Si Hai- Love in Action

Each child who comes to the orphanage has their own set of hurts or difficulties. Especially with the older children, it’s often heartbreaking to watch them go through the stages of grief, adjust, and heal from the pain of abandonment. Children deal with it in their own ways.

When Si Hai (Four Seas) came in June, I was surprised by the way he handled  the adjustment. He wasn’t angry, despondent, or afraid. He just poured out love on the people around him.

If a child wants to be pushed in their chair or vehicle, Si Hai is right there, propelling them around the room with a smile.

If we’re helping a child, he wants to lend a hand, too.

And if someone needs a hugs (even if they don’t realize it), he’s absolutely there to give them a squeeze.

I’ve been astounded by this boys sweetness and unselfishness. These two pictures capture just a hint of his character. It’s as though he sees Hope loving on Xiao Shi…

…and then is so happy that the baby is getting snuggles that he can barely contain his joy.

Joy…Si Hai just exudes it.

Sometimes things can get a little rough, but his responses are just priceless. I’ve seen kids snatch toys from him or even push him, and he just shakes himself off, goes over, and gives them a big hug. At one point, I turned to the other volunteers and said, “Have any of you ever seen this child sin? Seriously, I know he’s not perfect, but he’s just so sweet!” Because of his kind reactions, he seems to have a good relationship with every child in the orphanage. Even some of the rougher ones can be found walking arm and arm with Si Hai, or coming over to get one of his hugs. His tenderness definitely has a softening influence.

Truly, this is a precious child. Look at his little face, just glowing with happiness…

…though sometimes he’s just as serious and earnest as can be.

When he’s helping or cooperating, he’s especially intent…

…doing his best to please the person with whom he’s working or playing.

This video captures just a bit of his joyful exuberance. Though it’s just cell phone quality, hopefully you can see his cute personality shining through, and fall in love with him as we have (sorry, I can’t figure out how to imbed it, so you’ll have to click on the link)- Si Hai, the Dancing King

I just love this kid. Loving, giving, peacemaking, joyful, kind…these are just a few of the words I’d use to describe Si Hai.

Any family would be unimaginably blessed to have this little guy join them. He’s about 6 years old, and gets along beautifully with older or younger children (even babies). Would you please join me in praying for a family for Si Hai, and search your hearts to see if that family might be yours? Please feel free to share this post with others, and don’t hesitate to contact me in the comments section or through email to learn more.

Have you had your hug today?

 

 

 

What a Wonderful World- Orphan Camp 2014!

Yesterday we tucked another year of Orphan Camp under our belt. I have to say, by God’s grace and with the help of some awesome prayer warriors and volunteers, it was our best one yet! The kiddos had such a glorious time that they could hardly stop smiling; each new treat or game seemed more exciting than the last. It was so wonderful, in fact, that I think it deserves its own song. In honor of that, here is my own Orphan Camp version of “What a Wonderful World.” :)

I see shining eyes, Big dimples, too, I see the hugs…

…from me to you,

And I think to myself… What a wonderful world!

I see shopping sprees, Accessories, too… All this good food to eat, Noodles, rice and tofu,

And I think to myself…

What a wonderful world!

The thrill of adventure, The danger of the ride, Is always filled with laughter… With buddies by our side. When our friends hold our hands, whether old friends or new, They’re really saying, “I love you!”

 

I hear children laugh…

I watch them grow,

Their simple enjoyment…

Causes faces to glow,

And I think to myself…

What a wonderful world!

 

Oh, I think to myself…

What a wonderful world!

 

 

 

 

Egg-citing Day!

Since Orphan Camp is coming up next week, I figured I’d better go ahead and post about Easter so we can at least keep up with the big events. Way to stay on top of things,  Joy (haha)! :)

Easter has always been a simple, but fun holiday for us at the orphanage. Since the Good News is God’s focus for the holiday, we think it should be ours, as well. Though the kids are young, they’re never too young to hear this story. We have found Resurrection Eggs to be a very effective means of sharing Easter. Cathy did a fantastic job! Every egg has a small token of the resurrection story inside of it, such as a donkey to indicate his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, coins to show His betrayal, nails in the shape of a cross, and then an empty egg at the end to symbolize the empty tomb. The children were mesmerized by the story, and wanted to touch each piece. Xiao Man here was showing us that she knew how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. She’s such a smart girl. I just love her heart.

After the story time, we were ready for the Easter egg hunt. You have never seen excitement until you have seen the children go after those eggs! First we “hide” them outside (with varying degrees of difficulty)… …and then we set the children loose to find them. Every child gets to go, even if they can’t actively participate. Some of them like A Yu… …and A Buo, just enjoy the sun and breeze on their faces… …others, like Wu Fu (Five Blessings), stared in fascination at the proceeds… …while Gang Gang was a bit more hands-on in his play. AnAn couldn’t participate in quite the same way, because of his blindness, but he liked exploring the eggs with his hands and tasting the treats inside. Ah, the treats inside. My, how those children loved finding all that yummy candy! Xixi was feeling quite smug about his haul… …while A Bai celebrated every egg… …and Xiao Man was mostly interested in noshing candy.

Dong Dong, on the other hand, generously gave most of his candy away, and spent most of his time carefully arranging his colorful eggs. For at least half an hour, he was completely engrossed, making sure that every egg was un-nested… …taken apart… …and methodically arranged in rows. He was nothing if not thorough in his pursuit of order.

A couple of the children had no desire to hunt eggs at all, but were much more excited to be pushed around by their “big brothers” in their cars. The preferred speeds were fast… …and faster! :)

Out of all the children’s reactions and pictures, this one was the hardest won and most satisfying- Xiao Xiong (Little Hero) was left at the orphanage this winter, and has been (very understandably) grieving deeply ever since. Because he speaks a dialect that none of the orphanage staff, nor any of our volunteers speak or can identify, his frantic communication cannot be understood. Even when being cuddled or played with, he is almost always grave and solemn. You can imagine how excited we were to see his sweet, shy smile break out over his face as he broke open the egg and discovered the sweet treat inside.  Definitely the best surprise of the day!

Every holiday like Easter or Christmas, I think of all that Jesus sacrificed so that I can be adopted from my broken, grieving, hopeless life; made His child; and given joyous life eternal, filled with forgiveness, hope and peace. I look at children like Little Hero, with his hurting heart and deep need for love, and I see myself before Jesus made me His own. When all the trappings and traditions of these holidays are stripped away, there is His heart for adoption. Do you share His heart? Do you look at Little Hero, Dong Dong, Gang Gang, Xiao Man, and others, and see broken hearts worthy of love and redemption? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to help you learn more about the process of adopting one of these precious children as your own.

Bennett- Our Little Miracle Man

Meet Bennett!

Have you ever seen anyone so sweet?

Bennett is an easy going 12 month old boy with Down Syndrome.   He has a ready smile which causes anyone near him to become instantly smitten.

He loves being around people and enjoys “participating” in conversations.

Bennett is extremely expressive and has an even-keeled demeanor. He is currently being fostered by a Christian American woman.

When we met Bennett, he was a very sick little boy. Praise the Lord, when he was 11 months old, he had surgery to repair 3 congenital heart defects (ASV, VDA, and PDA) that were causing pulmonary hypertension.

Since his surgery, his growth, energy and eating habits have been incredible.  We see how the timing of Bennett’s surgery was in God’s perfect plan.  The testimony of Ben’s life will forever bring Glory to his Faithful Father.

Bennett’s heart is strong and he does not have any residual lung issues from the pulmonary hypertension. He has no thyroid problems, or other health concerns.

 

 

 

As you can see, this little boy is so incredibly fun and playful.  He loves being outdoors and exploring new sights, textures and sounds.

God has used Bennett’s life to show others His love and faithfulness.  I believe the right family will see Bennett’s face, and say, “Here’s the child we’ve waited for”.

Is it you?  This little treasure will bless your socks off!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

 

Christmas Fun

Sometimes we get so busy living life that we get rather behind on blogging about it. That has certainly been the case lately. You know it’s bad when the Christmas post is going up after Valentine’s Day! Please forgive me for depriving you of recent updates on these sweet and precious kiddos.

My wonderful friend, Elizabeth, has graciously agreed to write a post and choose pictures so that you can see Christmas at the orphanage through eyes other than mine. Elizabeth and her husband XieLi have been volunteering at the orphanage for more than a year now, and are fostering one of our little treasures, Eva. Take it away, Elizabeth-

The orphanage Christmas party is one of the highlights of the year. And I mean for the volunteers—though I hope it is for the kids too!

At the beginning of December, we helped the kids put up the tree.

The kids always love this activity, though some of them would rather just play with the shiny balls than hang anything on the tree!

The day of the Christmas party, we started by gathering all the kids and orphanage workers into the main room and telling the gospel through the Christmas story. It’s a special time to share a cultural activity with a deep meaning. Then Joy presented the orphanage staff with some gifts that had been prepared for them. We want this to be a special day for them too!

Next, the gifts were brought out and distributed to the kids. The kids each had a buddy who sat with them to help and admire and cuddle. Pretty paper and boxes are a big hit with every kid, and these guys were no different! But I’ve never met any other kids who got quite so excited about receiving clothes and shoes. It was heartwarming to see them laughing and playing with their new treasures, and giving hugs to the volunteers who helped them open them.

As I watched them enjoying Christmas, I thought about just how powerful incarnation really is. Immanuel, God with us, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory…” We know God’s love because Jesus came to live it for us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to incarnate the love of God to these precious kids in a small way. And I pray that one day each of them can know it even more fully through a forever family!

Happy Day

Orphanage Day is a highlight of our week, but more importantly, it’s a highlight of the children’s week. When our van drives into the courtyard, they are waiting eagerly- calling out “JieJie! GeGe! (Big sister! Big brother!)” running to give us hugs, taking us by the hands and pulling us up the stairs for a day of love and fun.

My, how these children love to be loved! Whether they’re being tickled….

…playing ball…

…doing therapy…

…playing together with toys…

…or just being held…

(which is maybe their favorite part)

…these sweethearts thoroughly enjoy every moment of one-on-one attention.

Look at their happy faces…

…gaze into their eyes…

…bask in their shining smiles…

…and imagine what it would be like for each of them to have a family of their own and receive this kind of love and personal attention every day.

Each one of these darling children is waiting for a family.

Created in God’s image, each one of them is valuable and precious is His sight.

Are they precious in ours?

Please continue to pray fervently with us that the God who puts the lonely into families would provide a family for each one of these orphans- homes where Jesus is loved and His Word is taught.

What a day that will be for these children, when they have a home of their own and every day is better than Orphanage Day! :)

Xiao Qiang- Sweet, Spunky and Soulful

Children who come to the orphanage tend to be in four distinct categories. One group is infants with obvious special needs or illnesses. Another tragic cross-section is older children whose needs have either become too significant for their parents to handle, or who have outgrown their usefulness to bosses who have used them for financial gain. Quite a number of children, especially boys, come in between 6-12 months, when it becomes obvious that their motor skills development is not consistent with other children their age. Then there are the children who are abandoned due to socioeconomic reasons, or who are truly orphans. Of course, I’m not condoning any of these as reasons for abandoning a precious child, but I think the observation is helpful in understanding their pasts.

Xiao Qiang is in the third group. When he came, he was probably 8-10 months old, and had low muscle tone, which made it difficult for him to be as active as babies that age usually are.

Instantly, he captured my heart. When I held him, his beautiful, soulful eyes searched my face, and he’d smile softly when our gazes met.

Can I just say that I absolutely love this boy? He has the sweetest personality, and is one of the spunkiest, most motivated kids I’ve ever met.

Because of his low muscle tone, everything is harder for him, and we have to do therapy with him to build up strength and dexterity. Most kids at best endure physical therapy sessions, and many resist them with all their might. Not Xiao Qiang- he throws himself into each session with single-minded determination and zeal.

Eagerly responding to encouragement and cheers, he celebrates each sit-up, squat, and stand-up by clapping his hands and grinning. He practically begs for physical therapy sessions, and his hard work is paying off in a big way.

Whereas before it was difficult for him even to roll over, he can now get into a sitting position by himself, and rise to a standing position with very little support. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more resolved, purposeful kid than Xiao Qiang.

Don’t be fooled by his resolute nature, though. This boy is a real ham!

He will not hesitate to use his sparkling smile and shining eyes to garner admirers.

Nor is he reluctant to show off just a bit when he has a captive audience.

When he has the opportunity to play, he’s all boy.

Digging in the dirt is the best!

I think my favorite part about Xiao Qiang is how much he loves to cuddle.

He’ll just lay his head down on us, pat us softly, and gaze into our eyes…

…until he drifts off to sleep.

How could anybody not love this kid??? He’s just crying out for someone to take him home and love him forever.

Xiao Qiang was born around January 2010, and has been diagnosed by the orphanage as having cerebral palsy. He seems very bright- responding to commands in English and in Chinese, mimicking others readily, and showing initiative in his therapy. He truly is a delightful little boy, and would be a sweet, happy addition to any family.

Would you please prayerfully consider whether you could love this precious boy enough to make him your son? Help us spread the word about Xiao Qiang, so that he can have a family of his very own!

 

 

 

 

Orphan Camp 2013- A Sea of Smiling Faces

Orphan Camp is highlight of our year, for orphans and volunteers alike. It’s a chance for the children to hang out in the fresh air with people who love them, and do all the things that they like most. After years of experience, we’ve found that simple activities and a relatively unstructured time work best.

The pinnacle of many of the children’s time is the water fight and accompanying pool games. Those kiddos love to get wet!

Zhong Zhong just wanted to get his toes in the water…

…while Xiao Ming, prefer to relax and enjoy the coolness.

Xixi preferred to have his adoring fans wet him down while he giggled with glee.

But Dong Dong and Jin Qiu were much more active in their water games. Dong Dong went at it with his usual zestful gusto. He zeroed in on a target, took careful aim…

…and shouted in victory when his spray hit its mark-

Jin Qiu preferred to broadcast his attack and shower whoever got in his way.

Digging in the sandbox was another popular pass time. Oh, the glorious fun of playing in the dirt and getting absolutely covered! I think this was Gang Gang’s favorite activity.

He sat happily engaged by the hour- digging, piling, and making important phone calls… :)

A Yong loved the sandbox, as well. I don’t know when I’ve seen him more focused and determined in an activity than he was in transferring sand from one bucket to the other. He did a great job!

Sliding in various forms appealed to many of the children. The combination of the exhilaration of whizzing downward, while still being safe and secure in their friend’s arms was irresistible. Yuan Yuan took A Buo for a ride, which A Buo thoroughly enjoyed.

Zhong Zhong was a bit more tentative about braving the slide. However, with Luke spotting him at the bottom…

…and Angel and Shelley’s support…

…he made it!

By the way, is this not one of the sweetest little boys you’ve ever seen? God has done a lot of healing for him to be able to smile and trust this readily. What a precious little love!

A Feng, with his love of open spaces, preferred sledding down the hillside with Jim.

Look at that laughing boy; what a joy!

However, A Feng’s very favorite thing, the activity that he ran, beaming from the bus to do the moment he arrived, was to roam around in the wide-open field.

Something in this sweet boy just longs passionately for the sky overhead and grass beneath his feet. One volunteer’s full-time task was to do nothing but follow him around from a safe distance and let him enjoy his freedom. All of us who saw it cried with joy just a bit, I think. Such a simple pleasure meant so much to this young man.

Speaking of joy, Xiao Man was pretty cute twirling her ribbon streamers-

What a darling little girl this one is!

Food is another central theme of our Orphan Camp. We try to have the children’s favorites, and plenty of them. Fangbian mian (convenient noodles, or what Americans might call Ramen noodles) are the macaroni and cheese of Chinese children. They inhale it! Nothing says fun for Xiao Ming like Stephanie feeding him noodles by the forkful. Look at those eager eyes! :)

Yoghurt is another favorite. A Feng could eat 10 a day with no problem. We have to feed him lying down, because it helps him swallow. As soon as he sees a container of yoghurt, he assumes the position-

Lunchtime is a bonanza of meat and veggie rice boxes…

…and fresh fruit (a perennial favorite). I love Dong Dong’s face while he’s getting ready to eat his watermelon.

Of course, the ice cream is the crown jewel of the kids’ culinary adventure.

We had a treat this year, in that a number of our fabulous foster families were able to join in the festivities. These parents are doing such a wonderful job of loving and nurturing the children God has laid on their hearts for this time.

Eva Joy with her foster parents Elizabeth and Xie Li-

Laila with foster mom Joslynn-

Luke and Shelley-

Ruthie with Rachel and Caleb (not pictured)-

And Miss Summer with Hugh and Crickett (how did I end up with a picture of only her?)-

We were so glad that the foster families could enjoy the fun day with us, and that we all had a chance to visit with their delightful kids. Truly, these families have a special role to fulfill in these children’s lives, and we deeply appreciate them.

Oddly enough, I have still more pictures, but I’ve apparently reached my upload limit for this post. Either I’ll write one more post on this event, or I’ll leave it to your imagination. In any event, I hope you have gotten a taste of the children’s joy in the simple pleasures of the day, and perhaps caught the vision for how much more joy could be a part of their lives if they had a forever family of their very own.

Did  you delight, as we did, in the exuberant joy of DongDong’s water play-

Xiao Man’s sweet smile as she twirled her ribbon streamer-

Xiao Ming’s wide-eyed enjoyment of his fangbian mian-

Gang Gang’s sandbox revelry-

Xixi’s laughter as his friends splashed him in the pool-

And Zhong Zhong’s smile of success after his sliding adventure?

Please, pray that God would provide each of these orphans with forever families! They do so love to be loved. Would your or someone you know be willing to love them?

Hard not to, isn’t it? :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orphan Day Camp 2013

Many of you were praying for our third annual orphan camp which took place last Saturday. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. While the day was drizzly, we still had abundant opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in a beautiful, lush, green facility – a treat for orphans, workers, and volunteers alike! We are also happy to report that there were no injuries at all- not even scrapes, cuts, or bruises. Thank God for His abundant grace on this wonderful day.

We, the volunteers, met at a subway stop and went together to the Fountains where this event was held. Here you see most of the bus load of volunteers ready to rumble! You won’t see Joy in my photos because she was moving so fast I never pinned her down. But, believe me, she was there! Planning the camp is her baby and she worked hard to make it a success.

After helping to set up the venue, it was show time! The bus from the orphanage arrived and unloaded with each of the volunteers taking responsibility for a child. I love the excitement on the face of A Yong as he disembarks and of sweet little Gang Gang on the extreme right.

What a joy to offer this experience to these precious souls!

This little fellow, Gang Gang (the “a” says “ah”), has CP, but works SO hard in therapy. See the sweetness in his eyes? If you know of anyone who might like a handsome, loving, and cooperative son, less than 2 years old (?), who just happens to have moderate flaccid CP, please contact us! Here he is enjoying yoghurt with Joanna after his arrival at orphan camp.

A Yu is one of Grace and Hope’s special favorites at the orphanage because she reminds them of our Abby, and she has the same Chinese name. Grace was holding her in the wading pool, shooting a squirt gun into the air, and A Yu was giggling and giggling as the water drops fell on her. So fun!

But, of course, water is a favorite plaything of many kids and Dong Dong is no exception! (By the way, he still has no family paper chasing for him.)

He and Jin Qiu were making the most of these soft squirt guns “Uncle Tony” brought for them to play with! The pic below of Jin Qiu is one of the best I got on our camera. Following this, a number of my succeeding photos had water spots!

Adam and Dong Dong enjoyed exploring the sprinklers together!

The events recorded below brought me to tears. AnAn was brought to the orphanage perhaps a year and a half ago. He is blind and had apparently been sorely misused before he was abandoned. He’s gained some weight and become more confident in that time, but is still very unsure of himself and is non-verbal other than clicking and a few other sounds. Yuan Yuan was rubbing his back and singing hymns to him. While I watched, he began trying to rub her back in return and began humming back to her. The love of Jesus ministered by His child to “one of the least of these” is a beautiful thing.

Zhong Zhong is a beautiful child, also brought to the orphanage when he was older after having been horribly abused. His spirit was so broken when he was abandoned that he feared expressing any needs. To him the orphanage has been a much safer place, and he has responded to the love shown him by the volunteers, too. Below he enjoys hugs from Myra and encouragement from Angel.

Little Ruthie was an answer to prayer at last year’s orphan camp as a family saw her and fell in love. She is in foster care while her adoption is forthcoming. We rejoice to see her happy and content, chosen for adoption and are praying for similar results from this orphan camp. Hopefully, some children will be noticed either by the volunteers or those of you who read the blog and be “chosen”. Many are already on adoption lists waiting for families. We can help direct you toward them if you only let us know!

Linda sings to and loves on A Yu after she’s been dried off and warmed up!

Nan Nan is one of Faith’s favorite kids at the orphanage. She has a special heart for him, having seen him when he first came to the orphanage, yet one more child sorely abused and brought there as an older child. He was beaten so badly he would not allow people to touch him. My “girls” came home sobbing the first night they met him after seeing the anguish of his poor little soul. Presently he suffers from frequent seizures. At the camp, he became Faith’s special charge and she enjoyed the day cuddling with him. What a wonderful thing that he will now allow himself to be held and loved on!

A Yong has been at the orphanage a long time, perhaps since his birth, during which he apparently suffered oxygen deprivation which thinned his frontal lobe. He eschewed the water for the sand box fun and enjoyed shoveling it from one bucket to another.

Stacy’s special charge for the day was Little Apple who has microcephaly. Though she is tiny, she’s actually six years old. She was LOVING being carried around by my sweet husband and often held his gaze.

You can see her joyful smile below. What a treasure. Perhaps you can also appreciate the beauty of our venue in this shot.

Jin Qiu’s favorite person is probably “Uncle Tony”. When he saw me with the camera he grabbed Tony and posed for me, so of course I had to take the shot. :)

Then it was back to the squirt gun fight!

Xiao Man is eight years old and has only recently come to the orphanage. We don’t know her story. She is a healthy little gal with Down Syndrome who is mostly happy, toilet trained, and quite sweet. We are praying for a family for her in the future. Here she relishes her noodle box with Miss Nicole! Noodle boxes are sort of like boxed mac and cheese to American kids- they are the Chinese kids’ comfort food! Mmm, mmm, good. We try to supply all the yoghurt and noodles the kids will eat, in addition to lunch, since we know they are special treats.

Grace stayed in the pool with Xiao Ming. This darling little boy tugs at our hearts. He loved the water sports during the camp. By the way, can I say that I love my girls’ hearts? Each one is so tender toward these precious kids. 

Zhong Zhong would rather cuddle than play in either dirt or water! He’s come a long way from not wanting to be touched.

But Zhu Zhu is another water baby! Andrew has to stay nearby to keep her from getting in over her head!

Meanwhile, we had expressly invited the nannies and other orphanage staff to take a day off and enjoy the facilities rather than help with the kids. We wanted to treat them, too. How fun to see them cut loose and riding plastic sleds down the grassy slope like kids!

Sometimes they just relaxed under the shade of the gazebo, watching the fun, and visiting with the volunteers.

This was something I’d never seen or heard of until the Fountains had one- it’s a Zorb. The nannies and the orphans both got turns riding in this and they LOVED it!

Sometimes it got kind of rough!

And here is this reporter’s very LAST shot of the day (before noon) before she misjudged the speed of the Zorb and got beaned by it! Here it comes! 

Joy will make another post with more pics and her perspective, which will include lunch and after noon activities. But she is quite tired from all her efforts so I’m just giving you all a tickler here to tune in later in the week for more. If you see any kids you might consider for adoption, please don’t hesitate to ask questions and we will direct you to official channels of inquiry!

Thanks again to the many of you who prayed for this event. We came home very aware that God had answered abundantly. It was a great time, enjoyed by all.

Xixi- He’ll Steal Your Heart

Every child is valuable and worthy of love- each and every one. When we go to the orphanage, we try not to play favorites, but to make sure that each child gets their fair share of love and attention. We’ve noticed, however, that God seems to put certain children on different people’s hearts and give us a little extra bond with them…something special that’s just with that child.

I have that with Xixi, and he with me. We bonded from very early on, and I have to say, I have wanted him to be mine. If I were in any position to adopt him, I would. He’s definitely got a piece of my heart.

Unfortunately, I can’t adopt now, and this precious boy needs a family! So, let me tell you about Xixi.

Since he could crawl (a funny method that looked like he was swimming the butterfly on tile), Xixi has rushed to the door as soon as we arrive. With arms outstretched, eyes shining, he begs to be picked up.

Wrapping his arms and legs as tightly around us as tightly as he can, his exuberant hugs leave no doubt as to his excitement at our arrival.

Though he’s more enthusiastic in his welcome of friends, strangers come in for their share of charm with his shy smile and shiny eyes.

Oh goodness, those shiny eyes…

Xixi bubbles over with joy in the midst of almost everything he does. Whether he’s blowing bubbles…

…being a cool little dude…

…playing in the pool…

…riding his new car…

…hanging Christmas ornaments…

…or going up…

…up…

…and away…

his face is often creased with a cheerful grin.

Despite his joie de vivre, Xixi also has a shy, serious side. He’s very bright, and focuses on the task at hand with single-minded devotion. Hunting Easter eggs…

…drawing a work of art…

…packing his bag for a “trip”…

…preparing for a water fight…

…and especially eating….

(ice cream is his favorite!)

…Xixi’s diligent perseverance gets the job done.

Xixi just turned five last month, and has been at the orphanage since he was an infant. He has Down Syndrome, and is smart and motivated. I believe he would learn quickly in the right atmosphere. He’s a bit reticent with strangers initially, but warms quickly and bonds strongly once a person has won his trust. He longs for love and attention, and I think he would eagerly embrace a new family. Any family would be warmed by his sunny, dramatic personality and super-great hugs. :) Look at this precious boy-

Don’t you think you’d be blessed to read him stories, have his sweet face around your table at meals, tuck him into bed at night? I know he would love to have a mommy and daddy of his very own to do those things with him. Would you please prayerfully consider if your family might be a blessing to Xixi?