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.
Sadly, we recently said “zai jian” to some of our key foreign staff members, who will certainly be missed. Naomi Preedin has been our Therapy Department Head for the past six years. She did an amazing job training our Therapy Staff and raising the level of care in a very challenging special-needs environment. She also expanded the scope of our work, by training many therapy workers at our partner orphanages across China, who can now serve children compassionately, with much better tools and skills. Naomi, who wore many hats at the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF), was also part of our China Leadership Team and served as our Internship Coordinator.
Carm Hepworth joined our team four years ago and has been in charge of our In-kind Donations – overseeing the organization, inventorying and distribution of all our donated supplies. Last year, she took on more responsibility when she became our Facilities Manager, overseeing campus maintenance and cleaning. Thanks in part to her amazing Chinese language ability, she did a phenomenal job!
Heidi and John Bison joined our team a year ago. Heidi, a busy mother of four, became the Internship Coordinator, and John worked on our Maintenance Team. Having the Bison family at 7Acres was a great addition to our team, as everyone loved their four kids – Grace, Leo, Ariauna, and Jaden. They really brought an element of family to the other staff on campus, with weekly meals and cookouts together. Naomi, Carm, Heidi and John were key members of our 7Acres Team who will all be greatly missed. We wish them the best as they explore their next adventures in the USA and beyond.
Leaving China was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, if not the hardest. PHF and China have been my home, my family and my life’s work for nearly six years, and a piece of me and my heart will always be there. My decision didn’t come lightly. While I miss China and PHF dearly, I’m excited for what adventures await for me, Zai and Henry in the USA.
Getting from China back to the States was quite the roller coaster, with hours spent on the phone arranging logistics, paperwork, packing and a few tearful goodbyes – but we made it! Relocating from one country to another amidst a global pandemic wasn’t easy, but I’m grateful for the experience and the time that I’m now having with family and friends. The pups and I have relocated to the Chicagoland area where we will stay for the time being. When our next adventure begins, we hope to move to a new city. In October 2020, I’ll graduate with an MBA, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. My goal is to work in the nonprofit sector and learn as much as I can, with the hope of one day starting a consulting company to help nonprofits around the world fulfill their missions, succeed in operations and help those in their communities of service. Zai, Henry and I are happy to be back – sad to have left China – but excited for the next right thing and our next adventure!
The trip home was a stressful and long process, but after many, many hours on the phone, a missed flight, long layovers and a nervous puppy who had never spent much time in a crate, Riley and I made it to Michigan. However, my heart remains in China and my desire is to once again work with children there. That is why, once the current crisis is past and things begin to open, Riley and I will begin whatever training we can find to make us useful once again in Asia. I hope to become a certified emotional therapy team that can bring comfort to children like the ones with whom I’ve spent the last decade.
Oh, how we miss China and all of the beautiful people we’ve met and grown to love! The decision to move to Asia was much easier than the decision to leave. Not only is China the birthplace of two of our children, it’s also a land we love and a place where we’ve been honored to serve. So many people have poured love into our family of six while we lived in China and navigated some very difficult seasons. It’s hard to believe we first arrived almost three years ago – time has flown! Our season of serving in China was already coming to an end and it was time to come back to the U.S., but because of COVID-19 we moved up our departure date to mid-February.
Coming back to life in America was not an easy transition for our family. During our 14-day quarantine in an RV, we contracted Flu A and were very sick. We did get to give the local hospital and health department a chance to “practice” their protocols for potential COVID-19 patients, so maybe that’s the silver lining?! Before moving to China in 2017, we called North Carolina home, and that’s where we spent the first few weeks of our time back. However, we’ve just relocated to Colorado and will see what’s in store for our family next. Our hearts will always be in China. We’ll return when we can to visit all of our beloved friends and those who have become our family.
As the world has become more and more impacted by the effects of the coronavirus, things in China are settling down somewhat – but are not yet back to normal. Our staff at PHF have still not returned to work, as we wait for the official word from the government of when that will be allowed. Maggie continues to do well – her isolation on our campus has really protected her and her caregivers from any possible exposure to the virus. Luke is recovering successfully from heart surgery, and – like everyone else in China – he’s still under self-quarantine. He’s eating well, reading books and playing cards or chess with his roommates. You can Be The Change for this young man by sharing his information. Email email@example.com for more information about Luke.
The year 2020 will always be remembered for the global coronavirus pandemic, causing sickness, death, self-isolation and huge economic loss worldwide. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the virus, especially those who have lost loved ones, and the healthcare workers and first responders who sacrifice so much to fight the battle on the frontlines to keep us all healthy and safe.
As we mark the Philip Hayden Foundation’s 25th anniversary of providing care to special-needs orphans in China, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that our work of helping these children isn’t finished, and there’s still much work to do to provide hope to the kids who have none. While the coronavirus has delayed projects and events worldwide – including our new 7Acres Project – it has not caused us to give up hope, but to continue to press on, plan and prepare to help those teens and young adults with disabilities.
The weeks of self-isolation and social distancing that all of us are experiencing for probably the first time in our lives, is nothing new to our kids – who have experienced isolation most of their existence, living in institutions, unseen by the rest of the world. We have an opportunity to profoundly change the course of many of their lives by providing them with therapy, education, life skills and job training. The end goal is to help usher them into independent lives outside of an institution, but this goal can’t be achieved without help from people like you. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We really appreciate your love and support in these difficult and challenging times. Be safe, and please care for yourselves by taking all the proper precautions to wash your hands, self-isolate and practice social distancing.
Better days are coming! In the meantime, let’s hone our skills, knowledge and sense of mission to prepare ourselves for service after the world returns to normal. Above all, we have hope that our callings will grow through this time of crisis. Millions of people are certainly reflecting on their lives and reordering their priorities now. Let’s pray that the world will soon be a more compassionate, loving place where those who successfully faced the COVID-19 virus together will now put differences aside to tackle the real needs of the world with us.
In the midst of all the uneasiness that quarantine and self-isolation bring, there’s also great news to report! Two of our 7Acres Team members tied their lives together last month here in China. Warm congratulations to Zack Baker and Abi Wen on their new marriage!
Foreign Nationals’ Visas Temporarily Suspended –The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China National Immigration Administration announced on March 28 the temporary suspension of entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits. This was done in view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world. China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.