Monday, September 5, 2011

Autumn...and other transitions

It has been too many weeks since I last posted, so as I sit here with a hot cup of coffee on the last official day of summer, I am thinking of the summer behind us.

Do you remember when the summer was a magical time, and seemed to stretch on into infinity until one day September came crashing in on you with the force of a freight train? One moment I was hanging out with friends and family at Mermaid Lake, the next sitting in an itchy uniform reciting Catechism questions for Sister Bernice.

Now as a Mom, the end of summer brings a relief that I truly relish. Much as I love the easy days and simple schedules, I now long for the structure and order that the kids need. This is my first year in 10 years that I am not homeschooling or teaching one or more of my kids. Amazing, when I think about it. We home schooled the whole crowd for six years, I taught at a school in that time for two years with Meghan and Shannon, and for the last 3 years Shannon has been home schooled. So officially tomorrow, when Sophie starts school, I will be home, alone, for the first time in 10 years. A moment of silence, please, at 8:10 tomorrow as I relish the momentous occasion!

We had a good summer, busy, with lots of road trips. In July we went to our annual reunion with families who have adopted children from Sophie's orphanage or from Swallow's Nest. In case you don't know about Swallow's Nest, this is the foster home where Sophie went for 6 months before we got her.Pam and Clay are two of the most amazing people who found a newborn at their apartment building about 6 years ago, while teaching English in China. That little baby is now officially their adopted daughter, and Pam and Clay have three homes for babies. Take a second to read about Swallow's nest or click on the link to the right.
Sophie at Swallows' Nest

This year was a special treat because we got to meet up with Pam and Clay and Melissa, their daughter.Sophie was so excited t see them.When she saw them last three years ago, she had no hearing, no speech, and was the size of a 4 year old. She was able to talk to them, remembered many things about her time with them in china, and she had tears in her eyes when she saw them for the first time. She prays for them every night, and she tells me when she is older she will be a doctor and go to China to help Pam with the babies.Not sure if China (or Pam and Clay will be ready for her!!!!)

One of the most amazing things about Pam is that she sees the children in the orphanage who are the sickest, and the most handicapped, and these are the children she chooses.The changes in these babies are nothing short of miraculous, thanks to Swallows' Nest. Once they receive love and nutrition and the  proper medical care, they are able to be placed for adoption.

Right before we went to get Sophie, Pam had found a little boy with a heart condition from a nearby orphanage. He was the cutest little baby, and needed a heart catheterization quickly in order to survive. At that time, Mick was a Senior at St. Joe"s Prep  and he started a fundraiser there to help with the cost. The Prep raised $2700 dollars for Xiao Jun, and when we went to China we got a picture of Mick holding this little guy. He was healthy enough to be adopted, and would need heart surgery once he was in the states. Imagine my surprise when at our reunion this summer, in walked a wonderful family, new to our reunion group, with Xiao Jun! Liam, his new name, is healthy and happy, and is waiting for a new brother, also from Swallow's Nest. Their family has 6 adopted from China, so it was great to be with other like-minded families! (Pictures of XiaoJun to follow)

Once your life has been touched by the needs of the orphaned, you are changed forever. It is as simple as that. If I had known what I know now about the children in China, I would have found a way to volunteer my time when I was younger. Since I can't do that, we are thrilled to sponsor one of the little Swallows to help her along and help Pam to get her the medical attention or equipment she needs. It is thrilling to see the progress of these kids, and to hope that they will get a chance to have a forever family some day. We call her "Autumn" and we hope to one day say her family has found her!

If your family, or school, or church youth group is looking for a project, why not  think about sponsoring one of the Swallows? Pam is amazing with what she can do for these kids, and she just needs all of us here to be her support to keep doing the work they need to do.

Autumn when she first arrived at Swallow's Nest
Recent picture

Autumn is waiting for her family...are you out there?