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2023 September Heartbeat

young chinese girl with hydrocephalus

From the Heart

Decades ago, Tim and Pam Baker moved to China to teach English. They were later joined by their good friend Philip Hayden. While living in China, they became aware of the plight of vulnerable children, which touched their hearts. This became much more hands-on with the adoption of the Baker’s daughter, Esther. Together, they loved and cared for her, but they wanted to do more to help other kids like Esther.

The sudden, untimely death of Philip Hayden in 1994 solidified this passion. Tim and Pam founded the Philip Hayden Foundation in their good friend’s memory to meet the growing, overwhelming needs of orphans in China. The mission of PHF is to provide humanitarian aid, medical care and therapy, education, and vocational and life-skill training to vulnerable children and orphans with compassion.

In the early days, Tim, Pam, and their young family would deliver washing machines, diapers, blankets, and formula to orphanages. They would encourage caregivers, hold babies, and play with children. They advocated for the children to be adopted, but they wanted to do more to help more children. God blessed their passion, and the Foundation grew. They started a foster home for orphans with special needs, who were set aside when there were not enough caregivers or funds to meet their needs. Later, the local government donated land to PHF to build Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), where caregivers loved and cared for more than 100 orphans with special needs in a family setting.

The Philip Hayden Foundation has always worked within the guidelines of the country where they work, building trust along the way. As the economy grew, fewer children were abandoned in China, and more charities helping children were established. The Chinese government changed its policy and required each province to care for all the children registered in their region. SFCV was located in Tianjin, but none of the children in our care were from Tianjin. All the children were required to return to their home provinces’ orphanages. Those were heartbreaking days, but thankfully, we were able to visit the kids and advocate for their care and adoption if possible.

The mission is unchanged, and God is faithful. PHF began considering new ways to come alongside orphans and vulnerable children to give hope and help them thrive. Unfortunately, just as plans and registrations were in place to help orphans aging out of the system, Covid closed the doors to continue the work at the SFCV campus. The work to help orphans and vulnerable children in China continues, but PHF no longer directs the SFCV facility.

Tim and Pam are still passionate about impacting the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in a hands-on setting. After a season or two in the US, they moved to Mexico to invest in the lives of children in extreme poverty.

Instead of running a facility, God has opened doors for PHF to partner with local charities in both China and Mexico. Thankfully, there are fewer orphans in China. But in both China and Mexico, young families struggle to meet the daily needs of their children, particularly those with disabilities. It has been our privilege to transform the lives of children on two continents. Check out the stories in Stories of Hope, or on Facebook or Instagram to see the lives you changed.  Thank you for your continued trust and support for this crucial work.

ZhenFang Receives Support to Thrive

When Zhen Fang was born, she couldn’t breathe properly. This lack of oxygen caused damage to her tiny newborn brain. And changed her life forever.

She didn’t start walking until she was two and a half years old,” her baba (dad) shared with us. “She now lives with developmental delays, ADHD, and epilepsy every day.

Raising a child with a disability has not been easy for their family. 

Her mother suffers from schizophrenia, so she can’t take care of ZhenFang at all. I am almost 50 years old and can’t get a formal job, so neither her mother nor I have a stable income…We haven’t been able to take ZhenFang for therapy because our financial situation is very difficult.

Despite the challenges, ZhenFang’s parents loved her, and they wanted to stay together.

chinese girl with family and therapist

At the beginning of 2021, I heard about Hope Station through some friends. Since then, [the Family Care Specialist] Erica and the team have come to visit us at home regularly.”

My daughter has started to do therapy in Guyu Children’s Center with the support of Hope Station. Her communication skills have clearly improved, and she is willing to interact with people around her… For my child, Erica and the other therapists are her closest friends.

Thanks to Zhen Fang’s family’s monthly sponsors through Hope Station, they are finally getting some of the support they need to thrive and stay together as a family: therapy, home visits, training, and encouragement.

Philip Hayden Foundation also partnered with Hope Station to provide counseling for Zhen Fang’s baba and other parents in China and covered some of Zhen Fang’s therapy fees!

But ZhenFang and her parents are still waiting for 2 more sponsors. Until they are fully sponsored, the support available to them is limited. 

Hope Station extended their hands of love to us when we were in the most difficult time… I am especially grateful to our sponsors for being willing to help us.” You can read more about Hope Station and its excellent work with families in China at

September is Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

According to the National Institute of Health, “Hydrocephalus is a neurological disorder caused by an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles (cavities) deep within the brain. This excess fluid causes the ventricles to widen, putting harmful pressure on the brain’s tissues. Hydrocephalus may be present at or shortly after birth or may result over time from damage or injury.” You can read more about hydrocephalus in our Stories of Hope.

mom holding young boy with hydrocephalus

When a child is born with hydrocephalus, they will need many surgeries and complex treatments during their first few years. The complex treatment is unavailable in Mérida, so the affected child must travel to Mexico City for treatment. Many children will also need a wheelchair for mobility.

Philip Hayden Foundation provides medical care access for one-year-old Isaac, who is traveling to Mexico City for treatment. We are also donating a wheelchair to five-year-old Elías, making daily life easier for Elías and his family. Thank you for your donations to the PHF medical fund!

¡Viva la México!

Mexican Flag

While we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th in the United States, in México, Independence Day is on September 16th. On that day in 1810, a Catholic priest in the small town of Dolores rang the church bell and delivered a speech calling for the end of Spanish rule. The speech, known as the Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores), sparked the beginning of a decade-long war with Spain for independence.

Mexican Independence Day begins the evening of September 15th when the President of Mexico rings the church bell and recites the Grito de Delores. In Mexico, just like in the US, there are family gatherings, fiestas, and traditional foods, especially food echoing the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white, and green. One such dish is Chiles en Nogada, stuffed roasted poblano peppers topped with white walnut-goat cheese sauce, green parsley, and red pomegranate seeds. Another common choice is Pozole Roja (red) or Pozole Verde (green), thick soups made with pork and hominy. You can search for good recipes online if you want to try them!

This year on September 16th, pause and think about the children in Mexico who are thriving because of your generous donations. Your donations transform the lives of children in Mexico and their grateful parents.

Education – The Way Out of Poverty

Look at these smiles! In August, Philip Hayden Foundation partnered with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida to provide school supplies to elementary-age children in Mérida. PHF gave school supplies to over 300 children, giving them the gift of education. Even though school is free in Mexico, they must provide their own supplies. Unfortunately, children without supplies choose not to go to school. This choice continues the cycle of poverty. Your ten-dollar donation removes one obstacle to education for one child, providing hope for a bright future.

Dr. Eder Abreu, director of Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida, reports that education in the south of Mérida remains uneven. In recent years there has been an increase in schools and student integration. However, there are certain areas where children, due to the economic status of their families, do not have the opportunities to study adequately, which causes the educational lag to be very high. Recent studies show that child mortality for young girls drops by one-sixth if they complete primary education. Completing primary education cuts maternal mortality by a staggering two-thirds. According to a recent study by UNESCO, education also impacts reducing the cycle of poverty

Malnutrition plagues children in extreme poverty. Often, children who lack enough protein have stunted growth and do not do as well academically. In fact, well over half of children experiencing malnutrition are developmentally delayed. Because a plant-based diet is less costly, many children and families do not get enough protein each day. PHF has partnered with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida to provide protein-rich milk and eggs to children living near Mérida in extreme poverty. Every dollar you donate to the PHF Humanitarian Aid fund provides one liter of milk to a child and a heaping dose of hope.

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