Flash Foward to Last Night in China

Well, due to spotty connection and sheer exhaustion, I wasn’t able to post an entry most of this week. Needless to say I did not have trouble sleeping as no matter what I was doing, around 8:30pm my eyes shut and did not open till morning. There was no ‘falling asleep’ there was just unconsciousness. But unfortunately that brings us to our last night in China and me summing up the crazy, long, beautiful, heartbreaking, too short past five days in one blog post. Thankfully if you wanted proof that I was still alive, you got that through Facebook or the group blog http://www.tenwomentendays.blogspot.com. But here we go… are you ready for this? Because I’m not.

It’s been a little over 24 hours since leaving the orphanage for the last time and I can still hear their laughter, their cries, their babbles, their hellos and bye-byes. I can feel the weight of their tiny bodies in my arms and their arms holding me around my shoulders. There has been a constant ache in my heart, a constant thought of ‘I don’t want to go’. I want to see my family, friends, and my dog, but I really don’t want to go. But I have to. The only thing making it better is I can begin telling their stories when I get back. No matter what I post on here, I will still have more things to talk about. I could never talk enough about what’s going on here in China.

This trip I spent a lot of time in the baby room (surprise, surprise). I have rocked and cuddled and held and kissed and sang to many babies this week. I will always remember the gaze of the 3 month old baby, who silently watched my every move till I picked her up, or the laughter of the toddler that was so sweet it tickled your ears, or the huge smile that came to the wide eyed girl when you touched her cheek. There’s the two girls that loved to to be held, one of the crying every single time you put her down. And the fussy infant I held for hours, patting and pacing and rocking. All these memories I’ll forever have tucked away in my head.

I can’t wait to share the individual stories of the children up for adoption, that I got to know this week. They are so unique and beautiful and in such need of a home. They have such big personalities, like the older girl that will run over to you and hug you, and say, ‘hello, how are you?’ or the little boy that had an obsession with chairs and just loved to stack as many as he could, and then unstack them, and relocate them to a different area of the room, and then do it all over again. And the sweet, quiet soul one of the little girls had, that really opened up by the end of the week, and we were able to see smiles and laughter. You definitely can’t forget one of the older boys that was so feisty and so curious, and always where it was most exciting.

In due time I will post those stories, but for now it’s 11pm and I have a 14 hour flight to Chicago and then a two hour flight to Richmond tomorrow– after a full morning of shopping at the Pearl Market! I have to bust out my bargaining skills (?) tomorrow. Keep me in mind as you know sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me.

I’ll talk to you guys again once I’m back in the states! Please keep us in your prayers.

– Anna

 

 

 

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Day one at the orphanage!

Y’all didn’t think I’d post another, did you? Especially if you know my track record, but this time it wasn’t me, it was the computer. There must have been a malfunction when I downloaded the vpn on my laptop because it doesn’t work, so my wonderful roomie, Tatiana, has been the sweetest, and let me use her computer. Okay, Saturday night I didn’t post because of pure exhaustion. It was like, I sat down on my bed with my phone to contact my family *falls asleep* tries to read a couple pages of a book *falls asleep* thinks about writing a post *falls asleep* thinks about getting ready for bed *falls asleep* So that was on me, but if you saw my post on Facebook I hope you understood why… we spend the day at the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China! Yeah, you heard right. climbed the Great Wall!! It was hard but absolutely worth it.  I hope you’re friends with me on Facebook, because that’s where I’m posting all my pictures from my phone. The sight was breathtaking!!

Though I’m gonna be real… the morning I just had nothing compares to. This Monday morning began our time at the orphanage. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s like I walked into the room with all the kids and everything feels right again. I love it. I love being here. I love the curious faces on the children when you first walk in, that turn into lit up faces when you touch their cheek or speak softly to them. I don’t know how many times today where I said “you’re such a sweet baby” or “you’re such a cutiepie” and the look they get when they realize you’re talking directly to them… (though of course they probably have no idea what I’m saying). We spent almost three hours, I want to say? Time just passed way to fast in there.

We’re about to head back to the orphanage for the afternoon. They provided us with a delicious lunch and then we came back to the hotel for a little break, during which I think the kids get naps or something of the sort. This time, we get to take pictures! So keep an eye out on my Facebook because I’m pretty sure I can post them.

Catch up with y’all later!!

— Anna 🙂

Hello from the other siiiide…

This is kind of what I’m singing to my VPN right now… or just singing in general because Hello is more times than not stuck in my head. And because I’m on the other side of the world right now. It might be mostly that.

We made it safe and sound to China. It’s been a straight up day of travel. My flight left Richmond at 8:50am and I arrived in Newark around 10am. I literally walked in circles for a bit with ‘tourist’ stamped to my forehead at the depart gate, but by 10:30am I was at the gate I needed to be for China and my team!

I love my team already. Everybody knows I’m on the quiet side and it takes some time for me to warm up to people, but these people do not need any time, and it’s great. Despite my social awkwardness, I feel completely welcomed and hope by the end of the week I won’t be quite so shy haha.

Truthfully my flight seemed like a blur. There was no one on my team in my row and I had the window seat, so I watched a ton of movies and slept and periodically stared breathless outside the window. It was crazy watching dark mountains turn into snow turn into ice turn into super misty when we arrived in China around 3pm.

So as I said, it’s been a boring travel day. Other than the food… dang, the food is still so good and there is still an abundance of it. I’ve been nodding off at the laptop this whole time so I’m going to give in and pray I won’t wake up at 1am and be unable to go back to sleep like last time.

Tomorrow will be more interesting! Major sightseeing will be happening, and we’re two days closer to being at the orphanage!

Thanks again guys, for supporting me and allowing me to do this trip. I have seen God answering prayers because y’all have been so faithful in praying for these kids and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

— Anna 🙂

 

 

31 days left, $495 to go…

So everyone told me don’t burn yourself out, you’re going to burn yourself out with all these jobs… and they were right. Thanks for the concern and I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you! My quiet, introverted self cannot handle 75 hour weeks. For a little bit there, my life was literally work and sleep. 4:30am-11pm days but you know what? I don’t regret one moment of it. The purpose of it was to help me get back to China and that purpose is being fulfilled.

For I have $495 left! I see an end in sight and praise God! Next step is to make sure I have enough money saved up for car, insurance, phone, and medical bills while I’m in China, and the next month as I recoup being off for 20 days. That’s almost a month, I know! I will be out of work from March 1st-20th, for March 3rd-13th is the trip and jetlag hits me pretty hard plus last time I was in an emotionally vulnerable state (trying not to burst into tears every two seconds and failing half the time because you’re only 21 and you hate yourself for it because you are too young to adopt from China isn’t good for business) and I need some time to settle back down. I slept about six hours in seven days trying to adjust back to Eastern Standard Time. Hoping that’s not the case this time, because that was literally painful haha.

Deadlines for the remainder of money I need haven’t been set yet, but most likely mid-February. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here: https://www.awaa.org/give/general_donation.aspx?us_designation=Storyteller%20Missions and every little bit would help so much!

However please, please, please keep my team and me and the children and the staff at the orphanage in your prayers. That we will be able to make a connection and show Jesus’ love to the kids and staff there, and get all the information we need to spread the word about them here. I recently learned that we won’t be returning to the orphanage I went to in 2014, but now we’re going to an orphanage that hasn’t been visited by a team! So there’s another prayer request right there… that we’ll begin a good relationship with the orphanage.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed, donated, or said encouraging words to me. It mean the world!! Before I went to China in 2014, I had no idea how much it would change my life and my heart, but y’all have been the best in supporting me in this change.

I’m also so sorry that I’m the worst in keeping this blog updated. While I’m in China, I’ll write more than I have been these past couple months in those 10 days, so hopefully that’ll make up for it? Plus hopefully one more before I’ll go… I’ll do my best to make it up for you, but for now I have to go to bed, as I have one of those 4:30am-11pm days ahead of me tomorrow.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying these words, so I hope you don’t get annoyed by it, but thank you guys so much!!

– Anna 🙂

There is a team in China THIS VERY SECOND!

Hey y’all!! So I know I promised a girl in yellow post and there is a post like that nearly completely written but then there’s a team in China right this very second and is probably at the orphanage this very second and I’m so very excited so I’m going to talk about that instead today.

This is the team I was originally signed up for but I wasn’t able to make the deadline due to saving up for and of my time off work for the surgery I had in July. This team is so utterly perfect for this job though. I’m in their Facebook group and I’m so happy I get notifications on my phone every time they post! There are a couple new faces in the pictures they are posting, but a ton of familiar ones too! Like a picture of a girl in the velvet dress popped up today and I nearly cried from happiness.

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(first one from my first trip, second from the July team’s trip!)

I’m so happy there are so much more pictures of her! The one picture from my trip was barely allowed, but I kept pressing. I spent so much time with her at the orphanage and she has such a sweet heart. She loved her rocking horse and gave tight hugs. She literally flung herself into my arms when I first arrived in her room! I had no idea what to do so I sat on the floor and hugged her… I knew right away she liked hugs. I can’t wait to see her again!

There’s also quite a bit of new photos of this sweet boy too! In each of the new pictures, you can tell his excitement hasn’t left him and he’s just as loving as ever. (I wish I could post those photos but to respect the kids and the orphanage I can’t!) He’s so full of life and has the brightest smile and the happiest laugh!

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Oh how my heart longs to be there! I’ve been overcome by flashbacks all week… on Tuesdays, I work at a childcare and yesterday the memories were so strong! And they just randomly pop up while I’m checking someone in at the gym or putting food in the oven at Starbucks. There is an ache in my chest for them. Right at this very moment!

But my trip will be here soon enough. Thing’s are going so much smoother and there isn’t as much pressure for money with my three jobs. Though I will admit to being stressed out working 5 days a week, and atleast three of those days are 15-17 hour days. Please keep me in your prayers, that my sanity will stay in tact!

I’ll post the well-thought, long prepared blog soon. I was trying to write it and add pictures in the little windows of time I had off (that wasn’t spent accidentally sleeping on the couch) and I finished the writing… I was just having issues with pictures and if I couldn’t get them to work, then I’d have to rewrite certain parts. I’ve given myself a little mini vacation to stay home in my Olaf pajamas, blast music, and post it for you guys this weekend! (and to sleep past 5am and to get home before 11:30pm) so it’s definitely coming.

A little update on fundraising… I’m nearly at my first goal! I’m just $145 from $2,200, and if everybody on my team can get the $2,200 in before November 30th, we will save a ton on airfare! So please pray that I can make that deadline, for I’m hoping the money saved will then be used to benefit the orphanage in some way! Like last year, extra money was used to buy a new computer, supplies for the children, lullaby sleep aids, and things like that.

I’ll talk about it more in the next post, but I’m working on a fundraiser for Christmas, I hope.

So stay tuned!!

— Anna 🙂

“I’ll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for You are who You are, no matter where I am…”

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“I’ll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for You are who You are, no matter where I am…”

— Casting Crowns, Praise You In This Storm


Hey guys!! Sorry I left y’all hanging after my last post. Not only did I not really want to talk about it for a while, I also began working three jobs. I’ve had quite a few 6am to 11pm days and back to work at 5am and my body isn’t adjusting too well yet.  I’m going to burn myself out, I know, but it’s definitely worth it for my China babies. ♥ Though I’m not seeing them in November anymore… I didn’t make the deadline. But I’ve been switched over to another team going in March. I have to wait 6 months longer, but I will be seeing my loves again! Plus I’m kinda excited I have more time because I’ve been thinking of fundraising ideas that coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that involve my love of baking. ^_^

Sundays are my day off, and so I plan to write a post all about the Girl In Yellow (pictured above) after church this weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, a team went in July and they brought back a ton of pictures of her! I can’t wait to show them to you.

So, until then,

— Anna 🙂

“When my world is shaking, heaven stands, when my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands…”

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“When my world is shaking, heaven stands, when my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands…”
– Your Hands, JJ Heller

Hello guys!!

Again, it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged… I’m not doing real good at this, am I? But it’s been mostly because I had surgery on my ankle in July and I missed a lot of work. I’m trying to catch back up again. For those of you who don’t know, I have a bone disorder called osteochondromas. To sum it up, I get bone tumors throughout my body. Generally benign but they like to grow so big they hit nerves or neighboring bones, causing extreme pain and sometimes distorting the area its grown in. This was my third surgery on my ankle… for whatever reason, they really like it there. God willing, it’s the last.

But these past couple of weeks have had China heavily on my mind. I’ve just been thinking a lot about my parents. How they’ve supported me and loved me throughout all these surgeries, even though it hasn’t been easy, and how I want to show these children the same love and support my parents give me. A lot of the kids at the orphanage have disabilities similar to mine. Some have had surgeries to repair things as well, some are going through a lot of physical therapy to do things like walk. It’s not easy being the child going through this; there is a physical and emotional toll, nor is it easy to be the caregiver, but my parents have been perfect at this (#randomparentappreciation) and I want to give hope to these kids just like they give me. Not just hope about someone loving them, but also hope that there is a Savior that loves them as well.

Last time when I went to China, I didn’t know what to expect on how sharing the gospel will go, but we were asked questions and it was something people there were curious about. We even met a Christian family during one of our outings! And I remember on a car ride, we had a personal conversation with our guide about it. Before we left, we had an amazing opportunity to give a Bible to her. The night before we had highlighted special verses for her to read. She was excited about the Bible, but said it wasn’t something she was interested in right now, but maybe later. She’s been in my prayers as I’ve been thinking about what our guide for the upcoming trip will be like! Please pray we’ll have the opportunity again with her, and also for the staff at the orphanage. I’m taking an online Mandarin class through the library so I hope I can communicate better when I return!

However the only way I can return is if I get all the money, and there’s a deadline I need to meet where I have half the money so we can book flights now and get the best deal. That deadline is this Monday, September 14th. If I don’t make it, I can’t go. I’ve recently gotten two more jobs, in addition to Starbucks, to help with the cost of it, but it was done two weeks too late. My first payday September 18th, the Friday after the deadline! I’ve currently have $950, but I need $2200 total. So $1250. In four days. Or I won’t be going.

I’m freaking out.

So again, I’m asking for prayer for this, and if you would like to donate, just go here: http://www.awaa.org/StorytellerMissions/donate.aspx and follow the instructions. Any donation amount would help so much! But I’m also trying to come to the realization that I might not be returning. This thought is completely breaking my heart (sorry to the guys I burst in tears in front of my first night of work at American Family Fitness—I’m not crazy, I promise! And thanks for being incredibly sweet and just smiling nicely at me), but I know whatever happens will be in God’s plan. And it might be His plan to pull a miracle and provide me with $1250 by September 14th, or it might be His plan to have me do something else those two weeks in November. I don’t know which one it will be, but I’m praying it’s the China route.

Thank you guys so much for keeping me in your prayers and donating! Every little bit helps so much!!

– Anna 🙂

PS. Come say hi to me at the front desk at American Family Fitness Wednesday 3-11pm and some Saturdays! And you can also see me doing childcare for Classical Conversations on Tuesdays. But as ever, five (sometimes six) mornings a week, you can find me at Starbucks!

PPS. Another blog post soon because THERE IS NEW PHOTOS OF THE GIRL IN YELLOW AND THE GIRL IN THE VELVET DRESS. In July, another Storyteller team went to the orphanage and they were allowed to take photos of them! Quite different from last time when I asked if I could have pictures of the kids in the room I was in. They let us take the three girls to another room that was filled with toys for a little bit and allowed us to take one picture of them. Now we have tons!!! It’s almost been a year since I’ve seen them and they’re so beautiful. They’re looking so old. I really really cannot wait to see them again!!

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** photos by my team leader Lara Wade **