Philip Hayden Foundation


From the Heart


Summertime! Hot days and nights. How do you get relief from the heat? Shade from a leafy tree, cool drinks, fans, air conditioning, or water play? The kids and adults alike at Shepherd’s Field loved playing with water – tiny wading pools and water fights. The brief respite was energizing and encouraging. We all need a little break sometimes.

But people with disabilities do not always get a respite. July is disability awareness month. A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Are you aware of those around you with disabilities?

Invisible Disabilities

Some disabilities are obvious – like limb differences and cerebral palsy. But others are nearly invisible, like hearing loss, impaired vision, autism, and seizures. Your donations to The Philip Hayden Foundation have provided hope for kids with invisible disabilities in China and will soon offer the same respite and hope to kids in Mexico.

graham wearing external hearing device on headband while working on wood puzzle

Graham has profound hearing loss. He lived in a silent world, unable to make his needs and wants to be known. His hearing loss impacted his verbal skills; how can you learn to speak if you cannot hear? Your donations provided an external hearing device and therapy to connect Graham with his world.

JiaYi has poor vision and struggles in school. Her impaired vision makes every task challenging, but her family could not afford medicine and therapy to improve her daily life. Your donations to PHF provided medication and treatment for JiaYi, and now she has hope for the future.

Autism, an invisible disability

Autism affects many children, and researchers are still unsure why the number of children affected by the disorder is rapidly growing worldwide. A spectrum disorder with varying severity, autism symptoms range from mild to debilitating. Learning is different for kids with autism but not impossible. Your donations fund teachers in a Montessori classroom in rural China, which changes the lives of kids with autism and other learning disabilities.

profile of Annie as she happily anticipates her future

And finally, seizure disorders are invisible disabilities. Here in the United States, seizures are often diagnosed and treated with medication. An episode can range from a mild absence seizure to a grand mal seizure. Seizure disorders affect learning and memory, and sometimes the side effects of the medications can be debilitating as well. Annie has a seizure disorder, and your donations provided her with medical treatment and vocational training. Annie is now living independently, thanks to you.

Philip Hayden Foundation continues to be committed to making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, particularly those with disabilities. With your help, PHF will continue to improve the lives of children for the next 25 years.


Splashing the Heat Away – by Ally Jarvis


Summertime in Langfang is hot and muggy. The heat zaps the energy of kids and adults – and nearly everyone is cranky. Enter water play. A perfect way to cool down beat the heat, and brighten attitudes.

Therapy…In the Pools

There are no rules that require therapy to happen indoors, so on hot days, the PHF Therapy team would have therapy sessions outside…in the pool. This was a brand-new experience for Corey. Corey joined in on a therapy pool day during his first week at Shepherd’s Field. He was still a little nervous about this new journey, but once he sat on the slide that was far too small for him, his face lit up, and we all got a glimpse of Corey’s true spirit.

Unlike Corey, our typically smiley Simeon had a rocky relationship with pool days. He adamantly did not enjoy Aubrey – or anyone else – splashing around in the therapy pool. If a therapist sat with him on our lap, blocking all incoming water, he could enjoy playing with the floating cups.

Everyone knew to stay away from Jason once he got in the pool.  He always seemed to find a bucket to fill with water. Jason’s first target was usually Naomi, the Therapy Department leader, but they always seemed to team up in the end. At the end of each therapy pool day, one staff member was always unwillingly tossed in the pool; I was chosen on more than one occasion! The ayi’s tossed me in while the kids laughed and cheered. Therapy can be fun!

Children’s Day Celebrated with a Water Fight

June 1 is Children’s Day and would always be marked by the first major water fight of the season. It was the biggest water fight I have ever seen! It always started with testing out which pools hadn’t been popped in previous years! Our staff, visitors, and kids were equipped with water guns, buckets, and cups. Any vessel that would hold water was used as a weapon. We scattered buckets of water throughout the area for refilling on the go.

The kids didn’t hold back, so everyone was soaked head to toe. Someone gave Charissa the hose, and I was her first target, even though I was already drenched because Luke had just thrown a bucket of water on me.

I wasn’t the only one that was victim to the kids’ motivation; Lily was chased around by the boys and hid behind whoever was closest. Lily still got wet – but so did her living shield! These pool days and water fights always brought so much joy.  I’m not sure how they managed it, but our fantastic ayi’s always managed to get the kids into dry clothes!


Spotlight on Healing Homes in China


Philip Hayden Foundation is committed to providing medical care for vulnerable children. In some cases, we partner with existing charities, such as this Healing Home. Your donations to our medical fund are providing medication and care for these children.

Meet Galvis, a fireball on wheels. Galvis was born with spina bifida, but not much slows him down. He’s already practicing for the paralympics, challenging the other children riding bicycles. He raced them in his wheelchair, and he even used his chair to help push his friends in their toy car!

Your medical donations fund care and therapy for Galvis, giving him even more reason to grin.


A Fresh Look for PHF


We are excited to announce that work is underway on a fresh look for our website! The updated website will appear in September, be tailored for mobile use, and meet all recommended accessibility guidelines. Another feature will be the ability to accept Venmo, Apple Pay, or Google Pay when you make a donation from your mobile phone. 

The new layout will showcase the stories of children whose lives have been transformed. It will be even easier for you to share stories of kids still needing support to survive and thrive with your friends and family. 

 


From the Heart – by Tim Baker


As June is PTSD Awareness Month, I want to share the importance of supporting orphans and unsupported children who have experienced trauma in their lives. Trauma is the root cause of PTSD, whether from abuse, being abandoned, without a family, being born with a disability, or wondering where their next meal will come from. We all need to help these vulnerable kids feel safe and secure. 

Our new focus is to work and partner with existing local organizations to meet the physical and emotional needs of at-risk children and young adults. We will partner with organizations who hold our same values, assuring that funds raised will work directly to helping the children and not “overhead.” In China, we continue to utilize those good relationships developed over the past 25 years with hospitals and doctors in Beijing, assuring that the kids we help have access to the best possible care available.

Covid Lockdown in Beijing

Unfortunately, Beijing has shut down again because of strict zero Covid protocols. No one is allowed in or out of the city; people are to stay in their homes, get tested several times a week, and are even required passes to get groceries. These strict lockdown measures come more than two years after the first shutdown in February 2020. The steps make it impossible for kids from outside of Beijing to go to the hospitals in the city, and it continues to prevent adoptive families from entering the country to complete the adoption process of the children they have been matched with.  It’s clear that our world is still affected by Covid. Here in our region of Mexico, the mask mandate is still in full effect, and the local people are nearly all compliant. We’re able to travel about the country without restriction. We’re grateful for that and do not take it for granted. We continue to look for opportunities that fit into our mission to help kids affected by poverty, food insecurity, unmet medical and educational needs, and preparation for a successful life as an adult.

Together We Can Bring Hope and Healing

So as we acknowledge PTSD awareness month, we want to thank you for your sticking with and believing in us as we continue this journey to be a blessing to those who need love, safety, and security in their lives. Together we can bring hope and healing to this world.


Hope For JiaYi and Her Family


Over a decade ago, Rebekah was an intern at Philip Hayden Foundation. Her passion for orphans in China led her to start Hope Station, a 501c3 nonprofit. Hope Station recently established a Chinese NGO in Sichuan. Rebekah shared this story with PHF, and your donations have funded vision therapy for JiaYi.

JiaYi works hard on vision focusing task stringing beads

11-year-old JiaYi lives in the city with her mom, dad, and little sister. Her parents realized JiaYi wasn’t learning as fast as her peers when she was in kindergarten. After visiting the local hospital they learned that their daughter had a developmental delay.

“At that time, we didn’t really know anything,” her mom shared later. “We didn’t know what kind of treatment she needed and and we didn’t know how to teach her. We thought her condition was just fate and that we just needed to accept it.”

So we decided just to wait for her to grow up. We thought that if she could go to school, her situation would get better. So she went to a regular elementary school for four years, but we discovered her condition was getting more and more serious during that time.  She wasn’t able to keep up with her classes, so she was under a lot of pressure!  Finally, in September 2021, we transferred JiaYi to a special needs school for her to learn more self-management and life skills.

Family Support Improves Daily Life for JiaYi

A few months later, JiaYi’s family joined Hope Station’s Family Strengthening Program. With a new school and a new family support system, JiaYi’s life has improved significantly. She learns life skills at school, receives therapy regularly, and even has a new personal art teacher!

But JiaYi still had one big struggle: her vision. JiaYi’s vision was always poor, and her parents could tell it was hindering her ability to learn and enjoy her life. Her greatest love is art, and yet she can’t even clearly see what she is doing in front of her. When she goes to the zoo, she can only see the blurry shapes of the animals far away. JiaYi’s parents wanted to help her, but they could not afford the required vision therapy sessions and medicine.

PHF Donors Help JiaYi

JiaYi works on reading with Hope Station therapist

When The Philip Hayden Foundation heard about JiaYi’s need, we were excited to step in and help. Thanks to your donations, JiaYi will be able to receive vision therapy and medication! She’ll finally be able to see clearly the beauty around her that she already appreciates so much. It will also supercharge her learning and help her become more independent as she grows up.

Most importantly, with your generosity and partnership with Hope Station, JiaYi is growing up in a loving family who cares for her.

She said to her dad the other day: “I think the luckiest thing in the world is to be by mommy and daddy’s side.  So I think I am lucky too because you and mommy are always with me and love me so much!”

There’s no doubt that JiaYi will face more challenges ahead. But with such a loving family, and now that her family is equipped to support and lead her through these challenges, she will surely go far.

Her mom shared, “I hope that in the future, when my husband and I are old, she can take care of and support herself.”


Partnering with Healing Homes in China


The Philip Hayden Foundation will be supporting orphans with medical needs living at Hope Healing Homes in China. The orphans residing in the Healing Homes need medical care that cannot be met at their local orphanage. New Hope Foundation interacts closely with CWI staff and equips their own staff, providing intensive and thorough care in their facilities.

New Hope Foundation provides care and arranges medical and surgical treatment for orphaned children with special needs in addition to providing palliative care when appropriate. They currently have four facilities in the Henan Province of China, and also provide assistance to the Rainbow Center in Nanjing. In total, they provide care for about 150 precious children.

PHF will be partnering with in-country NGOs to provide direct help to orphans outside of Tianjin. The NGOs are chosen carefully to ensure the NGO reflects our values and that every dollar directly helps vulnerable orphans and children.


In Loving Memory


 Elizabeth (Beth) Mae Hayden Degeneffe 

 If you have been part of the PHF family for any length of time you probably know how the organization began with the untimely death of Tim and Pam Baker’s friend and coworker, Philip Hayden, in China in the fall of 1994. What you may not know however is that Philip’s sister Beth was a volunteer with us using her graphic design background to format the Heartbeat newsletter for nearly two years. We’re sad to tell you the news of her passing at the age of 58, way too young.

Beth was a cherished wife, a beloved mother, a precious daughter and sister, and dearest friend. She lived self-sacrificially in all she did, always thinking of others and God before herself. In life and in death, she was steadfast in faith and devotion to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who sustained her through life and now rewards her in heaven. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. Rest in Peace, Beth


Teddy Ling Dairong McKinney

Teddy surrounded by photos of his family

Some children just capture your heart. Teddy Ling Dairong captured the heart of many visitors to Shepherd’s Field, including mine.

Teddy was born in December 2007 and arrived at Shepherd’s Field when he was about one year old. Born with spastic cerebral palsy with developmental and cognitive delays, he also had great difficulty gaining and maintaining weight. Teddy loved playing in the pool, stroking our therapy dog, Zai, and swinging. He responded to nearly every conversation with a big smile. Teddy adored his primary caregiver, MengYan, and she loved him. The pair were inseparable.

Teddy on Gotcha Day with his parents

Teddy joined his forever family in early 2018 when he was ten years old. His forever family knew that Teddy needed lifelong care and that he would not have a long life. But they loved his sweet spirit and wanted him to be part of their family. Teddy was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukodystrophy called Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease. It only affects boys, and the life span for the type he had was five years. Teddy was a resilient fighter and far outlived his expected lifespan.

As she shared Teddy’s passing in early May, Teddy’s mom shared with us “that he forever made us better, he was always happy and brought us so much joy. Our only regret is that we did not make him our son sooner.  He was so incredibly precious.” Teddy was a treasure, a beautiful soul, and he was a blessing to everyone he met. He brought pure joy to the McKinney family, and the love of God could always be felt through him. He will be missed.


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. 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.

From the Heart

Baker Family in Mexico 2022

Greetings from Mexico to all our friends, adoptive families, and supporters! After living in China for nearly three decades, we returned to the US in February 2020 because of Covid. Since then, China has been closed to travel and we are unable to get new visas.

The Philip Hayden Foundation maintains a small staff in China and continues to support orphaned, disabled, and marginalized children and young adults through our various projects in China. We will continue to share more stories about our current projects in China.

Since China has been closed to travel for the past two years, we have been fervently pursuing other opportunities to help vulnerable kids – wherever in the world they live. Mexico has always had a special place in our hearts. Pam and I traveled here more than 40 years ago and always felt that someday we would be called back here to serve the people.

China…And Mexico

That someday has finally come as Pam and I, along with our 24-year-old son Nate, recently moved to Mexico to show the Mexican people God’s amazing love. Pam and I love to be directly involved with the kids we serve.  We’re here in Mexico right now, reaching out to those in need. Our hearts are for the orphans, the disabled, and the marginalized. We bring that same God-given love we have for the people of China to the Mexican people. Covid may have closed the door and prevented our return to China, but a new door has opened for us, rekindling a God-given love and compassion for the people of Mexico.

You may have chosen to support PHF because we work with orphans in China. Others may be excited about the opportunity to help vulnerable kids wherever they are. Would you take a moment and let us know what you think? Join the conversation!

~Tim Baker


One At a Time in Asia – Meet Maria

Last summer, nurse Angela had a longing to set up special education classes for the orphans. She started asking around in the local community to see if anyone knew any special education teachers – but there was no one.

Maria was a middle school teacher at a local school for many years. She heard about the orphanage from her son, a regular volunteer at the social care center, for several years.

At that time, teacher Maria, a newcomer to the center, didn’t have the confidence to teach the orphans as she had never done anything like that before. The task seemed overwhelming. But as she began to get to know the kids, her mind changed. Like so many volunteers who have come over the years, she soon discovered just how precious these children really are.  

Then, teacher Maria and another teacher, Grace, set up the special education classrooms. With enthusiasm and a bit of fear, and without much experience, they began teaching the kids. They both were amazed how the kids’ minds were like sponges absorbing knowledge. 

At first, they taught simple things such as what’s a tree, what’s a road, and what’s a car. All those things are essential to know, but they still wanted to teach more. So they decided to teach life skills in the classroom related to the children’s daily routine. After that, they added music classes, dancing classes, and art classes where the kids could become creative through the arts and learning games. 

Creativity Encourages Learning

Amazingly, as the kids engage in creative learning, they grow confident and blossom. Their ability to learn expanded!

These two amazing women, Maria and Grace, have been teaching for more than ten months now. It’s easy to see that these ladies possess a great passion for teaching the kids.  We are so blessed to have them there making such great progress with the kids’ education.

These women are not satisfied; they want to do more. Now they are asking around to find more resources to learn more about special education, especially Montessori so that they can make a difference in the life of each child. Your continued support makes this possible.

Click here if you’d like to receive emails with stories and photos from One At a Time in Asia.


Red Thread Center Teaches Skills


Have you heard the Chinese red thread parable? It goes something like this: There is an invisible, unbreakable red thread that connects all those who are destined to be together, intertwining our hearts. This parable often reflects the adoption of a child and the spiritual connection between a parent and child. But it can also reflect the complex tapestry of community. As our lives intertwine, the bond is stronger, and we can support each other.

Teaching vocational skills

Over the years, you may have visited our campus in Tianjin and would have seen our Red Thread Banner Factory on the third floor of the vocational center. The workshop not only sewed beautiful banners but also made screen-print art and hand-crafted leatherwork. As a learning center and a fabrication center, many teens and young adults learned fine motor and work skills and expressed creativity.

Just after the Spring Festival ended this year in February, The Philip Hayden Foundation expanded our Red Thread Factory from Tianjin to the city of Beijing. The new workshop is called the Red Thread Arts and Crafts Center. The new center will also fabricate leatherwork like billfolds and keychains, screen-print art on T-shirts and other media, and sew banners. After learning one of these vocational skills, young adults with disabilities will have the opportunity to hone their skills. The extra experience will improve their ability to get a job and be contributing members of society.


Maya Vision 2022


Tim Baker with young girl in Yucatan

Here in Yucatán, The Philip Hayden Foundation reaches out to vulnerable children and marginalized people who desperately need our love and support. There are many at-risk children within both the local Mexican and Mayan communities. In May, we will be working on an exciting health project called Maya Vision 2022 in the Yucatán state. The goal is to provide visual health services for marginalized children, teens, and adults from the impoverished Mayan community in eastern Yucatán.

We are not doing this project alone! The Philip Hayden Foundation will be working together with an incredible organization – Sight is a Right.

Sight is a Right, a US 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation, provides eye care services to vulnerable people in need and has since 2009. In fact, they have provided services to over 50,000 people who did not have access to eye care.

Mayan girl with optician

This project will provide eye screenings, prescription glasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, pathology referrals, medications, and nursing services. Nursing services include blood pressure and blood sugar screening and even eye surgery for those affected by diabetes and glaucoma. The project will take place from Saturday, May 14 to Sunday, May 22, in the community of Valladolid, located two hours east of the capital city Merida.

Free Vision Care for Mayan Children

We will serve between 2,000 – 3,000 Mayan children, teens, and adults by providing free eye examinations and other health services. The project has many volunteers, including doctors, nurses, technicians, and others from all over North America and Mexico, working together to serve these vulnerable kids and adults in need. Will you support this uplifting project? We need to raise US$5,000 to help support this life-changing project for the Mayan people. Any amount you can donate to give the gift of vision to children in need is greatly appreciated. You can donate online for Mayan Vision 2022. Thank you for supporting this project in Mexico!


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. 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.

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

Gotcha Day for 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.

Family Closeness

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.

Faith's Forever Family

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.

Joy filled Faith on swing

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


Lasting Connections

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, Georgie, and Faith enjoying water play

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!


Luke’s Legacy

luke on swing

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.

Happy Year of the Tiger

From the Heart – Remembering Luke Tianyi

Luke as an infant

I first met Luke Tinyi fourteen years ago when he, as a one-month-old infant, arrived at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. He came into our care because he was born with a complicated heart defect. 

At that time, none of us would have imagined that this precious little angel would spend the next 12 years of his life in our care. During those years, he saw countless housemates get adopted into forever families. It wasn’t that Luke was undesirable for adoption. Quite the contrary, there were plenty of families who wanted to adopt this sweet and kind little boy. The problem was related to his hukou, the official registration needed to be eligible for adoption. 

I have so many fond memories of Luke growing up at SFCV. At first glance, he came across as being kind of shy, especially around new people. But as you got to know him, he was actually very engaging and funny. As he grew older, he was like a big brother to his housemates, even helping the nannies take care of them. He loved his teachers at Little Lambs and school in general. They played a crucial role in shaping and molding his character. Besides his love for school and being a helper at home, he loved playing games, reading books, and playing with LEGOs. 

Another fond memory I have was that Luke and I surprised each other during one of our fall party celebrations when we both showed up to the party wearing the same costumes. We didn’t plan it – it just happened. That year we both dressed as pirates, and we had so much fun pretending to be pirates battling each other with our plastic swords. 

Luke the Performer

Some of my fondest memories of Luke were during our International Children’s Day celebrations. Luke was quite the superstar, and he loved performing. If you ever attended one of these special Children’s Day parties, I’m pretty sure you would remember Luke. Always the constant perfect performer. The first year we did a fashion show as part of the activities, stealing the show with his infectious smile and a tip of his fedora as he walked the catwalk. The audience loved it so much that they even did an encore catwalk, and he never missed a beat. He was just as professional the second time around. 

One of my more recent memories took place in January of 2020 when Luke went into the hospital in Beijing for what would be his final heart surgery. This one was to help improve his oxygen level. The surgery took place in early February and was, by all accounts, a success. While visiting him in the hospital, I remember playing cards with him, and I lost every time. His face would light up as he won each hand. By the way, he was really good at it. I was genuinely trying to win. 

Luke the Kindhearted

In the past couple of years, he developed a love for caring for plants, playing Wuziqi (Chinese chess-like game played with black and white stones), and he continued his passion for reading. He took good care of himself by making his bed, folding his clothes, and putting things in their proper place. Luke also helped his younger roommates when they needed it. He was one of the kindest, most loving kids to ever come through our doors. 

On January 9, Luke was taken to the hospital for a medical emergency, and I regret to inform you that his life ended there. His death came as a shock and was heartbreaking to all who knew and cared for him. There will be no more fashion show catwalks, no more dress-up parties, and no more card games for us. Not in this life anyway. I know Luke had a good life and compared to most orphans, a great life. He knew he was loved and felt secure in that. I’m so happy to have been part of his life, and I know everyone on our SFCV team echos that sentiment. His Chinese name, Tianyi, means God’s will. Having said that, I think he was needed elsewhere. I can imagine him playing Wuziqi in heaven and probably winning every time. 

We are missing you, Luke.

By Tim Baker

The Leader of the Pack

Luke and his group of friends in a golf cart with Dustin

“If you had the pleasure of visiting Shepherd’s Field/7Acres in the spring of 2018, you would likely have encountered a gang of six 10-year-old boys. Known to stash squirt guns around campus for easy retrieval at opportune times, or beg for golf cart rides, this gaggle of friends was always palling around. The leader of this group was undoubtedly Luke. The bonds between these boys were deep. I can only imagine how it must have felt to experience total acceptance- despite a disability, despite not having a typical family. Friends that understand you. Luke fostered those friendships. I know that through those friendships, he provided love, hope, and trust for his friends that will never be forgotten.” – Dustin and Katy


Luke the Helper

Luke and Connor

“After school was over, while others would go home or play on the playground, Luke would come to the greenhouse. He would give me a grin, grab a broom, and help me finish my work for the day, no matter how long it took. I’d hoist him up on my shoulders, and we would walk around SFCV, talking until it began to get dark. He was intelligent, outgoing, and a leader, but his selflessness and kindness will always stick with me.”– Connor


Luke the Big Brother

Luke was the ‘big brother’ to all the kids at PHF. He was one of the first people the children in his house would run to for comfort, and he was always willing to help his friends with schoolwork. 

One of the best moments I shared with Luke was when I was interning in the Little Lambs School. Luke wanted to help me buy Christmas gifts for everyone in the class; he was so excited to pick out gifts for his friends that we ended up buying three times as many gifts as we had planned.

One of my favorite memories of Luke is when the school children went on a field trip to an indoor park. Luke and Francis decided to play a ton of arcade games together; Luke was so happy to spend time with his buddy. Even so, he ended up giving his last few arcade coins to some of the younger kids so they could also share in the fun.” – Annie


Year End Planning

Year-end contribution statements were sent by mail on January 21. If your physical address was not in our records, an email statement was 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. 

A Montessori Resource Classroom for early education started recently, and the first group of children are attending. There 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.

From the Heart

By Lily Zhuang

With the continuous improvement of China’s economic and social development and enhanced welfare level, fewer children are abandoned. As a result, the number of orphans in China has dropped for seven consecutive years.

Looking back to Chinese New Year in 2014, I remembered something that Tim Baker said during a staff meeting after he returned from Guiyang, where his first daughter was adopted from. He said: “What we’re doing is working to lose our jobs. If one day there are no orphans in China, we’ll have nothing to do and that will be the best day ever.”

The number of orphans in China began to decline in 2012, and now – nine years later – most of the Social Welfare Institutes (SWIs) have enough resources to provide a good life for the daily care of the remaining orphans, including education and therapy. Even though the demand for foster homes has dropped throughout China, we haven’t lost our jobs just yet. There are actual orphans waiting for us to go to them, to go to the underdeveloped places where they live, and to go show them there’s hope for a better life.

graph showing the decline in the number of orphans in China since the peak in 2012

Unsupported Children – the New Challenge

Starting in 2020, the government put more resources into unsupported children, or de facto orphans. China has defined an orphan as a child whose parents are deceased or cannot be found. Jointly issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Supreme People’s Court and 10 other departments, the guideline defined de facto orphans as children with both parents serving prison terms, undergoing compulsory drug rehabilitation or restriction of personal freedom as legitimate orphans. This puts them in the same category as children who have sick, disabled parents or parents who have been declared missing or deceased. A child is unsupported even if only one of a child’s parents has restricted personal freedom and the other parent is dead or missing. The children of migrant workers left behind in the care of extended family are also considered unsupported children.

Since adoption is becoming more difficult due to Covid19, coupled with the fact that most orphans have special needs, we’ve been looking for better ways to help vulnerable children and orphans from all backgrounds and situations.  

At the end of September, I visited a social workstation founded by an enterprising nurse and her sisters. When caring people like these three sisters spread a little faith and love to orphaned children, it sets an example for the entire nation. Along with the renewed effort by the government to support destitute children from all circumstances and backgrounds, this seems like a good model to follow. Thank you for your prayers and support as we work together to “put ourselves out of a job.”


Orphans in Rural Asia Need Help

Orphan care in urban areas has improved dramatically over the past decade. State orphanages were renovated or new ones built. Besides increased access to medical care and therapy, more caregivers have been trained to provide specialized care to orphans with disabilities. This is important because 98% of orphans in China have disabilities. But orphan care improvement in rural areas still falls behind.

Two thirds of Chinese citizens live in urban areas and most enjoy great economic freedom. There are also more therapy centers and specialized education for children with disabilities in urban areas. While income has also increased in rural areas, it is far lower than in urban areas. In fact, the average income in a rural area is only one third of the average income in an urban area. While only a third of Chinese citizens live in rural areas, 80% of children with disabilities live in rural areas.

Orphans In Rural China Affected by Poverty

The next horizon for helping at-risk children and orphans is in rural areas, where poverty is high, and resources are limited. Beyond helping orphans, there is a need to help unsupported children and to provide resources to families so that they can keep their children.

In one such community, a compassionate nurse and her sisters began caring for the sick, elderly, and orphans. The three women help operate the local orphanage – as well as multiple children’s centers – that accept all orphans, including unsupported children. The local Ministry of Civil Affairs provides buildings and the basic infrastructure, and the sisters oversee the operation and personnel. In some villages, they’ve repurposed old churches into Children’s Centers and trained the former church workers as Social Workers. The three sisters report that things are going well, but the need is great.

Orphan Care in Rural Asia

Trusted friends have had direct contact with this ad hoc foster home for more than a decade. The director has a passion for loving and caring for the vulnerable children in her community. Sadly, the allocated funds from the local government are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the orphans. Your donations will help provide formula and diapers as well as increase the number of workers. Children with disabilities need more time from a caregiver than a child without disabilities. The local schools do not yet have specialized education, and some children have medical needs not covered by the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).

Right now, there is a monthly shortfall of thousands of dollars to meet the basic needs of the orphans in this community. With your donation, you can make a difference in the lives of these orphans today, One at a Time in Asia.

Privacy Requirements
Information and photos of these children can only be shared in print and through email. An English name will be assigned to help you get to know the children you help. Please do not post any information online or forward any emails.

You can sign up to receive continuing information about this project by email and share the link with your community.


Stories of Children in Need

This rural welfare workstation cares for more than 60 children with a variety of needs. Some are orphans, and some are unsupported children. Many of the caregivers are volunteers, lovingly caring for each child. Because privacy is important, we will only introduce 4 children. Your donations will help not only these children, but their friends with similar needs.

Severe Medical Need

Owen was born with severe medical needs and professionals did not see a possibility for improvement. His current condition calls for a special formula that will keep his weight up and to provide the nutrients his body needs. He has a tumor on his spine that is inoperable so the caretakers are trying their best to make him as comfortable as possible. There is limited space and staff so he can’t always get what he requires. Because Owen doesn’t need surgery, funds often go to the children that do.

Cerebral Palsy

Elijah has cerebral palsy, but that does not slow him down. When Elijah was six years old, he liked listening to music and dancing with his caretakers and that hasn’t changed! Now as a nine year old, Elijah works with his caretakers three times a week to improve his strength and mobility. His favorite activities are playing with clay, throwing and catching a ball and tracing shapes on the white board. He attends preschool and is making great strides with reading and basic math. Elijah will not need any surgeries, but he needs physical and occupational therapy in order to thrive.

Hemiplegia

Clara was born with hemiplegia on her left side, including hands and feet. This has impacted her mobility and at twelve years old, she would like to feel more independent. Due to her age she worries about living arrangements and her future ability to provide for herself. Clara would benefit from a mobility aid and physical therapy to build strength on her left side.

Autism

When we met Dominic, our caregivers noticed traits that are often related to Autism. Because of this diagnosis they have learned how to care for him in the best way possible. Dominic would benefit greatly from therapy, but it is not available. He is sensitive to certain textures and this has made it difficult for caregivers due to limited resources. He does not like crunchy foods, but most of the soft foods are given to the younger children because of a limited supply. Dominic has trouble participating in school, but there aren’t enough caregivers for him to receive individual assistance. He would benefit from stim toys – toys that help with self regulation – when he becomes overstimulated, but they are not available because of limited resources.

Burns

Elaine is seven years old and was burned severely in her family home. Her parents did not have the resources to provide the care she required, so they asked for help. Elaine needed shelter and the ability to feel safe in her environment. Her injuries call for continued medical attention to prevent infection and severe scarring.


Donate in Honor of a Loved One

Are you looking for a lasting gift to honor someone? Now you can choose to give a tribute gift through Philip Hayden Foundation. With a minimum gift of $15, we will mail a personalized card to the recipient – or to you so that you can add your personal note. Just check the box for making a gift in honor of someone and follow the on-screen instructions. You can also mail a check to Philip Hayden Foundation, 40335 Winchester RD #E-115, Temecula, CA 92591. Please include a note with the recipients contact information. 

If you’d rather have us send an email, just provide an email address and we will take care of the rest. We will not add your recipient to our mailing or emailing lists. 


Year End Planning

Have you moved? Prefer to receive your year-end contribution statement by email? Email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org and let me know! Statements are sent out the third week in January by mail. 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. 


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.

From the Heart

The last two years have been challenging (to say the least) for all of us! In fact, it’s probably been the most difficult time we’ve experienced in 25 very demanding years of operating the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF). In spite of this, our primary focus has remained on orphans, whose needs have changed but haven’t disappeared. Thankfully, China’s official policies regarding the care of orphans have steadily improved through the years, bringing many more resources to orphanages – especially access to good medical care.

Funding through the Chinese government’s Tomorrow Plan helps orphans with treatable medical conditions get the care they need. However, some policies limit the kind of help that’s offered to children in crisis, and that’s when kids really need an advocate. PHF continues to meet the many requirements of a registered charity in China, so we can be that advocate for orphans with no voice. We must continue to abide by these policies to maintain good favor and be a blessing to those we serve.

Most Orphans in China have Disabilities

Nearly all the orphans in the Child Welfare system have disabilities, so primary caregivers are routinely asked to do more with less. Consider the daily care of a special-needs child – just bathing, getting dressed and eating breakfast are complex activities that can take the entire morning. A child with certain disorders – like CP or spina bifida – requires much more time from a caregiver than a healthy child does, and that expense of time doesn’t decrease with age. By law, the number of children that a caregiver can supervise has decreased, so more caregivers are needed for the same number of children.

The core mission of the Philip Hayden Foundation is “Providing medical care, therapy and education for at-risk children with disabilities, transforming hopelessness into lives of dignity, fulfillment and value.” PHF is committed to helping improve the lives of orphans wherever they are, and in the past two years our team has continued to search for new opportunities to serve.

Help for Orphans Continues

PHF has hosted groups like Angel Babies (a Chinese NGO that provides resources for severely burned children) for weeklong camps, and also increased our outreach to disabled adults, teaching them critical life and vocational skills. We don’t do this alone. Your donations make it all possible – like providing the resources for creating a remote learning class for therapists through our partnership with LIH Olivia’s Place; allowing the 7Acres Campus to be used for a Field Day for orphans with World Vision; and hosting a weeklong camp for Angel Baby families.

Thank you for your continued support as we follow every opportunity to help orphans be seen, known and loved. You’ll be the first to know as we commit to new paths and partnerships to improve the lives of orphans in China.


Awake to Sensory Awareness Month

Did you know that you actually have seven senses? We’ve all learned about the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – which help us understand the world around us. In the 1970s, Dr. Ayres introduced the idea of two more senses, vestibular and proprioceptive.

Vestibular Sense and Proprioceptive Sense

Aubrey works on balance with Bright Stars Therapy team

Vestibular receptors, located in the inner ear, help with balance and movement. They enable us to ride a bicycle, spin in a circle without falling over, and even walk in a straight line. The proprioceptive sense, also known as the body sense, tells the brain where the body parts are in space. It’s how we can take a bite of an apple without looking at it, or keep from bumping into other people in a crowded room.

The Brain and SPD

The brain routinely gathers, organizes and responds to all of the sensory information around us. This is an incredibly complex task, but we barely notice it happening. Most of us have senses we rely on more than others, and that’s normal. Some people have much sharper senses of taste or smell, while others enjoy 20/20 vision. However, when the brain is malfunctioning to the point of affecting our daily living, it’s called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

SPD can affect just one sense – like hearing – or several simultaneously. A person might have overactive senses, underactive senses or both. SPD can also cause a child to seek certain sensory experiences – or avoid those experiences – and can sometimes show up with other disorders like ADHD or autism. The great news is that SPD is treatable.

Overactive Senses

When a child has overactive senses, it’s difficult to interpret all the stimuli of the world. For example, have you noticed a child covering her ears because ‘it’s too noisy,’ when it’s actually quiet? Sometimes the brain doesn’t know how to sort out sounds – so a dripping water faucet might seem as loud and important as someone talking face-to-face. A child with overactive senses will want to avoid those experiences, and may curl up or cover her head. If not, this kind of sensory overload can easily spark a violent tantrum – but the deluge of sensations is often so overwhelming that a child just can’t cope. The only response available to them at that point is explosive. Effective treatment works on calming down, or regulating the body’s response to excessive sensory input.

Underactive Senses

Conversely, when the brain doesn’t give enough attention to a sense, it’s also debilitating. Have you ever noticed a child running his hand along the wall as he walks down a hall? It may be so he knows where his body is, in space. This child may also be wiggly, and love to jump or wrestle, or if his sense of taste is underactive, he might just love spicy or sour food!

sensory play with shaving cream

Everyday activities can be hard and scary for people with SPD. However, it’s not a disease – it’s a disorder, so therapy can be effective. Children can begin to understand why they’re so uncomfortable, and how to ask for help. Calming music and fidget toys can bring focus and concentration, and can be effective soothing techniques. A child might use chewable jewelry to satisfy oral cravings, or do push-ups and jumping jacks for physical stimulation. Some therapists use a deep pressure approach, using compression – or weighted – clothing. In fact, there are many therapies available, and PHF utilizes the best to foster a safe, loving, creative environment for our kids.

Bright Stars Therapy Changes Lives

Many of the kids at Shepherd’s Field needed help processing sensory information. Kids learn better when they are not distracted by the world around them.

Oral Stimulation

beth uses a chewie to calm herself

We are used to seeing infants and toddlers use a pacifier to calm themselves. Some kids do not outgrow this need for oral input to calm their bodies. You provided many kids with “chewies”, which are specially designed objects for kids to chew on to calm themselves. Xander, Beth, and Graham all benefitted from chewies.

Tummy Time to Improve Body Awareness Sense and Core Stability

Did you know that tummy time is crucial for developing the body awareness sense? If body awareness is underdeveloped, it will affect gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and eating. Our therapists worked with many of our kids to encourage them to spend time on their tummies by making it as fun as possible.

Bright Stars Therapists Use Swings for Stimulating and Calming

Our therapists used our indoor and playground swings to improve sensory processing and to help children calm their bodies. Swings can improve balance sense and takes lots of practice.

Sensory Processing Disorder Affects Feeding and Eating

As Leonard learned to chew food, our Occupational Therapist carefully chose foods with the right amount of flavor and crunch to encourage chewing and swallowing. Both overactive and under active senses can affect eating and feeding. Samuel is working on balance and body awareness. Kids with underdeveloped body awareness can fall or crash into things. Improving the connection between the brain and the senses helps keep kids safe.


Update on Hanna

Adelei at 5 years old

Hanna was at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village from May 2017 to August 2018 and appeared in several issues of Heartbeat. Her forever family thought you would enjoy an update on this sweet girl.

We’re happy to report that Adelei Behnke celebrated her fifth birthday on September 18, and started school for the first time! She’s super sweet, smart, kind, gentle and exceptionally brave and resilient. We adopted her in December 2018, the week before Christmas – and so it’s coming up on three full years this fall. Since that time, she’s had corrective open heart surgery for her Tetralogy of Fallot, a complication from heart surgery that landed her back in the hospital for even more time, and four heart catheterizations.

But God is so good and faithful – at her most recent appointment, the cardiologist said it may be years before another intervention is needed. She continues to do well, and loves her new Italian greyhound puppy Figment, in addition to dinosaurs, horses, cooking, music, unicorns, cheetahs, bananas and princesses. Her favorite Bible story is the parable of the lost sheep.

Elena Behnke


We Want to Hear From You!

Because China is closed to visitors, we are missing your stories! Ask us a question or share your current passion for orphans in China. Look on Facebook, on our website at chinaorphans.org/get-involved or in your email inbox for opportunities to answer surveys or questions. To share a story or ask a question, direct message us on Facebook or email Lori and Ally at media@chinaorphans.org

You can be sure we will not share your comments and stories without your permission. What you share with us can help shape our future changing the lives of orphans in China.


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.

If you typically receive Heartbeat in the mail, please note that we did not publish and mail a newsletter in September. Look for the next issue in October!

From the Heart

September is a month of changes and transitions. The long hot days of summer are replaced by shorter days and cooler nights. Children return to school and the leaves begin to turn color and fall. Crops are harvested, and China celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival.

But some things never change. Kids need basics like food, shelter, and security.  Some even need medical care to survive. But to thrive, kids need more. They need to know they matter to someone, that they are capable, that they are loved.

That’s what you bring to orphans in China. Your compassion for kids without a family is out of the ordinary. Thank you for your part in changing the future of orphans!


Spotlight on Hydrocephalus

September is Hydrocephalus Awareness Month!  We would like to highlight a couple of sweet kiddos that were at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. It was a pleasure to support and care for these precious little ones. But first, what is Hydrocephalus?

In simple terms, it is the buildup of fluid in areas of the brain, but the location can vary. This buildup puts pressure on surrounding brain tissue and can affect brain function. While there is more than one type of hydrocephalus, the children at Shepherd’s Field were born with hydrocephalus. There are also Acquired and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). Acquired hydrocephalus occurs after birth, while NPH occurs in older adults. There is currently no “cure” for hydrocephalus, but treatment is an option.

Depending on resources available, children with hydrocephalus will often have a shunt put in place. The shunt is a long tube that drains fluid from your brain into your abdomen or chest cavity for your body to absorb. And it is long enough to grow with you!

An infant with hydrocephalus often has an enlarged head. And so these babies need extra help learning to support their head and developing core strength. Because of your donations, our Bright Stars Therapy Team improved the lives of many kids with hydrocephalus. They have a brighter future because of you!

Soft Giggles and Big Smiles

Jean Marie with hydrocephalus

Jean Marie was in our Bright Stars Therapy program at Philip Hayden Foundation. Her shunt was placed before her arrival. Jean Marie worked on core strength and leg mobility with her therapists. Jean Marie was born with hydrocephalus as well as not being able to bend her left leg. She made great strides in therapy, but continued therapy would be beneficial to her future success. Jean Marie still needs a forever family.

Zack with a big grin

Zack is another child at Shepherd’s Field as an infant who received therapy in our Bright Stars Therapy program. Zack was born with hydrocephalus and had a shunt placed before he arrived. He has the most contagious smile. Making him laugh was always the goal so that we could see that big smile! In therapy, Zack worked on core strength to keep himself balanced and sitting up. It was hard to not just cuddle him all day long! We are grateful to share that Zack joined his forever family in China in March of 2019.


We Want to Hear From You!

Because China is closed to visitors, we are missing your stories! What breaks your heart? What brings you joy? Look on Facebook, on our website at chinaorphans.org/get-involved or in your email inbox for opportunities to answer surveys or questions. To share a story or ask a question, direct message us on Facebook or email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org or Ally.Jarvis@chinaorphans.org 

You can be sure we will not share your comments and stories without your permission. What you share with us can help shape our future changing the lives of orphans in China.


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 will 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.

Your new self-service page will let you update your physical address or your email address. You can also change your online donations, view your donation history, and even print receipts for past donations!

If you have any questions, please email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org.

From the Founder

Life Skills Training Transforms Lives

The vision of the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) has always been to “transform the hope of disabled orphans into new lives of freedom and beauty.”  We recently sponsored eight new students in a Life Skills Training Program designed to do just that  – and their lives have been transformed as a result. A sense of accomplishment brings hope. The students completed 48 lessons of various topics – a total of 144 hours of instruction during the three-month-long program. Training included skills such as getting dressed, going shopping and even cooking. The participants also learned some work-related skills such as how to interview for a job and clean up after themselves, and they even had the opportunity to participate in some fun social activities like painting and music.

Accomplishments Bring Hope to Older Orphans

The program was a huge hit with all the participants – one of the students was even hired by a supermarket after completing training! We hope that all of them will be able to do as well, and continue to inspire others who may feel trapped and lonely. We look forward to the next opportunity to help older teens and young adults, by giving them the tools and training they need to live independent lives.


Adaptive Athletes Compete in Paralympics Games

logo for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Are you planning to watch the 2021 Summer Olympics? The best athletes in the world will converge in Tokyo in August to compete for the elusive Gold Medal – and only the best of the best will earn it. While the various sporting events are exhilarating, the back stories of the athletes are even more inspiring. Athletes share stories of years of sacrifice and training for the opportunity to be on the world stage and part of an elite community. Many times, an athlete will refer to the critical support provided by their family.

Since 1988, the Summer Paralympics have been held immediately following the Summer Olympics, using the same venues and arenas. The 4,400 athletes competing in the Paralympics participate in adaptive sports, with a complex array of groupings. For example, there may be as many as 20 classifications for the men’s 100m race.

Athletes With Disabilities Compete

Why so many? Paralympians have disabilities like limb deficiency, short stature, impaired muscle power, vision impairment, or ataxia (uncoordinated movements caused by damage to the central nervous system). The classifications – although complex – ensure that the athletes are competing against others with similar medical conditions.

Adaptive Sports Foster Accomplishment and Hope

Adaptive sports programs are for people who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid for movement. Participation in sports provides athletes with feelings of accomplishment, teamwork and determination, and adaptive sport athletes benefit in the same way. Check out Move United Sports for even more information and inspiration!

Many of our Shepherd’s Field alumni participate in adaptive sports, and at least two have even competed in the U.S. Nationals! Their stories are inspiring – ones filled with perseverance and family support. But in my mind, every individual needs that sense of value and belonging. And that is what the Philip Hayden Foundation offers. A sense of worth and accomplishment through therapy, medical care and vocational training – all provided with love and compassion.


UPDATE! Shepherd’s Field Alumni in Italy

Forever Family day for one Chinese orphan

Have you ever wondered how the adoption process works in other countries? The Italian Forever Family of Jerak Robbins – now Francesco – recently sent a welcome update.

In Italy, a home study includes an interview with both a social worker and a psychologist. Then a judge determines the family’s suitability for adoption. Francesco’s family received approval in September 2009 and was matched with the seven-year-old in the spring of 2011. They saw their first photo of him two weeks later, and finally traveled to China in November to meet their new son.

friends at shepherd's field

Francesco had a blue backpack with him when he met his new family – a backpack full of memories from Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV). Photos, drawings and school notebooks made up most of it.

His favorite friend at SFCV was Li Rei. Li Rei (now Philip) was adopted by an American family in 2012. He also remembers his English teacher and the many American visitors to Shepherd’s Field, who loved and played with the children.

In 2015, Francesco’s mom, Cristina finally found SFCV online, and was amazed to see all the photos – including many of Francesco – and see the love between all the kids. Francesco plays the flute, likes athletics and loves to cook. He’s also a great big brother to Yalin, who was adopted from China in 2016. Your support of the Philip Hayden Foundation continues to give children like Francesco futures filled with love and hope.

Remembering the Shepherd’s Field Paralympics

In 2018, our Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) staff created our very own campus Paralympics! Every year we like to look back at old pictures and think of the fun memories that were made during the event. We had an amazing team visiting that year. They eagerly helped kids like Tyler compete in daring wheelchair competitions like the cone obstacle course! I can remember the Therapy Team trying to create a board for the front of the wheelchairs, so they could compete in the soccer competition. At the end of the contest, we were able to award each child their own medal. The smiles on their faces reflected pure joy and feelings of accomplishment. We will always remember this day, and are so grateful to have made that memory with the kids.


We Want to Hear From You!

Has your daily life looked different over the past year? Mine sure has! And it’s been different for the Philip Hayden Foundation as well. With your support for the past 25 years, the lives of orphans have been changed for the better through medical care, therapy, and education – with many of our alumni joining forever families throughout the world. China has changed as well, and for many orphans, daily life has improved. Buildings have been updated, more orphans receive medical care earlier, and more caregivers are being trained. Best of all, more families in China are adopting. Unfortunately, kids with severe disabilities or those who are getting too old for a Children’s Welfare Institute still need your help.

Stories of Love in Action

visitor writing on the wall of the Inn

For nearly 15 years, Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village welcomed teams, visitors, and interns from all over the world. The walls of the kitchen in the Inn were filled with your comments and spilled out into the hallways and gathering rooms. Laughter filled the campus as you held, loved, and played with our kids. And hearts were changed. Many of you returned home and shared stories of love you saw in action, and the great need. Some of you adopted, others began faithfully praying for and supporting the Philip Hayden Foundation.

Because China is closed to visitors, we are missing your stories. Stories of your passion to help kids in China. What breaks your heart? What brings you joy?  Look on Facebook, on our website at chinaorphans.org/get-involved or in your email inbox for opportunities to answer surveys or questions. To share a story or ask a question, direct message us on Facebook or email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org or Ally.Jarvis@chinaorphans.org 

You can be sure we will not share your comments and stories without your permission. What you share with us can help shape our future continuing to change the lives of orphans in China.


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 will 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.

Your new self-service page will let you update your physical address or your email address. You can also change your online donations, view your donation history, and even print receipts for past donations!

If you have any questions, please email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org.

From the Founder

Cleft lips and palates are rather common congenital facial disorders worldwide, and in China, one out of every 600 babies are afflicted. Through the years, we’ve been able to provide thousands of surgeries to orphaned children who suffered with these abnormalities. We began in 1996 when we partnered with the China Charity Federation to operate on orphans of all ages throughout the country.

infant in hospital post cleft surgery

In recent years, for the children who lived with us at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), we partnered with the Third Beijing University Hospital. There we worked with Dr. Xie and his team of physicians and nurses, who are the best in the country. We’ve cooperated with them for more than a decade in a very successful partnership.

The surgery to repair a cleft lip and/or palate is a relatively simple procedure compared with other conditions, like heart defects. However, many kids in China have no way to get the operation because their parents must pay the entire cost in advance. Others may live in very remote areas, which restricts their access to hospitals that provide surgical care.

Surgery is Just the Beginning

Our goals for kids with cleft lips and palates include improving their ability to eat, speak and hear, and to achieve a normal facial appearance. The closing of the lip and palate are the first steps, and by far the most dramatic change for a child. However, their surgeries and treatments don’t stop there. Periodically, children need palate expansion, dental surgery and orthodontics, and even realignment of the upper and lower jaws. Tonsils and adenoid removal may also be necessary to improve sleeping. It’s a long road of costly doctor visits, operations and therapy visits, which are beyond the means of most families in China.

When you donate to our Medical Fund, needy children can receive the surgical transformations and follow-up care they desire and need. For more information on how you can help, go to info@chinaorphans.org.


cover of Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle with Quote "The very hungry caterpillar is about hope. You, like the little caterpillar, will grow up, unfold your wings and fly off into the future"

The foundational purpose of the Philip Hayden Foundation is to enable vulnerable children to first have hope, then to transform their hope into new lives of freedom and beauty.

Eric Carle, loved for his children’s books with imaginative collage artwork, recently passed away. I spent many hours with my children reading his books and admiring the artwork. But this quote from Eric Carle reminds me of the vulnerable children and orphans we help in China. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story is about hope. Children need hope.”

Children Need Hope

For a child with disabilities, even ordinary things can be hard. This can be even more true in an orphanage. Without opportunities for success, how can a child be proud of themselves? These precious kids often live without hope. And without hope, a child cannot look to the future.

This is our mission: Providing medical care, therapy, and education to at-risk children with disabilities in China, transforming hopelessness to lives of dignity, fulfillment, and value.

As a Partner in Hope with PHF, you provide hope to orphans with compassion. Thank you!


Did You Know?

The congenital disorder known as cleft-related can be cleft lip (CL) only or cleft palate (CP) only. It can also be both cleft lip and palate (CLP). The palate is the roof of the mouth, and a cleft is a split – or opening – that occurs when an unborn baby’s facial structure doesn’t quite meet during development. Usually this is an isolated condition. But, it can be part of a group of disorders affecting the organs near the center of the body, like the heart. Children born with cleft lip and palate are often undernourished, because they have difficulty eating. They can’t suck from a bottle like a typically developed baby, and need to use a special bottle. These are better, but even then, it takes much longer for an infant to eat. In addition, there is a high risk of ear infections or pneumonia.

Some countries, like China, have a higher number of cleft-affected babies than other parts of the world. However, even within China, some provinces – like Chongqing – have many more cases than others. Throughout China, nearly 1 in 600 live births are cleft affected.

Cleft Lip Repair Surgery First of Many

The first surgery to repair a child’s lip usually happens around 10 months of age, and the initial palate surgery repair occurs before the age of three. Some provinces have more access to surgeries than others, and yet the cost may still be too high for some families. Between 2001 and 2011, Smile Train a nonprofit medical group, provided more than 17,000 cleft repairs in China. The Philip Hayden Foundation cared for many cleft-affected kids through our 25 years, providing surgeries and care. Thankfully, most were adopted.

The vast majority of cleft-affected kids have more than six surgeries, and require extra dental work, orthodontia and speech therapy. Most of the time, however, there are no other related health issues. In many areas in the U.S., cleft lip and palate teams of medical experts work together to plan cohesive medical care for the community. Children’s Hospitals and Shriner’s Hospitals are great resources – or check in your local area! Kids with cleft lip and/or palate are waiting for their Forever Families too! Maybe one is waiting for you.


UPDATE! Gratitude, Surgeries, and Time at the Beach

Jamie with mom Chrissy

Jamie spent many years at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), and while there, donors like you provided for his surgeries, therapy and loving care. We send a huge Thank You to all of you!

It’s hard to believe that he’s has been home for a little over four years now, and just finished second grade. He’s in the Autistic Support Classroom at our local elementary school, and has grown so much in the last few years. I’m pretty sure he’s his teacher’s favorite. 😊 Not only is Jamie doing really well in school and learning a lot, but he’s also still in the process of going through his surgeries for cleft lip and palate. 

Cleft Palate Medical Teams Support Families

The surgeons in China performed multiple operations, and did an amazing job with the repair of his large bi-lateral cleft and palate opening. Once he was home and we saw the plastic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), I learned that fistulas (small openings in the palate) are common even after the palate is closed. They discovered that Jamie had three small fistulas, two of which have now been closed. 

Jamie with cleft surgeon Dr. Taylor at CHOP

On June 3, Jamie and I went to CHOP for his annual Cleft Team Day, where we saw multiple specialists related to Cleft Lip and Palate. We had visits with Dr. Taylor (plastic surgeon), the orthodontist, speech therapist, CL/P nurse, audiologist, and psychologist. During this visit, Dr. Taylor decided to close Jamie’s remaining fistula so it won’t affect Jamie when they go to expand his palate and do his bone graft surgery. The opening could potentially affect his speech and eating, and is currently affecting his breathing. If the hole continues to grow, it could cause more issues with breathing, sleeping and eating down the road, and make future surgeries more difficult.

After Jamie’s surgery in September, we’ll take the next steps to prepare for his bone graft, where they’ll take bone from his hip to seal the holes in his mouth. A few years after that, he will get rhinoplasty (a nose job!), and then a few more surgeries once he’s almost done growing. PHEW! 

Cleft-Affected Children Thrive with Coordinated Care

Having a child with cleft lip and palate was a lot more involved than I ever knew. I’m so grateful for the amazing team at CHOP, and that we’re so close to one of the best Children’s hospitals in the country. Dr. Taylor is always reassuring and so kind to Jamie and me. Jamie continues to amaze me with his strength and resiliency, especially after each surgery. His nurses always love him and are surprised to see how well he handles everything. He takes meds like a champ, and even surgery on his mouth doesn’t stop him from eating. I don’t think I could handle all of this as well as Jamie does. As a result, I’m a very proud mama!

In the meantime, as we await surgery we’re looking forward to some days at the beach (one of Jamie’s favorite places), lots of playground time, and a fun, relaxing summer during which we will celebrate Jamie’s 10th birthday!    – Chrissy Kelly


An Open Letter from Madison Adoption Associates

Philip Hayden Foundation has been partnering with Madison Adoption Associates to find Forever Families for orphans in China. Unfortunately, the process in China has recently changed, and you will need a completed dossier to be matched with a waiting child. Here’s what MAA is sharing:

Dear China Waiting Families,

In our continued effort to be fully transparent with all of our families in the China program, we are writing to let you know that we learned today that CCCWA is halting the issuance of any new pre-approvals.  Our understanding of this is that it will only impact the families who were interested in pursuing a specific child on the shared list, as we will not be able to lock and submit and receive PAs for those cases.  We are continuing to gather information, and will share any new information with you all as we receive it. 

In light of this new development, we, as an agency, have made the difficult decision to temporarily stop accepting new applications into our China program until we see forward movement.   As soon as adoptions resume, so will we with application acceptance.  The Chinese government continues to assure us that adoptions will resume, and when they do, we will immediately continue our advocacy and recruitment and sending of families.   But with knowing the monumental commitment of compiling a Dossier, we feel it would not be in our families’ best interest to continue to submit Dossiers and add to the backlog.  We understand that this feels like a step backwards, when we have all been fervently praying for steps forward.  And we realize this news will result in many emotions for all of our families, and not just the families directly affected by it.  It is difficult, at best, to advise our families on how to proceed when we, ourselves, have such limited information to go by.  Please know we are available to each and every one of you to talk through your individual case, and explore your options regarding what might be best for your family moving forward.  We will, of course, immediately email any urgent news learned, but we also plan to discuss this latest development, and the impacts on the program, during the June 16 Zoom meeting.  For those unmatched families who are directly impacted by this change, your caseworker will be reaching out to you individually.

We are living through a pandemic right now.  However, in time, we believe things will return to normal.  Thank you for your faith and trust in us as we walk with you through this unknown path.  We are praying for all of you and the children who wait.

The staff at Madison Adoption Associates


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 will 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.

Your new self-service page will let you update your physical address, your email address, change your online donations, view your donation history, and even print receipts for past donations!

If you have any questions, please email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org.