What is better than a feast around the table with all your New Day friends and family?! I guess the answer to that is--by this time next year, some of them will be home with their forever families enjoying a feast and fellowship with them!! It is something we foster home staff hope for all our children. It is such a joy to see that come about as each one leaves with their forever families! Though we do miss them terribly, we are blessed to know they are well loved and cared for--FOREVER!! It is truly something to remember and be thankful for on this special day!
Elise plays with a special friend :)
Wendy gets a bit of attention from Randy shu shu. She seems to enjoy every minute of it too!
This year we didn't have a Thanksgiving celebration at the Forever Home since we already had two dinners going at New Day. The first one was with the Foster Home on Thursday. The Forever Home made the stuffing, green beans, and gravy for feast. This gave plenty of opportunity for the older girls to help out with the large quantities we prepared. The dinner was actually for the 45 children who live in or are fostered out by New Day. However, once the children are finished eating, the adults get to clean up all the leftovers. With that in mind, we wanted to make plenty for all to share--after all, it is Thanksgiving!!
The next Thanksgiving feast was on Friday with all of New Day including the school, students, staff and factory etc. We also made a large batch of stuffing for that meal. Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without stuffing--if you ask me!!
Imagine our surprise when we returned from our trip to the US and saw just how much the bunny, Alex, had grown! Course, baby animals do grow a lot in 5 weeks.
We did recently say goodbye to Alex though. While we were gone, he stayed with a friend who took great care of him. Since she lived in a pingfang (a house on ground level), he had free roam of a large area--a more natural habitat for him. Obviously he loved it cause when he came back, he began to misbehave a bit such as biting. Well, we just can't have a bunny that bites! It seemed obvious to us that Alex got a taste of the good life living in the free and open spaces and when he returned--though he didn't seem to mind it before as he simply didn't know anything else--to his cage, well...he didn't seem to care much about it and let us know in his own little way. Though he wasn't kept in his cage all the time and was allowed to roam around the house for periods of time each day for exercise and recreation, he now realized it just wasn't the good life--now he knew better! Sooo.....we felt it was best to give him away--back to our friend who'd kept him while we were gone. I'm quite sure is now happy to be roaming free--who wouldn't be?!
I don't know what it is about girls and all the clothes and shoes, but it simply does something to you to receive new things :) The joy it brings--well, it's just hard to explain to anyone who isn't a girl! Recently Serena was blessed with some new clothes. She was so excited and very thankful for her gift!
Even new pj's! They're fun as well as nice and warm for the cold winter nights here.
She also received this beautiful dress. When I asked her to try it on, well...she did! "Only, next time, Serena," I said, 'take all the other layers off before trying it on. It fits better!"
The girls are used to wearing so many layers here, us too now. We tend to spend more time outside such as walking longer distances to and fro than Westerners do when they can just drive their cars right up close and then go into another warm place. Not all places here are heated or well heated here though, so you still need those extra layers to stay warm. Not to worry, Serena, when you go to America soon, you won't need all those layers :)
Girls love dolls, not all I suppose--take Lena for instance, she didn't play with them as much but rather usually preferred stuffed animals. Serena and Hannah do play with their dolls, Hannah more than Serena, but both love playing "house or family" quite often.
It is a great time for them to learn and act out the different rolls in a family. After all, they will likely be a mommy themselves some day and they need to practice how it's done. They have a great time and we enjoy seeing them play act.
Wow, they grow up sooo fast! It's hard to believe that it was 11 years ago that we adopted her. Watch out all you new moms and dads, time flies by so fast. On one hand, it seems like only yesterday that got them, on the other, where did the years go--it's hard to remember what life was like before you got them?!! She's been such a blessing to us and is so special to each one of us. What would life be like without you Elise--we don't even want to think about it!! Happy birthday, precious girl!!
This year on her birthday, Elise decided not to have cake or ice-cream. I know, I know, who doesn't have cake or ice-cream on their birthday?! However, we discovered several months back that she was lactose intolerant. When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she said she didn't really want one since she can't really enjoy it anyway. She asked for something else--chips and salsa--instead.
I wish you could have seen Serena's reaction to finding out that there'd be no cake or ice-cream for Elise's birthday! She was shocked and saddened:0 It bordered on disbelief even! Like perhaps we were pulling her leg and she was waiting for us to tell her otherwise. But, when we explained the reason why Elise didn't want cake or ice-cream, she understood, but I know she was still disappointed by it. After all, they always enjoyed and looked forward to sharing cake and/or ice-cream with the birthday girl/boy. Sorry Serena, you'll have to wait 2 weeks until Shawna's birthday for cake and ice-cream :)
As usual, the girls all bought presents for the birthday girl! How thoughtful and sweet they are!
I think the best gift she got--which wasn't really a birthday present at all, but happened just a couple of days before her birthday--was getting her braces off. Finally, after 5 years, she is braceless!! Elise, being a cleft palate baby, had very crooked teeth, especially on the top. The first couple of years were spent doing expansion of her upper palate with all the head gear and stuff. It wasn't very pleasant, but necessary for the beautiful smile we now see!!
Growing up, how many of you remember raking together a huge pile of leaves and then jumping in them each fall?! It is one of the highlights of the fall season. I don't know what makes it so much fun, but it seems to never get old or outdated for children.
Look at 'em fly!!
Let's cover Hannah with leaves! Hannah agrees that'd be great fun!
Yesterday Lena's parents came--the day we've all been anxiously awaiting. Such a bittersweet day :) :( Both happy and sad.
Happy that her forever family has found her--and let me tell ya, they are just wonderful loving people! We couldn't be happier for her and them. We know that they will each be a blessing to one another and hope that the bonding and transition is quick for all of them.
We are very sad, however, that we must say goodbye to Lena:( It isn't easy taking a child into your home and loving them like your very own--only to have to let them go. Alas, that is what we do though. We are grateful for the time we had with her. We are happy and blessed to have made a difference in the life of a child and whatever we can do to help better prepare them for their forever families. And like the name of our home here--The Forever Home, if they are never chosen for adoption, we are prepared and more than willing to raise them as our own children--giving them an education, train them in some type of career, be there for them each and every day, giving them a hope and a future, and most of all--LOVE that every child needs to grow strong and happy.
Here Lena is waiting anxiously for her new parents to arrive. She is both happy and a bit nervous--who wouldn't be?!
Here we are getting ready to leave our home to go meet them at New Day. She has looked forward to this day for sooo long. It has finally arrived!
And here we are just after arriving at New Day to meet them.
We took one last picture of all the Forever Home girls before she left knowing the Forever Home will never be the same without her! I'm just sorry it wasn't a better picture--two girls have their eyes closed but, hey, sometimes you just have to take what you can get.
Though it wasn't easy for her or us and there were lots of tears (and still are for us at least), we were sooo proud of our little Lena!! Though a bit afraid of the unknown and changes facing her, she did walk to the car and get in willingly. You are such a strong girl, Lena, and we know you will do well in your new family.
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.