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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fundraising for China

Will God provide the funds?  Absolutely.  Do we have to do our part?  You betcha.  I heard a quote, not sure who originally said it, but I heard it from our music pastor, "If you want your prayers to work, get off your knees."  That's what we are doing . . . 

We are selling two different kinds of lotion.  The coconut lotion is thick and rich and great for winter weary skin.  The almond oil lotion is not quite as thick but just as wonderful.  My kids have very dry skin, especially my China born daughter, and this is all I use on her to keep her from getting SO dry and scratchy.  

For a minimal donation of only $10 we will get you some lotion.

Almost looks good enough to eat, doesn't it!

I make more lotion in this mixer than almost anything else . . . I'm not much of a cook or baker.

Here's how to order some lotion . . . 

1.  Click on the Visiting Orphans link on the side bar
2.  Where it says "Fund Category" scroll down to see Fushun Nichols/McMurphy and click it
3.  You can specify a team member (Gael Nichols, Kate Nichols, Kim Humphrey, Halli Humphrey, or Lori McMurphy) but you don't have to, if it goes in our general fund that works as well!
4.  Send me an email at with LOTION in the subject line and email me your address.

Isn't that simple!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pieces of the Puzzle

This is how I picture our Father . . . He's putting this massive puzzle together, it's not a hard puzzle, but each piece goes in it's place at the right time.  He has a gentle "I'm going to knock their socks off" grin on His face.  And, we are down here praying for each piece, not knowing when He will put the next piece down.  When He does put a piece in we do a cheer, and cry, and tell people, and tell Him that THIS IS SO AWESOME WE CAN'T BELIEVE WE GET TO WATCH THIS!!!  MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!

There was one little girl in particular that we've been rooting for.  She's verbal, smart as a whip, active, ornery, and very much loved by the nannies.  She told one of our team members that she didn't want her two friends to be adopted because then she wouldn't have anyone to play with (most of the other kids are nonverbal).  Due to her special need she is unable to go to school, we knew that she needed to be lifted up in a lot of different ways.  So we started lifting.  And God started moving . . .

By chance we came across and 'friended' a foster mother in Shenyang which is the capitol city of Liaoning Province.  This foster mother had been fostering a gorgeous little girl who was about to go and live with her forever family.  This little girl was wasting away with very little attention given to her at all in the orphanage.  She was born with designer genes and maybe, for whatever reason, the nannies didn't think she'd ever be chosen so they did not give her the nutrition and attention she needed.  Melinda took her home, fed her, got her medical attention, educated her, loved on her and now she is THRIVING and was about to meet her forever family in just a few days.

One day, Melinda, accidentally posted on one of our timelines and a conversation started about how we had been to the orphanage in Chaoyang, how we loved the children, and would she please just check on this one little girl in particular . . . she said she would.  Pieces of the puzzle . . .

Sweet little girl with the designer genes goes and lives with her forever family.  Melinda, grieving and rejoicing for the little girl, but knowing this is what our Father wants her to do - to foster and get them ready for their forever families.  Now, Melinda has an 'opening' for another child to come and be fostered.  Can you just check on this one little girl for us?  Another piece of the puzzle . . . Melinda goes to Chaoyang SWI and asks about our precious Jing who is very much loved in this orphanage, but has no future here (an orphanage has very little hope at a future no matter how good the care is - that is slowly changing but it is what it is, a family makes all the difference in the world).  Our precious foster mother requests to foster Jing.  She waits for approval and gets it.  A child we were working on getting just a tutor for now has a foster mommy requesting to do so much more! A GIANT piece of the puzzle!


Jing, for the first time in her life, has a birthday party to celebrate her 7th birthday!  She celebrates Christmas!  She has a foster sister and a foster brother, is learning English (she will most likely end up in an American home), is getting the medical attention she needs to see if her medical need 'needs' anything, she has an advocate getting her paper work moving so she can have her own forever family.  And, just last July she was an orphan telling us she didn't want her friends to be adopted.  Mountains moving.  Puzzles being put together.

We want to SEE what He has in store for this precious child!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Orphan Sunday


Orphan Sunday is November 3.  ALL God's children are precious to him, no matter where they are from.  He doesn't care which orphans you serve or where you serve them.  This is a video on our trip to China.  We are going back to Liaoning Province June 25-July 6, 2014 with two teams.  One team will go back to Chaoyang and another will rekindle a relationship with the orphanage in Fushun.  This is your chance to Go. Be.  LOVE.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

We took a few photos of empty rooms, empty halls. How I wish those rooms and halls were empty because all the children had found someone to call their own, someone to love them despite their brokenness. Those empty halls haunt me. They should either be empty because the children have left with someone who loves them, or they should be filled with running happy children. But they aren’t. My heart breaks for the orphan.

And I am reminded they are loved by One who loves them even more than I love them. Even though we never knew some of their names, He does. He sent us to be his hands and feet -- to be His arms hugging, holding, and loving on these children. We walked in and Love went with us. We left. Love stayed. And I believe somewhere within their hearts, the children know their creator. Sometimes, I suspect they know Him better than we do. I can find no other way to explain what we experienced -- The laughter of a child who has known no joy in life. The teen who finds beauty and clings to it within the drab walls of an orphanage. The autistic child’s excitement to see us, when he really prefers routine over new and exciting, until the new and exciting is found to be less scary than he had thought…

These children have less to laugh about than just about any other soul on this earth, and still they laugh. They laugh with overwhelming joy that someone took a few days to show them Love. Yes indeed, our Lord, His Love, walked in with us when we entered the orphanage in Chaoyang. Those precious children knew it. They embraced it. How many of us as adults can say that we do the same? I went on the trip to minister to them. I came home a different person. While I was ‘helping’ them, they were helping me…

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Our little Chen is another of the kiddos who suffers from autism. It made my heart hurt to watch him process our group coming in and anything new and different for that matter... Once a person passed that initial stage, though… look out!!! One member of our group spent countless time going over to the ball pit and playing with Chen. Seems he LOVED being tossed into the pit! It was such a joy to hear his squeals of delight rather than his tears of struggle as he processed new things. He also convinced me to go into the play area. He would coax me up a climbing area until I got so high I was afraid my adult weight would cause the equipment to collapse. Then, he would push me further into the climbing area. He was so disappointed when I wouldn’t go any further…

Our little Mr. Chen must have a sweet tooth also. On our last day with our kiddos, we had a birthday celebration complete with a monster-sized cake! It looked yummy. I guess Chen thought it looked pretty good too. He kept trying to get to the cake before the party. One member of our group kept trying to keep him from the cake. He finally caught his moment and dove in. The cake was missing a bite out of the side when we served it. This little boy had just a teeny amount of frosting on his face before the party began.  Oh, how I love these kiddos.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Two steps forward. One step back.

Prior to our outing at the amusement park, I had not spent much time with Dong Dong. I was afraid that he would be reluctant to hold my hand since he didn’t know me yet. When I grasped his little arm and started walking through the park he immediately resisted because of all the sights and sounds he was bombarded with. When you spend as much time in the shelter of the orphanage like Dong Dong does, you’d understand how overwhelming this trip was for him. As we walked, he would take two steps forward and one step back. Like several children in the orphanage, Dong Dong has autism. He self-soothes by rocking and this was his way of observing this new setting while staying in the confines of his “world”.

We eventually got into a rhythm, he and I. I would walk slowly while he did his steps and to outsiders I’m sure it appeared as if we were doing a waltz through the park! On the rides Dong Dong would let out a laugh that would shatter the silence between the two of us and lift my heart in a way that I never imagined. Once our time in the park was coming to an end one of the nannies gave him a balloon that truly brought Dong Dong out of his shell. While flapping in the wind the balloon would bump me in the head and he would just laugh his little heart out. So much so that we turned it into a game and I would gladly make myself the fool just to hear his laughter again and again. I can hear it now echoing in my mind.

Upon returning home, I’ve struggled with the overwhelming need to help these children, to rescue them from their life of solidarity and loneliness, to give them a voice. I question why I was allowed to spend such little time with them and make (in my mind) no difference in their lives but then I remember that laughter.

Our trip did make a difference. Seeing his smile and watching his joy made all the difference…to him. I will now walk through life like Dong Dong, two steps forward towards the future and one step with my eye on the past. These children will not be forgotten for they have gained a voice to share their story…mine ----Amy

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This is Hugh

This is our friend Hugh.  He was one of the first kiddos to catch my eye when we walked into his room he shared with seven other children.  Hugh is in the "crib bound" room.  He's unable to walk or talk, feed himself, scratch his knee, or roll over.  BUT, he has one of the best smiles AND, he understands Chinese and everything that is said to him.  It is obvious by looking into his eyes that he 'gets it.'

Hugh's story is different than the other children living in the orphanage.  He was cared for by his grandmother for a very long time, when she passed his parents were not able to continue to provide him with the care he needed.  So, his parents brought him here and paid a very large sum of money to have the orphanage care for him.  They even come to visit him.  My heart says they did the best they could for their son, they made the right choice.  So many are not that fortunate.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


In one of our first posts about the children of Chaoyang, we introduced you to Min and mentioned that she was responsible for the care of another child. This is Min's child. Meet Robin. The team of Min and Robin are often referred to as Batman and Robin. I wonder if Batman had as much trouble with his boy wonder and Min has with hers?
Robin. Our Boy Wonder. Just those words make me smile. Yes, he is a handful. Yes, he is a HUGE responsibility for his friend Min. But he is also a young guy who can make you smile and even chuckle a time or two. Of course, those chuckles usually come about the time you realize that a teenage girl is better equipped to take care of Robin than you are....

Robin puts everything in his mouth. Everything. Toys, water bottles, caps off ink pens, rocks, leaves off the shrubs when you go outside for a walk, and even teeny tiny small spiky leaves off an evergreen tree.

And he runs. I never saw him run, thankfully, because a running Robin meant someone had failed at their job and let go of this little guy.

Oddly enough, the only time Min didn't have to hold tightly to Robin was when they were in the 'naughty room' I wonder why he looks so comfortable in this room? I'm thinking he spends quite a bit of time in there...

During my time with Robin, I tried to show him how to use a piece of sidewalk chalk. He tried to show me how to eat a piece of sidewalk chalk. I showed him how to catch bubbles that were floating through the air. He tried to catch bubbles and put them in his mouth... At times he would get right in my face and stare into my eyes. I have to wonder what he was looking for. I hope what he saw was love.


Little Lily. Her photos tell her story better than my words.
Lily doesn’t have a whole lot to smile about. She is one of those children who didn’t enjoy laughing and playing with the American mommies. As I understand it, she has all but stopped eating. She is taking in enough to remain alive, but barely. This child is thin, frighteningly thin. In an orphanage where all have difficulties in their little world, Lily stands out.

One of our team members is a dentist. When she examined Lily's mouth, she found an infection and severe gum disease. It could be possible that eating just hurts her little mouth too much. There could be any number of reasons the child isn’t eating. Whatever the reason, she is wasting away.

Little Lily. You are loved. By the team who came to serve you and by your Father who created you. I pray you feel that love every hour, every minute of every day.

GOD made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
He defends the wronged,
He feeds the hungry.
GOD frees prisoners—
He gives sight to the blind,
He lifts up the fallen.
GOD loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows.
---taken from Psalm 146

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I am going to love this child forever!  I know he's a handful.  I know he has LOTS of energy.  I know he likes to tear things up.  I know he likes to hear things fall on the ground and make loud noises.  I know he needs almost one on one care to keep him out of trouble.  But . . . 

He has an energy that is contagious.  He has a liking for the simple.  He never has a bad day.  He doesn't let too many things bother him.  He knows what he likes and goes for it.  He is a ball of lightening.  And I wish I had a little more of all of that in me.

I didn't have a whole lot of contact with this guy because I was upstairs a lot with the more involved kiddos.  But on the last day I was able to get to know Zacchaeus a little.  There was a stack of stools in the corner.  Nice and neat little stack of stools just all stacked up in the play room, all different colors.  Nice and neat.  Zach thought those were pretty cool.  He especially liked the red ones.  He managed to unstack the stools and get a red one.  He then took great joy in picking it up and smashing it on the ground just to hear the sound it made!  He would have done that for a very long time if he was able! I tried to help him with this task as best as I could, but he was pretty head strong in doing it himself.  If I pulled a blue one out he would go back for a red one. Probably not the most productive thing for him to be doing, but it was the way his precious brain was working.  I like watching brains work, wheels turn, problem solving in his own way. 

He enjoyed being thrown into the ball pit.  He enjoyed rough house play.  He enjoyed all the stimulation of so many strangers.  I wish I had more time with this one and so many more.

Four days is not near enough time to spend with this group of amazing kids.  If I could go every day I think I would.  Such a need.  

And, I'd take you with me.

This is our Zacchaeus.  Precious handful that he may be!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Michael and Andy

We’ve been home over a week, and I can’t get these children off my mind and my heart. I write about one child, and I feel a measure of peace, then I hear this whisper that I should tell another child’s story.


Michael is a young man who never got out of his bed while we were there. He had a seizure the first day we came. I have to wonder if our presence coming in suddenly and with so many of us was just too much for him. The nannies discouraged us from trying to move Michael. It is my understanding that he has MS, suffers from bed sores, has the issue with seizures, and his joints are pretty much locked up. Moving him might hurt him more than comfort him? We prayed over this child. We spoke with him. We tried to be the comfort he needed, to bring a little joy. I never saw this child smile.

From one of our team members -- “I had the chance to spend some time with him and got to feed him lunch. When I first sat down on his bed, he looked at me with such fear in his eyes. It broke my heart. I sang to him while I fed him and showed him pictures of my family. He eventually relaxed and curled his body around mine. It was a moving experience.”

Michael. Dear sweet Michael. Your life matters. You changed mine.

And Andy.

This little guy didn’t leave his crib. Well… he didn’t leave with the nannies’ permission. :) They didn’t tell us much about little Andy, except that he likes to run. As in escape…. I was working with some of the children one afternoon and saw a nanny come running out of the room Andy and Michael shared with the others. She gathered as many nannies as she could find as quickly as she could, and they began chasing Andy. Yes, this determined little guy had escaped his crib, escaped his room, and apparently was trying to escape the orphanage. They caught him before he went too far. It was obvious this was a pretty common occurrence. The little guy didn’t seem to have a great amount of thinking ability, but apparently there was some kind of thought process going, because he sure knew he wanted out!

Andy sat in his crib, or rather, hung over the sides of his crib, and reached out for anyone who was passing by. If you came within arms reach, he was going to grab on and hold on! He had a tremendous problem with drooling, and when I was in the room with him, he was either hanging his head over the side of the crib with drool flowing from his mouth straight down to puddle on the floor or sitting in his bed moving his body side to side, and making a growling noise.

I asked someone his name, and they told me he was called Animal. Wow! I did not like that! I couldn’t imagine even the most uncaring nanny on the planet giving a name like this to a child. I could barely stand to think of the injustice. After we left the orphanage, I mentioned how much this bothered me to another team member. She assured me it was a nickname given in love by a person who thought the young boy was rather endearing. He was given this nickname by a person who loved the Muppets. You know, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and…..Animal! Thinking about that name from this perspective gave me an entire new insight on the nickname. If you remember the Muppets, Animal was a character we all wanted to see more of. He didn’t speak. He had this gravelly growl he used to communicate, he was quite often running to random places, and seldom acted if the rules were meant to be followed. Andy, our little Animal. Makes me smile when I think of him and the way he overcomes his tremendous challenges to try to enjoy the experience of simply being a little boy, because boys will be boys you know….

Friday, July 26, 2013


And little Sing. What a guy! I can’t honestly say I spent a tremendous amount of time with him, simply because he was always. on. the. move. He went from the ball pit, to the slide, to the… He is one little guy who has so much to do, so much to see. His excitement to be on the go and seeing new things was such a joy to witness.

My most memorable time with this little guy was as I sat with him at a lunch we helped prepare at the orphanage. We were sitting at a small table, Toni C. and me on one side and our two little friends on the other. The two boys found the food they were most fond of, and they ATE! I offered a particular dish to Sing’s friend. He let me know he didn’t want that particular dish and motioned for me to give it to Sing. Sing loved it! The dish was a pork dish, and each piece of pork seemed to be more fat that meat. Sing didn’t care. I put a piece into his dish. He ate it and asked for more. Repeat. He did the same with the Sprite we were served. After he finished off the entire serving plate of meat, he kept asking for more Sprite. I knew the little guy had to be so full his tummy hurt, so I very gently told him “no more.” All I can say to that is that he knows he is adorable and decided to use that to his advantage. His asking for more and my saying ‘no’ quickly became a game. He would use hand motions to ask “please” and I would relent and give him a tiny amount of soda in his glass. He poured it over the last of his pork, made soup, ate it, and asked for more. Again, I would say “no, your tummy is too full.” And he would ask please with the cutest little grin. When I would finally give in and pour more soda, he would dance this little happy dance. Oh the absolute joy! What a guy, what a guy…

The reason

It is my hope we're not clogging all your news feeds with our stories of these children. Since being home, my heart has felt a very strong need to tell their stories, to have people see the children. Not their special need, not the mission, just the children. They have God's heart, and they have captured mine.

Baby Jack

This is Jack.  He had arrived at the orphanage only two days prior to us coming.  He's a plump, snuggly, happy little guy.  He very rarely fussed.  It makes you wonder why this seemingly healthy baby boy would be brought to an orphanage.
I worked with kids with special needs for 11 1/2 years before I left teaching to take care of our growing family.  Baby Jack reminds me of one of those kiddos I had known while I was in college.  His name was Benjamin.  Benjamin, like Jack, had low muscle tone, especially in his upper body.  Do you think Jack's parents knew that?
Or, was Jack their second child, and because of the one child policy they had to find another place for their baby boy before they had to pay a fine?
Whatever the reason this sweet boy now lives in an orphanage.  He's on my heart.  Because without the proper stimulation and therapy I am afraid that he will be one of those kiddos that stays in their crib most of the day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


We named this sweet baby girl Mercy. She was found on the side of the road shortly before we got to the orphanage. She was terribly afraid of everyone and I'm sure her surroundings. Our bus driver was able to show her love by picking her up and carrying her around. He was so sweet with her. She passed away unexpectedly while we were there. When left the orphanage Wednesday night she was fine but when we arrived Thursday morning they told us that she spiked a high fever, was rushed to the hospital and passed away. It was a shock to all of us. What upset me most was that it seemed that no one at the orphanage gave it much thought but I could be mistaken because I don't speak the language. I'm sure it happens frequently there and they are all accustomed to it. I was heartbroken to think that no one grieved for her but was reminded by Toni, my team leader, that WE grieved for her and it was no accident that God allowed her to pass during our visit. I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to meet her and that she's dancing with Jesus right now! ---Amy M.