Willow is a beautiful, vivacious, and bright nine year old girl. She is currently living in a foster home with four foster brothers and being parented by a foreign foster mom (not Chinese). What an excellent opportunity for Willow to have different cultural experiences without ever leaving China! The Hope Journey team who met Willow wrote this about her:
Willow knows how to love and gives it freely with some big hugs. The first time we met Willow was when our team bus picked her, her brothers, and their nannies up at a bus stop. They all piled on, eyeballing us with caution. We bumped up and down with the bus as we plugged along to the orphanage, continuing to size each other up. I think the thing that stole my heart with Willow is her huge smile and her infectious laugh. It would be after we got off the bus at the orphanage and set up in our "play area" that I would hear it though. We warmed up by tossing balls to each other, bouncing balloons around, and smiles. She was a pro at all of these tasks, especiallysmiling. Pretty soon though, we got to hear the laugh bust out too! One of our team members scooped Willow up and twirled her around and around in her arms and Willow couldn't keep it in after that! She cackled! Some of the other children were still feeling a little shy, so I decided to do what every self-respecting mom does.... I took out the cell phone....and then, I turned on Frozen. Well, let me tell you, it was as if every barrier that stood between adult and child, stranger and friend, and America and China fell down. We were all singing Let It Go at the top of our lungs, Willow included. She BELTED it out in ENGLISH!! We all had a moment of looking at each other in shock and then huge smiles came onto all of our faces. This was the moment when we realized that Willow and her foster brothers understand English. Our next quest was to find out if she could speak it, not just sing it. I decided the next day to ask Willow just that, and this was our conversation.
Me: Can you speak Chinese?
Me: Can you speak English?
This girl is already miles ahead of most grown ups! She is bi-lingual. She caught on to any song or game we did. Of course, when you already know most of them in English, it helps a lot. She once again shocked us at singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Twinkle Twinkle" and a few others, right along with us.
We had several more conversations in English throughout the week, always mixed in with the smile, laugh, and her big brown eyes taking it all in.
One of my favorite things to see Willow do was to love on her foster siblings. There were moments of sibling rivalry when the video camera was out or a toy was at stake, but there were many more moments of love. They hugged each other often, we caught a moment with Willow and a book, sitting beside her bothers looking at it. During the time when we did medical assessments, you often caught Willow standing at the doorway or right beside our doctor watching carefully as they were assessing her brothers. She always showed great care and concern for them. Besides her smile and laugh, there was one moment in particular that captured the love given to Willow by her being placed in a foster family, and the true love that would be given and shown to her when a forever family steps forward to bring her home.
I started singing "Jesus Loves Me"
Willow put her little hand up on my face and said that is my song.
Yes, baby girl, it is your song. HE loves you so much.
I know beyond a doubt that any family would be blessed to have this girl in it. She will bring joy, laughter, and love to all who ever have the chance to meet her.
Willow has been diagnosed with a right ear malformation and tuberous sclerosis. Her file is designated as Special Focus so a family at any stage of the process is eligible to review her file. If you are interested in learning more about Willow, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.