Dani on her first night with us. March 2, 2014
Dani with us 1 week. March 9, 2014.
We love you Dani! You have brought so much joy to our family!
Half the Sky is a US charity that operates in Chinese orphanages that was started by Jenny Bowen. She is amazing and her story is amazing and the amount of lives touched by her is AMAZING!!!
“Wish You Happy Forever chronicles Half the Sky founder Jenny Bowen’s personal and professional journey to transform Chinese orphanages—and the lives of the neglected girls who live in them—from a state of quiet despair to one of vibrant promise.
After reading an article about the thousands of baby girls languishing in Chinese orphanages, Bowen and her husband adopted a little girl from China and brought her home to Los Angeles, not out of a need to build a family but rather a commitment to save one child. A year later, as she watched her new daughter play in the grass with her friends, thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved, Bowen was overcome with a desire to help the children that she could not bring home. That very day she created Half the Sky Foundation, an organization conceived to bring love into the life of every orphan in China and one that has actually managed to fulfill its promise.
In Wish You Happy Forever, a fish out of water tale like no other, Bowen relates her struggle to bring the concept of “child nurture and responsive care” to bemused Chinese bureaucrats and how she’s actually succeeding. Five years after Half the Sky’s first orphanage program opened, government officials began to mention child welfare and nurturing care in public speeches. And, in 2011, at China’s Great Hall of the People, Half the Sky and its government partners celebrated the launch of The Rainbow Program, a groundbreaking initiative to change the face of orphan care by training every child welfare worker in the country. Thanks to Bowen’s relentless perseverance through heartbreak and a dose of humor, Half the Sky’s goal to bring love the lives of forgotten children comes ever closer.”
In October 2013 when we were matched with Dani and I saw a video of her being held by a Half the Sky nanny my first thought was, “Jackpot!” I had read and heard enough from other parents whose kids had been in the program while waiting to be matched to know that Dani was most likely being very well taken care of. HTS trains the workers and nanny’s about how important it is for the kids to get a lot of attention and touch. They teach them how it will help them develop properly.
When we met Dani she had a big belly and chubby cheeks. She was healthy and once she was done being afraid of us, happy. She knew what it was like to be loved. She knew how to accept affection. She was far ahead of most institutionalized children. All because of the love and care received in the HTS program at her orphanage.
About a month after coming home, Jenny Bowen came through our area on her book tour. I took Dani to meet her and get a photo and book autographed.
I could go on and on, but instead I am going to have a giveaway! This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry, but I wish it will also give you HOPE. Hope that anyone can make a difference. No matter what has happened before, you can make a difference.
The publisher of the book is the Skoll Foundation and they have given me 5 copies of the eBook version to give away.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In mid-April 2013 I woke up one morning after having an incredibly vivid dream. In the dream I was at my cousin Jenn’s house and her 3 boys were playing with my 3 girls. It was a really happy dream and the kids were having so much fun playing together. The thing is, both of our families only had 2 kids and Mike and I certainly didn’t have plans for more. I mean we had just sold our crib, given away our highchair, baby toys and all the clothes we had under size 3T. I texted Jenn and told her about the dream with a “ha ha ha!” at the end. I didn’t think about it again until Mike told me the next morning that he thought maybe we should adopt again. WHAT? Needless to say we had a brief discussion, but then it was time for us to go to church. I was completely and totally distracted during the sermon – thinking about my dream and thinking about what Mike said. Then while visiting with people after church a friend came up and said, “Hey Louanne. I know someone who wants to adopt from China and is wondering which agencies have the best reputation right now. Can you get me that information?” I thought, “Suuuuuuuuuuure. And I can use that info too.”
The next day was Monday and I had to wake our girls up for an appointment or something, which is out of the ordinary because we usually let them sleep as long as they like. I was trying to wake Nadia up when she sat up, half asleep and said, “Are we going to China again?” WHAT?? Mike and I hadn’t mentioned anything to her so I asked her what she meant and she said, “I thought we were going to China again.” I walked into Amelie’s room next and woke her up and said, “Amelie, what were you dreaming about?” She said, “Clowns.” Whew!
A couple of weeks went by and at that point Mike and I had decided on a new agency, applied and mailed our first check. Then I get a call from Jenn saying, “Guess what? I am pregnant. I was pregnant when you texted and didn’t know.” WHAT???
Fast forward to August 2014 and my dream came true with one difference – Jenn and Chris had a girl instead of a boy 🙂
Look at these precious children!!
6 months ago the most amazing toddler joined our family. She was angry and suspicious, but also curious and obsessed with food which worked out in our favor. She went from mostly silent to chatting in baby Chinese to saying SHOES. The love of shoes lead to her desire to leave the hotel room at any time to go anywhere – she just wanted to out and exploring. We saw that she knew how to be loved, make eye contact and that boo boos should be kissed.
Fast forward and she has been through major bone surgery, 8.5 weeks in a body cast, and learned to walk and run again. She understands everything we tell her, and is still obsessed with food, but now she eats slower because she has learned the food won’t run out.
She loves to sing, chase her big sisters around, be held by Mommy and Daddy, play dough, stuffed animals, baths, shoes, stickers and of course food.
Her smile lights up the world. She has the most delightful personality. I can’t imagine our life without her.
We love you Dani and are beyond blessed that you joined our family!