Last Friday, Anya Rashi was very excited about her first field trip ever! Her Pre-K class went to a local apple orchard on a "real school bus! But it didn't have any seat belts." The children learned how apple trees grow, learned the proper way to pick apples, and loaded them into the apple polisher. Everyone snacked on dried apples and received an apple-shaped water bottle.
I'm happy to tell you that Anya Rashi is no longer crying at the start of the school day! After two weeks (and one agonized blog post), she turned on a dime and was just fine at drop off. She literally ran happily into her room without a backward glance. It was kind of comical -- her teacher, Mrs. R, looked at me and said, "What did you DO?", as if I had discovered some secret of the universe. :o)
Actually the answer is two-fold: that Monday, I used shameless bribery. Grandma had brought over a box of fruit snacks, a rare treat for her. I tucked a package in my purse, and said if she could muster up a smile at drop-off time, she could have the fruit snacks when I picked her up. And then, answer number two is that she is a little social butterfly now! As soon as she knew some of her classmates a little better, she couldn't wait to go into her Pre-K room and play with them each day.
The other field trip was for Peter and me. We were contacted by Show Hope about volunteering at a concert near us. Show Hope is the adoption grant agency started by Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth. (We were grant recipients in 2010.) But Show Hope does so much more than just grants -- they've built a hospital in China to help children with special needs, and many of them have now been adopted because big medical barriers were taken care of. They also assist families in the US who do foster care and foster-to-adopt.
One thing that I hadn't heard about before especially moved me: part of the hospital is for palliative care. They give special care and love to children who are dying. When nothing can be done medically, the workers make sure the children are held, loved, and made as comfortable as possible every day of their too-short lives.
We were honored to be able to volunteer and give back in some small way. We got to provide information about becoming a sponsor for Show Hope, and assist people with making a donation during the intermission. One of the best parts of the evening was connecting with the other volunteers, some of whom were other adoptive families. One family had a teenaged daughter who has only been home for 10 months. Another family had siblings from Ethiopia who've been home 20 months, and they live near us.
The whole evening was wonderful. If you'd like to find out more about Show Hope, you can find them at www.showhope.org.