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Tim and Pam Baker Reflect on 25 years of Philip Hayden Foundation in China

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Philip Hayden Foundation’s work in China. In our very humble beginnings in 1995, our team was made up of my wife Pam, our four daughters – Bekka, Sarah, Rachel, and Esther – and me. We began with family projects at local government orphanages, primarily by purchasing things they needed. These included washing machines, baby formula, diapers, beds, blankets, and toys for the children to play with. After four years of getting to know the people and kids at these orphanages, we felt we could do more. So we opened our first foster home in Langfang in partnership with the Tianjin Social Welfare Institute. That home would soon become five homes and the beginning of the Langfang Children’s Village (LCV) – with a school and a clinic – serving between 80 and 100 special-needs orphans daily. A few years later, in 2002, the government in Dawanggu Village in Tianjin donated seven acres of land to us, and we began the construction of Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), which opened in the spring of 2006. By 2008 we closed LCV, and all the kids from there moved to SFCV.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen lives changed and transformed. Not just the kids’ lives but those of our staff, volunteers, interns, guests, and adoptive families. I can testify that my own life has been forever changed by being a part of these fantastic kids’ lives. Most of them were born with a disability – some minor and others life-threatening – and abandoned by their families. That would be enough trauma to sideline any of us, but witnessing their courage, strength, and determination to overcome huge obstacles has always made me feel foolish whenever I complain about my circumstances. The kids have opened my eyes and revealed a whole new world to me through their eyes. Like all of us, they just want to be loved and accepted – and we’ve attempted exactly that every day for more than 20 years.

Now, as we move to the next phase of our work and focus on those orphans who have aged out of the government system, we’re confident that they, too, will have their lives changed through our love and acceptance. Our mission is always to help children become who they’re destined to be, living fruitful independent lives. Though the coronavirus has delayed most of the citizens of the world’s plans in 2020, we know that we will soon overcome it, and our plans will get back on track. The virus restrictions in China are already beginning to lift as people try to get back to some level of normalcy. So, let’s endure these trying times and fight the virus together, then let’s get back to work! Thank you for hanging in there with us – we appreciate your continued love and support for China’s orphans.

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