Making a difference, one child at a time.
We provide a safe haven for orphans who need hope. We advocate adoption for special kids who await adoption and transform lives with love, education, therapy, and medical care.
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.
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!
“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
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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
Chinese New Year was a joyous celebration on our 7Acres Campus, as the Rat made its appearance. The older teens, Trudy and Sunny made a delectable feast of Chinese treats for the staff, volunteers and others who stayed on campus during the holiday. Earlier in the day, Maggie (Tian Xin Xin) and two of the nannies made jiaozi (handmade dumplings stuffed with meat and veggies) from scratch, one of the most traditional New Year’s foods there is. If you’ve ever tried to make them yourself, you know just how challenging it is to fold them correctly, so we’re super proud of Maggie for her ability to learn this traditional skill! Normally, Chinese children learn how to do this from their older family members during the holiday. At the meal, the kids received their traditional Chinese Hongbao, a lucky red envelope with money inside. They all giggled with glee as they opened the little ruby-colored treasure packets.
After the feast, we went outside to continue celebrating the Year of the Rat. Usually we shoot off fireworks, but this year – because of a ban on fireworks in our Development Zone – we weren’t able to do so. However, our neighbors in the surrounding villages illuminated the skies for us, with plenty of fireworks and sonic booms! The kids lit some sparklers and made beautiful displays by waving their arms in a variety of circular motions, while we all enjoyed the patterns they made. While the kids played, the adults gathered around the campfire and sipped our favorite beverages – talking, listening to music and enjoying each other’s company. Despite all the scary news about the coronavirus, we thoroughly enjoyed the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar. The Chinese say “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or “Xin Nian Kuai Le” during the holiday – but no matter how you say it, we wish you all a very Happy Chinese New Year!
Countless Chinese New Year festivities evaporated as a mysterious, previously unknown virus emerged in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province. The first location of what’s called the COVID-19 Coronavirus was reported at a seafood market that also sold exotic animals. The virus quickly became a national health emergency, as hundreds of millions of people across China embarked on annual pilgrimages to home provinces to celebrate the New Year with their families.
As the virus began to spread outside of Hubei, emergency measures were put into effect, causing tens of millions of people to be quarantined in Wuhan and its surrounding areas. Other cities, towns and villages also restricted people’s movement, and the government virtually locked down the entire nation in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Restaurants, malls, schools, offices and factories all closed. Only hospitals and a few grocery stores remained open, with limited amounts of inventory. Citizens are told daily to stay in their homes and wear a mask, to frequently wash their hands with soap and hot water, stay put, and if experiencing any symptoms, go to the hospital fever centers and be checked.
After the weeklong holiday ended, work and schools remained closed. No deliveries, no public transportation, and no large gatherings of people have been allowed. Fever checkpoints have been set up going in and out of just about everything imaginable, including cities, towns, villages, housing complexes and development zones. Anyone showing signs of a fever are taken to quarantine facilities to be further checked.
While we see and feel the effects of the coronavirus all around us – from closed restaurants, the inability to go out anywhere or the heavy presence of police and public health safety officers – we’re all very aware of what a gift the 7Acres Campus is to us. Though ready-made, take-out food is not accessible due to the restrictions for all restaurants to remain closed at this time, just across the street we have a fresh vegetable market that’s open, and two small grocery stores where we buy snack foods like chips and soda, as well as frozen chicken nuggets and ice cream. In villages around us, residents are only allowed to leave their homes once every other day to buy essential goods – but no such guideline has been given to us. Not only are we able to head down to the market whenever needed, a greater blessing has been the ability to be outside, weather permitting. Cabin fever sets in very quickly, but the chance to get some sunlight and air and walk around the campus has kept spirits up in these uncertain times.
Humans are not the only ones to feel the weight of cabin fever and stress of the coronavirus restrictions. The dogs of 7Acres have also been forced to adjust, but have not had any outdoor restrictions. On days when the sun is out, the pups have all enjoyed running around in the grass and snow. However, a new, daily “puppy playtime” event has emerged in the long, downstairs hallway of our staff housing, and it tuckers out even the most playful dog (and human). Other ways we’re coping with the pressing health restrictions are weekly cornhole beanbag tournaments, as well as near-nightly card games and bonfires. Besides playing, the extended indoor time off work has given everyone a chance to do spring cleaning and decluttering.
While we remain safe, let’s not forget about those who are less fortunate. Our hearts go out to all those families affected by the coronavirus, as well as the doctors, nurses and technicians who have sacrificed so much to help those in need. Pray for China, especially the city of Wuhan and for all those who have been affected by the virus.
Doctors at Huaxin Hospital have discharged Luke (Tian Yi), and he’s returned to his home orphanage. His surgeon, Doctor Wu told us that Luke’s surgery was a complete success, and that the boy’s future is now very bright – he’ll be able to live a normal life. This is a miraculous story! Back home, he’s eating well and getting stronger every day. Luke now spends his days with his housemates, and enjoys reading books, playing cards and just hanging out with his friends. His color, oxygen level and blood pressure are all excellent. (See last month’s related story for details.)
Unfortunately, Luke turns 13 years old this month, which gives him just one more year to find a Forever Family before he ages out of China’s adoption system. Let’s all help Luke find a family by sharing his story with our friends, families, coworkers, and across our social media platforms. With God’s help we can see his dreams become a reality. Contact us at: email@example.com to learn more.
Maggie (Tian Xin Xin) is a strong, smart and funny girl. This past year she’s absorbed every lesson from her teachers, and has really grown up and come out of her shell – she’s much more engaging and polite than her younger self. Maggie turns 14 this spring, and has happily put the life skills she’s learned into practice at home, while recuperating. Just six months after her kidney transplant, however, she showed elevated blood sugar levels, and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As a result, she began taking hypoglycemic drugs and eating a strictly controlled diet.
Maggie is now 15 months post-op from her kidney transplant, but must take anti-rejection drugs, liver protection medication, bilirubin drugs and a small quantity of hormones every day. Her blood sugar fluctuates significantly, which affects the concentration of the anti-rejection drugs on her body. Her liver function and bilirubin values are often abnormal, so she goes to the hospital every week to test her liver and kidney functions, as well as her blood, urine, electrolytes and anti-rejection drug levels. The ongoing cost of this treatment averages US$1,000 (¥7,029 RMB) each month.
Her weakened immune system leaves Maggie susceptible to colds and coughs, and she suffers from heart palpitations, fatigue and sweating due to abnormal heart function when she has a cold. Maggie has congenital heart disease, so her doctor closely monitors her heart function by regularly taking a sonogram. When you consider what Maggie’s been through in her short life, she too is a miracle. Any one of her medical issues could have ended her life, but she’s a fighter – and still going strong! To learn more about Maggie, or to offset her ongoing medical costs, go here.
Sweet-hearted Lydia (Yangxi Zinan) has been part of our big PHF family since she first came to live on our campus in early 2013. She has significant speech and learning disabilities, as well as recurrent ear infections with discharge. Her eyes are farther apart than typical (hypertelorism), and she was born with a coloboma, which is a gap or hole in or near the eye. In September 2009 she underwent successful coloboma surgery, which corrected this defect.
Lydia’s sweet and lively spirit is infectious. She loves to play games, especially tag – and is a pro at kicking the soccer ball. While Lydia has a limited vocabulary, she has learned to be an effective communicator. She uses some American Sign Language (ASL), picture cards and verbal cues. In spite of her learning challenges, Lydia is a quick learner and is eager to help others. We are hoping and praying that she’ll find her Forever Family before she ages out in May. To inquire about Lydia, please contact us.