A Journey of Hope
October 5, 2016

They have faces. They have names. They are often the forgotten. Over the next several weeks and months following, it is our HOPE and desire to change that.

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This week, two of our three Hope Journey teams will leave for China. Their goal? To focus on children in China that have often been overlooked by many due to their age or their medical needs. They will be meeting children of all ages and backgrounds who each have their own story to tell- a story and a voice that often goes unheard.

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Over the next three weeks our three Hope Journey teams in China aim to change that by
giving them a voice, by sharing their story.

We asked Leah Rockey, our China Program Director, to share about these upcoming trips and
she shares some of her thoughts below:

How is this different from other trips America World Storyteller teams have done in the past?
We are excited about these upcoming three teams and what God is going to do in and through them. Our agency has been given a wonderful opportunity to go into new regions, in partnership with the CCCWA, and meet new children who need their stories told. These are children who have sat on China’s shared list for months or in some cases years and rarely, if ever, been advocated for.

When did this opportunity arise?
We were given information earlier this year on this opportunity and started making plans at that time. As we continued to prepare this year, a third opportunity came up and we couldn’t turn the chance down to impact another large group of children and meet them and learn their stories.
We are very excited to send these three teams out this month.

Who will be a part of these teams?
These teams are comprised of adoptive families, medical doctors, nurses, professional counselors, medical staff with adoption experience, therapists, photographers and others who will be spending quality time with children who have been waiting for forever families. This will be an amazing time of advocacy and a unique chance to meet with and learn first-hand information about some children on some new levels and with some new orphanages we haven't had the opportunity to work with this closely before. We are thankful to all of these team members who have answered the call to be the hands and feet of Christ to go and
love on these sweet children and staff in China.

Are there any opportunities these teams will have that are different from other assessment teams you send throughout the year to your various orphanage partnerships?
For two of our teams, they will have the opportunity of meeting with and spending time with foster families throughout the week. This is a wonderful chance to obtain information on an often missing piece of a child's history. Foster families often hold a wealth of helpful information for the adoptive parent and sometimes that information doesn't always make its way into a child's adoption paperwork. It is also rare to have a day or even multiple days to observe a child with their foster family. We are excited about this as well as other opportunities to spend more time outside of the orphanage walls and see the children interacting in both familiar as well as in some different environments. Spending time in new regions for these three trips is
also a wonderful door that’s been opened.

Will the China Program be receiving new files as a result of this project?
America World will be receiving these children's files, which are files outside of the general files we receive throughout the year for our Waiting Children Program. We will advocating, alongside others, in helping their stories be told and we invite you to join us in that effort. We would love to see these children matched with families and by this time next year, see many of them already home with their new families.

How Can Someone Get Involved in Advocacy Efforts?
We welcome everyone to get involved in helping find these children their forever family. This is a great opportunity for adoptive parents or those interested in orphan advocacy, to get involved in helping share a child's story. Once these teams return home and begin to share their stories, we will be posting them on our blog and through Facebook or other social media avenues. We encourage you to share what we post within your circles of influence as you never know who might be impacted by a child’s story. Keep your eye on our blog for some amazing stories of children who desperately desire the love of a forever mom and dad. As always, we encourage families and churches to continue to be in prayer for these children who need a forever family.

How Can Someone learn about the adoption process or inquire about a child they see advocated for?
Anyone interested in learning more about our China Waiting Child Program can email china@awaa.org for more information or call our office at 800.429.3369.
You can also learn more about our China program at www.awaa.org.

As you read above, there are exciting things happening in our China Program! Our teams will be sending live updates back, so stay tuned to our blog and our Facebook page. As was shared above, you can also make an impact by praying over the team and the children. We hope that through this HOPE journey, new stories will be told and many children will be united with their forever families.

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