Julie, a child in China’s Journey of Hope program, needs a family of her own
Date of Birth: 11/15/98
by Robin Munro, Senior Writer
This summer, several of us at Holt traveled to China to meet children in the Journey of Hope – a program to propel adoption of older children, or children with special needs in southern China. Upon arrival, I joined Holt China staff and local caregivers for a traditional dinner in the province of Jiangsu. Across the table from us sat three children who, along with their caregivers, had journeyed a considerable distance to meet us. Two little boys in matching red shirts sat side by side, charming the visitors.
And then there was *Julie.
Though shyly looking away, her eyes held a glow as bright and genuine as her smile. She giggled and chatted with her favorite caregiver – a young woman who also taught in the orphanage school. Clearly very attached to her caregiver, she also recognized Sue Liu, the sweet-faced manager of the Holt office in Beijing. Once more at ease in the company of strangers, Julie got up from the table to give Sue a big hug, and squeeze into her chair – this tall, slender, 11-year-old girl with a Mickey Mouse button on her yellow Crocs shoes. Awkwardly smooshed together, they sat like sisters – playful and laughing.
Julie’s assessment states that she often shows great kindness and easily builds attachments. That night in Jiangsu, Julie brought that description to vibrant, glowing life. She bounded down the hallways to greet orphanage directors and Holt staff, her long skinny legs sticking out of shorts – an outfit in which she seemed more comfortable than the frilly frock she wore for the official Journey of Hope camp the following day. And her hugs – warm and engrossing – landed spontaneous and often on their recipients.
Julie entered care as an infant and has lived in the orphanage ever since. Because of a medical condition that made it difficult to control her bodily functions, she entered school later than other children. But after receiving a surgery in 2005 that corrected her condition, Julie became more confident and outgoing in school. When we met her this summer, she was in the third grade. In November, she turned 12. She now loves playing games with her classmates, and she says she wants to be a teacher like her favorite caregiver.
Julie recites poems from memory, speaks a few English phrases and is eager to learn more in preparation for joining a family in the U.S. Though she struggles a bit in school, she responds well to encouragement and praise. She helps out with what she can, including caring for the younger children in the orphanage, and keeps a couple close friends there.
At the Journey of Hope camp, as the children arrived ready to perform songs and dances for the visitors, Julie approached Sue with a big smile on her face and, in her hand, a woven pencil box… a gift she’d made for her. Once more, they hugged, giggling like sisters.
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For more information about Julie, contact Erin Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org.