Looking back at 2013…..what a year!
(click above for slideshow)
I planned one day on this trip for some down time….
…..and for me in China that means taking pics.
So I headed off to the town of DaXu, with Andy and Mia, who have been our Assistant Directors at AOW.
The three of us share a passion for photography, so with cameras in hand we were off.
It was like taking a step back in time….
….which made it all that more fun.
Like this old barbershop….
….and we just happened to arrive when a local gentleman needed a cut.
A cool wood shop nestled among the houses.
….and old stones used for grinding soy beans.
It was a much needed day out with two very special friends. You can see more of Andy and Mia’s beautiful photography on their blog Blossom In China
We met the sweetest local old man…..
Who shared his home with us….
….and his collection of old treasures, like this mooncake press….
……and keys and tools.
What a special day seeing a part of China I haven’t seen before…….
….and getting some good pics to remember it by.
It’s Friday morning here in China…..and honestly, I am a teary mess already.
I knew when I came this day would be hard…..really hard.
Today, will be my last day at the House of Love….our project in Guilin.
My last day seeing these faces…..
….these incredibly beautiful kids.
My heart is full….and I feel so blessed that AOW has been able to play a small role in their life.
Their futures will be bright…..and that makes it easier to leave.
So for the next 8 hours I am going to take it all in…….soak up everything I can…..treasure every moment I have.
And then I’ll say “Goodbye”
Guilin…..feels like coming home.
It was 10 years ago that I first came back to Guilin to start foster care here….and what an incredible 10 years this has been.
I never would have dreamed my life would take the direction it has.
The first night I was here we were able to have dinner with a family from the Netherlands who adopted one of our kids several years ago.
Rarely do I ever get to see the kids we have helped once they are adopted, so to see this little boy (formerly “Preston” in our care) happy and with this wonderful family…..
…..it just made my day!
But of course….my heart is with these kids…. who still wait.
Kids like Lucy….”little miss serious”.
And Gabriel….such a sweet boy!
Boy have they all grown since last October when I was here.
But the reality is we are transitioning these kids….to new homes where they can continue to receive good care.
To see little Alexander meet his new foster mom today, watch them interact and see the love she already has for this little boy, and then seeing them leave for his new home where he will stay till he is adopted…..has made all of this a bit easier.
All of these kids, like John, have found a permanent place in my heart.
These kids lives have been transformed because of this project in Guilin.
There are no more sad, withdrawn faces, but happy, healthy kids waiting for new families.
And I know we will all celebrate that day…..when they all are with their forever families!
Cool summer nights……love spending time out with my girls.