Travelling around a city with over 21 million residents can have it's challenges. While walking down the street from our hotel in Beijing recently, we found alternatives to the usual cars and bicycles we normally see around the city.
No doubt these vehicles (except for the push-bike & cart) are handy and zippy for busy, city life. And of course great for parking in tight spots!
On our recent trip to visit, we were fortunate enough to have extra luggage allowance with the airline. This enabled us to pack and take a bag full of goodies for the children, without compromising on our own luggage requirements.
So after travelling 16 hours 25 minutes in the air and 6 hours 20 minutes on a train (plus a number of taxi rides) the black bag finally arrived at it's final destination.
The really cute things is that each child chose a particular jumper and insisted on wearing it, even though the temperature was approximately 26deg that day. (Sorry we aren't able to post pictures).
To find out more about out trip (and to receive regular updates), subscribe to our Newsletter by clicking here and entering your details in the 'Subscribe to our Mailing List'. Don't forget to press the 'Subscribe' button!
In just a few short weeks, we will be heading up for another visit. It's been two years since our last trip, and there has been a lot of changes during that time.
Some of the children have been adopted and new children have come into the Home. The beds are never empty for long. Also a few of our dear friends have left the country and moved on to new ventures.
And there is a whole new Foster Home to visit. Last time we visited, the Home was set up and ready but empty of children. We were taken on a tour of the new facilities, and sat in the lounge with the Directors discussing their plans for this new Home. Then together we prayed into their vision, for the children and for the key staff that were still required.
A few months after we arrived back in Auckland, the staff were found and the first of the children arrived. It will be exciting to see this new Home full of love, laughter and children waiting for their forever families to find them.
So it will again be a trip full of newness ... meeting new children, and making new friends with the staff and volunteers. And no doubt there will be other new things to discover once we arrive.
We are excited!
Below is a story from one of our supporters, Rebecca:
I have always felt a connection to the nation of China. I was raised in a multi ethnic family, being second youngest of 10 children - 8 of whom were adopted. Among us were several part Chinese children including myself.
One of my biological parents was born in China and fled to NZ in their young adult years. Of course I didn’t know the story till years later so in the meantime I was curious about my Chinese heritage and eyed up every Asian wondering if they were relatives of mine.
Anything to do with China and I was instantly drawn, I just felt a connection. I also learned about the one child policy and was filled with sorrow. Had I been born in China itself and a few years later, being female things could have been very different for me. I understood that there were many “orphans” in China who were discarded for being the wrong gender or something wrong with them in the eyes of their parents. For some it came down to a financial decision. They simply could not afford the care of special needs children or they did not want the stigma. A healthy male child was the desired offspring!
I did start sponsoring children through aid agencies but somehow a Chinese child never came up, and it was always at the back of my mind that there is where my heart truly lay. I was fortunate to have a wonderful upbringing in NZ, there must be something I can do to help the lives of little ones in China.
When I met Paul and Julie and heard about their stories visiting Orphans in China though James Orphan Care International, it really struck a chord with me and I wanted to be a part of the kiwi team helping children in China.
My monthly sponsorship isn’t great but I know it all helps and that it gets to the right place. My donations will benefit and improve the quality of life for orphans in Asia. Many of them have medical needs that would otherwise go uncared for. I am kept up to date with emails and by following the Facebook page.
I feel blessed to be able to help in this small way, with something that is close to my heart. Rebecca
We love to hear from our sponsors, so if you have a special story related to James OCI you'd like to share with us, email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes; our February Challenge started with Cheese!
Also with a family, and a night out for dinner. Like most families with young children, Steve & Gillian occasionally eat takeaways, or go out for dinner as a family. At times, the children choose what the family will eat that night.
On one of their regular 'no-cook' nights, one of the children was given the option of what and where to eat. It was going to be a fun night for all the family; no cooking for mum or dad and a yummy meal - especially for the one who chose the venue. However there was a problem ... to hear their story & to find out more about how our February Challenge started, click on their photo.
Having the opportunity to touch the lives of orphans is something that Paul & I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of. We have the privilege of cuddling, holding, playing with and praying destiny into the lives of these little ones. It's our heart's desire for the ones we meet to grow into their future and to live lives of destiny; not to be overshadowed by their present life situation.
For some children we meet this is very real. They receive life-changing surgery and go on to become a part of a family that will love and care for them for the rest of their lives. Their life stories are rewritten by people working tirelessly to ensure they are healed then adopted and brought up in a loving, family environment.
But for others this will never be their reality. Their lives are shaped by the institutes they live in; where they receive the basics of life - food, clothing and a roof over their heads. Some go to school and become educated, but some will never go to school. Due to their special needs, their lives will forever be in the walls and grounds of the orphanage. The Nannies in this environment genuinely care for the children, but mostly are limited by too many children to care for, with limited resources available to them.
As a reminder of why we love what we do; we want to share this Video with you. It's a few years ago now, but this is Will meeting his new parents for the very first time. Will is one of the children that we had the privilege of meeting and spending time with before he was adopted. This lovely couple decided there was room in their lives for an orphan and through their decision, Will's life story has been rewritten.
We can all play a part in helping to rewrite an Orphan's life story. We hope this video encourages you to consider how you can change the life story of a child in need. Whether by praying, donating, visiting or adopting; we can all do something to help change the life of an orphan.
There are times when you hear of a situation that tugs at your heart strings a little bit more than usual. And when you share it with your team and you see it in their eyes too .... that's when you know that we are about to do something to help.
We weren't told a lot, but what we were told was enough. "We have one little fellow stallion in ICU in critical condition (Guy), but just today the docs are giving us a bit more hope."
A bit more hope. That's enough for us. We want to help. Guy's still in hospital and it's unsure how long he will be there. Medically he needs 2 GI surgeries plus 1 heart surgery. This little fella is going to spend a lot more time in hospital.
So, we'd like to contribute towards Guy's hospital expenses, and we are inviting you to contribute as well.
It's pretty simple - just click here and write "Guy" in the comments section. This will ensure your donation is included with ours.
If you'd like to see photo's of Guy or read more info on him, click here. And we will bring you updates on Guy as his condition improves ... we are believing for Miracles for this little Guy!
On February 15, 2015, Phoebe & I are running (gulp!) or walking 5km's in the Colour Run (Auckland) to raise funds for Leon's ENT Surgery.
About Leon: He is approximately 6 months old, and lives in Inner Mongolia. At the beginning of December, Leon received surgery for cleft palate, and soon will require ENT surgery. Leon is being cared for by a charitable organisation that will oversee his day-to-day care until he is eventually adopted by a family. Hopefully we will have a photo of Leon for you soon!
Please sponsor us by clicking here to donate. Don't forget to write your name, and the reference: TCR: Phoebe/Julie in the Comments section. Thank you for your kind donation.
Please Note: Although we are registered with the Charities Commission in NZ, since we only fund projects overseas we have not qualified for IRD Donee status. We are actively exploring possibilities for James Orphan Care International to attain donee status.
Continuing on our theme of orphans that became famous. These three ladies lost their parents early in life, but went on to achieve fame as adults.
Placed in foster care by her mother as a baby, Marilyn was made a ward of the state at the age of 7. She then spent her childhood being raised by a mix of family members, foster homes and an orphanage. Marilyn married at the age of 16 to get out of the care system, and became one of the most famous actresses of all time.
Roosevelt's mum died when she was 8 years of age, and her father passed away the following year. She was raised by her maternal grandmother. Roosevelt is the longest serving First Lady of the United States; she regularly made public appearances and shaped the role of the First Lady.
By the age of 13, Bergman had lost her parents and was raised by various family members. In the years prior to her father passing away, he had Bergman take voice lessons as his desire was that she became an Opera star. But Bergman knew 'from the beginning' that she wanted to be an actress. She became known as a unique actress who was completely natural in style.
Did you know? There are approx 700 famous (or influential) people that grew up being raised by people other than their parents. These people either spent time in an orphanage or children's home; or were formally adopted or fostered by someone other than their mum or dad.
Because someone stepped in to help, their lives were changed; from a life of uncertainty and hardship to one of influence. Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some who achieved remarkable accomplishments.
It only takes 1 person to change the life of a child - either for good or for bad. As as you read each story, we hope that you will be encouraged that you can make an amazing difference in the life of a small child. And who knows; maybe that child will grow up to be a person of incredible influence that changes the world.
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Paul & Julie Averes are passionate about helping Orphans. They travel yearly to visit orphans and to assist and encourage those who care for orphans.