2015 Service Camp Report

We are proud to announce that the Teen Volunteer Service Camp at the Wulanchabu Children's Welfare Institute in Inner Mongolia, China was a success!!!  Two group of CAWLI adoptees traveled to China this summer and lived in the orphanage for 3 weeks.  The girls helped with child care, gardening, cooking, and teaching English.  They installed two water systems at the orphanage, so that children can have a drink of water whenever they want now.  They donated new dishes and chop sticks, and bought fresh fruit and eggs for the children to enjoy.  They saw Beijing and went on field trips during the weekends.  The orphanage was very grateful for the work the girls did!  They compiled a couple of videos here:




Here is Lillian's report

2015 Service Camp Report

September 8, 2015 by Lillian Zhang

July 10 through August 20 of 2015, our agency organized two groups of adoptees to work in the Wulanchabu Children’s Welfare Institute. Twenty-three CAWLI teens participated in total, and both groups each spent three weeks in China. They climbed the Great Wall and visited the Forbidden City and also visited the grassland and some ancient Buddhist sites. Most importantly, they worked in the orphanage and spent a lot of time with the children in the orphanage. It is intense in many ways and I am very proud of the girls and very thankful to their parents. It is a privilege to have the chance to know you all! I am also very thankful to our two incredible chaperones, Dr. Rumberger and Matthew Werth. They made the service camps a great experience for all of us who had the good luck to get involved.

I have been home for more than two months now but this experience is still fresh in my mind. A lot of details come to me at midnight. The worries. The laughter. The food making. The sweat in the potato field. I miss all the children in the orphanage. I miss all the girls who participated in the camp. 

Before writing this report, I went through the board meeting minutes. How much our board had put into this project! I went through all the training and travel meeting minutes in the six months before July 10, 2015. How much Julie had put into this project! We visit the blogs often, just imagine how much work Ali put into this! I recall all the phone conversations with the parents and my own struggle back and forth with this undertaking. It indeed takes all of us to do a project like this! I want to thank all of you for the success of the project!


How We Helped the Orphanage

It is the first time, not just for us but also for the orphanage, to suddenly have groups of American girls and Chinese orphans living so closely together in a confined small area for three weeks for each group.  We all saw with our own eyes the different systems and their impact on individual lives. Our girls are all taller, stronger, better educated, and articulate and purpose oriented.  Yes, the daily activities seemed to be designed for much younger children, but, as Dr. Rumberger said, it was good for our girls because their childhood was way too short. Our girls are all American: working hard, playing hard, treating the orphanage children with respect and love, helping them with English and many other activities.  The interesting thing is that by the end of the service camp, many orphanage children wanted to be adopted into the “sisters’ families”. We do not know what the term AMERICA means to the orphanage children but it must be very good now that they met all of these good American sisters.

The second group of girls had a chance to work in the potato field. The soil was hard like clay. The weeds were big with thorns. Our girls had no gloves or tools. They worked so hard! Hands got hurt, no complaints. It was hot around noon time, no complaints. Even the orphanage director felt sorry and praised the girls in their meetings. The field was all clean in seven days!

The three meals each day in the orphanage were quite plain. We walked to the local supermarket to buy water, diapers, fruits and eggs for the orphanage children and there was no car to help us. Our girls made trips every day and carried all the good stuff to the orphanage. The orphanage children were not allowed to leave but they always greeted us from their windows. They loved our girl so much that they always put a lot of rice on the plate for our girls. I still remember how our girls ran and how they carried the heavy bags. I still remember how Linny and Molly rushed to the supermarket to get candy in twenty minutes for the birthday party. You are the very best, our girls!

The orphanage was also in great need of more diapers.  We went to every department store around to buy big batches of diapers. No single store had enough in stock for us- we cleared out all of their shelves!  The orphanage staff were very appreciative.  Same for the utensils. The bowls and chopsticks were dirty so we cleared up many stores to get a set of stainless utensil for each child. 

It was the shared experience, the shared pain and appreciation that bonded all of the children in this confined orphanage setting together.  When our girls were leaving, every child in the orphanage asked me if they would come again. Many children shouted “YOU COULD NOT LEAVE” to the van as it drove away. 

Yes, the most impressive work was the water supply system we helped instore in two children’s dorm buildings. The water is hard in the northern part of China and the orphanage children had no drinking water. The girls in the first group started a donation drive and got more than four thousand dollars for the water supply project. Our agency donated additional elven thousands to the funds and together we were able to purchase and to install two German made industrial level water purifying systems in the boys’ and girls’ dorm buildings. Now the children can get cold and hot water right in their residence. All of the children and the staff were very appreciative of this help and the local newspaper and broadcast station all reported this event.


We Grow With Our Experience

It is the first time our girls had an encounter with their baby experience: What a typical orphanage looks like. What a child’s life looks like growing up there. They have stared at the “Safety Island” at the front gate. It was very emotional but also very close to their heart.

Our girls were more appreciative of their parents. Most girls told me they appreciate being adopted and having their families. They were excited and played daily with the children our agency was about to place, and wished other older children would have the same opportunity. Some girls wished to go to the reunion of the families who adopted from this orphanage in the future and meet with the children again.

The first thing that touched our girls’ hearts was the human spirit. In a confined depressing place like an orphanage – more than one hundred eighty children, mixed age and needs; no personal belongings; not allowed to leave, the children there still look happy and cheerful. The meals look quite depressing but I heard no complaints by the children there. The children and staff there looked positive and always busy with something. Some of our girls told me that they felt relieved that the children in the orphanage were not hungry or having other problems.

Our girls had a chance to see China, many of them for the very first time. The Great Wall, the local temple, the small sandwich place, the food stands on the street, etc. The wonder and imagination about China met with some concrete answers and it was actually not that bad. If China somehow is a small part of our self-esteem in sub-conscience, seeing all with our own eyes served the purpose in a positive way.

In general, experiencing different lives and cultures is the best way to build our world view and capability of understanding and acceptance. To have this happen in mid teenage years is particularly important as it is the most sensitive period in our lives.

Again, I want to thank all of you who helped and participated in this project! Please feel free to visit the following documents!


Blog Link:



The Rainbow Fund

How to Make Donations Through CAWLI     

rainbowThere are two ways to make donations to the Rainbow Fund: 

The first is to simply write a check payable to CAWLI and in the memo section state the purpose of the donation and indicate, “Rainbow Fund.” If the donation is in honor of a child or a family, please send a note with the check to let us know!

The second way is a Security Account. Please consult with your accountant about tax benefits of a donation in the form of securities, such as stocks, bonds, real estates, etc. Please contact the office for more information.

Our hearts are touched on a regular basis by the stories we hear and the donations we receive. We truly wish to thank you for your kindness, generosity, and consideration for the children left behind. Through your help, we slowly make this world a smaller, more peaceful place and have evidence that the human spirit lives. Our CAWLI family continues to grow both in the States and in China.

On behalf of all of the children in China and all CAWLI families,

Thank you, CAWLI Staff