JOY Mission Update!

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Our JOY Mission trip is underway, and all of the children and families are having a blast! A few of our JOY families have been keeping us updated by posting blogs about their experience. Below are a couple of their posts from the beginning of the trip! 
 
Each of the kiddos participating in our JOY Mission are in need of Forever Families! If you’re interested in learning more about them, contact mallory@gwca.org today!

This lucky host dad is spending his week playing with Josiah and Amelia! 

mmexport1461182613808Today was a full day with the kids. At the end of the day, my biggest observation is how much life is within these kids and their desire to become something greater. I am not talking about becoming s doctor who cures a disease or a politician who can figure out our economy. I am talking about the greatest thing one can be, a son, a daughter, a brother or a sister.

Amelia spent a lot of the day wanting to sit in my lap. We road on the bus like that to and from the park. She wanted me to carry her from time-to-time, she wanted to sing me songs. At the park Josiah would hold my hand while we walked along the path between two big lakes surrounded by a variety of trees and shrubs that reflected a greater variety of greens. Before becoming a husband and a father this much lap sitting and hand holding would have been out of my comfort zone. But today, after becoming a parent, I get it. It is about the need for connection. They get it. They had a chance to do something today that they do not often get, undivided attention. This is special to a children who have spent their lives in an orphanage.

Josiah gets it. He wants to prove his connection. He brought me two little stuffed toys from the orphanage today as a present and a thank you for the day. When Amelia would fall or need help, he was the first one there to help. He engaged with the daughters from the other families by blowing bubbles into the faces and laughing when they returned the gesture. He knows what family is about and wants one for his own.

Amelia is precious. She is the life of the party. We have nicknamed her Hollywood. This morning our guide, Veronica, helped Amelia put on a pretty, pink dress with a bright red bow. She twirled, giggled and gave great big hugs of appreciation. There was pride in her eyes as she was just given something that she never had before, something of her own. Amelia is considered as delayed. She is a little peanut who needs extra help with her school work.
She proved her ABC’s by singing them to me and then proceeded to count to 15 with a confidence that would own the red carpet outside the Dolby Theater.

The heart wrenching part of the day was having to take them back to the SWI where they live. We were walking out of the restaurant after dinner when Amelia asked me to pick her up. It was raining, so I thought it had something to do with not wanting to fall. I did not realize that Amelia’s part of the orphanage was right around the corner. She started to call out to our guide shouting no, no. I did not know what she was shouting about. The guide gently took her from me as I realized we were standing outside her wall. She and the guide disappeared and the sobs began to fade against the rain drops.
I walked Josiah up to his dormitory at SWI. He got serious as we entered. He let go of my hand. One of the other kids was having a hard time with the transition. As the caregivers were navigating, Josiah walked over and took his hand and helped escort him upstairs. We could hear the other children upstairs, calling out, while running around before bed time. A similar picture to my bedtime routine back in Wisconsin. The difference I knew is that the two floor above housed all ages of special needs children and a two parents to three kids’ ratio does not exist.

They both want to get out from behind those walls. They know what is beyond. They want a house to live in, a yard to play and a family to share their love.

If you or anyone you may know with an open heart and an open home are interested in learning more about Amelia or Josiah and the adoption process, you can contact Shannon at Great Wall China Adoption vial email mallory@gwca.org

Here’s a post from one of our host moms and her daughter, who are spending their week with Winnie and Zach! 

mmexport1461182571781Day 1 was the most surreal, eye opening, oddly inspiring, bravery testing day! Once we walked to the orphanage (literally right behind our hotel), we were greeted by the wonderful individuals who run these children’s orphanage. It is one of the largest orphanages in the country & it cares for over 800 children. All of them were found abandoned here in the city of Dongguan. As soon as we entered th building there were kiddos up and down the hallways with various different abilities, eager to welcome us, hug us, with the largest smiles you can imagine strewn across their faces! Soon after we were all introduced to the host children we chose to spend this magical, soul altering week with.

Originally I was going to host Winnie & Jade was going to host Zach. But immediately, the second Winnie came into the room – she was Jade’s shadow! Ironically, Zach (who was fussy & very unsure of us all) immediately calmed with my arms swaddling him right up. To say I couldn’t be any more proud of my daughter would be an absolute understatement. Today she has fed Winnie each meal before she eats herself, pushed her all around town in a stroller with a smile on her face the entire time – so proud of “her” host kiddo, she’d been engaged wholly with her, playing with her, teaching her, changed every single diaper & they even showered tonight together without my prompting. Jade washed her hair, got her teeth brushed & tossed her into one of her T-shirts for jammies. They are genuinely enjoying one anthers company and taking this journey on with pure courage. Now they are cuddled up side-by-side in Jade’s twin bed getting some well earned beauty sleep! We also learned a super cool fact involving birthmarks…. Which I will post about soon!

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