We spent Saturday morning at New Hope Foundation. After a little over and hour’s drive, we arrived and met Dr. Joyce Hill who both founded and runs New Hope Foundation with her husband Robin. It was a much anticipated and will be forever treasured meeting with Dr. Joyce who so obviously loved Luke deeply and, like us, is still mourning him. I can’t express how much my short time with her meant to me.
After visiting with her, her husband gave us a tour of New Hope Foundation. It is an amazing place! So well maintained and organized and the light of hope shines from the children’s eyes, which is so uncommon among orphans. The individualized attention the children receive from nannies (ayis in Mandarin) who seem to genuinely love the children is no doubt why. If I remember correctly, each nanny is assigned 2 children…unheard of anywhere else!
|Wrong birthdate. According to our agency it is the 22nd.|
After the tour we went and played with the children. The first room we came to was the one we stayed in…the Pooh Room…as this we discovered while in there, was Joshua’s play room. Each play room is for the same 12 children and this room was his. We knew it as soon as we walked in as we recognized the murals on the walls from the pictures and even the toy ball he was holding in his hands in one of the pictures and the slide from another picture.
|The ball Joshua was holding in one of the first pictures we ever saw of him.|
|Oh, my, was this little one precious! He was just learning to crawl but couldn't quite make it to me, but he sure had fun trying!|
|Elijah...one of Luke and Joshua's foster brothers who is at New Hope recovering from surgery.|
Once I realized this, I turned to the ayis and, in about 4 of the maybe 6 words I know in Mandarin, pointed to myself and said, “Tian Hu…mama” and then pointed to Kevin and said “Tian Hu…baba.” At that point the nannies erupted in excitement and chatting and smiles. One of them left the room and returned with another ayi . They pointed at her and said “Tian Hu…mama…ayi.” They were telling us that she was Joshua’s nanny! Oh! What excitement and joy! We both pulled out cell phones and showed each other pictures. She showed me pictures of Joshua on her cell and I showed her all of the rest of the kids and used my other 3 or 4 words of Mandarin to indicate big brother and big sisters. They were fascinated.
She then took me out of the room and down the hall a few doors and showed me which bed in the Green Room was Joshua’s and where his drawer of clothes had been! (Each sleeping room is named by color and sleeps 4 children). I can’t tell you how blessed I felt to meet this woman who loves Joshua and cared for him and to see her excitement at knowing he has a family. I wish I had words…
Too quickly for us it was the children’s naptime and they were laid down on a mat on the floor and patted to sleep (that’s really too gentle a term, but it worked!).
So, we decided to head outside to find the playground on which the videos of Luke were taken. So bittersweet. Gosh we miss him. One day sooner than we know we will see him in person. I could almost hear his laugh.
I know I speak for all of us when I say we hope that this is just the beginning of our time at New Hope Foundation and that we will come back, Lord willing.