Saturday, 4 April 2015

This summer

I handed my undergraduate dissertation in this week, and had my last class. I now have the next month to study for my final exams at the beginning of May and then I will be finished at Trinity College! I am off to China at the end of May. 

What will I be doing in China this summer?
I'm heading back to NDFH (click to see their website) for two months again. This is where I was last summer. I will be taking part in the summer staff program. My role isn't completely set in stone but will involve helping train other volunteers and helping with child development and foster families. At this foster home, each child's (both in the home and those who live with foster families) development is tracked by each of the 5 development categories (gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, social and knowledge). Each child's development can then be tracket and compared to a typical child of that age. Due to medical conditions, the majority of these children have some sort of delay and this helps the staff know what they can focus on.

Where will I be?
I'll be in a small village on the outskirts of Beijing. It takes about an hour to drive in, or 1.5 hrs by public transport to get into the city.

Who is coming?
My sister Ciara and our friend Matt are coming to ND for the month of June, they will then move on and help run Bring Me Hope camps in Zhengzhou. Then in July two other Irish girls are coming to ND for their first time for the month! (actually, there could be another guy and another girl coming too! I'll update this when I know for certain!)

Read Ciara's blog:

Could you pray as our summer plans come together and for my future plans after graduating!

If you would like to support me financially please click this link and donate at the bottom! Thank you!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

China 2015 Countdown: 100 days!

Surprise, surprise, I'm returning to China in 100 days! This will be my 6th trip to China! I have half a semester left of university followed by exams and then I will be heading out for two months this time.

I'm very excited to be going back and about what I'll be doing! Exact details about what I'll be doing are still being worked out so I will share more later on.

Some people have been asking: 'Since you are graduating after this semester, did you just get a one way ticket? Are you moving to China now?' Good question, but nope. Right now, I think the plan is to do a postgraduate degree in education. Though in the short-term it would seem so easy to just move straight to China now, thinking more long-term I want to bring over the skills that I feel are most needed and that will most benefit my long-term goals, but more on my 'long-term goals' another time! ;)

Please be praying for me as I finish off my last semester (undergraduate semester anyway) and prepare to return to China yet again! Thanks for all those who have supported me (morally, prayerfully and financially) so far in this journey!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Crazy Foreigners Eat Scorpian

Back in June we went into Beijing and some of our team decided to sample some scorpian at Wangfujing Street market! I was happy to sit out on eating and take a video! :)

Watch below

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Made it back!

After a long journey, I made it home to my family on Sunday night! I had really hoped for an upgrade on my long flight, but alas no. HOWEVER, I made an amazing contact, a man sitting next to me, a divine appointment for sure. Won't go into it here, but was incredible.

I made it home to a nice welcome home party at the airport - more than I was expecting! and to see my family. we were all together again for the first time in 3 months! It has been weird settling back home but taking it day by day.

Thank you for all the support I got this summer, prayerful, moral, financial… I will share more in the coming days and weeks about this trip!

Family reunited!

My welcome home party! Totally unexpected!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Last week, week 13

Wow! Time his flown by here in China. I've left Beijing for the next few days for my last adventure before I go home. I fly home next Sunday, leaving me just one week until I leave. Which also means I have been here for 12 weeks now. Crazy.

I arrived here at Eagles Wings Foster Home this morning. It's not my forth time here. I spent 5 weeks here last summer, then visited for 4 days in January, and also came in June to see one of the boys before he was adopted. So I know these kids really well. Some of my favourite little people in the whole world. I was welcomed by big smiles and shouts of 'Rob gege'. I will stay here until very early Tuesday morning when my next adventure begins...

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday bring a whole new adventure. I am helping with the Formula Project that New Day runs. We will be visiting three different orphanages (one each day) to distribute the formula and check on the children in the project (weighing and measuring etc.) It will be exhausting but I am looking forward to it! Read more about the formula project here.

Finally, I will return back to New Day for my last two days. I will spend Friday in the foster home seeing the kids for the last time. Saturday we will hopefully do something fun to celebrate/mourn my last day.

It has been an amazing trip. In some ways I am ready to go home, but I know once I get home I will miss China and what I have been doing here so so much. Thank you to everyone for your support.

Second time on the wall this summer!
Dinner at Sarah's (Chinese lady in black) I have mostly been working with her this summer!

Third time at the Great WAll this summer! Can you tell it was a much tougher climb? So sweaty!!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Week 10 update

Long overdue update! I am almost fully better now! I left hospital after 4 days and have been returning every few days for check ups.  No more problems with abscesses and my arm can almost fully straighten! This trip has certainly been full of new experiences! I've had a minor procedure, laughing gas, ultrasound, 4 day stay in hospital, lots of IV's and even an MRI! The only remaining issue is for the insurance to fully cover the MRI which was expensive!

So what have I been doing other than getting sick? It has been getting a bit quieter around here towards the end of July. June and early July were very busy, and full of lots of teams and groups coming to serve. It kept us all busy helping coordinate all of those people. So we have all gotten a bit more of a break from the craziness! I'll share some of the more notable moments below.

When a new child comes to the foster home, due to a space opening from another one being adopted. When a new child comes, they have a Chinese name given by their home orphanage and all of the children here are given an English name too. Often a member of staff, or volunteer or visitor is asked to name the child and must them commit to praying for the child until they are adopted. A big commitment! Well the most recent child was a 4 month old baby girl with a heard condition, and I was asked to name her. I thought (and prayed) long and hard about what I would name her and decided to name her after Natalie Northcutt. Natalie first invited me to China back in 2011. She is a very close family friend, like the 7th member of our family. She lived in China for 5 years, studying Chinese for 2 and working in an orphanage for 3 years. She has dedicated so much of her life to orphans in China that it made the most sense to name baby Natalie after someone who loves these children so much. The new baby finally arrived a few days later and since then, I have visited her every day to play with her and pray for her. She has a big personality for such a small baby!! Please join me in praying for her as she grows up and receives surgery in the coming months and that she will recover well and have a full life! 

Natalie's profile on ND website

Last Saturday I got to meet two very special families! Two families who had just arrived in Beijing for their adoption trips, adopting two children that I know! One of those families adopted a girl who came to camp the past two summers, who heard about her from their niece who came home last summer telling them to adopt her - and they did just that! The other family adopted a boy you may have seen on my blog - George, who I met on my first trip to China and got to visit on the past three trips too. This boy is 13 and would have aged out in just a few weeks. This is a very special family who had originally intended to adopt a young child, but after hearing about George and his story felt called to adopt him. Older child adoption is not easy for the family or the child, but this family know that and still want to give George a family. They are following God's call and it is amazing to see. Was so great getting to meet both families!

Those are the two biggest stories! My time at the foster home is starting to come to a close. The summer staff program officially ends on 9th August. I do not travel home until the 24th of August, giving me two extra weeks. I will stay here for a few extra days, visit the kids at Eagles Wings for a few days, stay with my friend Kevin for a few days and hopefully get to tour a new foster home or two. I always try to visit a new place (or two!) on each trip just to see more of the work that is being done in China!

Friday, 11 July 2014

unexpected week

so this week didn't exactly go as planned... I'm in hospital right now and will be staying for a few days...

Over a 10 days ago I thought I had gotten two bites under my armpit in my sleep - strange place huh! It was quite sore whenever I moved my arm but I figured it would just go away after a few days. But then it didn't. And I realised it had been going on for quite a while with no improvement. Thankfully at that moment a doctor from New Zealand arrived for a week to work in the foster home medical clinic. So I asked her to have a look and she immediately diagnosed it was an abscess <An abscess is a collection of pus in any part of the body that, in most cases, causes swelling and inflammation We were talking about me going to the local village hospital (ok not village as in African village hospital - it has a nice building and am told is clean, but still not the same as a Western hospital...) Thankfully my insurance covered an international hospital so on Wednesday off I went to one of the international hospitals in Beijing.

I didn't know what to expect but it over exceeded my expectations! A beautiful building, almost like a hotel, I was seen right away and by an American doctor who knew straight away what it was and what was needed. So off I was to theatre to have the abscess drained. They put me on laughing gas, injected the local anesthetic (which was still mightely painful!) and got to work opening and draining the fluid. Thankfully I had gone loopers with the laughing gas and had no idea what was happening so by the time I came back around it was all done. I was sent home with some painkillers and an appointment two days later.

I'll cut to the chase... Came back Friday (today) and they decided to admit me as an inpatient as the other abscesses were not reducing with antibiotics. They wanted to put me on an IV and run some tests. Not nice huh! On top of that there was some stress getting approval from the insurance company. This place is expensive and I can't get access to cash to pay for it that quick. It would take days to get that money wired to me and taken out. Finally it was all sorted and I was given my own (super nice!!) room. This afternoon they did an ultrasound to see the shape size and position of the remaining abscesses and put me on an IV ever few hours.
Don't feel TOO sorry for me - this is my room!

Dinner time! so much food, barely ate half of it!

About to go to sleep as will be woken up in 5 more hours for an IV and I'm EXHAUSTED. Please pray for strength, rest and healing. Thank you all.