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2021 August Heartbeat

Hector proudly wears his medal from the Shepherd's Field Paralympics 2018

From the Founder

Life Skills Training Transforms Lives

The vision of the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) has always been to “transform the hope of disabled orphans into new lives of freedom and beauty.”  We recently sponsored eight new students in a Life Skills Training Program designed to do just that  – and their lives have been transformed as a result. A sense of accomplishment brings hope. The students completed 48 lessons of various topics – a total of 144 hours of instruction during the three-month-long program. Training included skills such as getting dressed, going shopping and even cooking. The participants also learned some work-related skills such as how to interview for a job and clean up after themselves, and they even had the opportunity to participate in some fun social activities like painting and music.

Accomplishments Bring Hope to Older Orphans

The program was a huge hit with all the participants – one of the students was even hired by a supermarket after completing training! We hope that all of them will be able to do as well, and continue to inspire others who may feel trapped and lonely. We look forward to the next opportunity to help older teens and young adults, by giving them the tools and training they need to live independent lives.

Adaptive Athletes Compete in Paralympics Games

Are you planning to watch the 2021 Summer Olympics? The best athletes in the world will converge in Tokyo in August to compete for the elusive Gold Medal – and only the best of the best will earn it. While the various sporting events are exhilarating, the back stories of the athletes are even more inspiring. Athletes share stories of years of sacrifice and training for the opportunity to be on the world stage and part of an elite community. Many times, an athlete will refer to the critical support provided by their family.

Since 1988, the Summer Paralympics have been held immediately following the Summer Olympics, using the same venues and arenas. The 4,400 athletes competing in the Paralympics participate in adaptive sports, with a complex array of groupings. For example, there may be as many as 20 classifications for the men’s 100m race.

Athletes With Disabilities Compete

Why so many? Paralympians have disabilities like limb deficiency, short stature, impaired muscle power, vision impairment, or ataxia (uncoordinated movements caused by damage to the central nervous system). The classifications – although complex – ensure that the athletes are competing against others with similar medical conditions.

Adaptive Sports Foster Accomplishment and Hope

Adaptive sports programs are for people who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid for movement. Participation in sports provides athletes with feelings of accomplishment, teamwork and determination, and adaptive sport athletes benefit in the same way. Check out Move United Sports for even more information and inspiration!

Many of our Shepherd’s Field alumni participate in adaptive sports, and at least two have even competed in the U.S. Nationals! Their stories are inspiring – ones filled with perseverance and family support. But in my mind, every individual needs that sense of value and belonging. And that is what the Philip Hayden Foundation offers. A sense of worth and accomplishment through therapy, medical care and vocational training – all provided with love and compassion.

UPDATE! Shepherd’s Field Alumni in Italy

Forever Family day for one Chinese orphan

Have you ever wondered how the adoption process works in other countries? The Italian Forever Family of Jerak Robbins – now Francesco – recently sent a welcome update.

In Italy, a home study includes an interview with both a social worker and a psychologist. Then a judge determines the family’s suitability for adoption. Francesco’s family received approval in September 2009 and was matched with the seven-year-old in the spring of 2011. They saw their first photo of him two weeks later, and finally traveled to China in November to meet their new son.

friends at shepherd's field

Francesco had a blue backpack with him when he met his new family – a backpack full of memories from Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV). Photos, drawings and school notebooks made up most of it.

His favorite friend at SFCV was Li Rei. Li Rei (now Philip) was adopted by an American family in 2012. He also remembers his English teacher and the many American visitors to Shepherd’s Field, who loved and played with the children.

In 2015, Francesco’s mom, Cristina finally found SFCV online, and was amazed to see all the photos – including many of Francesco – and see the love between all the kids. Francesco plays the flute, likes athletics and loves to cook. He’s also a great big brother to Yalin, who was adopted from China in 2016. Your support of the Philip Hayden Foundation continues to give children like Francesco futures filled with love and hope.

Remembering the Shepherd’s Field Paralympics

In 2018, our Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) staff created our very own campus Paralympics! Every year we like to look back at old pictures and think of the fun memories that were made during the event. We had an amazing team visiting that year. They eagerly helped kids like Tyler compete in daring wheelchair competitions like the cone obstacle course! I can remember the Therapy Team trying to create a board for the front of the wheelchairs, so they could compete in the soccer competition. At the end of the contest, we were able to award each child their own medal. The smiles on their faces reflected pure joy and feelings of accomplishment. We will always remember this day, and are so grateful to have made that memory with the kids.

We Want to Hear From You!

Has your daily life looked different over the past year? Mine sure has! And it’s been different for the Philip Hayden Foundation as well. With your support for the past 25 years, the lives of orphans have been changed for the better through medical care, therapy, and education – with many of our alumni joining forever families throughout the world. China has changed as well, and for many orphans, daily life has improved. Buildings have been updated, more orphans receive medical care earlier, and more caregivers are being trained. Best of all, more families in China are adopting. Unfortunately, kids with severe disabilities or those who are getting too old for a Children’s Welfare Institute still need your help.

Stories of Love in Action

visitor writing on the wall of the Inn

For nearly 15 years, Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village welcomed teams, visitors, and interns from all over the world. The walls of the kitchen in the Inn were filled with your comments and spilled out into the hallways and gathering rooms. Laughter filled the campus as you held, loved, and played with our kids. And hearts were changed. Many of you returned home and shared stories of love you saw in action, and the great need. Some of you adopted, others began faithfully praying for and supporting the Philip Hayden Foundation.

Because China is closed to visitors, we are missing your stories. Stories of your passion to help kids in China. What breaks your heart? What brings you joy?  Look on Facebook, on our website at or in your email inbox for opportunities to answer surveys or questions. To share a story or ask a question, direct message us on Facebook or email or 

You can be sure we will not share your comments and stories without your permission. What you share with us can help shape our future continuing to change the lives of orphans in China.

Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You will be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

Your new self-service page will let you update your physical address or your email address. You can also change your online donations, view your donation history, and even print receipts for past donations!

If you have any questions, please email

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