From the Heart
Spring is in the air! March marks the beginning of a season of renewal and hope. We often have one or two lingering snowstorms in our area, blanketing the newly blooming crocuses. Thankfully, the flowers are resilient, and the snow is short-lived. More than anything else, I feel hope.
There has been a long winter season for orphan care in China. The travel restrictions due to Covid have limited medical care, therapy, and even completion of adoptions. Many foreign charities have had to close their doors inside China, but new Chinese Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are emerging. These new beginnings inspire hope.
“Good deeds do not ask about the future. I only want to keep doing a little better.”Nurse Angela
The Philip Hayden Foundation has connected with one such NGO in rural Asia. In this village, a local nurse, Angela, and her sisters began helping orphans and unsupported children nearly a decade ago. As the number of children with severe disabilities increased in the past few years, their meager resources have been stretched to the limit. But this woman’s passion for helping others inspires others to help. When asked why she gives so much, Nurse Angela says, “Good deeds do not ask about the future. I only want to keep doing a little better.”
Several local groups now help where they can. One local organization provides rice, oil, and other daily supplies. Another Chinese NGO supplies diapers and wipes. The pediatricians and nurses at the local hospital volunteer their time to train caregivers and supervise the daily work. And an NGO in Shanghai donated the resources to set up a Montessori classroom and trained two teachers.
Montessori Classrooms Energize Learners
Why is a Montessori classroom in this community so exciting? A recent study showed that children attending a Montessori classroom for at least two years had higher psychological well-being as adults than those without any time in a Montessori classroom. Self-directed learning builds confidence and interest in new activities. In addition, education is at the child’s pace and can be adapted for those with disabilities. To learn more about Montessori classrooms, check out https://montessori-nw.org/about-montessori-education.
Unfortunately, there have not been enough funds to add teachers or retain enough caregivers and therapists. This Social Care Center cannot survive on volunteers alone – even passionate volunteers. Philip Hayden Foundation is privileged to join the work in this area, providing funding for Montessori teachers and trained caregivers. Your continued support inspires others to give of their time and resources. Thank you!
Journey to Faith
We adopted Faith (Georgie Wei Jia Xi) on her 4th birthday, November 9th, 2017. After adopting Faith, personally, I have changed in many ways. For starters, my patience grew. I naturally tend to want things to happen in a time and manner that is conducive to my wants and desires. But with adoption, especially internationally, that isn’t possible, and patience becomes a necessity.
I also have grown stronger in ways I never thought I would have to, because when you have a daughter with a severe medical condition you have no other choice. I’ve become an advocate, more knowledgeable (specifically in pediatric cardiology), and a homeschool mom due to Covid. I’ve realized I’m more capable in areas I’ve never thought I could be or ever would be.
As a family, we’ve grown closer. Being a family of seven, we have to all chip in and lend a helping hand. Faith’s four older brothers have also gained an understanding of little girls, which is quite precious. My husband and I have also grown closer because, again, when you have a child with Faith’s medical condition, you lean on each other and work together to meet her needs. Also, just the process itself caused us to rely on each other’s strengths, along with all the unknowns. We all have changed, but the beautiful thing is, it’s been for the good even if at the moment it doesn’t seem so. In times where we had to give more of our attention to Faith, it has taught our other children that the world doesn’t revolve around them and what helping others truly looks like. I will never regret that.
Faith is such an amazing little girl. She’s resilient and so physically tough. Faith has such a great sense of humor and caught on to teasing pretty quickly. She loves music and laughs at almost everything. And she can handle a horse like it’s no big deal and loves adventure, such as rollercoasters and anything related to water. The best thing about her is how much she loves touching. Cuddling is her favorite and before we adopted her, one of my fears was that she’d lack the ability to attach to us. She definitely displayed the opposite.
The rest of our family consists of four boys, all older than Faith. Our two oldest were also adopted, but they were family members on my husband’s side. Our family ranges from 21 years old to eight years old. At one point we had a child in preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. We like to say we live in organized chaos. We are always doing something or going somewhere, whether enjoying time at our lake house or at some sort of sporting event watching one of our other kids.
Rewards are Worth the Hard Work
One thing I want other families to learn from our experience is that you can do it! It isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning, but it’s worth it! Also, stay away from negativity. Everyone’s experience is different, but there is support. You just have to keep looking until you find it.
Speaking of it not always being easy, for us the first couple of months was the hardest. Faith did act out some, but how could she not? Her entire world changed in an instant. The language barrier makes it even harder. One way we struggled was that Faith tried to control what she could through eating. She’d say no to almost everything and it was not only hard but also frustrating. Finally, after about two weeks, she caved and now it’s more like what doesn’t she eat? We also had to learn to be ok with the slow progress regarding learning a new language and assimilating. It seemed like it would take forever, but it does eventually happen…there’s that patience thing I was talking about.
We knew there would be challenges, we just weren’t sure what exactly they’d be. Through it all, we had each other to rely on, support of family and friends, and most importantly our faith. ~ Nicole
In September of 2016, two volunteers from the UK joined the staff for a year. Matt and Georgie left full-time jobs to invest in the children at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. In many ways, it was a lifetime ago, and yet Georgie says, “It feels like yesterday! We miss it so much!”
Matt and Georgie both pitched in wherever they were needed. Georgie thought she would be teaching preschool, but she ended up spending much of her time as our hospitality coordinator. If you visited SFCV in 2017, you most likely worked with Georgie. Her kindness, energy, and smile are unforgettable! As well as lending a hand wherever needed, Matt stepped up to design and publish our printed newsletter, Heartbeat, for the year – even though he had no prior experience with our publishing platform. He was also instrumental in a significant update to our website. When Georgie and Matt reluctantly returned to the UK after a year, Matt continued his role on the newsletter for another eight months – a half a world away.
While Matt and Georgie were at SFCV, they connected with little Wei Jia Xi, also known as Georgie, while at Shepherd’s Field. Wei Jia Xi was adopted a few months after Matt and Georgie returned to the UK. However, a happy reunion was in the works. Matt and Georgie traveled to the US to visit Wei Jia Xi, now Faith, and her family. You can see the joy on all their faces!
In our last issue, we shared many memories of Luke Tianyi and his impact on so many lives. PHF is thrilled to announce that Madison Adoption Associates (MAA) created an adoption grant in his honor: Luke’s Legacy. Luke’s Legacy will be a grant for the adoption of older boys.
Here’s what MAA shared on their blog:
“While we never met Luke, we knew through colleagues that he was a sweet, kindhearted, gentle soul who loved to love, and loved to be loved. Thanks to our amazing friends at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, Luke was able to experience the love of a family throughout his short life. Maybe it wasn’t a traditional family, but it was his family nonetheless. While we are so grateful that Luke lived somewhere where he was adored until the very end, the sadness is still very real knowing that Luke never got to experience his forever family. He would have blessed them beyond measure.”
“Older boys often wait the longest for a family, yet we know so many wonderful boys like Luke are waiting and hoping for someone to take a chance on them. This $1,500 grant (in addition to MAA’s $500 grant for children 8 and older) will be available to qualified families who submit a Letter of Intent, which is approved by the country, for a boy in any of our programs who is 12 or older.”
The staff at MAA clearly has a passion for kids who wait. This passion inspires hope – hope for more older boys like Luke get to experience the love of a forever family. Thank you, MAA!
Year End Planning
Year-end contribution statements were mailed on January 21. If your physical address was not in our records, emails were sent on January 24. If you are missing your statement, please email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org and let me know! Update your records now by visiting our self-service portal at chinaorphans.org/contact-us. You will need to provide your email address to log in. You can even check your donation history while you are logged in!
If you prefer, call Lori at PHF at 866-526-3712 or email her directly. Your donations make a difference in the life of an orphan in China.
One At a Time in Asia
Would you like to make a difference for a child in rural Asia? In 2022, PHF will be supporting community-based workspaces. Over 80% of children with disabilities in China live in rural areas, which also have lower income. Over 70 orphans and unsupported children live in this particular region, and most of them are boys.
There are over 40 staff members in this small village providing care for these vulnerable children. The One At a Time in Asia project through PHF is sponsoring 25 front-line nursing staff, therapists, and special education teachers. These dedicated workers provide direct care for the children in their care. Among the 30 children with moderate to severe disabilities, many of whom require 24 hour care, are kids with cerebral palsy. They need help with changing positions, moving, stretching, and bathing. are plans to grow this class to up to 30 students. We’ll keep you updated!
To protect the privacy of this project, limited information will be available on our website. Sign up email updates for more complete updates.
If you’d like to learn more about this project or other ways to get involved, visit chinaorphans.org/get-involved.
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’ll 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.
Use your self-service page to:
- Update your physical address
- Update your email address
- Change your online donations
- View your donation history
- Print receipts for past donations
If you have any questions, please email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org.