This is the long version of what is going on in our lives. It is in two parts which can be read starting here and then scrolling down to Part 2 which follows.
It’s hard to believe it has been 3 years since I inquired about coming to Eagles Wings to manage the program here. I can’t say I have loved “every” moment, but I certainly wouldn’t trade it for anything. The hours have been long and erratic, and the challenges were different than I expected; I have been stretched in ways I could never have imagined, and in truly miraculous fashion I have found that the many years of work that sometimes seemed meaningless became immensely valuable as the skills learned were put to work to meet the needs of the children in my care.
Over the three years I have been China Director, we have taken care of 90 children, seen 28 go for adoption, and nine more are waiting for families to come for them. There are currently 58 children in residence, and there are always more waiting for a spot so they can come. We have expanded from six homes to eight homes in order to reduce the number of children per home for a more family-style of care, averaging just eight children per home: the children have flourished. We also relocated Eagles Wings 5, our baby home, to a safe and comfortable new apartment. We worked on improving the curriculum at our school to make it more in line with local schools, put in place a fantastic school manager and provided training and mentoring to improve the level of education that our children receive. We conducted staff training on child development, understanding disabilities and the special challenges of hurt children, basic medical care and CPR, and sent staff to be trained to work with vision impaired children. We instituted a health care program that brought every single child up to date on WHO-recommendated vaccinations, reduced hospital admissions dramatically and improved the nutrition of all of our children. The area that I am most proud of is the focus on developing independence in our children, even from a young age, and helping the staff to see the children as capable so they encourage and enable them rather than encourage dependency.
In the second half of 2012, the Australian Management Committee experienced a resurgence of enthusiasm and engagement for the Eagles Wings project and set to work identifying new programs and other changes to take effect in 2013. One of those changes was to restructure the Eagles Wings leadership team and do away with the role of China Director and also to move much of the day to day decision making back to Australia. As we worked through the changes in direction and in structure, I realized that the task I had come to do was ending and it was time for a new team to take the program forward. A member of the Management Committee has decided to move to China with her family and take over the role of Director of Homes. It is very exciting to see more people becoming involved, and I know that Eagles Wings will flourish under their leadership.
To be continued..Part 2: A New Day.
About This Blog
Part documentary, part family chronicle and part personal reflection as I try to sort through the ups and downs, the joys, heartaches and surprises of our life and work as we follow the path that God has set for us here in China!
Kristen to continue to adjust to college life and find good friends.
Donna to have wisdom in planning and implementing new programs for the youth and for financial provision to cover our expenses.