Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Candid, Succinct, Poignant, Urgent, Informative - Interview with Warm Blankets Orphan Care

These are words that describe any good marketing piece, especially of the non-profit kind.

Last week I conducted a video interview over Skype with Warm Blankets International Orphan Care and this was the result - a candid, succinct (4 mins.), poignant, urgent and informative look at the state of orphans in India.

And what Covenant Children's Homes, in partnership with Warm Blankets Orphan Care, is doing about it.

Take a look or give a read here:

Warm Blankets Interviews On-the-Ground Partner Sean Whiting

Two Warnings:  

1)  The quality of the video is delayed Skype quality, audio a bit better than video.

2)  Don't watch if you love the Indian caste system....

For more on Warm Blankets, based out of Chicago and CCH's largest partner, visit their website:


Friday, March 21, 2014

One Year Later, Reflections on our Jaya Marie

It was one year ago yesterday, 37 weeks into our first pregnancy, that we began to learn more about Jaya.  In one unexpected ultrasound, she was diagnosed with growth defects, Down syndrome, heart defects and later we learned of brain development challenges.

37 weeks.

And everything in our 40 and 35 respective years changed forever.

And one year later, we couldn’t be more in love and proud of our daughter. 

It was like God said to us, “I’m going to give you something you aren’t expecting, that initially will make you question everything and resent Me, then soon after you will be overcome with a love and joy you could never have fathomed.”

Reflecting on our past year, we are in awe of our medical help, our worldwide community of support and, most of all, our daughter’s sweet and wonderful spirit.

Some other reflections on life lessons learned?

  • When things seem most bleak, God is already planning the comeback – we just have to find the faith to see it realized.
  • We won’t be protected from hurt, but we will be sustained through it if we choose to be.
  • A child with Down syndrome is simply a joy.  One year ago we didn’t believe this.
  • Our friends, family and India partners are even more awesome than we thought!

We will celebrate Jaya’s one-year birthday on March 31st in truly Indian form:  endless colors, overwhelming festivities, way too many people, much too much food, an overly frosted massive cake, and one ginormous banner of the birthday girl.  

Seriously, a normal Indian first birthday party.

Check back here for the pictures of Jaya’s first birthday blowout, Indian-style.

Friday, March 14, 2014

So How's Jaya Doing in India?

Baby physical therapy is a delicate, but important commitment.

Holding on!

Just think how happy she'll be about Pizza on the 4th when she can actually eat the pizza!!!

New friends all around!

Mom and Jaya adjusting back to India just fine.

What happens when you take a baby across the world?

Everyone else seems way more interested in this than the baby.

A popular and understandable question for us is how Jaya is adjusting to India. Starting with virtually no noticeable jet lag back in January, we marvel at how well she continues to do. 

As at home, when Jaya enters a room, everyone’s heads turn.  She draws in so many different types of people, of so many different colors, and seems to enjoy every last one, even when (in good Asian traditional fashion), she is taken from her mother’s arms and paraded around the public establishment for everyone to see.

Physical therapy, something so necessary for children with Down syndrome, is underway and Jaya is almost sitting all by herself and, with a surprisingly little amount of balance support, she’s even standing fairly well (for a few seconds at a time). 

As we approach Jaya’s first birthday – yes, it’s been almost one year since the Jaya adventure began – we are so proud of our little girl, and remain so thankful for the worldwide support and prayers for us that started about one year ago.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 CCH: Not Growing, but Expanding

Our goals for our now 6-year commitment to these children in India are vast and challenging, yet realistic.  Primarily, the two main goals are as follows, one quantitative and one qualitative:

1)   1,000 children fully sponsored living in our church children’s homes by the time we leave in late 2016 (545 now).

2)   An indigenous staff established that can run the operations of this program without us. 

This year, however, we are not growing.

We’re expanding.

What’s the difference?

A foundation committed to best practices in orphan care in India has recently approached us about a one-year project.  This undertaking is about sharing our progressive model of children’s home orphan care (as opposed to institutional orphanages) with leaders, schools and children’s ministry or advocacy groups outside of our umbrella organization of India Christian Ministries.

Everything we have done is within our parent organization, “ICM.”  Now we are charged with helping those outside of ICM adopt this model. 

It will not cost us anything as this project is fully funded, but it will take some time for Sean primarily to spread the word, train others and oversee the implementation.  All of us here at CCH and ICM agree that for more and more children to be taken in under this kind of model, it’s worth all the extra effort. 

(This also gives us a chance to catch up on our current CCH home sponsorships, of which we’re still about 150 kids short.)

Expanding, not growing. 

And, phew, in 2015 it will be a lot of both.

Ultimately, it’s not about us, our organizations or any foundations or partners or supporters.

In the end, God is focused on the children.  We must strive to maintain that perspective, as well.