Happy Chinese New Year

Xin Nian Kuai Le! We want to wish all our families and our guides in China peace, good health and safety in the year of the snake.

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We have been busy in the months leading up to the Chinese New Year.  Kids Travel Free has brought more heritage tour families traveling to China this summer than ever before. We are so happy to meet so many new families!

We’ve also been busy sponsoring Chinese New Year Events across the country. In late January we sponsored part of Families Blessed with the Worlds Children’s Chinese New Year Event in Kansas City. The Murray family, who will be traveling with us this summer, volunteered to man a booth, talk to families and give their insights about traveling to China. We are so grateful for their time and bringing their enthusiasm to the event. We also would like to thank our adoptive mom in Austin, Toni for her help in brining Sun Travel’s presence to the FCC Austin’s Chinese New Year event.

We’re also pleased for the new relations we have made with FCCNY and First Coast FCC in Florida. At the Westchester County/Bronx Chinese New year event we’re excited to be sponsoring the games and crafts while In Florida we’ll be sponsoring the DJ. In Chicago too, we have donated terra cotta necklaces for their silent auction benefiting Half the Sky at their Chinese New Year event.

Finally, here in Seattle, we are excited to be attending FCCNW’s Chinese New Year Event. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with families and seeing the children’s smiling faces on the eve of the year of the snake.

Sometimes it can get so busy it’s important to take a moment and get in the feeling of the holiday. We fell very blessed with the family’s we’ve been able to meet. The last year has been so fruitful—with so many families signing up for heritage tours—that we know the fortune we will find in the year of the snake will be in the way of new friends. To the families that have traveled with us in the past we hope that you too have a prosperous year.

Finally, we’d like to take a special moment to give our thoughts to a special little boy. Camden was adopted from China In November and recently had significant surgery performed. We wish the little ‘noodle boy’ a strong recovery.

The dawn of the new year offers so much potential, families returning to China, children experiencing their birth country for the first time and parents bringing home their new child to care for. We wish good fortune to all the families in the year of the snake.

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Two Great Events Not To Be Missed: Hosted by WACAP & FBWC

At Sun Travel we enjoy being involved in outreach activities with the organizations we have connected with over the years. For many years as mentioned before, we enjoy sponsoring various FCC’s (Families with Children from China), organizations around the country, and we do so in a variety of ways. In recent years we’ve donated items to certain events, such as mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, or even by joining families as they enjoy time together with friends old and new. This fall season Sun Travel was able to attend the FCC Northwest’s gathering at a park in Northern Seattle, and witness the glowing full moon, (though it was a little cloudy).

Sun Travel has some very exciting news! We want to extend a warm invitation to two events hosted by two important orgnizations we have a close connection with. Sun Travel is proud to be able to sponsor both events as these two organizations are very dear to our hearts.

The first organization, WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) in Washington will be hosting a gala at Fairmont Olympia Hotel in Seattle.The Children’s Hope Gala is WACAP’s premiere fundraiser, providing over a quarter of a million dollars to help realize the vision of a family for every child. Attendees bid on hundreds of items in both silent and live auctions, and learn more about how WACAP finds families for children living in U.S. foster care and orphanages overseas. Funds raised will support WACAP’s programs in child advocacy, as well as adoptive family engagement, education and support.

The long partnership, (15 years!) Sun Travel has with WACAP is obvious in their dedication to support families on their journey through adoption. We look forward to seeing you there!

Children’s Hope Gala

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Our second announcement in connection with FBWC (Families Blessed With the World’s Children), located in Kansas City, Kansas is hosting an all-day event for families, teens, and tweens.Guest speaker Dan Matthews, a Korean adoptee, will be speaking, and the facilitating a few workshops afterwards. He’s become well-known through YouTube, along with producing a documentary, AKA Dan. Additionally, there will be other programs throughout the day geared towards tweens, and childcare will be provided. 

Adoptee Identity Event: Dan AKA Dan

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We are excited these events will be held, and hope you and your family will be able to attend.

~Ming Foxweldon

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Giving Thanks: Mid-Autumn Festival 2015

Moon cake1Fall is almost here! We, at Sun Travel we want to extend our deepest appreciation to those who’ve worked with such diligence to support our families, and the tours they choose! We carefully chose 40 boxes of signature moon cakes from the Guangzhou Garden Hotel as our way of saying thanks. This is also particularly special, because this signifies the 30th anniversary of the Garden Hotel which has hosted many of our families on the adoption trips. The moon cakes box was inspired by a Cantonese art piece, and that’s also a nice addition to this type of occasion. 

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The tour guides, have made many sacrifices to commit themselves on these trips for which we can’t thank them enough. Some of these boxes will be given to our friends who’ve supported Sun Travel in their personal ways, the nannies and their humility.

This annual event is to signify the Chinese version of Thanksgiving, and by indulging in the moon cake that’s one way to commemorate it. Listening to stories about how the festival came to be, making traditional lanterns, eating, and meeting with friends and families are the qualities that make this event so memorable, globally.

Sun Travel will also continue to support organizations within the USA and beyond because we feel our ties to such organizations help bring people together. We feel so fortunate to be able to reach many areas and want to celebrate with those during this special time. For those of you who are interested to get a little taste of what this festival is all about, click on the link below. Thank you and enjoy! 

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-By Ming Foxweldon

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Heart to Heart: Xi’An 2015

We are proud to announce that our first Summer Youth Volunteer Camp was a great success! Lead by Sophie Wang and our wonderful chaperone, Heidi Van Fleet, this 10-day camp in Beijing and Xi’an truly brought life-changing experiences for everyone who participated.

 “Our time volunteering in the orphanage was nothing less than fulfilling.  We were met with open arms from the orphanage staff and felt from the very beginning that we were helping to make a difference.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Volunteer-Heidi

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Drum Tower Xi’An

Sun Travel has been working for many years within the adoption community, their understanding of adoptees’ pasts has led them to develop certain programs that are geared towards their needs. This past summer, Sun Travel was able to create a specialized trip for those interested to return to China and experience not only the place of their birth, but also to spend time volunteering at a Social Welfare Institute. Not only were volunteers able to be exposed to this aspect of the trip, however, they were able to explore the surrounding areas, such as climbing Mt. Hua Shan, (One of the five famous mountains of China), visiting the Muslim markets in Xi’an, climbing the Great Wall, touring the Summer Palace in Beijing, and eating at local restaurants as well. The volunteers involved felt this trip exceeded their expectations and it brought a wealth of experiences they carried home to their friends and family.

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Xi’An Children’s Welfare Institute

When the camp participants first arrived at the Xi’An Children’s Welfare Institute,  (About 600 having a range of special needs) required special training so that the children could receive the best care. The volunteers were assigned to different groups, and were responsible for about 20 babies ranging from newborn-2 year olds who had various special needs. There are only a handful of nannies to take care all of those children, so the level of care to each individual child is very limited. At first this posed a few difficulties, however as their day-to-day routines became more familiar, the volunteers were able to embrace the new schedule, methods of feeding, changing the babies’ diapers, and attending to other important tasks.

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Volunteers with one of the foster mothers and her foster children

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Anna with a sweet baby

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Grace feeding a newborn.

All of the volunteers were determined and ready to take on the challenge upon their arrival to the orphanage bringing with  them their positive attitudes, lots of energy and diligence to work. Not only were they able to experience learning how to care for the children, they were also given opportunity to explore the orphanage on their breaks, where they saw first-hand how certain programs were run, such as the rehabilitation program designed for those children recovering from a surgery and needing extra care to heal. Also the volunteers were able to see how vaccinations were done, so that gave them perspective about certain processes occurring at the Institute. They were also able to witness the arrival of a new baby, in the arms of one of the nannies who traveled to the hospital and brought them to the Institute. The volunteers’ confidence grew as they became acquainted with the nannies and staff. Along with learning, those involved felt a multitude of emotions/feelings when working with the children and staff. It ran the gamut such as feeling reflective, sad, and humble. Additionally speaking, Heidi was a registered nurse, so her expertise to help guide the orphanage staff was helpful in understanding their needs.

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Feeding Time

“It was very rewarding to be part of the children’s happiness every single day, while enjoying the best of China in my time here!”                                              Volunteer-Anna

Anna and Grace were also able to document their experiences, and also help out an adoptive family by interacting with their soon-to-be-son so that they could have a little memento of his time there. They were also able to visit several foster families who lived in the same building. These foster families were granted special permission by the orphanage program to care for about four children or so and giving them the necessary tools and resources so that they can thrive. These foster families were able to send the children to a special school that would support the needs of the children.

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Lounging around

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Pre-nap ritual

“As an adoptee from China going back to volunteer at the orphanage was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend this trip for anyone one who has been adopted from China. Caring for the children was so much fun and the staff was very nice too.”                                      Volunteer-Grace 

By the end of the week, all the volunteers, staff and children developed a special bond making it hard to say good-bye. The fond memories each volunteer carries close to their hearts, the relationships they cultivated with the staff and the children they were able to embrace will signify the dedication and patience to work at a unique home. As a way to indicate each volunteer’s efforts each one received a Certification of Completion recognizing their hard work during that week. It was a truly rewarding time abroad! 

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Gan Bei 干杯! Cheers for a new friendship

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Old friends reunite

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Farewell!

“I have been to so many orphanages for the past years however this was the first time I was able to feel peaceful and joyful being there without any distractions. I observed the children’s growth, and spending the week with them allowed me to be fully engaged with the babies/children. This made my heart full. It was wonderful to see that the babies recognized me and the other volunteers after only a few days. I felt humbled by this experience, and hope to return with my daughter in the future.                            Volunteer-Sophie  

If you’re interested, this will be offered in the Summer of 2016. Feel free to check out our website, www.suntravelusa.net. If you know of anyone who’d like to join, please pass the word along! Thank you! 

-By Ming Foxweldon

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