Sunday, August 12, 2012

Education for Jia Qi

Jia Qi

Isabelle would be starting kindergarten in the coming days and it's another turn in this journey of ours that hurts us so badly inside.  How I wish we were together, picking out her first day of school outfit, getting her new backpack stocked with new things and sharing in the excitement of a new chapter.

But we can't.  Full stop.

What we can do, however, is see to it that another child gets an opportunity for an education and a hope of a brighter future.  And that's where Jia Qi comes in.

I was extremely taken with this young man and the hardships that he has overcome.  When I learned that he had suffered Polio as a child it took me back to one of the many conversations I had with doctors, in which I was trying desperately to understand the medical language in her autopsy.  The reference to viral inflammation of gray matter (in her brain) was prominent in her autopsy and as it was explained to me, Polio is a Greek abbreviation poliomyelitis (polios meaning “gray” and muelos meaning “marrow.”)  Just one of the many things I wish I didn’t have the experience of learning.  In trying to understand why the virus that led to Isabelle’s death did not affect me, or her brother or anyone else, they often compared it to Polio.  They spoke of the time during Polio outbreaks, in which one person would fatally be infected, one person would not be affected at all, and the others could suffer various injuries somewhere in between.

Huang Jia Qi survived his Polio infection and desperately wants to further his education.  He has 6 members in his family: his parents, 3 older brothers and himself. Both of his parents are farmers, whose annual income is lower than 5000yuan ($784 USD). His 2 oldest brothers have been working hard to support the family since they graduated from junior school; they never attended high school, they needed to help support the family.

 Jia Qi is extremely hard-working. He is currently working part-time at his university library and they pay him a token sum for his work. He also does other volunteer work to help others

In his first letter, this kind young man wrote:

"Though I know little about you, I want to share.  When I was three years old, I fell ill with a terrible sickness.  My parents went to many hospitals, but no doctors could help me.  Finally, my family gave up.  As a result, I can not stand up or walk like other people.  I have to use one of my hands to help my feet walk.  I recently discovered that my disease is called polio or infantile paralysis.  The good thing is that my teachers and classmates like me and treat me well.  I like to make jokes and I love life.  I recall a beautiful sentence I once heard, but I’m not sure the meaning will translate: For a chance to see the sunshine, I came to the world.  It took three days to write this letter, since I am not good at English.  I am working hard to learn so that we can communicate in the future."

We are sponsoring Jia Qi through the amazing Sunflower Project.  Children living in poverty in China face many obstacles, including the ability to receive an adequate education. The goal of the Sunflower Project is to help students from impoverished families overcome this barrier by providing personal support that empowers them to improve their own lives and then ultimately their communities. Students in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hunan Provinces are part of this important project. All of the students have family situations which prevent them from getting a high school or university education.

LWB has a local project manager in each Sunflower Project location, who personally visits with each student in the program. Donors will receive quarterly reports on their sponsored child, with photos and updates on the child’s progress. Donors are able to write encouraging letters to their sponsored students. Learn more about this amazing initiative through this video:


If you would like to help us support others like Jai Qi, donate here:

Monday, August 6, 2012

The final count

Our hope was to deliver 10 sets of Isabelle's favorite 25 children's books from around this time last year through her 4th birthday, which was a few weeks ago.  That would have been 250 books.  In the end, over 700 books were donated in Isabelle's memory.

Over 700.


Thank you.  Thank you to every one of you who supported this book drive.  For every dollar and every book donated, it really felt like a comforting, warm hand on our back as we continue to find our way.  Thank you for helping us, help others.

Boris and Isabelle, April 2009
(Calm Down Boris was one of her favorite books and a part of the BFI book collection)
Just to recap, below are the books that made up the 2012 Bubbles for Isabelle book collection:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

12th and final collection of books delivered!

Isabelle's grandparents organized and delivered the final set of books to Hope Chest for Kids.

Hope Chest for Kids is a member of Foster Parents Association of Missouri and the Director, Suzie Forbis, was very moved and appreciative of the donation.

Hope Chest For Kids, Inc. provides needed goods and services to children who are removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect. These children are now in safe loving foster homes but that is just the start. Given the abuse and neglect these children have suffered they often have significant physical and emotional challenges. These children and their foster parents need your help. That is where Hope Chest For Kids comes in. Both directly and through appropriate referral Hope Chest for Kids see to it the children and their foster family have the resources and support so each child can overcome the abuse and begin to thrive.

The program provides needed food, clothing, educational assistance, camps, activity fees and any other assistance needed by the child and their foster family that is not available anywhere else. If the children cannot return to their birth family, this support continues after they are adopted or age out of the system as young adults.

December 2011 with my little man in charge!  We're
packing up collections of the books to go those
making deliveries to deserving childcare facilities.
This past year my parents have kindly collected, organized, sorted and counted all of the hundreds of books that have come in from our book drive.  My father's home office turned into a Bubbles for Isabelle book library, taking over an entire bookcase filled with Isabelle's favorite stories.  Gwen has handled all of the packing and shipping of these books to every corner of the country. Without them, our book drive could have never happened.  Thank you Dad & Gwen!

Sebastian was helper extraordinare!
Sebastian with gorgeous Reagan Drew packing up boxes of Isabelle's favorite books to go to those less fortunate.