Monday, August 18, 2014

China- My Experience Serving at Maria's {Part 1}

** I cannot post any pictures of the children I met at Maria's Big House of Hope online. China and Show Hope have requested the pictures of these children be kept off the internet and out of public view. This is to protect the children, their families, and their adoption. **

What a place. I remember riding in the bus with my 19 other team members and driving through a gate that led to a huge blue building. There is was. I'd seen pictures, I'd read stories, I'd dreamed about it; but nothing compared to seeing it with my own eyes. For those who don't know, Maria's Big House of Hope is a 6 story special care unit located in Luoyang, China. It is not and orphanage. When we first arrived I was so overwhelmed, so many nurseries, so many children. 

If you don't know the story behind MBHOH please read about it at

We arrived at Maria's around 4pm and dinner was at 6pm. So I forced myself to unpack and not see any children. But the next morning at 7:30 (the earliest you can go into any of the nurseries) I found myself in the "Finding Nemo Room"
Each room has a Disney Theme

I found myself with playing with a little girl who had a heart defect and down syndrome. Sassy and sweet, she had me and a friend laughing for the next half hour. But then I entered the "Winnie the Pooh" room. As I walked in the door my heart skipped a beat. A little boy sat on the floor almost identical to Luke.
The last pictures taken of Luke before he died.

His name was Ryker, almost four years old. He had spina bifida and was paralyzed from the waist down. The boy was sweet, but too similar to Luke. I had to leave the room soon. On the inside I was a mess, falling apart. But the outside was completely calm, I showed no different emotion. I had determined before the trip that I wasn't going to tell anyone about Luke.

So I left the room and found another nursery as I tried to forget about the wound that had be touched ever so slightly. More to come...

*Please begin leaving question about my trip so that I can answer them within these posts.*


Carol Studebaker said...

Oh Emma this makes my heart happy seeing teenagers invest their time and resources into loving on them. My daughters will hopefully be going to MBHOH next summer.

Okay I have many questions:

Will the Show Hope website have any photos of your trip?

Did you get close to any children in particular?

Would you recommend this trip to teenagers (my daughters) looking into it?

Is your family adopting again? :) (I'm sorry. I couldn't resist asking :) )

Thank you again, Emma!
Prayers and blessings,
Carol Studebaker

Emily Vander said...

Hey Emma!!
I'm so excited to hear about your trip! You have me dying to hear the rest!


1. How many days would you recommend to recover from jet lag when you get home?

2. Did you take your DSLR?

3. What sightseeing did y'all do?

4. If Maria's isn't an orphanage, what is it? So kids don't live there?

5. Are the workers Chinese or American?

6. Will the Shop Hope website show any pictures of your trip? I really want to see. :(

Thanks for telling us about your trip!
Can't wait to hear more!!