Monday, March 22, 2010

YEAH!!!! I'M HOME!!!!

...and almost over my jetlag!!! Man, I hate jetlag! Last night, by 9pm I couldn't keep my eyes open, and Abigail and Isabelle put me to bed!! But by 5am I was wide awake!! grrr...
Hopefully tonight I will stay up till 9:30pm and sleep in a bit longer.. fingers crossed!

My trip was AMAZING! We made so many new connections that will help so many children in the future. We're refreshed with lots of ideas and we will continue to make Gracie's Room a better place with renewed energy!!

Here are more pictures of the amazing trip!!

Skyping with my kids!! They could see me but not hear me, and I could hear them but not see them..

this incredible piece of technology was in our bathroom in Beijing!
The toliet seat cover lifted when you entered the room and it did things that I'm pretty sure is illegal in some states!!

Yumm...Fish with sprinkles... yes, sprinkles like the ones on a birthday cake.
It seemed that sprinkles are quite popular this year!

We went out for breakfast in Dianjiang to this little spot that makes thier own tofu.
This is a soybean crusher..
It is served hot in a bowl with water and you add your toppings to it.
Toppings included chives, chili peppers, garlic, MSG, goat ribs, sesame seed paste..
I did mention this was breakfast right???

Goat ribs just waiting to be cooked for breakfast..

Some babies just loved to cuddle...

others... not so much!! lol
I scared this poor little soul!
guess you can't win them all over!

this little sweetheart is waiting for her forever family to arrive this summer!!
She was blowing kisses!

The nursery at Lily's Orphan Care Centre at Luo He

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homeward Bound...

I'm killing time in the Starbucks next to our hotel, before my flight. I have another hour. Then it's off to give yet another poor chinese fellow a hernia while he lifts my luggage! I am starting to feel bad.

Not sure if its the time change or the 7 planes in 9 days.. but I have had some good falls here!! I mean, almost break a leg and neck fall! one I even managed to catch on video..(maybe that is why I and walking.. a lot like chewing gum and walking). Anyway, Moya has had a good laugh at my expense! Well yesterday I had yet another good fall here in China!! This time coming out of Starbucks (been to Starbucks everyday.. ahhh a little bit of home) I had my glasses on, and didn't even see the steps coming out of the cafe, missed them completely, went flying through the air, managed to save my coffee.. although it did splash a bit, and still landed on my feet, but without any grace.....LOL it was one of those arms flailing look of death on face falls...
there were 2 very cute german fellows sitting outside and as I was free falling I yelled.without thinking... OH JESUS!!!!!! they looked up and I groaned to them.. oh god... please tell me you don't speak english!! and they started to laugh!!so embarrassing!!

I think my luggage is very overweight, why would anyone put on a weight restriction on luggage is beyond me! I think it was my husband's idea. As you can only spend till 50lbs. Stupid rule!
I'm even trying to wear a couple of layers and my heaviest coat to help lighten the luggage, but I think I'll still be dinged. Maybe I will start a trend, the seven layered, sweating hard look.

Out of all my trips here, I never really bought myself things, (yeah yeah, I hear you, besides purses then..) but this time, I shopped for myself, clothes for myself, because everything here fits me. Instead of buying cotton tops in petites at Reitmans, I bought "silk" fun dress and fitted yoga pants (your welcome frank) and a gorgeous fitted "cashmere" jacket.(XL) that kills me!! 5ft nothing and 100lbs and I'm an XL..

The women are dressed so beautiful, high end fashion for sure, and the jackets... oh god the coats and jackets and wraps... This time I didn't buy any purses for myself, but I did get 3 jackets.. I just couldn't resist. Barb I looked everywhere for the claw thing for Calder, for 2 days at the market, and couldn't find it. Sorry. oh yeah, I had one girl tell me yesterday that if I bought my coat from some one else, she would kill me! nice!! (I did avoid her aisle for the next 2 days just in case! lol)

On the Good News front... Remember the little blind girl....

He Rhu Zhi's condition was much worst than I had imagined, her eye was actually swelling out of her eye socket and would have to be taken out and replaced with a fake eye. She will never see.
I left that orphange very sad that I wasn't able to do more for her, I held her as much as I could but it was still very hard.
Well, yesterday we had a breakfast meeting with a US woman who has lived here for 21 years and has many connections to charities in China. She has 2 daughters adopted from Hunan and Dianjiang(same as lily). Anyway, we talked about the Gracie's Room project and how we need to make it a 24 hour /day care and the costs and the needs of the babies... etc.. and she told us about an orphanage for the Blind, here in Beijing, that is run by a french couple and that they provide eye surgeries for children, and that we can arrange to have He Rhui Zhi transferred there. Not ony would they do her surgery, but she would be able to live out her life there, where she will be well cared for, and given therapy and even be able to have a career!!
We have already set the ball rolling on this, and hopefully will hear some news soon.
the other child a small boy, maybe 12 months old with a heart condition. He is very ill, and although he has a family in the states waiting for him, they are not allowed to travel here to get him because he is so sick. Anyway we found out about an organization that will do the surgery .. we'll have to look into it once we get home. (the surgery costs only 120$us) stupid eh??

Well, that's it for today.. Give me a couple days to adjust get over the jetlag..and I'll post again!

oh these 2 little gems are looking for thier forever families......If you need any information on them, please contact me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Finally, another internet connection!

Sorry for the lack of post, we’ve had no internet for the past 3 days!! But wow, has soo much hapened in 3 days!

We visited the Lily Orphan Care Centre (LOC), a centre like Gracie’s Room, but runs 24 hours a day and is run seperate from the orphanage, eventhough they are located right inside the orphanage. They have their own room, with hard wood floors, they buy thier own food, do thier laundry and have a kitchen off to the side where the prepare the children’s meals. If a doctor is needed they will pay for it as well as any medicine. CCAI runs this program and it is making such a huge difference in the lives of the children. We’ve posted more about this program and our visit on the DJ kids blog site. The link is to the right.

After that visit we flew to Chongqing, and then were driven to Dianjiang. (Lily’s orphanage)

We checked in to the hotel and then taken right out to supper. We had supper with Director Jao(Gow), Director Dai (Die), Assistant Director Li Jiang Hong, and the foster care coordinator, and the office manager. We had an incredible hot pot dish, with each of us having our own pot sitting on an induction plate, you added your own ingredients, like beef strips, 5 different varieties of mushrooms, bamboo, tofu, goat, and cow’s stomache and greens! It was so good and I ate enough for 5 people.

The custom of the host toasting the visitors continued, and apparently my reputation proceded me, as the Director would smile and say “Cheers!” and Bottoms up! with a cheeky grin! Xia kept laughing They toasted us over and over again, each person taking a turn, from the most important down...

When we first arrived, I showed them pictures of Lily (then and now) and although they couldn’t really remember a lot about her, they recognized her name, and for the next 2 days instead of calling me by my name, (which is hard to pronounce for them) they called me “Yu-Qian’s Mama”. I can’t tell you how much that warmed my heart every time I heard it!! Amongst all tis chinese talking I’d hear “Yu-Qian’s Mama.. Yu-Qian’s mama..” and I would look up and they would smile, or toast me or put food in my bowl or if we were on the street, the Assistant director Li Jiang Hong, would hold my arm! We found out that she has a 13 year old son, that is a perfect match for Abigail, and by the end of the second night, she was calling me “sister by marriage” and she took Abigail’s picture to show her son!! lol. By the end of the evening it was like we were all old friends!! It was wonderful to experience this, so different from our adoption trip 5 years ago.

The following morning we met after breakfast and we were able to meet with a few of the foster families and the babies!! (All about this is on the other blog). They took us to the Rape Flower celebrations..(note to self..look up rape flower)..

We were then able to do a bit of walking around on our own, we had about 2 hours.. so we had a foot massage. The place ended up being..wel.. questionable.. and I’m sure it was actually a place of “ill-repute”.. anyway, I’ll send out another post about the rest of my trip to DJ later.. I think this is a big enough one for now!!!

Enjoy the photos.. lots more to come.. If you want the baby pictures check out the other blog, as this is blog is more about my own personal experiences on the side. The more serious part of the trip is on the DJ kids blog. We saw a lot of terrible things that I don’t want to go into here, here I want to smile and think happy thoughts!! Maybe later I’ll talk about them, but first I want to talk to Frank to debrief.. happy thoughts for now!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hello from Dianjiang!

We have had a very very busy few days! We still do not have internet connection very often, and my computer won't pick up any signal here at all. So I am using Moya's right now.

We leave this morning for Chongqing so I'll be back online then and will send lots of pics.

Yesterday we were able to visit with 5 foster kids with their foster parents. 4 of these children have families waiting for them. We took lots video and photos for them.

We also got to visit one of the homes. It was beautiful! I was really surprised. From the outside, you would never guess, but once you walked inside, it was spacious and clean and open and beautiful. The children were well loved and were happy sweet babies!!
The directors brought us out to lunch...again...more shots/toasts...again (my poor liver...) and the also brought us to the celebration of a yellow flower that is in full bloom all over the country side. 20,000 people walked through the fields just over the weekend..It was amazing. THat is where we had our lunch, in a little country side make shift yard, the people who live in the area, put tables out in their yards and transform their houses into mini restaurants.

It was incredible...very traditional food and awesome. One was a sweet potato dish, that was fried with sugar...yum and the other was a sticky rice dish that tasted like brown sugar, it had bacon and dates in it!! Yum yum.
We have really gotten to know the 2 directors and the assistant and also the woman in charge of the foster care program and 2 of the head nannies. THey are very fun loving people and love to joke around with each other and us!! You should see some of the photos...hilarious!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Few Pictures...

On Monday and Tuesday...

...We, Krista from New Brunswick and Moya from Denver met in Beijing after close to 20 hours of plane travel, we've arrived in Zhengzhou Henan. We took a pass on taking the bus into town from the airport and took a cab to the Holiday Inn Express. (It was 10pm) There we found a note waiting for us, from the wonderful Xia, from CCAI, along with 2 much appreciated apples for a snack!

We were to meet Xia at 9am the following day to go to XinXiang. Up showered and down for breakfast!! We were starving after not eating well for the past 2 days! (Moya had choc cake)shhh!!! Xia arrived and we discovered that we would be staying at XX that night, and had to run to our room and quickly check out. We loaded up the car (and gave our driver a hernia trying to lift the heavy suitcase full of vitamins and toys..) and drove the longest way possible to XX. With a population of 6 hundred million, most of them must of been on the road this morning, as the traffic was bumper to bumper! and sometimes pedestrian to bumper..

After lots of new constuction and wheat fields we arrived in XX, a town of approxiamtely 600 thousand. We were met by the orphanage's assistant director, who after noticing we were cold, brought us into the board room and served us tea, and apples and lots and lots of candies!! The orphanage director was in a meeting and would be joining us after lunch. The Gracie's Room nannies were on thier lunch break so it was decided that we would eat first then visit. We had a great meal, in a private room in a small resturant which included fish, mushroom soup, and eggplant in fresh tomoate juice and deepfried and some dumplings stuffed with the local vegetable.

After lunch we check into our hotel, and got to use a western toliet!! whew!!
We quickly headed back to the orphanage to meet the director and FINALLY meet the babies!
We were greeted by the director and she gave a speech about how much she appreciates DJ Kids International and how our work with them has made the kids healthy and happier and many more kids are being adopted and also so many more kids are getting paper ready to be placed for adoption.

The Henan government is strongly encouraging orphanage directors to send more babies file to Beijing for adoption. Henan has gone from 8 international adoptions in 2006 to close to 300 in 2009 and re hoping for 400 this year. XX orphanage building is over 50 years old, they are currently building a new orphanage on the opposite end of town, where they will take all of the children currently in thier care, and from other local orphanages that will be closed down. they will also be able to take in more children. There hope is for more children to be internationally adopted.

We were invited to visit the new building later in the day and the director expressed hope to have a Gracie's Room there. We went up to the 3rd floor and through a doorway covered by a curtain, to see all the beautiful Gracie's Room kids!! They were sitting on a padded floor, crawling around. As we arrived, they gave them little crackers. We figured it was to get them to sit quietlty for our visit. The room was bright, and cold!! Their little faces and hands were red from the breeze coming in the open window! The room had 2 small bins of toys, but we noticed that many more interacitve toys are needed. We took time to visit with each child and talk about thier special need and whether they were available for adoption. We were delighted to know that many of them already have thier papers sent to Beijing. We were THRILLED to learn that one child already has a family waiting for her!! She was a sweetheart.

We were both impressed and how easy the kids were to smile and although they were timid at first, they were quick to warm up. They all loved having thier little red faces touch and stroked, and when we reached into thier sleeves to touch thier cold hands they would grab onto our fingers tight!!

the nannies were so proud to show a little boy that has cerebral palsey could walk. Another little one made us both laugh when she would imitate Moya shaking her head saying NO!! It was so cute. There was a little girl with Down's that would giggle everytime Moya would pretend to let her fall then quickly catch her again. One little girl, who is blind, sat on my lap and when the nanny called me mama, she laid her head down into my neck and cooed. She sounded like a little dove. A toddler who was developmentally delayed was curious and everything and loved to look at pictures of himself on the camera and he kept trying to eat Moya's watch!

Each one of the children in Gracei's room is beautiful, pictures can't capture thier spirits. The nannies care and love each and everyone of them. It was obvious. They knew everything about every child there and even some that were no longer in Gracie's room. There were 2 babies in particular that made us sad. One little fellow has been in and out of the hospital fighting an infection and the other has a very severe special need that will limit her developmet, but she is getting the love and care that she deserves in Gracie's room.

We distrubed the toys and every child received a new toy! Much to thier delight, but we noticed things are the same here in China as in the USA and in Canada.. the babies ended up playing with the boxes!!

We also distrubed vitamins (and careful instructions) and toothbrushes that were donated.
As we said goodbyes the nannies encourage the children to wave bye bye! It was very sweet.
We pasted classrooms with several children in each class, each at thier own desk, either learning math or music and we happened to see a Gracie's room graduate, signing and smiling and learning!!

We will post more tomorrow about the new building. It has been a long and exhausting day and it's almost 1am here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Donkey in Traffic, Delicious Food and Precious Children

Hi everyone,
we have arrived in XinXiang, after a 2.5hour drive.. I forgot how crazy the driving is.. I just love it.
We even saw a donkey pulling a cart! cool!
When we arrived we went to the orphanage and met with the directors, they served us tea and a pile of candy.. (which we pocketed for our kids) lol

Then they took us to lunch. Oh Lu, we had a dish that you would just love, a sweet and sour / and a little hot eggplant dish, that is deep fried first them sauted in a tomatoe sauce and veggies.. YUM YUM!
Instead of tea, I had beer with lunch! 3.3% acohol it was like juice.
After lunch they brought us to a hotel, to drop off our stuff, and we are going to the orphanage in 30mins.
We found out that about 3 of the children are paper ready and have parents waiting for them! Good News!!
But 1 is very sick and unless he gets better, he will not be able to be adopted.
We are able to take pictures of the children in Gracie's Room, but not of the other children in the SWI. (Social Welfare Institute)
We are also able to take notes on the children and then we'll meet with the staff and make suggestions and comments etc..
We are staying here overnight tonight. I check my e-mails oftena nd can read everyones comments and e-mails so keep them coming. It's nice to have a little bit of news from home.
Girls ! I keep looking around for things to buy for you! We are doing some shopping on the street tonight ofter we have supper with the directors.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wow, Well here I am, on route to beijing! So for the day has gone really really well. The flight out of Fredericton was 40 mins late, and that made for a very quick stop in Toronto. I grabbed an outrageously priced chicken sandwich and some fruit juice.. (sorry girls, no Pumas for you anymore, spent all my money on the food at the airport) ;)

and then grabbed my flight to Beijing.

There is no one in the seat beside me! yeah, more leg space and computer space!!

Flying without children is very relaxing! Who knew?? I must really try this more often!

I know I should be sleeping right now, as its 6;50pm Canada time, but I’m not very tired.

The plane isn’t very packed and is pretty quiet so I’m going to sign off and get some sleep.

Girls I hope your had a good day today. Hanlin and Lily, how was school??

Daddy? are you keeping up to them??

Love you all


I’ve arrived safe and sound!! I even got some sleep and feel really good! I actually think I’m on Beijing time.. It’s 6:10pm so 6am for you guys back at home. I am still trying to find Moya, I ran around the airport looking for the business centre for the wireless connection number, and after an hour I did find it, but good lord, it was about a 30min walk and now that I’m back at my gate, the darn thing won’t work... grr.. so I can’t get this onto the blog today!! Bummer!! I was really hoping to let the kids know that I’ve arrived.

I finally did find Moya, actually, she found me, I walked right by her, I was soo busy trying to get back to the Business centre!!

We headed the 30 min hike back to our gate, and I was able to send off 1 e-mail to frank before I lost my connection!!

Our plane to Zhengzhou was 1.5 hours long and pretty uneventful!! I read most of my book.

It is freezing cold here, and I’m now second guessing my decision to take out the extra 2 sweaters from my suitcase!! Oh well, I’ll just have to buy a new one!! lol

I’ve managed to find out that there is no Starbucks here in this city... grr..

We are now at the hotel, and we have internet connection in the room, but it’s very very slow..

I am taking my computer to the orphanage with me tomorrow and hope to capture some video of the kids to post! Although I’m not sure how to get it from Imovies to the blog???

Any one know how???


Sunday, March 7, 2010


I leave for china tomorrow, and I forgot about the


WELL, lots of hand sanitizers for me!
(this was a particularly nasty one!! We didn't use this one!)
I think the last 2 trips I managed to avoid these like the plauge, I hope to avoid them again!
My mantra is "My bladder is made of steel"

Monday, March 1, 2010



MARCH BREAK!!!!!!!!!!

and we have nothing planned.... whew...

I have so much to do before my trip, I am taking this week to get ready!

This weekend, we had a lovely prime rib dinner and we had a good laugh at Lily eating hers, I just had to share these photos.

Here is HER bowl of HorseRadish... This is her second helping,

She eats it by itself, by the forkful!!

Then her ice cream fell into the leftovers, and she picked it up, and ate it, horseradish and all..

oh, and I'm not sure you can see it, but in the background on her plate is a scoop of Dijon mustard that she dips her roast beef in likes its Ketchup!
She has the funniest taste buds! Her dental "work" is being done tomorrow!! Wish her luck!