Friday, October 30, 2009

Going Private...

I am going private with our blog for a couple months. Please e-mail me if you want to follow us while we go on the "DL" for a little while. I will be going private Monday, November 2nd.

you can contact me @

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hannah is not different, she is just blind...

Don't think I am leaving Jonas out in this at all... He is visually impaired, but has a lot more sight then Hannah ever will. She and Chun Yan are totally blind, not even one ounce of light perception. Plus, Jonas will always need much more assistance than the girls... My girls will be independent some day just as your children will be...

Remember these tips if you ever encounter a blind person. Remember, you are the only one intimidated about talking about their blindness, not them. To a blind person, being blind and talking about it is no different than me telling you that I have freckles and blue eyes... Hannah has never been ashamed or embarrassed about being blind, actually she is very proud of her blindness and her crazy, extreme, braille reading skills!!! I want to keep it that way for her and for Chun Yan.

Courtesy Rules for Blindness
From the National federation for the Blind.


Ten simple, straightforward pointers which encourage sighted persons to feel comfortable and at ease with blind persons, is also helpful to know.

When you meet me don't be ill at ease. It will help both of us if you remember these simple points of courtesy:

I'm an ordinary person, just blind. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want—"Cream in the coffee?"—ask me.

I may use a long white cane or a guide dog to walk independently; or I may ask to take your arm. Let me decide, and please don't grab my arm; let me take yours. I'll keep a half-step behind to anticipate curbs and steps.

I want to know who's in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include children, and tell me if there's a cat or dog.

The door to a room or cabinet or to a car left partially open is a hazard to me.

At dinner I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.
Don't avoid words like "see." I use them, too. I'm always glad to see you.

I don't want pity. But don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more and, therefore, may get more information through those senses than you do—that's all.

If I'm your house guest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—the light switch, too. I like to know whether the lights are on.

I'll discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other interests as you do.

Don't think of me as just a blind person. I'm just a person who happens to be blind.
In all 50 states, the law requires drivers to yield the right of way when they see my extended white cane. Only the blind may carry white canes. You see more blind persons today walking alone, not because there are more of us, but because we have learned to make our own way.

For more information about gifts, bequests, programs for the blind, or other matters concerning blindness or the blind, contact the local chapter in your area or contact:

The National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: 410-659-9314

Finally, some of my favorite pics from GLA...

This is from the Main House, Day #2... More to come soon... Blogger loaded them in a very random order and I am not fighting with it...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just a little lovin'...

Seriously, I could have held him all day long!!! He never stopped laughing!!! I fed him a bottle a little later and he fell asleep in my arms... Too precious for words...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Photos and Stories Coming Soon...

I have never let you down before, and this trip is no different. I think I took over 400 pics and I have already went through 1/2 of them and weeded out the bad ones. Hopefully tomorrow I will start getting some up. If you are a GLA parent, I specifically took a lot of pics of the kiddos there. Trying to take individual shots... I don't know a lot of the kids personally anymore, but I have fallen IN LOVE with some new faces. Stories and photos coming soon...

We got in at 3:30am last night and I am beat!!! If you know me well, you know that I love to stay up until the wee hours of the morning doing my work when the house is completely quiet. Haiti might have turned a new leaf for me. I was in bed by 9-10pm every night. One night I was asleep before 8pm... I know!!!! I was so refreshed every day by 6:30-7am, so I am going to try to carry that back with me. I think I will be a much nicer mommy in the mornings!!!

So, in saying that... I am off to bed! That's right, going to bed at 9:15. :-)


Thursday, October 15, 2009

We are in Haiti...

We made it, even minus the shooting 50 ft. from the car... No big deal...just some police officers with AK 47's shooting at some guy that did something??? I was laying in James's lap telling Ryan to duck!!! :-) New things in Haiti all the time!!! ;-) So, now I am at GLA holding a snuggly little sweet smoochy boy on my lap as I type. Well, better go...he is getting squirmy!!!

Off to dinner... :-)

Headed to Haiti...

Ryan and I are getting ready to board our flight from JFK to PAP. We are going down to GLA to sign our judge paper. I can't wait to step off the plane, take my first breath of extra hot Haiti air, and feel like I am back to a place that is my second home. Pray that we stay healthy, we normally don't get sick when traveling, but prayers are still appreciated!!! :-)

Pray for our sitters and kiddos at home. They are being well taken care of, but Ryan had to push Luca back inside the door yesterday and leave as he was screaming for him to come back. He just doesn't understand why he can't come with us. It will be easier on him since all of the kids had to stay home.

Looking forward to 5 days alone with Ryan and just being able to serve in any way needed at GLA, without the responsibility of taking care of our kids.

Well, gotta go...the plane is boarding... Haiti, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

3 STEPS...

That's right... Jonas took 3 steps unassisted tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has been using a walker regularly since the beginning of school, just to work on his balance. If he did not have mild cp on the left side, he would already be walking. So, I have some new shoes/boots for him since it is getting colder and they are wider at the sole. I had him standing after I changed his diaper and he stood for the longest time and then took one step initiated all by himself!!!!!!! I cheered soooo loud and he had the BIGGEST SMILE EVER!!! Then, we were at Ryan's parent's house tonight and he was standing again and took 2 more steps. WATCH OUT WORLD...JONAS WILL BE WALKING IN NO TIME!!!!!!!!!!! Selfishly I am hoping that he is walking by the time the next Haitian gathering is in Michigan. Dixie, the director of Jonas's orphanage, will be there and so will a lot of other people that have known Jonas since his arrival at GLA in May of '07. The gathering is Nov. 14, so we have some time to master walking... :-) ---------------------------------- (Below is a very cool poem that a friend of mine found online...It could not fit our situation more...)

"I'm sending you a child " God said, " to take care of for me.
you'll need patience, and understanding 'cause this child, he cannot see.
you'll learn the beauty of a smile,you see, his learning will be slow.
But with the love that you will give I know that he will grow.

This child will bring you pride and joy with each new thing he learns
though there will be times be brings you worries and concerns.
But you're the kind of parents that I know can make it through.
That is why I'm sending him to the two of you.

The lessons he will teach you not everyone will see,
because he will also have what's known as CP.
His learning will take effort and progress will be slow
but the love and joy he'll bring you few "normal" kid's parents know.

I'm not sending him because you've sinned, nor to punish you,
I'm sending him to you because I know you'll love him too.
This child is a special child I wouldn't place just anywhere,
I want him with a family I know will take good care.

And after searching wide and long the whole world through and through,
I decided that this gift of love would be sent from Heaven to you."

WE LOVE YOU JONAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

About Bethel...

Bethel is where Chun Yan is right now. They have updated their web site, and here is a little bit about how Bethel was founded...

Bethel was founded by a young French couple. While in France, Delphine studied Sociology and Guillaume studied English. They continued their studies in the US for three years. Their adventure took them to Canada, New Brunswick where they headed a project called "the shelter"; a place to help youth as well as drug addicts and prisoners. After a few months in Hong Kong they moved to Mainland China. In 2003 they moved to Lang Fang to start Bethel. In December 2003, they received the first three orphans in their own house alongside their other three children (Emilie 7, David 6 and Benjamin 3). With time they received more and more orphans. Today they care for 35 blind children.
Here is some more info if you want...


Bethel is a not-for-profit organization that provides foster care, education and professional training for Chinese orphans who are blind or visually impaired. The Project’s training center, named The Love is Blind Project, is located on a 17-acre property, near a small village outside Beijing. The organization was founded in 2002 by a French couple, Guillaume and Delphine Gauvain.

In addition to providing quality care and education for blind orphans, the Project envisions the development of a community that is self-sustaining and respectful of the environment. We are currently producing our own eggs, fruits and vegetables, as well as raising chickens, goats and cows. Our use of the raised-bed gardening method, allows our visually impaired students to work independently in the garden.

This is a model we hope to reproduce in other parts of China and the greater Asian community.

The Project in its current location offers services for up to 70 children at a time, and includes these aspects:

1. Foster Care: seven separate houses where we strive to create a family atmosphere, providing 24-hour care for our children

2. Education: our school offers classes in English and Chinese Braille, Conversational English, Chinese, Mathematics, Science, Orientation and Mobility, Daily Living Skills, Physical Education, Social Studies, etc…

3. Professional training: in farming, gardening, language translation and piano tuning

4. Training for state run orphanage staff which allows Bethel to touch hundreds of thousand of children

5. Farming: Our project is self sustainable as we grow our own vegetables and fruits. We have several gardens and raise goats and chickens

We place great importance on providing a variety of exciting activities for the children, including sports, arts and crafts, field trips, music and entertainment, all of which are especially designed for the blind and visually impaired.

Organization Profile and History

2002 Guillaume & Delphine do some research on NGOs work in China and try to find a people group that is not being reached

2003 G&D open the first house in Lang Fang, Hebei and receive 3 blind orphans from Tianjin orphanage (8 staff)

2004 G&D open the 2nd home, care for 12 children (18 staff)
Board of Directors Set up

2005 Opening of the 3rd home, care for 24 children (40 staff)
start of Bethel school (2 staff)
Partnership with Children’s Hope International Social Work Committee

2006 Opening of the 4th home, care for 31 children (60 staff)
Expansion of Bethel school (6 staff)

2007 Move to new facility in Dou Dian
Set up of a farm (food self sustainability)
Renovation of the premises
Registration of Bethel China Ltd. In HK
Registration of Bethel China ltd. Rep. office

2008 Construction of 7 foster homes
Build second floor to adjacent building (on-going renovation)
Operations size (80 staff)
Purchase agreement with the landlord