We are very busy packing and making final arrangements for everything here. We took a few minutes to make this collage picture to bless Rose, Zoe and Camilla's new foster mama. It will be something she can cherish now and after they leave for their forever families. I'm positive this will also bless their new forever families some day. As an adoptive parent myself, who got NO other early pictures of our daughters, I know how much they will love getting these pictures of their daughters! New Day also has a copy of it so they'll be sure to get it.
We love and miss Zoe and Camilla soooo much! We have had a few reports from their foster mama who tells us they are doing very well. THAT just helps us so much to know!!
Camilla received this beautiful new dress and cape from a visiting mothers group from Beijing for her 2nd birthday. I've been wanting to do some nice outdoor pictures in it but just hadn't found the time or the weather hasn't cooperated. This morning was a beautiful day and we just said "We're doing it!"
For the past 10 days or so, Rose, one of New Day's nannies who has just retired, has been visiting Zoe and Camilla so they can all become more acquainted with one another. That's right, Rose will soon be their new foster mama! We couldn't be happier that the girls were able to be placed together in the same foster family and we were even more tickled that it was Rose! We have no doubt that they'll be in good hands and well taken care of. On Thursday, they will officially move to her home. The girls love her and are getting excited.
Rose wanted to bless our family by making us some jiaozi (dumplings) today.
Here Zoe gets a lesson on how to properly wrap a jiaozi.
Then she tries one on her own.
Camilla gets a lesson from big sister Shawna. Though, what she really wanted was just to skip the lesson and dig into it straight away by herself!
She's admiring what a beautiful jiaozi her and Shawna made.
Look at that yummy stuff just waiting to be boiled!
Though this wasn't even all of it--there were a couple of other bowls full in the kitchen being boiled already, Rose must have thought we were VERY HUNGRY!! Elise counted the jiaozi and there were 164!! There were only 8 of us eating and two of them were little girls! That was enough jiaozi for 2 big meals! But alas, that's how it's done in the Chinese culture--always more than enough food when serving guests.
Over the holiday, we've done much packing and getting things ready to mail to India, things going to America, as well as give away stuff (mostly give away). However, there was one thing I've been wanting to do all summer and just never got around to it. One day we took time out just to do this--take some family pictures in our traditional Chinese outfits. The pictures turned out great. Getting everyone to cooperate, especially the two little ones, well........you know how that goes. But we did get some great pictures and that's all that matters!! Thought you all might enjoy seeing them and wanted to for sure post them for the little ones' forever families that we know will come along some day soon! Enjoy!!
Left to Right: Camilla, Shawna, Elise, Elizabeth and Zoe in front.
Zoe and Camilla
Camilla, Shawna, Elizabeth, and Elise
I was taking the older girls' pictures and Camilla was sure she had to be in it too!
Left to Right back row: Elise, Shawna, Camilla, Elizabeth. Front row: Zoe and Austyn
Left to right back row: Rita, Camilla, Shawna, Elizabeth, Elise Front Row: Zoe and Austyn
One of the last shots taken and kids were clearly getting tired :)
We moved our family here to China more than 9 years ago, in August 2004, to work with orphans. It was in June of 2008, during the Olympics, that we moved from Dalian to New Day to spend more time fulfilling the purpose to which we knew we were called. After a year here, we began the Forever Home--a home for older special needs orphans.
People often told us of the blessing we were to these girls, but in all honesty, we felt more blessed by them! They have been such a joy to love and work with and we have been blessed beyond all measure at seeing the progress these girls have made. Our daughters have been such an intricate part of blessing these girls and have lovingly taken them in and made them feel such a part of our family. We are so proud of the love they have poured out onto and sacrificed for these precious orphans! They have continued to give of themselves when, many times, the circumstances have not always been easy. We couldn't be prouder of them and I know how much they have truly been blessed by these wonderful Forever Home girls!
In all, we have been able to live with and touch the lives of 16 children, 6 of which were adopted and now have forever families of their very own. It was a time of great sadness when the first set of 4 of our girls were recalled to their orphanage due to a recent fire in another province, which then brought about changes in orphanages' policies. We had hoped that it would only be temporary and that perhaps after things settled down, we might even get our girls back. However, that did not happen and worse yet, another of our girls was recalled to her orphanage in April. It was heartbreaking for us when this happened and our biggest concern was for our girls and how it would affect them.
Still yet, we held out hope that perhaps things would settle down and change. However, that has not happened and we have had to face the reality that our work here as a Forever Home to these children was coming to an end. I have to admit, it was very difficult to see those hopes and dreams slowly fade away of us helping more and more orphans here know the love of a family. Just the thought of not being able to help more girls brought tears and great sadness.
In the midst of all this, we do know one thing, that He has a greater plan. Our time here has come to and end but the question was what was next for us?! While we could have stayed here and done other things offered to us, we knew in our hearts that it just wasn't right for us. It wasn't our passion and we had to go with what our hearts were telling us.
Though it has taken months of soul searching and research, we have felt the calling to continue with what we know He has called us to do, but in a new place. On October 22nd, we will be flying to the states for a 3 month visit to see our family and friends and do some fund-raising for our new adventure. Then in January, the exact date yet to be determined, we will fly to INDIA to begin working with older special needs orphans there. We've even already been assigned a specific group of 8 girls!
We will be working for an organization called Sarah's Covenant Homes http://www.schindia.com/ or http://sarahscovenanthomes.blogspot.com/ if you'd like to check it out. India has over 25 1/2 million orphans under the age of 17! Obviously there is a great need. We are very excited about the new adventure He has for our family there!
As awesome as that new adventure is, there is a sad part to all of this and that is leaving China. We have lived here for 9 years now and leaving is not easy, though we have no doubt that it is exactly the new path He has for our lives. We will miss so many things about China! But, by far, the hardest part of all this is having to leave behind our current precious foster girls, Camilla and Zoe. They have both been with us for almost a year. We love them so dearly and parting with them is not easy :(( However, we know that they will be well taken care of and are thrilled that New Day already has a perfect plan in place for our two special little ones. We are so thankful for His provision for them!
We will continue to post pictures of Camilla and Zoe until our departure so that future parents may have those precious early pictures of their girls! As adoptive parents ourselves, we know what a blessing that is!
In the meantime, we continue to pack and prepare for our departure. It's amazing how much a family can collect in 9 years!
We wanted to thank each one of you for your many prayers, financial help, love and encouragement during our time and work here in China. We pray that you will continue to love and support our new work with the orphans of India and look forward to your continued emails, chats, and messages!
We are the Rippee family! We manage and are house parents in a home for older orphaned girls in China. It's called the Forever Home, and it is a project of New Day Foster Home. Like all foreign workers at NDFH, we receive no salary for our work, so if you would like to support our family's living expenses, please click the button below to donate through PayPal. Donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about the Forever Home and ways you can directly support this work, please visit New Day Foster Home's website.
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Elise was adopted at the age of 3 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elise is home- schooled and really loves music, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoys being the big, older sister to the Forever Home girls.
Shawna was adopted at the age of 1 year old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Shawna is home-schooled and is good at piano, arts and crafts, and thoroughly enjoys playing with the Forever Home girls.
Elizabeth was adopted at the age of 10 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elizabeth is home-schooled and loves the outdoors, computers, bike riding, and crafts.
THE FOREVER HOME GIRLS
Click on the pictures below to find out more about our Forever Home girls.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.