This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Olivia's big day

This morning our birthday girl woke up with a fever of 103-105, depending on how I swipe the thermometer on her forehead. This is the first time she's ever been sick and it has to happen on her birthday :( She's been so hyped up for her birthday, I'm not sure how I'm going to explain canceling her "surprise" party since she doesn't agree that she's sick. Fortunately she doesn't seem miserable, just very warm. Emily has a bit of a fever, too, and school is canceled for snow anyway. Looks like an exciting day of cartoons on the couch!

Today, as we celebrate Olivia's birthday, not only am I thinking about her unknown birth family across the world who gave us a wonderful gift when they couldn't keep their daughter, but also about all the other orphans left behind. Living in an orphanage is not the ideal setting, but right now they're struggling even more than usual due to extreme weather that they're not equipped for. This morning, as kids here rejoiced at the news of a snow day in warm houses, I opened an urgent email from Half the Sky, an organization of adoptive parents who are making a difference for orphans left behind in China. The southern part of China is subtropical so they were not prepared for the bitter winter conditions that have caught the whole country off guard. The power is out in many of the orphanages so they have no heat and are running out of food as stores are closed.

Jenny Bowen, Executive Director of Half the Sky, writes: "The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be,its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling. We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage most.

Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice. The most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need warm clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food."

In Olivia's province of Guangxi, she writes: "Guangxi Province –Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture rooms and they’ve asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold. They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our HTS nannies who’ve been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as they come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.

Today Half the Sky launches the “Little Mouse Emergency Fund” to help the institutions purchase what they need to get through this disaster. If there are funds left over when the weather clears and services are restored, we will take the balance and help each site establish a store of emergency provisions so that this never happens again.You can give to the Little Mouse Emergency Fund by clicking “Donate Now”on our website. Please note in the “Special Instructions to Half the Sky”that your gift is for the Little Mouse Emergency Fund."

In honor of Olivia's birthday, please consider joining me in making a donation to help those left behind...without families...and without warmth or food during this crisis. We are so blessed and want for nothing while there are so many who are struggling to meet the most basic needs.

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