China Part 4: The Children of Xiamen

AGCI is in China! Our team is just beginning their second week in China. Continue following our posts over the next week and learn more about how we’re advocating for China’s orphans!

From Tiffany Williams, China Program Director, 9/18/15

Hi Team!

On Thursday morning we headed over to the orphanage and Kiersten joined the Xiamen Director for a meeting on our work at Xiamen and how we can continue to help.

The rest of our team visited some of the children we have recently placed and delivered care packages. We also did a few more medical exams on children new to the orphanage. We also met briefly with 12-year-old Benjamin who is deaf, who I shared about in our last post!

One foster mom from Xiamen who is a retired doctor and fostering Macie, brought in her other foster child, a little girl from another orphanage. We were so happy that Xiamen allowed us to examine her also and hope we could advocate for her soon too.  I met her over a year ago in her foster home and I was amazed at her improvements! She had the cutest little pigtails! Her foster mom also shared that Macie follows her around since she is a couple of years older, and copies everything she does. This foster mom has fostered many of our kids and I am so thankful for her!

In the afternoon, we went for lunch with the Director and her staff after her meeting with Kiersten. Kiersten shared that we would love for Xiamen to be a model orphanage that others would look to. Kiersten continued to explain how we want to help elevate care like our Hannah’s Hope homes, and the Director agreed!

I was so happy after two years of building relationships with them they are so open to us coming in and helping, starting with the development toys project! The Director reiterated how thankful she is that we are here and helping place so many children from Xiamen.

The Director asked for my feedback on what they can do to improve. We explained the importance of preparing paperwork as quickly as possible. We thanked her for doing the paperwork she has done and being so wonderful to work with.

Next, we went and visited classrooms to check in on some of the older kids in class. There were 8-10 kids in the first class we visited.  Lauren, James, Levi, Joy, Ezekiel, and Mason were all in here. We took video and observed as they worked with their teacher to listen to a story and then do an art project.
Lauren, our little one who is 7 with cerebral palsy, kept watching us out of the corner of her eye and smiling shyly and then would turn away quickly when we would look in her eyes.  I don’t think she ever stopped smiling. She is so precious. She sits at the table on an inclined mat and a belt around her back that hooks to the table so she can sit with the other kids.

After class, we got to watch the kids go out for some free time, and Lauren stayed back for physical therapy. We were able to watch her learning to crawl with a walker with a cloth tied to it towards the bottom so she can lay in it and move around. She is really improving!

MasonJames was so cute coloring his picture, and he sat next to Levi, and after class was following Levi.  One of his teachers said that James is a lot like Levi’s little brother and they are very close and James looks up to him. We are still searching for a family for James. He has Aperts Syndrome, which does not affect his cognitive abilities, just the shape of his face and causes deformity of hands and feet. He is a very sweet little boy too.

Mason is also friends with the boys in his class. He is a very easygoing, sweet boy that is older and blind, and we are also currently advocating for him.

Next, we went next door and visited the younger children’s class, where Jayden and Harrison are. We observed them during some free time, and I enjoyed watching the kids sit on a big mat and play blocks. Jayden and Harrison were so cute playing blocks together. In this class, the kids have their photos taped to their table so they all know where they sit. They are well loved by their teachers in this class.

It was fun to see the growth of one little girl who is now doing amazing. I remember she cried and cried the last two times I visited, but now seems happy and content. She has a cleft palate and possibly a hearing issue. She is a beautiful little girl and we hope to get her paperwork soon!

Afterwards, we went outside and observed a class of younger kids during some playtime, at the outdoor swing and slide equipment. This is where we saw Leann, who was walking around in pigtails and absolutely adorable. She is so precious and knows sign language and can now say a few words. We are so happy she has a family now!

We also observed Joshua, who we placed last year and is coming home soon, as he was falling asleep in his swing!

After that, we were able to give Levi and Joy their care packages from their families. Levi was so excited and wanted to go right upstairs and show his friends what he got. Joy was so happy to get a present and loved opening each item. She was adorable. She loved her blanket and photos the most!

We also were able to visit the special care unit where the most medically fragile babies are. It was here that I was able to see Zoe, and I was amazed how much she has grown since last October. We are so happy her family is coming soon to get her!

In the evening we drove over to Xiamen Toys-R-Us and were able to purchase and deliver some developmental toys for Xiamen!  We also committed to donating 40 mobiles and rattles for the littlest ones.

We noticed almost half of the kids have eye conditions from staring at the ceiling. The kids are precious and we are so excited to help them improve their development!

Tomorrow, we pack up our suitcases and head to Longyan!