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A Glimpse Into a Partner Orphanage – Shaanxi, China: Part 1

This week we are starting a series of blogs written by Kelly Raudenbush who recently lead our  Storyteller Mission Team to Shaanxi, China. Kelly has been gracious to write and share some wonderful blog posts from her time spent there with the team, the children, and the orphanage staff. You will not want to miss these, so be sure to check out all of the wonderful things God allowed the team to accomplish on this trip.

This team consisted of a professional counselor, early education professionals, several pediatric physical therapists, a pediatric occupational therapist, special education professionals, a social worker, nurses, and others, the majority of which have adopted children from China. Today we will highlight the team’s first two days at the orphanage:

Why my nails are short

Our first day at the orphanage. Doing what we came to do. Since it’s after 11pm right now and I’ve got some work yet ahead of me, a few glimpses with little words are all I will give you. I believe these glimpses will tell a bit of a story of what our day looked like. Summed up, today was foundation building.

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We met a lot of caregivers and a lot of kids today. We’re overwhelmed by names that are very hard for our mouths to say. And, team members are taking deep breaths tonight…hopefully, they’re all asleep by now while I burn the midnight oil. The first day is hard, wrestling with what each team members’ role is in their room, wanting to do significant work, but not always knowing the best way to do that, feeling the weight of the sheer number of children all of whom could use an entire day of one-on-one time.

I’m taking a deep breath myself and trying not to bite my nails down to nothings. At 4:45, literally minutes before we left today, one of the directors of the orphanage who has been working with me asked me to change the plan I had for the daily ayi (nanny) training and instead combine it into one presentation and give a lecture tomorrow for about 40-50 staff including ayis, therapists of various types, and administrators.


For the past 3 hours, I’ve been sorting through video clips that the team members took today and reworking all my notes and Power Point slides to create something that might work for tomorrow, all the while trusting that whatever He wants said will be said in spite of me.

Yup. I can’t say I’ve got this. But, I know He does.

Day 2 Connections

I was hopeful that my 1+2 coffee packets would carry after about 4 hours of sleep. But, I found that once I got over  there, I didn’t need more than these friends.

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The older children were eager to learn in the English class this morning, struggling only through the drawing activity planned. As she walked around translating, Joan told me it was a little hard because China doesn’t teach children to think creatively like America does. It took a good bit of extra urging and instructions, but we got somewhere and ended up with a room full of “I am glad†pictures.

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3:30 was looming over me though as I knew the staff training was coming. I used every minute of our lunch break to finish all I could.

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I can do all things through Him who gives me strength, a team, and milk tea all the while.

When we arrived a half hour early to the big ole conference room (complete with a table up front that looked like it could be for justices of the peace with microphones for every chair) to test the technology to make sure I could get video and sound and PowerPoint and all that stuff, there were already 20 women seated waiting. No pressure or anything. By the time 3:30 came, the room was filled with a little over 60 people. Speaking so slow it was painful and having Joan translate every word made me wonder if this would work. But, it totally did. The staff was with me. They were in it. They participated. They giggled and hid a little when they saw themselves on screen up front and as we looked at the videos we took of them interacting with children and analyzed them. But, they did it. And, so did we. It was a bit miraculous for sure, as was the fact that the last slide included a quote from the ancient Roman philosopher named Paul that I read in English and Joan translated into Chinese, as a sea of cell phones captured it in an image just so the staff wouldn’t forget it later.

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The team is energized already for another day tomorrow. And, I’m already wondering how hard the van ride leaving this place is going to be, come Friday.

Tomorrow, we will share more from Kelly on some projects they completed while in China and the importance of telling each child’s  story. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s posts as we continue on our journey in Shaanxi.

Interested in adopting from China? Contact us at or by phone at 800.429.3369. 

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