoon and evening. I will miss her beautiful smile and cheeky ways! [it breaks my heart over and over again that she does not have adoption paperwork done]

I then went to get my bags to head to the bus station. I'm not gonna lie, I did cry.

And now as I'm writing this while sitting on the bus to Zhengzhou I am crying. I will be gone from most off them for 11 days but I will miss them so much. These are my kids. I'm not sure there's even a word to describe how much I love them. Totally a Gd thing.

Last few days

From Monday night:

It's a really weird feeling knowing that tomorrow is my last day with these kids. Last time to wake up to a day full of seeing them. Last time to visit the babies. Last time to visit my XiaoLin. Last time to have lunch with them. Last time to visit and help at the school. Last time to read stories and tuck them in at night.

I don't really like change all that much. It makes me sad that things won't be the same. And that definitely applies here. I know I still have some more adventures left in China but the thought of not being with them all day just makes me sad. Life just isn't the same at home. When I walk into a room at home, I don't have lots of little feet running towards me and beaming faces looking up at me. I don't go to bed at night exhausted after a long day but super excited for the next in the same way that I do here.

I am more than EVER adamant that this is where I am meant to be. Whether I end up at Eagles Wings or not I know that I must dedicate my life to working with orphans.

beautiful jianna who is waiting for a family to choose her

So for Monday I tried to pack in as much as I could. I walked the boys to school in their wheelchairs. Barry takes a little longer than the others! His arms just aren't strong enough yet! So some motivating him to keep going was needed! Then I visited the babies, followed by XiaoLin. Followed by some time at the school before lunch. Followed by rest time followed by more time at the school helping with assessing the kids levels. Followed by eating with some of the older kids and hanging out with them for a while. It was a jam packed day.

Tomorrow will be even busier I think.

My heart is so torn. I'm so not ready to leave.

Last weekend at Eagles Wings...

It's really starting to hit me that I'm actually leaving so soon. But I think I'm going out with a bang after a great weekend!

Saturday morning I went around and visited lots of my different kiddos who I hadn't had much time to see during the week as I was running the school. Then I went over to where the training was being held. That was so much fun! At first I sat in on a session with one of my boys - Yong. Yong has cerebral palsy so cannot talk and has limited motor controls. They were getting him to recognise chinese characters and point to the correct object. He did so well!! Later on I sat in on some music therapy sessions and another therapy session with Qiang and XiaoLin, the new boy I talked about a few weeks ago. It was so great to be working with the therapists, people who passionately care about special needs children and have the needed knowledge to improve their lives.

On Sunday we took some kids on a big afternoon at the park! We pilled the Trike/Bike high with kids (lol) It was SO hot! We went to the playground first and then took the kids for lunch. And then we went back to the park and messed around for some more time! I'll let the photos do the talking as it was so much fun!!!

I'm getting really sad that I have to leave. This morning i was thinking over what I will do for my last two days and I got a little emotional realising that I was going to be gone... I will savour every last moment...