Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our new kids...they need you

Red Thread Charities needs you to give to the max.  Your donation of $50 will help so many children.  Our group has started with a new orphanage 2 hours away from Hangzhou.  They really need us.  The children aren't smiling yet.  The staff doesn't think they are able to smile.  We proved them wrong on our initial trip when we were able to get the children who don't smile to laugh.  Belly laugh!  Please give.  And consider a trip with us if you are a pediatric therapist!  The children are waiting.  This is what your donation will be used for:  
  • ·      Therapy balls
  • ·      Reverse walkers
  • ·      Cleft Lip and Palate nursers
  • ·      Finger cots for oral motor use
  • ·      Beautiful board books written in Mandarin
  • ·      Cause/ Effect toys
  • ·      Musical toys
  • ·      Headphones for music therapy
  • ·      Sensory brushes
  • ·      Therapy putty
  • ·      And the list goes on…

Give here at www.redthreadcharities.org/  I feel so strongly about this that I will send you a small Chinese prize if you donate and send me an email.  It might be a silk purse, a cute chinese notebook, a small porcelain tea set... wonderful little things that Cheryl and I went crazy shopping for!  Any amount is wonderful and I would be honored if you sent me an email telling me that you donated.  Let me, Jane Steinmetz,  know at bamboobaby5@mac.com and I would love to send you a sweet prize guaranteed to be made in China.  This little guy is a waiting child but he is happy and living the good life thanks to RTC.  If he is not adopted he will go to work somewhere in China.  He won't go to college but he will still be a happy guy thanks to RTC.  At some point we have to say goodbye.  He needs a family to help him be the little man he can be!  Is it you?   All of our adoptive families have never looked back.      

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beethoven's Minuet in G

Our 10 year old daughter Quin nearly always accompanies us when we go to work at the orphanages in China.  This morning back at home in Wisconsin, she had a very astute observation that I would like to share with you.
Quin takes piano lessons and her teacher has assigned her to learn Beethoven's Minuet in G.  She wanted her to familiarize herself with the music before the next lesson.  I googled a version on You Tube for her to listen to.  When she heard the music, she started to laugh and said, "I wonder why she wants me to learn a chinese children's song!"  I was confused and she explained...  "This is the song they play every morning for the children at Hangzhou!"  Of course!  This melody is so familiar to me that it went right over my head but Quin's only experience hearing it was when she watched the children being taken for walks every single morning at the orphanage in Hangzhou!  I told Quin what valuable information that is for parents who have just adopted a child from Hangzhou.  Playing this same music for a child is a way perhaps, to ease the transition during the adoption process, or comfort a child who has just had surgery.  I also explained to her that it might have the opposite affect and cause anxiety.  But I do know for sure that when those kids hear this song with their new families from the US, or Europe they won't be hearing a classical piece written by a famous german composer.  They'll be hearing this sweet chinese children's song:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Parting Shot from Hangzhou

Well, we are 'officially' finished with our work at Hangzhou.  Our closing meeting went well and Directors Zhang (in pink), Li,(in pink) and Song (in black) had tears in their eyes when they hugged us goodbye.  (Yes, people in China do hug. You can't work with Americans without learning that cultural skill.)  They made us promise to come back each year for two days to see the newcomers.
We are set to begin work at NingboChildren's Welfare Institute, two hours away by bus.  The director there has been to some of our training and we were approached last October requesting our services.  And the best part is we get to bring Wang Ming and Haiyan (lower left) with us!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

I know from the adoption community, that there were many children adopted in the last year. I know of hundreds of kids we screened in 3 years' time that are now living in happy families here in the US, the Netherlands, Canada, and Spain. It's such a heartwarming thought being lulled into believing that the numbers are decreasing.  That's why I think it's ironic that on our last trip to Hangzhou CWI, where we were asked to screen only the newcomers it was our busiest day yet. We saw 49 children, mostly infants who, for various reasons, arrived this year on the orphanage doorstep. Mostly babies, but some toddlers as well. Most of the children we saw have special needs, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, limb deficits, and cleft lip and palate to name a few. A few newborns had no apparent special needs or resolved needs such as neonatal jaundice. 
While walking to and from the exam building, it was touching to see the school age children we have gotten to know well in the last 3 years excitedly waving and saying "hello!" in their very best English. You can't walk by a morning preschooler parade without smiling and wiping a tear away.  Life goes on... 

Really not a bad flight at all.  All the volunteers reported a surprisingly good night's sleep after a nice low keyed dinner at a local noodle shop within a short walk from the orphanage. We awaken again to all the familiar sights and sounds that we have experienced over the years...the birds singing, the staff arriving via motor scooter, the clatter of the pre-dawn wagon full of steaming formula and rice congee pulled by ladies in blue smocks. The babies from the next building over from us are just starting to make it known that it is time to get up.  There is a quiet, intermittent fussiness as one by one each child's morning needs are being met. A nice way to wake up...sort of like waves on the ocean.  It happens each day and every day, 365 days a year whether we are here or in the twin cities.  It's a safe comforting routine. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goodbye Hangzhou and Hello Ningbo!

Our October 2012 volunteer trip is about to begin and our 3 year commitment with Hangzhou is coming to a close.  It leaves me feeling bittersweet.  Sad because we will be seeing the children one last time but happy over the staff's growth and independence.  Since our group is all about empowerment, we will be taking a more hands off approach as we watch the Chinese therapists screen the children and make their recommendations.  We are so proud of the work the staff at Hangzhou has accomplished.  Recently I revisited all the monthly reports that they have sent us over the years.  It is so gratifying to see the level of confidence they have gained and how much they have grown professionally.  We will have a formal dinner to celebrate our collaboration and then our group will head out to a new orphanage two hours away in Ningbo, a coastal city on the South China Sea.  We have requested that one of the therapists at Hangzhou accompany us to Ningbo and join our team.  It's part of our plan for Hangzhou to 'pay it forward'.  Well this morning we heard that they will be sending not one but two of the therapists to accompany us!  Welcome RTC volunteers, Wang Ming and Hai Yan!