2021 February Heartbeat
From the Founder
Happy New Year! (新Xīn年nián快kuài乐lè)! This year, Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 12, and the festivities end with Lantern Festival on February 26. The holiday is 16 days long, but only the first seven days are considered a paid public holiday (February 11–17). This New Year marks the end of the Year of the Rat and the beginning of the Year of the Ox. In order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, many companies and local governments are offering their staff and residents financial incentives to stay home this year, to deter them from traveling to the countryside to see their families. Last year’s coronavirus lockdowns saw an unprecedented 50% drop in holiday travel, down to 1.47 billion journeys – including air, train and bus travel.
Covid-19 Limits Travel
Closer to home, a massive undertaking has begun in Langfang – all five million residents have been put under home quarantine, as health professionals begin the arduous task of testing the entire population. New travel bans have been implemented, including travel from Shepherd’s Field in rural Tianjin to Langfang and Beijing. The rise in new coronavirus infections spiked worries about a second wave of infections, in a country that has mostly contained the pandemic. While the number of new reported cases is a small fraction of those seen at the height of the outbreak a year ago, the government is not taking any chances.
We can all identify with the challenges the global pandemic caused in 2020. Because of those trials, we’ve had to change how we live and work too. We’ve adjusted to the situation, so that we can continue to affect children’s lives through our Orphanage Therapy Training Initiative. The therapy training is conducted both in person and virtually via Zoom, to teach our orphanage partners and other NGO associates how to change disabled children’s lives. Now that the new year has begun in earnest, we’re eager to delve even deeper into this new chapter of our work. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for sticking with us and believing in this important work. Thank you for your continued support!
Together with your faithful prayers and gifts, we’ll continue to BE THE CHANGE for kids with disabilities in 2021. Thank you for believing and standing together with us!
Florence Makes Great Strides
“In December of 2016, I saw a picture on my computer of a beautiful Chinese princess that would forever change my life. Florence (Guo Si Feng) was an eight-year-old orphan who needed a home. My first thought was how well she’d fit in with our four adopted daughters from Ethiopia. Then, when my husband saw her picture, he said she needed to be in our home.
“Let me tell you a little bit about our family. Vic and I have been married 40 years, and we started on our adoption journey in 2010 when we were in our early 50s. We have three grown sons who are now 34, 36 and 38. We adopted two sisters from Ethiopia in 2010, and two more sisters from Ethiopia in 2013. We call our amazing adoption journey our ‘God adventure.’ We wouldn’t trade this time in our lives for anything. God laid adoption on our hearts, and we said YES! When I look at our five precious daughters, I cringe to think of all we’d have missed if we said no to what God wanted us to do! Has it always been easy? No. Has it always been worth it? Yes! God gives you what you need every step of the way.
“In May of 2018, we arrived at Shepherd’s Field in China to meet little Florence (who we named Lusi) for the first time, and for her to join our family. Lusi was in a wheelchair because she was born with cerebral palsy, which affected both of her legs. She had never walked on her own without the help of arm crutches. After coming home, Lusi had two different surgeries, and she now walks completely on her own without any help! We call her our miracle girl! Lusi told me before we adopted her that she never thought she would have her own family or be able to walk. Can you even imagine either of these? Me either. Saying yes to adopting Lusi has been one of the greatest joys of our lives and we can’t imagine our family without her!
“There are so many orphans in the world who need to be part of your family and be loved by you. Please say YES. It will be one of the greatest joys of your life and one of your greatest gifts from God. Adoption is the heart of God!”
– Jan Davis
It’s a Great Time to Adopt!
Did you know that while many things have been on hold this past year because of Covid-19, adoption in China has continued? The waiting list at the China Center of Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) continues to grow, even during this pandemic. But faithful people are still matching kids with Forever Families. Now is a great time for you to consider adding to your family through adoption. To be matched with a child, you must have a completed Home Study. Since the rules at CCCWA have now eased, you can work with the qualified agency of your choice. The child’s file will be transferred to your agency to complete the adoption.
CCCWA Shared List
The CCCWA maintains a shared list for most of the children with special needs, and any agency can access those files to match with a family. Each qualified agency has children assigned to them, and they keep those files for about three months. During that time, the agency works very hard to find permanent, loving homes for the children on their list. Privacy for each child is important. So each agency has a process to follow before you can view more specific information about a waiting child.
A Passion for Adoption
One such agency with a passion for matching children with families is Madison Adoption Associates (MAA). Visit www.madisonadoption.org to request permission to see all the waiting children at MAA or to learn more about a particular child.
MAA has between 40 and 50 children on their list from China at any given time. They also partner with Brittany’s Hope Foundation for grants given twice a year to families officially matched with a child. Because Philip Hayden Foundation believes in the miracle of adoption, we’ll showcase some of the MAA special kids in our newsletter, on our website, and on Facebook and Instagram.
This Boy is a Born Cuddler
Meet Spence! This precious boy was born in June 2012 with multiple neural tube defects, congenital patent foramen ovale, and clubbed feet. Due to his spina bifida, he has no feeling in his lower limbs and can’t walk or control his bowels. His upper body, however, is flexible and strong.
Spence loves to play with toys, and is a very smart eight-year-old. His nanny says that he learns new things pretty quickly, and his file reports that he’s talkative and using words with two or three characters. He can speak in sentences of 5-10 words, but not as clearly. Whenever he gets food he’ll say, “Thank you mom!” – and when the nannies finish their shifts he says, “Bye-bye mom!”
Spence is Ready for a Forever Family
His caretakers all agree that Spence is simply adorable, and we concur. He truly has a contagious smile. If you hold him while he’s crying, he’ll immediately stop and wrap his arms tightly around your neck – he’s a born cuddler! He loves to help the nanny distribute milk to the other children, and gladly helps to tidy up toys inside the play area. He has quite the servant’s heart, and will easily fit in with any loving family.
Spence can put on and take off his own clothes and socks. He can zip, unbutton and button clothing too. Although he can’t feel his lower body, he still works very hard to learn how to do things, like taking off his pants. There’s a $500 agency fee reduction for Spence’s adoption with MAA. Contact MAA for more information.
This Boy is a Treasure!
Braden is a happy and clever nearly-eight-year-old, diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at birth. However, he’s full of joy and has a contagious laugh, which is why he’s thought of as the ‘treasure of the orphanage.’ He’s a curious kid and asks a lot questions – always with a strong, clear voice. He can be very shy, but is active and talkative around familiar people. Braden likes to play tag and other games with his caretakers and the other children. And he enjoys listening to music, telling stories and playing with toys and balls. When he sees a friend, he’s always happy to chat with them. When talking with strangers, he’s far more reserved and gets a little nervous. But if he ever gets upset or loses his temper, his caretaker is always able to easily comfort him.
Heart Full of Love
Braden’s heart condition is complex and severe, causing him to need a heart transplant. In addition, his pulmonary hypertension is so high he really requires a heart/lung transplant, which is extremely difficult to arrange. We pray that a very special family will come forward for Braden so that he’ll experience the love of a Forever Family, whether his future is brief or extended. His caregivers love Braden lavishly, and desperately hope he can have a good life and better medical care with a family in the U.S. As a benefit, there’s a $1,000 agency fee reduction for Braden’s adoption with MAA. Contact MAA for more information.
Run an Obstacle Course with Samuel
Samuel (Dang Liming) is a fighter! He was born with club feet, which were surgically repaired when he was five. Thankfully, he had physical therapy through LIH Olivia’s Place shortly after surgery. He is now able to walk and climb stairs unassisted.
While at Shepherd’s Field, Samuel continued therapy to improve his gait and balance. He also got help with speech and language delays. His physical therapy often included a little obstacle course with a couple of his friends, which was one of his most-favorite activities. If memory serves, he wasn’t quite as excited when he had to learn “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in sign language for our Children’s Day celebration!
Samuel has a very calm presence and is quite tender-hearted. He responds well to kindness and encouragement, and understands far more than he acknowledges. In March, Samuel will turn 13 and officially become a teenager – he’s been waiting a long time to be adopted. He’s been an amazing part of our Shepherd’s Field family, and will certainly bless a Forever Family of his own.
“My two internships at Shepherd’s Field, were entirely joy filled and some of the best times of my life. Waking up every day and knowing that you get to see the kids and make an impact on their lives in any way, is a feeling that’s hard to replicate. From water fights, to birthday celebrations for the kids, to recess time, to building meaningful relationships with everyone through fellowship, I truly can’t recommend it enough.
I will never forget the time I spent there, and I have great friends who I’ve kept in contact with over the years thanks to my time there. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve there and thankful for all the people who made it such an amazing experience for me.
– Russell Darcy