This morning I woke up early to meet Rocky and joined a few people from Gladney adoption agency to try out our first tai chi lesson. It turns out, Rocky’s mother has been a tai chi instructor for a long time and teaches it in a nearby park. So, we went to the park to meet her and join her class. Her class is made up on mainly older people that have retired and they get up early and do this every morning at 7am. It is very calming and relaxing. The park was situated around sky scraper apartment buildings just about as far as your eye can see. I am constantly amazed at how large Beijing is. We did about four rounds together and it was more tiring than you would think! The locals got a kick out of watching us try to do this. Rocky’s mom was so great and welcomed us warmly to her class. It was a great cultural experience.
From there, I jumped in a cab and took about a 1 1/2 hour drive to Bethel. It is in a village on the outer part of Beijing. It was so great to finally be able to meet Chloe, who has been helping me with placements from Bethel. Here we are pictured in front of the building together. Chloe is from the UK and married to a man from Australia and they both live and work in Beijing. She is passionate about the work at Bethel and it was a blessing to spend the day with her. She gave me a tour of the grounds, which is situated in a rural area, and they live on a farm and harvest wheat and vegetables to eat and sale and also have farm animals like goats, chickens, dogs, and horses for the kids to enjoy. Bethel has about 40 kids in their care at that facility right now and they all have sight issues, some have low vision and some are blind. They almost all are high functioning though and doing many things for themselves. Some of the kids that were not adopted graduated from the program and are now working for Bethel. The home is a very loving and caring place. Orphanages from all over China can send their sight impaired children here for care until they are adopted. Chloe offered to even have us send kids there from Xiamen if needed!
It was a joy to be able to meet two little girls that we placed this last year today and give them gifts and interact with them. I am so happy they now have families! I also was able to meet several kids, including Zachary on our website who need families and are available for adoption. I visited Zachary’s preschool class and enjoyed hearing him sing, count, and learn his ABCs with his class. He is a low vision student there. Please let me know if you or someone you know is interested in adopting him! More information about Zachary is on the waiting child page on our website. I also met an adorable little boy with albinism who also has low vision that is residing at Bethel who is in the preschool class. He should be available for adoption soon too. I look forward to continuing to work with Bethel to help place many other children from there. Bethel has had homes built on the property so that the kids can have a home like setting with their caretakers. Chloe shared that their greatest need right now is for medical staff, they only have one nurse on staff right now to care for all the kids, and she is looking for people to come with a medical background that can commit to six months or more. She is looking for doctors, nurses, or therapists. If you know of anyone that would be interested please let me know! She is also looking for teachers to come to teach the children and serve long-term. They are teaching bilingual, so English speaking teachers are fine. Their preschool teacher committed to one year, and that has worked out great.
I was able to visit one of the homes at Bethel where a six month old baby boy was being cared for. He is blind and honestly was just skin and bones and had a very large head. My observation would be that he probably has water on his brain. The caretakers said his head continues to get bigger. He was running a fever and had a bad rash. He is one of the smallest babies I have ever seen in China. I asked to hold him and I cradled him in my arms and prayed for him and held him and choked back tears. I was reminded in a powerful way today what it truly means to care for orphans and to be an advocate for the helpless. He is going in for observation and an MRI and will most likely need surgery soon. Please pray for this baby. Here is a picture of him today. He is precious… Tonight I will meet up with Rocky for a nice Chinese dinner before the Gladney staff return to the states. Tomorrow I pack up to leave for Xiamen with Gongzhan and Rocky. We will meet up with Jack in Xiamen. I am so pumped to get there! Thank you for your prayers!