Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Adoption is a wonderful , life changing event, and to say that it hasn't impacted our lives, would be a lie.
It has changed us. Changed us in the way we look at life, look at our health and our family.

It has shown us that life isn't easy, and not everyone is lucky enough to have a family, a bed, a home and that we need to appreciate the things we do have.

It has taught us about patience and compassion.

After we adopted Lily in 2005, I heard about a program that had just started in her orphanage called Gracie’s Room. This is an incredible program created to provide a time and place where babies get all of their physical and emotional needs met. It is run with help of CCAI and Dianjiang Kids International. I remember thinking that I wished I could contribute to this somehow.

But with a new baby, 2 more children and a husband who worked in a different province, only coming home every 4 to 6 weeks, well, life was a bit hectic for me! But I never forgot about Gracie's Room and the children that it helps.


Then our last trip to China, for our son, in September 2008, really brought the needs of the children in China to the forefront of our minds. Especially those children who are considered to have special needs.

Maybe it was because I had all my children with me and I was seeing China through their young eyes, maybe it was seeing my older girls, with tears in their eyes, hugging and kissing all the children in his orphanage, as these brave little souls limped towards them and showed them surgery scars, or their missing arm.

Whatever it was, it hit me! Like a ton of bricks! I stood there and cried!

I knew I needed to do something.

Once we were home and settled, a great opportunity presented itself to me, and I didn't have to think twice!


Since October 2008, I have been fortunate enough to be the Co-ordinator for Gracie’s Room, First Hugs program, matching sponsors to waiting children.


As co-ordinator I receive files, medical reports and photos of the waiting children in China. The files are translated and I then match them with sponsors from United States, Canada and all around the world. With a $250.00us donation, the sponsor receives quarterly medical reports and photos on their child.


But first, let me tell you Gracie's story.


Gracie Mei Reilly, was 3 when she died of sudden onset acute leukaemia. This beautiful, happy girl spent two loving years with her Forever Family, who miss her greatly.


In her memory, Gracie’s Room was created to provide a time and place for babies to get *all* of their needs met. Babies in Gracie’s Room receive more individualized care and have the chance to develop a significant attachment to a primary caregiver. They spend time on the floor exploring their world and developing their muscles. In short, the babies get the chance to play, laugh, receive physical affection from their special nanny, and feel loved and valued. We also will sponsor a child for needed surgery or for medicines that otherwise would not be provided.


The nannies work six days a week, Monday to Saturday, 8 hours daily. Each nanny is assigned three to five babies. She works with these same babies every day from the time they enter the program until they are adopted, or enter foster care.


Gracie's Room was established first at Fuling, (Gracie's SWI), then Dianjiang SWI in May 2006 and operated until April 2008 with more than 54 children passing through the program with great results. The need for this program in Dianjiang has decreased with lower abandonment rates and a strong foster care program, but the need for Gracie's Room remains in other parts of China. In May 2008, after being informed about the challenging conditions in XinXiang Henan, Dianjiang Kids International began another Gracie's Room project.

Henan is China’s most populous province with fewer than 100 adoption in 2008 from the whole province and most of those were special needs. We have now had 3 children adopted from XinXiang.

In March 2010, I will be travelling to Henan China, along with Cathy and Moya to see the progress of Gracie’s Room in the XinXiang Orphanage. We will also be assessing the need in 2 additional orphanages.

Cathy and Moya are 2 amazing women, with incredible ties to children in China.

Cathy is Gracie’s mother, and she created this incredible program with funds donated in her daughter’s memory and Moya, also an adoptive mom who has volunteered her time and energy with Dianjiang Kids International overseeing both Gracie’s Room and also the Foster Care program.


I am hoping to be able to blog while Im there, however it seems that google and and China, are not playing nice with each other and I may have to get someone back in Canada to post for me! (hint.. my sister Barb??)


I am so excited to have been given this opportunity!!

I'm using up every one of my Aeroplan points to go and the need for a new stove has once again gone to the wayside! (I hope the bungee cord holding the door on holds out a little longer!)

There are greater needs out there.













6 comments:

Mammarazzi Madness said...

Oh Krista ,,,,that is wonderful !!!
Congrats !

Mom to Lucy and Lisa said...

That sounds like an amazing trip to take! Congrats!!

Kendra Stiles said...

You are doing a really great thing, this post is heart warming!

Congrats and have a wonderful trip!

Jamie and Angela said...

Hey Krista, are you taking along anything for donations- clothes, etc.? Let me know if I can send anything.

Anonymous said...

Krista, you are so inspiring. Will you be doing any fundraisers this spring for this effort? Can I help?

~The other Krista (K2)

geminirn said...

Oh my goodness Krista...this sounds wonderful....congrats. to you my friend.