Who I Am

I like to call myself “Hannahjiejie.” Jiejie means “older sister” in Chinese. After my second sister was adopted from China in 2003 I suddenly knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Gladys Alyward and Amy Carmichael became my heroes and I dreamed  of one day traveling to China to work with orphans.  My friends thought that it sounded funny. I remember someone asking, “so, you’ll be the spinster surrounded by hundreds of children?” Well, I’m only 21 so the spinster part has yet to be given a chance, but I’ve never objected to being surrounded by hundreds of children.

It was around the time (Summer 2007) that I started pestering my parents to one day “move to China” that they were being led themselves to pursue the vision of a family ministry. Somewhere. It honestly came as a shock to me when I learned that they were considering moving to China to work as a family. It was a dream come true that I never thought would.


Being the deep-thinking, slow-moving bunch of people that we are we didn’t get to China until October 2009. It’s been the most amazing experience of my life. I’m learning things about myself and other people that I never thought I would. I get to work full-time (I wish!) in the department of cuddles and hugs (…and spit up and tears). I’ve experienced more sadness and joy than ever before and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for me!

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I wanted to live in China and work with orphans when I grew up. I guess that I must be grown up now?


In July 2013 our whole family took a leap of faith and an overnight train ride to our new home Up North. Here we will be “creating the conditions” to hopefully open a new branch of our foster home sometime next year. It’s an adventure, and we welcome you to follow along!



10 thoughts on “Who I Am

  1. Hi Hannah, or Hannahjiejie,

    What does the new part of your name mean? I realy liked your pictures of you all, the kids, and your neighborhood/town. Reminds me of when I lived in Japan for three years. It looks like you are having lots of fun with the kids. The bike thing that your dad, mom, and sisters use looks fun too. Looks like the rest of you are stuck peddling a bike in the snow. I am sure you’re glad it’s spring time. It is fall over here and starting to get really cold. It was a cold Easter. I wish I could go visit you guys and meet all the kids you have been helping. My parents will be in Beijing sometime over the next two weeks as part of my dad’s school. If they could have been there longer I would have seen if you could gotten together. Every thing is going well down under. We have seen tons of kangaroos and five koalas since we got here. I can’t believe that we have lived here for four mounths already. Time can fly by way to fast. Oh by the way, my family and I are moving back to VA after this. Who could have guessed it! Keep putting up pictures, and the stories are Great! Say hi to everyone for me!

    Your Friend,
    Matthew Letourneau(Co-op and FISHE soccer friend)

  2. Hey,
    One of my friends sent me your link. I really like your blog. I have been to China twice. Doing missions work. Just got back 3 weeks ago. What province do you live in? Every since I was a little kids I always wanted to go to China. I finally got my wish back in April. I would love to live there someday, Lord willing. I think the Father is calling me to China, still praying about it. God bless!
    All for the King!

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  4. Wow Hannah, what a wonderful story. I volunteered at an orphanage in Shanghai from 1999-2001. It was heartbreaking, especially when it came time to leave. God bless you.

  5. Hi Hannah: Margaret showed me your pumpkin recipe, we will try it soon. I love how you describe your life in China especially in the essay Loving Dangerously. It’s not easy to describe something like a tension between pursuing God’s calling and the desire to be regular. You did well. It’s even more inspiring when we hear it from a young woman like yourself. Well done.

  6. Hannah, thanks for liking my FB author page. I tried to message you back but can’t message your FB page. So I searched until I found your blog. I am stunned reading it–and yet not. It is the same story, my novel, continued into another decade into your blog. You are an incredible writer and it would seem we have witnessed many of the same things. I hope to return to China. Perhaps then, I will meet you. Keep up the good work. I also want you to know that your instincts are so good. We had to teach our son to cry, to recognize pain, to come to us for help and know that we would care. All of these things and so much more that we consider natural human behaviors had been ignored out of him by orphanage life. Thank you for teaching little ones that they matter.

  7. Pingback: Kang’s Heart of Hope | Teens Interceding for Orphans

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