Category Archives: Kids

Year in review: our broader life


January:  delivery of some of the hundreds of footie pajamas we transported from generous donors in the US.


February: I love the red associated with Chinese New Year!


March:  3 wheeled cart transporting a sign


April: early morning run in Shanghaiimg_2557

May: Our occupational therapist visitor has a message from KFC “It’s not that bad” as we embark on an outreach to children with autism; we begin our English class outreach to minority children.

June: We tried to to go North Korea, but the door was closed and the boat was leaky, so we had to be satisfied with the view across the river.

July: our local dancing grannies, puppies on a ride, and two fathers helping their children during the talent show at the weekend camp for kids with disabilities.

August: Reindeer wedding.  Enough said.


September:  Chinese history and culture–Big Z’s favorite page in his brother’s 3rd grade reader.  This scene is from a story about a teacher who sacrifice his life so that his students could have books during wartime. We also had another visit from an expert in children with cerebral palsy giving pointers on positioning.



October: dried vegetables hang everywhere in anticipation of a long winter. Plus, it’s time for a cut and shave.



November: Thanksgiving came to the minority neighborhood as an awesome group of volunteers put on a feast and entertainment.


December: Foster parents, their kids and friends watching talent show performances of fellow foster kids. Plus, even on a blustery Christmas Day, it’s never too cold for a cut and shave.







While there was heavy action in Rio and we watched the Chinese get gold on national tv here, our kids got inspired.

I was reminiscing about creating our own Olympics during the 1980s in my Norwegian childhood.

Along with a couple of other families they designed their own events, made flags and medals.

The neighbors sure hadn’t seen that before!



5th annual fun run for foster care


Despite early morning downpour from a typhoon somewhere in the region, a huge number of adults and kids showed up to run 5 and 10K on Saturday morning! 

With amazing help from about  75 volunteers and several key sponsors, kids of all ages were racing, playing games and getting faces painted while adults helped fund the bake sale donations and cheer on the 150-200 runners. 

Life in China is always a bit unpredictable but everything came off even better than we had hoped for! 

My favorite moment was when Timotai crossed the finish line after running the whole 5k with his foster mom, despite legs that are kind of awkward from cerebral palsy.  This boy could not even sit up 7 years ago when he first came into foster care at age 7. 

Another highlight was when current and former foster kids handed trophies to the winners of the races.  

I saw many people very moved by the enthusiasm of the children, and I feel like the moment captured the essence of the reason for this event–to demonstrate that kids have inherent value and deserve a loving family–with or without disabilities.  

Of course, it was also fun to announce the second place of women’s 5k as my oldest daughter!  

Back for more fun next year! 

Talent, tears and water balloons

Talent, tears and water balloons

An awkward yet beautiful dance, an off-key song, a child stumbling into his father’s arms … these are the images emblazoned into my (Papa Chopstix’s) mind after being a part of a Joni and Friends Family Retreat.  An elegant old hot springs hotel in the quiet countryside provided a perfect backdrop for refreshing activities for 30 children with disabilities and their parents.  With tears welling up I thought, “These children and their parents are my new heroes.”  What these families do day in and day out is truly amazing.  For them to have this time of relaxation is very rare.  Joni and Friends combines a service team from the USA with local volunteers and our family served alongside them. Children had various diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s syndrome and hearing impairment, and each one was paired with a volunteer so all the adults could fully participate in the activities.  The activities included consultations with doctors, a physical therapist, a special education teacher, and a professional counselor.  There were lectures, group sharing, all day activities for the children, a carnival, swimming, and the beautiful talent show.  How deeply this weekend impressed upon me that indeed we are all created in the image of God and have inherent value, dignity and worth.