Communication, communication, communication. I want to become a better writer and speaker. I want to advocate effectively for the causes I believe in. I want to learn to be effective and comfortable. I want to gently draw people in to listen and understand, not command attention.
Caregiving with different cultural contexts. I want to learn to listen deeply without bias or prejudice. I want to learn to step into the shoes of someone who has experienced life very differently than I have.
Negotiation, conflict resolution, and peace. I want to learn how to guide others towards a peaceful resolution of conflict. I want to find peace in my own center, to find words to say or actions to perform to spread that peace to others.
In five years, I am running the first Ready-Set-Go House in a small coastal city in China. Julia and I are living with 6 girls ages 7 to 13 and preparing them to be adopted by Western families. Julia and the girls attend a Chinese school half the day and are either home schooled or attend an English speaking school for the other half of the day. I am also working with children in the near-by orphanage who have neurological impairments or who suffered trauma and are developmentally disabled. I am hoping to work out, with the help of visiting experts, exercises, learning plans and therapies that will help these children develop along age appropriate paths. Our RSG House hosts visiting experts from around the world who come for short or long visits to help our children. The RSG House and ongoing therapies are supported by grants and the sponsorship of private funding. I plan to begin spending a few months each year visiting in the US, Canada, and Europe to raise funds for the House, lecture about what I have learned, and consult with those who know much more than I do. In the future, I hope to open two or three more RSG Houses in other Chinese cities. I also hope that I will be able to take some of the girls living in the RGS House with me when I travel back to the States.
Explaining trauma. Trauma is an overwhelming experience that effects the mind and body. Children who spend months or years in orphanages or foster home may experience trauma from their earliest days. They may compete for the attention of a caregiver or for sufficient food. They may experience long hours alone without their basic needs being met. They may be treated unkindly or worse. Even adoption, that most happy event for parents, may cause additional trauma. Trauma changes the development of every child it touches.
I propose to learn about those changes of the mind and body, the behavior that results from those changes, and the possible ways for parents, caregivers, medical providers, and teachers to react to and deal with the behavior of children who have suffered trauma. I would like to figure out the best way to communicate about these issues