2021 January Heartbeat
From the Founder
As we begin 2021, we pause to remember just how dramatically orphan care has changed in China and around the world in the past 25 years. Our involvement with orphans – and the beginning of the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) – started when we began providing much-needed supplies like diapers, formula, washing machines – and even caregivers – for some local government orphanages. In those early days, some of the infant orphans were healthy, and international adoption was possible but rare.
Since that time, China has invested numerous resources in their child welfare system – improving the condition of the orphanages, the level of medical care for orphans and the adoption system in general. Today, most orphaned children in China have special needs – and many older kids fill the system too. There will always be children who wait, and we believe every one of them needs and deserves a Forever Family.
Partnership with MAA
In that regard, we’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with Madison Adoption Associates (MAA) to advocate for orphans in China, and to match them with families in the U.S. MAA is a Hague-accredited 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with a deep commitment to children and families. Their mission is to bring hope, love and connection by serving children, individuals and families in the areas of adoption, foster care and support services. Madison is rated as the #2 adoption agency worldwide by the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).
The CCCWA lists children with moderate to significant medical needs – or over the age of 10 – as ‘Special Focus,’ while younger children with correctible special needs are often counted in the ‘Non-Special Focus’ category. MAA has children with both kinds of needs on their list.
Forever Families Needed
We’re excited to partner with Madison, and will continue to share on Facebook and Instagram about the Chinese kids who need Forever Families. We’re still ironing out all the details, to ensure that we honor the privacy and dignity of the kids who wait in the system. In the meantime, check out MAA
PHF Takes Online Training Across China
For the past two years, PHF continued to provide personal therapy and education for our kids who were sent back to their home orphanages. Then the arrival of COVID-19 changed everything, forcing us to look for virtual, online ways to train orphanage staff around the country, improving orphan care. Since most orphanages are now beginning to see the need for professional therapists, our Bright Star Therapy Team has offered 16 online practical therapy training courses for orphanage workers. This training has not only helped make our kids’ transition to their new homes smoother, but has also introduced orphanage staff to new knowledge and therapy skills.
Partnering with LIH Olivia’s Place
In August, we began working with LIH Olivia’s Place in Beijing to set up an online training system for orphanages and other Chinese NGO therapy staff. After four months of working and planning together, we completed the teaching syllabus, and started training on Nov. 21. The first Training Class is a one-year course, with more than 100 online lessons and on-site coaching sessions. There are seven organizations participating, with more than 80 therapy staff participating in the first year of training. We can already see the value of this training, as it directly improves the lives of disabled orphans all across the country.
Many of you, our faithful Partners in Hope, have chosen to support Bright Stars Therapy with your monthly donations. These gifts have made – and continue to make – this training possible, improving the lives of orphans throughout China. Thank you!
China’s Child Development Report Shows Progress
China’s National Bureau of Statistics released their Annual Report on the achievements that have been made in health, education, welfare, social environment and legal protection for children in 2019, following the National Program for Child Development (2011-2020).
Statistics indicate that the implementation of the program has been smooth. Several indicators have been met ahead of schedule, while the protection of children’s rights and interests in some areas is lacking and still needs to be strengthened.
According to the report, the number of orphans in China decreased for the seventh consecutive year – coming to a total of 233,000 orphans in 2019, which is a decrease of 72,000 from the previous year. Kids in community foster care programs totaled 169,000, while 64,000 children lived in orphanages across China.
The report also stated that in 2019, there were 10,400,000 kids ages 0-6 years old who needed therapy of some kind in China, but only 181,000 were actually getting it.
The report confirms the need for additional support for therapy for kids with special needs – not just those kids living in orphanages, but also the ones living at home with their families. We can all do a better job in supporting the disabled community. We are always looking for ways to share our knowledge with the local community, to show support for those families who have children with disabilities.
Therapy Resources for Children
In the U.S., we’re fortunate to have almost unlimited resources for our children, but in China those resources are scarce. If therapy is available, it’s very expensive, and often not covered by insurance or welfare. Many families eventually find themselves financially overwhelmed, not able to afford the proper care for their disabled kids, and abandon them – often near a hospital or orphanage. By helping to provide therapy resources to families with disabled children, we hope to prevent hopelessness and child abandonment. When proper therapy is provided, families are given the tools to survive, and even thrive.
Corey’s Christmas Cheer
Just before Christmas, our staff had a long-awaited FaceTime video chat with Corey (Song Yike). He was a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up and was his usual funny self after a few minutes. He really misses us, and wanted to connect to say Merry Christmas! He recovered well from his neck surgery, but now has another small lump in the same area. The local hospital near his orphanage isn’t equipped to deal with it, so he’ll be coming back to Beijing to have it looked at once it’s safe to travel.
Corey is doing very well, and goes to the local public school during the week, driven by the orphanage driver every morning and afternoon. He told us that he loves playing soccer with his classmates, in P.E. class and at recess. He’s getting big – he already stands 5’7″ tall and wears a size 10.5 shoe, which is pretty amazing for a 12-year-old. All in all, his life is good, but not as good as it would be with his own Forever Family. Let’s all keep advocating for Corey.
Forever Families Are Still Needed
Too many children still wait. More than 233,000 orphans, in fact, according to the recently released Bureau of Statistics Report. Here at the Philip Hayden Foundation, we would love to see every one of those kids find a new, permanent home. We can start by spreading the word about four of our boys, who still wait for adoptive families. Covid-19 has put a damper on travel to China, but not on the dreams of these fine young men. Please share information about these boys who wait:
• 13-year-old Luke (Tian Yi)
• 12-year-old Corey (Song Yike)
• 11-year-old Brody (Hu Minpeng)
• Seven-year-old Levi (Han Qiannan)
…that which requires stress and struggle is often the most satisfying. It’s the paradox of happiness.Jay Harrington
Adoption is not without risk, but the rewards also abound. Every orphan has faced hardship, and many will find it difficult to trust again. Jay Harrington notes “that which requires stress and struggle is often the most satisfying. It’s the paradox of happiness.” Perhaps you or someone you know is ready for the challenge of adoption. While there will most certainly be discomfort, it may also bring the greatest joy and happiness – for you and for that child.