As Ali said, I just crashed last night. The trip has been incredible but grueling.... Never before have I been so exhausted, and so excited at the same time. You would think I could sleep through the next week, but am unable too manage more than I few hours at a time. This last stretch got me to 4 am China time! (Whoopee, right???!!!)
As Ali said, we met with all CCAA officials yesterday. We are thrilled to tell you that many of them, Director Lu included, will actually be attending the camp!!! (NO PRESSURE, RIGHT?) We are thrilled for their confidence in us and have worked very hard to not only give the children the best time possible, but seize the opportunity to learn as much as possible about each and every child in an effort to place them.
We are currently unsure how much info we will be able to post on each of the 39 children. However, please email Sara if you are interested in a particular child and we will do our best to get everything to you asap. I was initially told that I would be carrying back their referral info to the US, and it is true that they are giving me information, but their traditional Chinese referral that those of you familiar with Chinese adoption are used to seeing, will be sent to our agency through the online system. (Does not mean though that you have to have a LID)
There is also a possibility that MAA may be able to establish an ongoing connection with the children from this orphanage (I'm told there are about 700 children!!!), so additional, younger children may also be available. Again, I probably sound like a broken record but I am strongly advising families interested in a waiting child through MAA to submit their dossier asap. We will have ongoing access to the shared list, our individual list, and possibly Tianjin. They have already asked us (I KID YOU NOT!) to do another camp in Guangdong this year. I don't think 2009 will be an option due to finances unless we find a benefactor or Corporate sponsor (hint hint) =), but based on how this program goes, we are considering fundraising for a camp this time next year. (If you would like to make a donation to the Tianjin children, please do so by sending checks to our agency, by our website, or by the icon on the bottom of this blog.) Our In-country China coordinator has already been to one particular orphanage we are looking to sponsor in Guangdong and has a TON of children of various ages- many VERY YOUNG! (Including a set of twin girls!!!) We are hopeful this will work out, but again, ask you to help make this possible. We are considering a "Sponsor a child" program, much like you see with other non-profits... I am anxious to hear any feedback on this from families. Is sponsoring a particular child, possibly with the opportunity to adopt, something families would be interested in? Let me know..
I am getting WAY ahead of myself right now, but the day could not have been more exciting for us. We are so blessed that we can do such fulfilling work and that we have the faith of those we work with. We have the opportunity not only find families for these children, but also make an impact we can have on those children that will never be adopted... We are realistic as we know many of these children will be VERY HARD if not impossible to place, but we justice are we doing the children if we do not try???
In terms of photos, I don't have pics from today posted (SORRY!) because Ali was the photographer today and does not have her USB cable to import the pics. (SORRY Al, threw you under the bus! lol) However, we will share all of them with you on our website when we get home. Also, I promise will be snapping pics like crazy with my camera the rest of the time.
Two more things- I just want to send thanks to Ali whose presence on this trip with us is such a gift. She is a breath of fresh air and shares the same wide eyes and enthusiasm as I did on my first trip. And to Sara at home- the only thing that is not perfect about this trip is that you are not here to share it with us. As many of you know, Sara is back in the DE office holding down the fort for us and already working with families, getting them prepared so that these children may come home sooner. Sara, we love you and miss you and thank you so much for all you do for us and the children. "Above and beyond" is the understatement of the year!
OK, now that I have counted just a few of my blessings, it is time to try to go back to sleep.... Another big day coming up.