"Fill Their Stockings" - China Memories to Last a Lifetime

December 19, 2011

On October 16, 2010, I boarded a plane that was going to take me halfway across the world to meet our daughter for the very first time. My head and my heart were swirling with excitement and anticipation. The time had finally come. It was a day I had been dreaming about for over five years. I knew it was going to be an incredible two weeks, but it was even more than that......

It was a two weeks that will always be etched in my memory, but something happened in those two weeks that changed me forever.

Of course I was head over heels in love with my beautiful new daughter who was placed in my arms within the first 24 hours of arriving. We spent our days getting to know each other and exploring her country, her people, her customs and culture. I was mesmerized by it all.

Our time in China seemed to fly by. As we packed our bags to leave, I felt overcome with sadness. I was anxious to come home and be reunited with my husband, children, the rest of our family, and close friends, but at the same time, I was not ready to say goodbye to my daughter's country. I saw so many things that pulled hard at my heart and raised many questions in my mind.

The next day, as the plane pulled away from the gate, I held Reagan tightly in my arms. My heart was heavy and tears ran down my face. I made a promise to her and to myself that one day we would return to her motherland and no matter what, I was going to try to keep in communication with her orphanage and possibly try to help them and the children that are still residing in China.

A month after we were home, I was contacted by Half the Sky.
I journal-ed our trip and somehow a link to my blog was passed to someone on staff.
After reading my posts and viewing my photos, they could tell that there was a giant piece of my heart and myself that still remained in China. They wanted to know if I would be interested in doing some volunteer work for their organization. I think it took all of ten seconds for me to reply with a "yes". I felt that this was definitely a way that I could giveback and maybe make the slightest difference for some of these children.

In January of 2011, I kicked off the first of a series of photography classes that would benefit China's children through Half the Sky. I donated a large portion of each class enrollment to Half the Sky. It was a very successful year and I thought I was done for 2011 when I offered my last round of classes in September.

As the holidays approached, I felt like we needed to do more....or something special for Christmas.
Which is when "Fill Their Stockings With Hope" was born.

Stefanie, Diana, and I reached out to everyone for help in November and were asking for items that people were willing to donate for our cause. I wanted to contribute, but I was not sure what I could offer.......

Then I remembered a few of my favorite photos from China... the very photos filled with many memories that prompted my conversations with Half The Sky and ultimately led me to do some volunteer work for them.

Bridge Color BLOG
There was the beautiful bridge in Martyrs Park in Changsha(Hunan Province)that has captivated many.
I remember this day like it was yesterday. Marla and I walked all over that park, Reagan on my chest in the Ergo, our cameras were snapping away trying to capture every last detail of all that surrounded us. It was one of our favorite site-seeing trips. The people were so friendly and would stop and pose their children so we could take their photos.

GIrl eating rice2 BLOG
This intriguing girl who was sitting on pile of rubble while eating her lunch on BieJie Street in Chenzhou City just a few yards away from Reagan's finding place and down the street from the Chenzhou SWI. Her presence literally stopped me in my tracks.

I remember looking at this young girl and wondering if this could be a glimpse into Reagan's life had she not ended up in the orphanage. We were passing many school children on the street that day as it was lunchtime and they were on break. They were all in some sort of uniform, this girl was not. If I had to guess, she did not go to school. I think her parents owned the shop she was sitting in front of and she probably stayed there with them all day.

These photos totally captivate me. Her clothes, the jump rope around her neck, the bowl of rice in her hands, the chopsticks, and if you really zoom in, you can even see the dirt on her hands.
When they say that "a picture is worth a thousand words", they are not kidding.
So many thoughts evoked by these two photos of this Chenzhou beauty.

Girl Eating Rice Front Facing BLOG

I find all three of these photos so very special and my hope is that maybe a few of you do too.

So, if you are still with me..... this is what I you have an opportunity to win.

You will get to choose one of the three photos in this post, and I will have an 18 x 24 inch canvas printed and shipped directly to you.

If you are not sure what a canvas print looks like, click HERE to see a few photos I recently had converted to canvas. THEY ARE GORGEOUS! No frame needed, just a nail and a hammer and you are good to go.
It is like a beautiful piece of art hanging on your wall.

Could you see one of these photos hanging in your home?

Here is what you need to do:

We ask that you consider making a donation of $5.00 or more.
If you choose to donate, simply use our "CLICK TO DONATE" button below and you will be directed to the Half The Sky donation page that was set up for this event. Your donations are going directly to Half The Sky, which is a non profit organization that makes a difference in the lives of many children that reside in orphanages throughout China. It is also possible to enter without donating. To do that, leave a comment that includes your name and email address so we can contact you should you win. All winners must have a shipping address in the United States or Canada.

Click to donate Top of BLOG Button

You have until 11:59pm Eastern Time, Tuesday December 20th to enter.

Good luck and I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that has supported me through this event and through my photography classes this year. Without all of you, I would not be able to giveback and make these wonderful contributions and support Half the Sky.

A special note: All donations made to Half the Sky at this time will be matched by Jenny Bowen, the founder of Half The Sky and two of their Board Members. Jenny has recently won the 2011 Purpose Prize and has decided to match all contributions made to their foundation until they accumulate $375,000
How exciting and generous is that?
You can see Jenny's video HERE. WOW, what an inspiring and amazing woman. If you have a few minutes, it is something you will definitely want to watch.

Please be sure to check in on Stefanie and Diana to see the fun new items they are featuring today. We only have one more give-away day to go!!

The winner will be announced later this week!


Shari said...

Lisa this is my favorite item yet. That image of the girl on the rubble is one of my favorite ever. I think you could copyright it and sell it:)
You have such a great heart. It has been great to see the thermometer move up on the donation total...
This is what Christmas is all about - giving back and you found a way to use your talents to do just that.
Thank you!

Sharon said...

Such a neat idea! I love the photos!

Sharon Burick


Patty said...

OH I just love the way you captured those. Thank you so much!!
Patty Mears
14479 N. Wayland Rd.,
Meadville, PA 16335

amy said...

These photos have captivated me from the first moment I saw them. I remember coming across your blog before we left for China and I could not wait to experience the sights and sounds of her birth country. Yesterday, as I was processing through what it must have been like for her birthmom to leave her in the park, I thought about your stunning bridge picture. Of course I would be thrilled to win one of these beautiful photos that capture her birth country. Thank you for all you do. XOXOXO

Carole said...

Indeed worth a thousand words....

Carole Richard


Jennifer said...

I was captivated over those pictures too, as I looked through your blog over and over again!

Jennifer Stone
16004 Terry Ave
Belton, MO 64012

Unknown said...

Emma M.

11818 Geranium Street
Fredericksburg VA, 22407


anything but LoKEY said...

Beautiful photos. I want to fill our home with things that remind our children of their homeland. :) I donated. Thanks for the opportunity to help in the fundraising!

olsonpitcrew said...

What beautiful pictures!
5324 oak dr
Minnetonka, mn 55345

snekcip said...

Lisa, all these photos are beautiful, however my favorite was of the little girl. That image was forever burned in my memory. I personally dubbed this one "Yellow Shoes". I longed to see her face. What did it show...Was it fear? Was it happiness? What was she looking at? Was she smiling? Was she crying? How old was she? Was she abandoned and living on the street? Or was she sitting outside her home having a quick meal? What was the "thing" hanging around her neck". Yes, I studied that photo that much. The photo just compelled me into her world. I can't say enough about the photo. What capture me the most however was those vivid yellow shoes. I wondered "if they were her most favorite pair...or if it was her ONLY pair. Still I longed to see her face. This by far is one of the most compelling photos of China I have personally ever seen.

Well this morning when I opened this post and saw YELLOW SHOES, I literally gasped! She was back, we were "gifted" again with her story. Well, it floored me when I scrolled down and saw this CHENZHOU BEAUTY. There she was, she was a beautiful as I thought she would be. A child longing to be ....just a child. To go to school, to jump rope, to play with friends, to have lunch in school and not alone...on a rock, surrounded by trash.

Lisa, you have truly captured a gave us a true glimpse of China even one...outside of the orphanages. What happens to "these children" my mind wonders. These photos will always "compell" many us all to do more. My hope continues that the photograph of YELLOW SHOES is one that will be seen again and again in the coming future.

Something tells me....it will.

As always...my hope and prayers for YELLOW SHOES and all the Orphans of China will always continue.

Thank you again Lisa, but thank you most of all for a glimpse of the face of this precious child. God has given you such a gift and you are sharing it with so many. It's amazing how God uses us a vessel to bring forth hope to the ones in need.

May God continue to work through you and HALF THE SKY to BRING HOPE to these beautiful children and most importantly BRING THEM HOME to their forever families.

Catherine said...

Oh, I love all 3 of them! It will be difficult to choose...when (lol!) i win!

Thank you for doing this!! Cannot wait to hear your totals!

DiJo said...

What a fabulous GIFT to share you amazing talent in this way!!! I know a little girl that has been to that bridge that would be very blessed by this!


JulieM said...

I love all of these. I just donated and can't wait to continue to support Half The Sky. We adopted a little boy from Jinan in January. The first thing I did when we got referral was contact Half The Sky to see if they were involved in his orphanage. I was saddened to find out they weren't. He was quite delayed and as others posted how delayed their children have been and the issues they are having my heart broke. I saw first hand when we were in China what life was like in his orphanage. The last couple weeks these kids have been heavy on my heart so I contacted Half The Sky to see if we could do something as parents of kids from that orphanage to help get their program there. I was very excited this week when I received an email that they have opened a program in the new Jinan orphanage. They know they have their work cut out for them. I also found out we can support their program directly in that orphanage and in a year or so will be able to support individual kids. Thank you for your heart for Half The Sky. I pray we can continue to touch the heart of little ones an ocean away!

Lilly said...

loving the memories!

Unknown said...

Love this post and thank you for all you have done for the kids of China. I am already thinking of my donation for next year:) Looking forward to what 2012 brings for you. You inspire me in so many ways.

Teri Prichard
P.O. Box 20042
Colorado City, CO 81019

Diane said...

Oh Lisa, your post brings flashbacks of our time in Changsha not so long ago. This is especially near and dear to my heart and I too long to hold onto my memories of that very special time in our lives. Your photo's are absolutely beautiful and I would be "over the moon" to be the lucky winner:)

God Bless and Merry Christmas,

Sennie said...

Would LOVE to win this one.. Happy to participate - such a great giveaway & cause!! With PayPal I have a different email addy, but here's my 'bloggy one' ourmothershipadventures@gmail.com

The Thrasher Family said...

Any way I can purchase a copy of these prints? I will be headed to China the end of this year (hopefully) for our child, but these would be amazing to hang in our home as we wait. If there is a way I can purchase, I would love love that. Thank you for your blog, I have enjoyed following. Stephanie