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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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.
They’d rumble in every June, astride quaking Harleys and dressed in denim, leather and tattoos – until Covid canceled the 2020 and 2021 events. For 10 years, Beijing’s Mad Dog Motorcycle Club (MC) put on what grew into one of the city’s biggest – and certainly most fun – charity events. These bikers might look rough and tough on the outside, with their roaring Harleys, inked-up bodies and leather jackets, but underneath all that toughness and swagger the club members have hearts of pure gold. We have nothing but respect for these bikers, who share our compassion for disabled orphaned children.
Prior to being shut down by the pandemic, the Mad Dogs put on a first-class event to raise support for the children of Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV). The annual event has been celebrated for its great food and drinks, including burgers, pizza and a huge selection of craft beers. Live music – featuring 10 bands – easily drew the masses from morning ’til night, while a variety of games amused young and old. The annual raffle was always a highly anticipated crowd favorite, boasting more than 60 prizes.
One of the best, best, best memories from this event was always when the Mad Dog M/C members rode their Harleys out to Shepherd’s Field to spend the day playing and hanging out with the kids! Even though Covid has prevented them from putting on the popular charity event in 2020 and again this year, we still want to give the club members, event sponsors, musicians, volunteers, and the folks who came to the event a huge shoutout for all that they’ve done to provide support for special-needs orphans. You are forever part of our big SFCV Family, and we’ll never forget you. Hopefully, 2022 will bring us back together for another memorable event!
Children throughout China eagerly look forward to it, as do kids from around the world. In 1949, the Women’s International Democratic Federation declared International Children’s Day to be celebrated on June 1. That day is set aside to enhance the protection of children. But in China, it’s also celebrated as a day for kids to have fun with family and friends.
Some schools host field trips to a park, museum or the zoo, while others have a half-day – or all day – off. Some students even put on a dramatic performance! Many parents celebrate their child by doing a family activity together, eating a favorite meal or snack, or giving gifts. The most important focus, however, is always to spend quality time with your kids and celebrate their lives.
At Shepherd’s Field, our children spend months preparing special performances for honored guests and staff. They love acting on stage! However, performing may not be the highlight of the year – a McDonald’s Happy Meal or some Kentucky Fried Chicken usually brings even more joy! After that, staff and guests close the day by playing outdoors with the kids – laughing, running and wheeling around. This June 1, wish someone you know Happy Children’s Day – 儿童节快乐! (értóng jié kuàilè)!
“My favorite holiday that we celebrated at Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) was International Children’s Day on June1. Interning in the Little Lambs School allowed me to see how hard every child worked for weeks to rehearse and practice their performances. They really wanted to show off their talents to PHF guests, staff and volunteers. Every time the children left the stage after their acts, you could see how proud they were to be in the spotlight. More than 200 people were celebrating their accomplishments! One of the highlights of Children’s Day preparation is watching all the kids’ eyes light up when selecting their fancy Shepherd’s Field Fashion Show outfits to show off to the audience.
“My absolute favorite memory from Children’s Day is being barraged with water balloons by Molly during the annual water fight – an event where everyone can let loose and feel like a kid again. Even though I was able to appreciate all of the children’s gifts and accomplishments daily while interning at PHF, Children’s Day was still the most exciting day, since it marked the culmination and celebration of all their work.” – Annie Beckman
If you’ve been around Shepherd’s Field at all and met him, you’d know that Levi is a funny little guy. Gentle and always smiling. Now going on eight years old, he’s recently been living with a foster family in China who also have several other children. Levi is energetic – he loves to play games, and craves toys that make loud sounds. He also likes listening to music, spending time alone and relaxing. Levi needs some time to warm up to strangers, but once he does – get ready to play! He has a very bubbly personality, and will laugh at just about anything. In fact, his contagious laughter makes him drop to the floor, out of control.
Levi started chemotherapy for retinoblastoma in his left eyeball late in 2014. In May of 2015, he had a retinal laser photocoagulation for his left eye under general anesthesia. A few months later in July, he underwent a removal of the left eye and had an artificial eye implanted. Levi has had regular, routine exams for the past five years, and continues to be healthy. Let’s find sweetie/silly Levi a Forever Family who will always love and cherish him.
Luke just turned 14, and is truly a special child – you can’t help but have a warm heart when he’s around. Like most kids, he loves playing games with others, but he also likes to take a break and read. He’s wise, kind-hearted and far beyond his years – a bright boy who is even known for his poetry. At Shepherd’s Field if you visited Luke’s house, you’d see him helping the ayis or holding and playing with his little brothers and sisters.
Like millions of other children, Luke’s been unable to attend public school – but he still loves his studies. Unlike other kids, Luke has a congenital heart condition and has received multiple surgeries throughout his life. He’s otherwise healthy, but he has to limit what kinds of games and activities he participates in. This young teen deserves the world. With your help, we’ve been able to provide necessary surgeries and continued healthcare for him. Will you now help us find him a Forever Family?
For more information, or if you or someone you know wants to adopt a child mentioned in this newsletter, please contact us at email@example.com.
It’s graduation time! Last November, the Philip Hayden Foundation began hosting an online therapy training course. PHF partnered with therapists at LIH Olivia’s Place to plan and teach the course. Our first class has nearly 80 therapy caregivers. These represent 1 orphanage and 5 Chinese non-government organizations (NGOs). All the participants work directly with children who have disabilities.
Each participant has completed 60 online lessons and a mid-term exam. There are just 3 live sessions left, followed by a final exam. Lessons are in four areas of therapy. ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) was the first topic. ABA provides tools for working with kids with autism. OT (Occupational Therapy) and PT (Physical Therapy) teach caregivers how to improve mobility. Speech and Language Therapy improve communication skills, so that kids can understand and be understood. Let’s give a big shout out to the teachers and students who have worked so hard!
These practical lessons provide caregivers specific tools to improve the life of the children in their care. Because 98% of the children in orphanages have disabilities, this training is crucial. Your donations make this valuable training possible, changing the lives of orphans in China.
If you or someone you know wants to adopt a child mentioned in this newsletter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Levi or Luke!
We recently hosted 20 children with disabilities, along with their parents for a World Vision Field Day at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), giving them some much-needed ‘outdoor therapy.’ The children had fun digging in the dirt, and planting colorful flowers in the raised garden beds outside of the greenhouse. They filled the playground with their laughter and shrieks of glee – climbing everything, chasing each other and just sitting around. Therapy teachers led them in several exciting games, and at noon they all shared a barbecue lunch. It was a perfect day! A special shout-out to World Vision for giving us such an awesome time.
Hector has grown a lot – he’ll be 14 by the end of the year, and he’s starting to enjoy new things, like music. He has a new teacher who really cares about him, who’s been teaching him how to play the electric piano. Being the little ham that he is, he’s really taken to it – and he already knows how to play three simple tunes!
This weekend, Hector and his friends went out to a local park for their first spring outing. It was a beautiful day, and a welcome break for everyone – they were so happy to just go out somewhere and have fun. I think most of us can relate to how difficult it is to be confined at home during Covid – it’s been hard on everyone’s overall mental health. How much more for these precious kids with their added special needs? On this day, however, the sunshine and fresh air lifted their spirits and gave them hope.
May is Mental Health Month, and hard life experiences (trauma) can be part of lifelong mental health issues. Individual responses to trauma can vary from person to person. For young children, the typical response is feeling too much (overwhelmed) or too little (numbed). Strong emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness and shame are particularly difficult for children to understand and navigate.
Sadly, most orphans in China have had experiences that result in trauma. These include neglect, loss of primary caregivers, instability in living situations, disabilities and loss of security. According to the National Institute of Health, trauma is the response to a deeply distressing event (hard life experience) that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.
Trauma can result in emotional, physical, cognitive and biological changes – but not every child responds the same way. And while we can’t change past experiences, we can teach healthy ways to cope with the aftereffects. One simple way we implemented this at the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) was by learning to identify and label emotions. We helped children understand that emotions affect how our bodies feel. In addition, the Bright Stars Therapy Team at PHF has been trained in TBRI – Trust Based Relational Intervention – and has taught the principles to caregivers in other orphanages.
The term self-regulation is often referred to when describing how to process big emotions. But what is self-regulation? One child describes it like this, “It is the ability to calm yourself by yourself.” Katie Thornton has a short article on regulating emotions on the Texas Christian University blog that is useful for any caregiver and child to increase awareness about emotions. She says there are three simple questions to ask a child: How does your body feel right now? What strategy can I use to calm down (or wake up, refocus)? How will my body feel after I use this strategy? Remember that children will need an adult to help with this process because big emotions can be overwhelming and scary!
And if you have adopted a child or you are interested in more resources, check out Show Hope. The adoption journey doesn’t end on the day a child is welcomed home. It is just the beginning of a beautiful story.
I was privileged to be at Shepherd’s Field Children Village the summer of 2018 for 3 and a half weeks. I remember being both anxious and excited when getting on my 17-hour flight to Beijing. When I stepped off of my flight, I did not know the wonders that SFCV held. One of my favorite parts was going into each home and meeting the family of children and nannies it had inside. Some children had been at SFCV since they were babies together. Their bond was strong and something you wanted to be a part of as soon as you sat down next to them.
I knew from the start that more than one of these wonderful children were going to steal a bit of my heart, and they sure did. Unfortunately, I am a native English speaker and was not able to talk that well with the staff and children. But we figured out ways to get to know each other. Playing and laughing with the kids was the most powerful form of communication, it showed that we were there for them. I miss every single one of those children and know that any family who adopts a child is tremendously blessed. Each child is complex and wonderfully made. I am still so grateful to have gotten to know them during my short stay at SFCV.
At first, I felt like I was intruding, but the welcoming spirit the nannies and staff had for us was overwhelming. We were there to help them empower and enjoy their children, and they gladly accepted that. I was in awe of the love that the nannies had for all the children. The care for each child ran deeper than just being there for a job. I loved seeing the support that everyone there gave to give the children there a beautiful and full life. People of all giftings and abilities came together to work as a team, as a family to empower and support these resilient children, who have lived through harder things than most people ever will as an adult. Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village is a slice of heaven on earth.
Madison Adoption Associates (MAA) want to introduce you to one of our favorites – Seth! He’s a handsome and smart little guy, born in December 2009, with a right inguinal hernia. Independent and well-rounded, Seth likes making friends, playing outdoors with the other children and definitely eating! He’s said to be a real ‘foodie’! Seth also has a lot of hobbies, like running, jumping, riding a bicycle or scooter, doing handcrafts, puzzles and more. He loves to read, and his favorite books right now are the Harry Potter series.
He can speak a small amount of English, and he does very well academically, too. Last year, Seth got a 100 in math and 98 in Chinese on his mid-term exam, and a 100 in math and in Chinese on the final exam! He also has a spirit of exploration, a good sense of humor, loves cultural and artistic performances, and is a great dancer! Seth can’t wait to be adopted, and we are here to help him make that dream come true.
Did we say she’s active? She’s now able to ask for help, express her needs and respond to simple questions.She enjoys going to therapy and learning about facial features, playing a clapping game and imitating sign language. She also likes to ride scooters, explore and take walks, build block towers, listen to Opera music, and match shapes in puzzles. We want to help Liviah find a Forever Family who will play opera music whenever she wants, so we can all see that smile! You can help by contacting email@example.com today.
Next, we have – Liviah! This adorable girl was born in August 2016, and is an active, cheerful, clever little girl who’s loved by everyone around her. Liviah was born with Down syndrome, including some congenital heart defects. In September 2018, she had surgery to repair these defects, and her caretakers say that Liviah’s communication and cognitive development has progressed well since coming into care. They say she’s fallen in love with ‘painting’ and ‘going to the theater,’ and is crazy about dancing. In fact, whenever she sees a cell phone, she gets excited and automatically starts dancing!
If you or someone you know wants to adopt a child mentioned in this newsletter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Graham, Seth, or Liviah!
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a great time to learn more about coping with hearing and/or speech loss. First, a key part of a person’s well-being is to understand and be understood, which is difficult for people like 9-year-old Graham, one of our PHF kids. He’s a great example of someone who had hearing loss and did not speak. Then your contributions helped change his life at the age of five. Graham was fitted for a hearing aid, and when he received his assistive device and it was turned on, his behavior immediately changed. He became calm, was more attentive, stopped making unintentional sounds, and began to respond to prompts. Thankfully, your donations that made this new device possible for him.
Graham had new opportunities to express himself, including using a picture exchange system. He also learned some sign language with our Bright Stars Therapy Team, although he would rather be on the move. A new world has opened up to this excited little boy!
Word is, he’s also quite the busy body! Graham likes toys, but can be very particular in his choosing. Blocks and puzzles are his favorites at the moment. He’ll often cling onto you and give loads of the sweetest little hugs. He’ll become very attached to certain people, even if it takes a moment before he warms up. Graham has some hearing, and according to his orphanage he can follow simple directions. He also has congenital heart defects.
You can see Graham’s life change again, by helping us find a Forever Family for him, one that can help him grow and communicate. Most importantly, to help him understand that he is loved. Will you help us find sweet Graham a family who can love and support him as he grows?
If you or someone you know wants to adopt a child mentioned in this newsletter, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Philip Hayden Foundation Board of Directors is made up of 12 members from many different walks of life, who have a common compassion for vulnerable orphaned children from around the world. Our board members together have adopted 15 children – they’re dedicated to our mission of providing love, medical care, therapy and education with compassion to at-risk orphans and children with disabilities.
Tim & Pam Baker are our founders and have served on the PHF Board since 1996. They have seven children, four of whom were adopted from China. The Bakers have lived in China since 1988, helping orphaned children with disabilities for nearly 30 years. They volunteered in China’s state-run orphanages in the early 1990s and established Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) in 1995. Their foster home for orphans with disabilities – called Langfang Children’s Village (LCV) – operated from 1999-2008. Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) started in 2006. Their family has grown to include three sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and four beautiful grandchildren.
Charlie Bronaugh is Executive Vice President of California Bank & Trust in Los Angeles, and has more than 30 years of experience in banking and finance. He currently holds the position of Commercial Banking Manager. He earned a degree in Finance from the University of Texas at Tyler. Charlie is married to his childhood sweetheart, Vickie who also serves on the Board.
Vickie Bronaugh is an award-winning producer, director and writer. She’s worked extensively in the television and film industry, and has written and directed two award-winning short films. Vickie also has more than 30 commercials to her credit.
The Bronaughs have two beautiful daughters, both adopted from China. They met the Bakers in 1998 after their first adoption, and there was an instant connection between the families, who shared a common passion for the orphaned children of China. Since that first meeting, Charlie and Vickie have supported PHF through prayer, giving and trips to Langfang Children’s Village and Shepherd’s Field.
Daniel Padden is the Senior Partner at the CPA firm, Padden Cooper CPAs in Medford, N.J. He has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, and earned a degree in Accounting from Grove City College in Grove City, Penn. Part of his practice is dedicated to helping nonprofits in the U.S. and abroad with their accounting and tax needs. Dan and his wife Deb have seven children, three of whom were adopted from China – in fact, their youngest son, Eli was adopted from Shepherd’s Field. Deb has been a volunteer as well, helping to guide interested families across the sometimes-complicated process of adoption. Through the Padden’s past work of hosting needy orphans from the Tianjin orphanage who needed medical care, Dan and Deb were introduced to Shepherd’s Field.
Charles Hill was born and raised in Southern California. He has 30 years of experience working with young people both professionally and personally. As a youth pastor he has taken several teams on short-term humanitarian service trips abroad. In the summer of 2011, he took a team to Shepherd’s Field to volunteer and fell in love with the children as well as the organization because of the selfless work. During this trip he and his wife Gretchen also met Henry at Shepherd’s Field whom they adopted two years later. Charles and Gretchen also have two biological children. Passionate about advocating for orphans, Charles is excited to personally be a part of that awareness.
Kim Kramer is a native of San Diego, Calif., and has degrees from Cal State Fullerton and Talbot Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Chrissy have made Austin, Texas, their home since 1991 where they raised two children. Kim is an ordained pastor and has served churches for more than 30 years in California, Minnesota and Texas. He first met Tim Baker one Sunday morning at his church in Austin, and they became fast friends. He paid a visit to Shepherd’s Field shortly thereafter. Kim returned to China three more times over the years, and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter. In his spare time, he plays guitar, enjoys the outdoors and roots for the Boston Red Sox.
Randy & Julie Watson have two now teenage sons adopted from China. They started volunteering at PHF when they lived in China in the early 2000’s. After their return to the US, they sponsored and led several volunteer trips to PHF from their home church in Cincinnati, OH. They continue to raise up prayer and financial supporters for PHF. Randy is a PhD chemist who recently retired after a 30-year R&D career with an international consumer goods company. He is now part-time pastor at Branches Church in Loveland, OH, Market Development Director with a healthcare startup, and consults with non-profit leaders. Julie works with Coalition of Care, a local non-profit that raises up and enables local churches to care for at risk children and families.
Tommy Thompson is an entrepreneur who runs his own heating and cooling business. Laura Thompson, also serving on the board, is an elementary school teacher. After getting married in 2009, Laura and Tommy moved to China to teach English. While there, they met Tim Baker and instantly connected with him and the work at Shepherd’s Field. Having fallen in love with the Chinese people, their culture, and PHF’s vision to help orphans, the Thompsons dreamed of returning after their move home in 2010. In 2016, the door opened and they moved to Shepherd’s Field to do child advocacy work, education, maintenance and campus oversight work. The Thompsons have three young daughters, one of which is adopted from Shepherd’s Field. They now call Denver home, but have a heart for the Chinese people and hope they can return someday.
Andy Ackermann is a tax partner with a CPA firm in Indianapolis, IN. Andy began working with PHF in 2005 after hearing Tim Baker tell the story of PHF. After hearing about Levi and all the other children in China, he felt led by God to offer his accounting talents to PHF. Andy and his wife, Rebecca, traveled to China to volunteer at SFCV. While there, they met a little boy, Chi, that they adopted in 2007. Andy truly believes it has been a great honor to be a part of such a wonderful organization that has impacted so many lives around the world. In addition to their son Chi, Andy and Rebecca have a son, Noah, who was adopted from Cambodia, and two daughters, Malia and Saige.
In honor of Occupational Therapist Month, we’d like to highlight our very own Katy Everhart, MOT. Katy joined our Shepherd’s Field family when she and her husband Dustin moved to our campus in 2018. Katy served as the Occupational Therapist (OT) for our Bright Stars Therapy Program, and was an amazing addition.
An occupation is what you spend time doing, either for pleasure or because it needs to be done. In many respects, the primary occupation of a child is play! The focus of a pediatric OT is to help a child learn or develop skills needed for everyday living – from eating and moving safely, to self-care, to regulating emotions, to social skills. OTs really work hard to make learning fun, though!
Through her time with us, Katy changed many lives for the better. She trained orphanage staff not only here, but across China in other orphanages, and we’re very grateful to her. Thank you, Katy, for your amazing work as an Occupational Therapist and as a part of our family.
Over the past ten years there has been increased awareness about Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes ASD this way. “ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.” The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has even more information here.
So why acceptance and not awareness? Do you know someone who is autistic? Most people do, and also have an idea about what it is – but their idea can be wrong. Often, awareness emphasizes our differences while acceptance emphasizes our commonalities. Sometimes awareness makes it harder for those who are autistic. Acceptance is more about seeing the whole person and embracing who they are. This concept of acceptance – not tolerance – is part of our human connection, a piece of our value to others. At Philip Hayden Foundation, we want every orphan to be loved and valued.
Many orphans on the China Waiting Child list are listed as autistic. But that can mean many different things, from non-verbal to gifted. Learn about autism by asking questions, particularly of those with first-hand experience. Maybe your family will be a forever family for a waiting child! Check out our Facebook and Instagram posts in April for other great resources!
As a family, we knew early on that we were being called to adopt, and began that process in the U.S. Through that journey, God led us to adopt a baby boy with Down syndrome, who opened our hearts and minds to the needs of little ones with special needs. Then God widened the door to include China, where we knew there were many more babies with Down syndrome who needed Forever Families. As we began praying through the decision to begin an international adoption, a friend we’d met through the adoption community created an advocacy post on social media with the picture of Jordy Song Yinglin, the cutest little fella. We knew then that he was our son and that we would be heading to China to bring Cody home.
During the months we were completing paperwork, we found out that he was living at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV). We were relieved and excited to find out that he was there, especially as we learned more about the programs and therapies they were providing to the orphans in their care. And eagerly followed their Facebook page to catch glimpses of our Cody participating in the various activities they held for the kids. We loved seeing the monthly birthday parties and Children’s Day celebrations, and we also saw pictures of him working with the therapists who taught him to walk. Seeing so many smiles helped ease the heartache of waiting on the stacks of paperwork to be approved.
When we finished all of our adoption paperwork and completed that last step of getting travel approval, we were excited that it worked out to visit SFCV and meet so many of the caregivers who loved Cody so thoroughly. Seeing them in person felt a lot like meeting celebrities after having followed them online for months. We saw firsthand how well the children were taken care of and loved on through daily care and games and activities. We know that because Cody was cared for at SFCV, he had a head start in learning to adapt to a family and communicate his needs with us. Because he had loving nannies and caregivers, he was better able to connect with us.
Cody has been home for six years, and has made many gains, including an increased vocabulary and knowing when to ask for things he needs. He’s the big brother to our son who we adopted as a baby, and we also traveled back to China a couple of years later to bring his other little brother home. The boys share a room and have a blast playing together. Cody has learned to initiate new games with his brothers, and they’re all learning more about using their imaginations as they play. He also has five older sisters wrapped around his little finger. He enjoys cuddling with them and talking them into getting him snacks. They adore him.
Cody is an amazing boy, and we’ve loved watching him grow and learn new things. While he’s changed in many ways over the past six years, he’s also found his voice and gained confidence in his own skills. It’s amazing how well he fit into our family from the day we met him – he just somehow knew we were meant to be together. While we understand that there was great loss in his past, we’re thankful for Cody’s time at Shepherd’s Field and for the journey that led us to China and to him. Adoption has taught us many things, but the most important one is how to create a beautiful family.
~ Julie Jarrard
This sweet boy with the mischievous smile was born in August 2014. You may remember him from being part of our Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) family! He was born with myelomeningocele/hydrocephalus, and underwent a mass reduction operation in March 2015. He had a VP shunt placement in April 2015 and a hernia repair in May of the same year – 2015 was a very busy year for him!
Anthony is unable to walk, but scoots around quite speedily in his wheelchair. He has a very bubbly personality and can sometimes be a ‘troublemaker’ in the funniest ways. But really he just wants to play and be your friend. He receives special education onsite in the orphanage school, including art, music and dancing, which he enjoys. On our staff’s last visit to his orphanage, Anthony was amazing, flying around in his wheelchair with a huge smile on his face – he even busted a few moves on the dance floor with his wheels. Will you help us find a loving family for Anthony? He’d love to run rings around you!
Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Anthony!
Madison Adoption Associates (MAA) wants you to meet Zoey, a beautiful four-year-old who is blind in both eyes, and was listed as having some motor delays. Zoey is quiet, but is always smiling and loves being hugged – especially by her main caretaker and teacher. At the time Zoey’s file was prepared (March of 2018), she could sit alone and was almost crawling. She could grab toys and food with her hands without a problem, and slept well after a few nighttime cuddles!
As an infant Zoey was making “yiyiyaya” sounds, then failed a hearing screening in her right ear. A majority of her motor delays were typical delays found in blind children who have grown up in orphanages or institutions. We’re hoping to have new information soon. In the meantime, will you help us find sweet Zoey a Forever Family? She needs someone who can provide the love and resources needed for her to thrive.
Tim and Pam Baker live in Austin, Texas where they’ve recently experienced severe weather conditions and a loss of power for several days. Tim has asked Lori Baxter to contribute the lead column this month.
“Lori has faithfully volunteered and worked for the Philip Hayden Foundation for more than 10 years. She and her husband Scott have five daughters – four adults and one teen – including four adoption stories. Her two youngest girls arrived from China as toddlers, and have beautifully blossomed while growing up in this loving Forever Family. Lori believes that while not everyone is called to adopt, we can all do something to improve the lives of hopeless orphans and vulnerable children, wherever they live. If you call or email PHF, you’ll most likely be talking with Lori!” – Tim Baker
My very first visit to Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) was with a team of excited volunteers in 2008, and I was very eager to learn about China, its customs and how I could help. My husband, Scott and I had already adopted two girls with special needs from that ancient land, which capped our family at five daughters. However, I still felt called to improve the lives of orphans with disabilities in China – and God wonderfully provided that opportunity for me through Shepherd’s Field and the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF).
It was 2002 – 18 years ago – when our family adopted our first daughter from China. The child welfare landscape there at the time was distinctly different from today – no shared lists to reveal who we were looking at, and no waiting lists for specific children. We had deliberately chosen to adopt a girl with correctable special needs, and only when we received our official referral did we find out that our daughter was 20 months old, and that she had a bilateral cleft lip and palate.
I remember those first moments with her, when she acted so unsure of the world, and was terrified of everything. She clung to me, even needing to hold tightly to my hand as she fell asleep. This profound longing for a safe place – for security – is common among the orphans I’ve met.
In 2002, more than 6,000 Chinese orphans – most of them girls less than a year old – were adopted by families in the U.S. By 2005, when we adopted a second special-needs toddler from China, U.S. annual adoptions from there had reached their peak at 8,000 children – and even then most adoptions involved infant girls. Incredibly, only 1,500 Chinese orphans were adopted by U.S. families in 2018 – and most of those were between five and 12 years old.
I’ve learned a lot about the changes in orphan care in China during the past two decades, through considerable reading as well as my own personal work with PHF. First, Chinese parents love their kids, but sometimes life forces really hard choices upon some of them. In 2002, a baby with a cleft lip and palate in China had only a 10% chance of survival beyond the age of five. If a family couldn’t afford life-saving surgery, they were often forced to give up their child in order to receive the medical care they needed.
Second, China has worked hard to improve child welfare and protection, and in 2019 created a Child Welfare Bureau under the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Orphanages have been updated, medical care has improved and the One-Child policy has been eliminated. Significantly, barriers to adoption within China have been removed, and more families in China than ever before are fostering and adopting orphans.
This may be the most significant cultural change regarding China’s child welfare system I’ve witnessed since my first visit. And the facts prove it – the number of children in state-level care has dropped dramatically in recent years. However, those kids who remain and wait for families are often older or have more significant physical, mental or other special needs that most people just can’t cope with or afford.
In spite of these changes, more than 200,000 kids remain in institutional care in China – and 98% of them have disabilities. While in care, these children need medical care and therapy, and a chance to find their own families. After 25 years, PHF is still addressing those needs. Our Medical Fund is used to provide medical care for those whose needs are beyond the resources of an orphanage. We’ve also established a network of doctors and hospitals across China who willingly take on the most challenging cases – like Luke and Maggie.
Our Bright Stars Therapy Team has partnered with LIH Olivia’s Place to provide a wide range of training to orphanage therapists across China – including Therapy Training in Behavior (ABA), physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy – improving the lives of countless unreached orphans. We continue to advocate for mainland, as well as international adoption, and maintain the vision that every orphan in China will be seen, known and loved. With your partnership, we’ve improved the lives of orphans in China by providing medical care, therapy, education and, most of all – hope.
– Lori Baxter
March is Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month – but what is CP? How does it affect the quality of life and one’s lifespan? Cerebral palsy is a neurological (brain) condition that affects body movement or muscle control. CP occurs when the brain develops abnormally, or there’s damage to the brain before, during or after birth. The disorder is not considered hereditary, and there’s a wide range of severity – from mild to severe. It’s not progressive, but symptoms can differ over time, especially as a child grows.
CP can cause weakness and a lack of coordination, or cause muscle tone to be stiff and contracted, or too relaxed. It can affect any combination of arms, legs, head or body. If the facial muscles are affected, it can make it hard to speak or eat. People with CP can have a hard time with balance and coordination, which makes it hard to complete daily tasks independently.
Kids with CP are often slow at reaching developmental milestones like rolling, sitting, crawling and walking. They respond well to treatments like physical, occupational or speech therapy, and sometimes even surgery. These treatments are focused on improving one’s daily function and quality of life. Depending on the cause and severity of symptoms, many children with cerebral palsy are able to adapt and live full lives.
To read more about CP or the experiences of families who have adopted a child with cerebral palsy, check out Rainbow Kids !
Even better, visit our friends at Madison Adoption Associates to find out more about Maryanne and other CP kids on their waiting list! Just a reminder, you will need to request permission to view the children on the list. This extra step for you helps protects the privacy of every child.
Dustin is hard to forget. Born in 2011, he’s easily remembered as part of the Shepherd’s Field family – but he can be a bit of a busybody at times! However, his caretakers enjoy his company, especially when he wraps his arms around their necks and kisses their faces when they put him to bed.
Dustin will express himself when he gets upset, but it takes only a short time to calm down. He loves watching TV and listening to music, but he really likes to dance around whenever he can, even though he’s listed as having post-op clubbed right foot, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. His right hand doesn’t work well, but his left hand is very fast.
At the time his adoption file was prepared, Dustin wasn’t speaking much, and would say only one or two words at a time – and not very clearly. He had club-foot surgery in December of 2016, and since then walks quickly, and always likes to be the first one to get home after school. He’d been taking medication for his epilepsy, but his file doesn’t mention anything about this need. Madison Adoption Associates is currently working on getting an update.
Meet Simeon – a child you’ll fall in love with instantly. He was born in September of 2012 with hydrocephalus as well as Myelomeningocele. Doctors placed a shunt in October of 2012, with a revision in April of 2013.
Simeon will make you laugh, smile and melt all at the same time. Once he knows you, you’ll have a buddy for life! Simeon loves snacks and has a way of getting people to give him his favorite ones. His sassy and silly personality can make anyone’s day, and he has one of the best laughs around. He was in our Bright Stars Therapy Program and always made it fun. We hope Simeon carries that same sense of humor into his search to find a Forever Family to share his joy.
Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Simeon!
Maryanne is filled with warm, genuine light, as well as an inner and outer beauty that makes her simply radiant. She was born in 2007 and came into care as an infant, but finally had the chance to find a permanent family when her file was made ready in 2015 after several surgeries. In March of 2013, she had been sent to a special-care center to be fostered, where she underwent tendon release surgery, as well as surgery to repair her club foot. A couple of months later, she received successful surgery for a fracture, and recovered well.
Maryanne has Cerebral Palsy and is post-op club foot. She’s a hard-working young girl, who doesn’t shy away from pushing herself at therapy – even when she feels a little pain. She can communicate well and do some writing, which she loves. Her real dream, though, is to become a chef, so she can make yummy treats anytime. Will you help us find Maryanne a Forever Family who will support those dreams?
Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Maryanne!
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