Sadly, we recently said “zai jian” to some of our key foreign staff members, who will certainly be missed. Naomi Preedin has been our Therapy Department Head for the past six years. She did an amazing job training our Therapy Staff and raising the level of care in a very challenging special-needs environment. She also expanded the scope of our work, by training many therapy workers at our partner orphanages across China, who can now serve children compassionately, with much better tools and skills. Naomi, who wore many hats at the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF), was also part of our China Leadership Team and served as our Internship Coordinator.
Carm Hepworth joined our team four years ago and has been in charge of our In-kind Donations – overseeing the organization, inventorying and distribution of all our donated supplies. Last year, she took on more responsibility when she became our Facilities Manager, overseeing campus maintenance and cleaning. Thanks in part to her amazing Chinese language ability, she did a phenomenal job!
Heidi and John Bison joined our team a year ago. Heidi, a busy mother of four, became the Internship Coordinator, and John worked on our Maintenance Team. Having the Bison family at 7Acres was a great addition to our team, as everyone loved their four kids – Grace, Leo, Ariauna, and Jaden. They really brought an element of family to the other staff on campus, with weekly meals and cookouts together. Naomi, Carm, Heidi and John were key members of our 7Acres Team who will all be greatly missed. We wish them the best as they explore their next adventures in the USA and beyond.
Leaving China was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, if not the hardest. PHF and China have been my home, my family and my life’s work for nearly six years, and a piece of me and my heart will always be there. My decision didn’t come lightly. While I miss China and PHF dearly, I’m excited for what adventures await for me, Zai and Henry in the USA.
Getting from China back to the States was quite the roller coaster, with hours spent on the phone arranging logistics, paperwork, packing and a few tearful goodbyes – but we made it! Relocating from one country to another amidst a global pandemic wasn’t easy, but I’m grateful for the experience and the time that I’m now having with family and friends. The pups and I have relocated to the Chicagoland area where we will stay for the time being. When our next adventure begins, we hope to move to a new city. In October 2020, I’ll graduate with an MBA, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. My goal is to work in the nonprofit sector and learn as much as I can, with the hope of one day starting a consulting company to help nonprofits around the world fulfill their missions, succeed in operations and help those in their communities of service. Zai, Henry and I are happy to be back – sad to have left China – but excited for the next right thing and our next adventure!
The trip home was a stressful and long process, but after many, many hours on the phone, a missed flight, long layovers and a nervous puppy who had never spent much time in a crate, Riley and I made it to Michigan. However, my heart remains in China and my desire is to once again work with children there. That is why, once the current crisis is past and things begin to open, Riley and I will begin whatever training we can find to make us useful once again in Asia. I hope to become a certified emotional therapy team that can bring comfort to children like the ones with whom I’ve spent the last decade.
From John and Heidi
Oh, how we miss China and all of the beautiful people we’ve met and grown to love! The decision to move to Asia was much easier than the decision to leave. Not only is China the birthplace of two of our children, it’s also a land we love and a place where we’ve been honored to serve. So many people have poured love into our family of six while we lived in China and navigated some very difficult seasons. It’s hard to believe we first arrived almost three years ago – time has flown! Our season of serving in China was already coming to an end and it was time to come back to the U.S., but because of COVID-19 we moved up our departure date to mid-February.
Coming back to life in America was not an easy transition for our family. During our 14-day quarantine in an RV, we contracted Flu A and were very sick. We did get to give the local hospital and health department a chance to “practice” their protocols for potential COVID-19 patients, so maybe that’s the silver lining?! Before moving to China in 2017, we called North Carolina home, and that’s where we spent the first few weeks of our time back. However, we’ve just relocated to Colorado and will see what’s in store for our family next. Our hearts will always be in China. We’ll return when we can to visit all of our beloved friends and those who have become our family.
From the Founder
As the world has become more and more impacted by the effects of the coronavirus, things in China are settling down somewhat – but are not yet back to normal. Our staff at PHF have still not returned to work, as we wait for the official word from the government of when that will be allowed. Maggie continues to do well – her isolation on our campus has really protected her and her caregivers from any possible exposure to the virus. Luke is recovering successfully from heart surgery, and – like everyone else in China – he’s still under self-quarantine. He’s eating well, reading books and playing cards or chess with his roommates. You can Be The Change for this young man by sharing his information. Email email@example.com for more information about Luke.
The year 2020 will always be remembered for the global coronavirus pandemic, causing sickness, death, self-isolation and huge economic loss worldwide. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the virus, especially those who have lost loved ones, and the healthcare workers and first responders who sacrifice so much to fight the battle on the frontlines to keep us all healthy and safe.
25 Years of Orphan Care
As we mark the Philip Hayden Foundation’s 25th anniversary of providing care to special-needs orphans in China, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that our work of helping these children isn’t finished, and there’s still much work to do to provide hope to the kids who have none. While the coronavirus has delayed projects and events worldwide – including our new 7Acres Project – it has not caused us to give up hope, but to continue to press on, plan and prepare to help those teens and young adults with disabilities.
The weeks of self-isolation and social distancing that all of us are experiencing for probably the first time in our lives, is nothing new to our kids – who have experienced isolation most of their existence, living in institutions, unseen by the rest of the world. We have an opportunity to profoundly change the course of many of their lives by providing them with therapy, education, life skills and job training. The end goal is to help usher them into independent lives outside of an institution, but this goal can’t be achieved without help from people like you. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We really appreciate your love and support in these difficult and challenging times. Be safe, and please care for yourselves by taking all the proper precautions to wash your hands, self-isolate and practice social distancing.
Better days are coming! In the meantime, let’s hone our skills, knowledge and sense of mission to prepare ourselves for service after the world returns to normal. Above all, we have hope that our callings will grow through this time of crisis. Millions of people are certainly reflecting on their lives and reordering their priorities now. Let’s pray that the world will soon be a more compassionate, loving place where those who successfully faced the COVID-19 virus together will now put differences aside to tackle the real needs of the world with us.
Wedding Bells at 7Acres
In the midst of all the uneasiness that quarantine and self-isolation bring, there’s also great news to report! Two of our 7Acres Team members tied their lives together last month here in China. Warm congratulations to Zack Baker and Abi Wen on their new marriage!
China Travel Update
Foreign Nationals’ Visas Temporarily Suspended –The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China National Immigration Administration announced on March 28 the temporary suspension of entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits. This was done in view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world. China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits.