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.
As we begin 2021, we pause to remember just how dramatically orphan care has changed in China and around the world in the past 25 years. Our involvement with orphans – and the beginning of the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) – started when we began providing much-needed supplies like diapers, formula, washing machines – and even caregivers – for some local government orphanages. In those early days, some of the infant orphans were healthy, and international adoption was possible but rare.
Since that time, China has invested numerous resources in their child welfare system – improving the condition of the orphanages, the level of medical care for orphans and the adoption system in general. Today, most orphaned children in China have special needs – and many older kids fill the system too. There will always be children who wait, and we believe every one of them needs and deserves a Forever Family.
In that regard, we’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with Madison Adoption Associates (MAA) to advocate for orphans in China, and to match them with families in the U.S. MAA is a Hague-accredited 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with a deep commitment to children and families. Their mission is to bring hope, love and connection by serving children, individuals and families in the areas of adoption, foster care and support services. Madison is rated as the #2 adoption agency worldwide by the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).
The CCCWA lists children with moderate to significant medical needs – or over the age of 10 – as ‘Special Focus,’ while younger children with correctible special needs are often counted in the ‘Non-Special Focus’ category. MAA has children with both kinds of needs on their list.
We’re excited to partner with Madison, and will continue to share on Facebook and Instagram about the Chinese kids who need Forever Families. We’re still ironing out all the details, to ensure that we honor the privacy and dignity of the kids who wait in the system. In the meantime, check out MAA
For the past two years, PHF continued to provide personal therapy and education for our kids who were sent back to their home orphanages. Then the arrival of COVID-19 changed everything, forcing us to look for virtual, online ways to train orphanage staff around the country, improving orphan care. Since most orphanages are now beginning to see the need for professional therapists, our Bright Star Therapy Team has offered 16 online practical therapy training courses for orphanage workers. This training has not only helped make our kids’ transition to their new homes smoother, but has also introduced orphanage staff to new knowledge and therapy skills.
In August, we began working with LIH Olivia’s Place in Beijing to set up an online training system for orphanages and other Chinese NGO therapy staff. After four months of working and planning together, we completed the teaching syllabus, and started training on Nov. 21. The first Training Class is a one-year course, with more than 100 online lessons and on-site coaching sessions. There are seven organizations participating, with more than 80 therapy staff participating in the first year of training. We can already see the value of this training, as it directly improves the lives of disabled orphans all across the country.
Many of you, our faithful Partners in Hope, have chosen to support Bright Stars Therapy with your monthly donations. These gifts have made – and continue to make – this training possible, improving the lives of orphans throughout China. Thank you!
China’s National Bureau of Statistics released their Annual Report on the achievements that have been made in health, education, welfare, social environment and legal protection for children in 2019, following the National Program for Child Development (2011-2020).
Statistics indicate that the implementation of the program has been smooth. Several indicators have been met ahead of schedule, while the protection of children’s rights and interests in some areas is lacking and still needs to be strengthened.
According to the report, the number of orphans in China decreased for the seventh consecutive year – coming to a total of 233,000 orphans in 2019, which is a decrease of 72,000 from the previous year. Kids in community foster care programs totaled 169,000, while 64,000 children lived in orphanages across China.
The report also stated that in 2019, there were 10,400,000 kids ages 0-6 years old who needed therapy of some kind in China, but only 181,000 were actually getting it.
The report confirms the need for additional support for therapy for kids with special needs – not just those kids living in orphanages, but also the ones living at home with their families. We can all do a better job in supporting the disabled community. We are always looking for ways to share our knowledge with the local community, to show support for those families who have children with disabilities.
In the U.S., we’re fortunate to have almost unlimited resources for our children, but in China those resources are scarce. If therapy is available, it’s very expensive, and often not covered by insurance or welfare. Many families eventually find themselves financially overwhelmed, not able to afford the proper care for their disabled kids, and abandon them – often near a hospital or orphanage. By helping to provide therapy resources to families with disabled children, we hope to prevent hopelessness and child abandonment. When proper therapy is provided, families are given the tools to survive, and even thrive.
Just before Christmas, our staff had a long-awaited FaceTime video chat with Corey (Song Yike). He was a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up and was his usual funny self after a few minutes. He really misses us, and wanted to connect to say Merry Christmas! He recovered well from his neck surgery, but now has another small lump in the same area. The local hospital near his orphanage isn’t equipped to deal with it, so he’ll be coming back to Beijing to have it looked at once it’s safe to travel.
Corey is doing very well, and goes to the local public school during the week, driven by the orphanage driver every morning and afternoon. He told us that he loves playing soccer with his classmates, in P.E. class and at recess. He’s getting big – he already stands 5’7″ tall and wears a size 10.5 shoe, which is pretty amazing for a 12-year-old. All in all, his life is good, but not as good as it would be with his own Forever Family. Let’s all keep advocating for Corey.
Too many children still wait. More than 233,000 orphans, in fact, according to the recently released Bureau of Statistics Report. Here at the Philip Hayden Foundation, we would love to see every one of those kids find a new, permanent home. We can start by spreading the word about four of our boys, who still wait for adoptive families. Covid-19 has put a damper on travel to China, but not on the dreams of these fine young men. Please share information about these boys who wait:
• 13-year-old Luke (Tian Yi)
• 12-year-old Corey (Song Yike)
• 11-year-old Brody (Hu Minpeng)
• Seven-year-old Levi (Han Qiannan)
…that which requires stress and struggle is often the most satisfying. It’s the paradox of happiness.Jay Harrington
Adoption is not without risk, but the rewards also abound. Every orphan has faced hardship, and many will find it difficult to trust again. Jay Harrington notes “that which requires stress and struggle is often the most satisfying. It’s the paradox of happiness.” Perhaps you or someone you know is ready for the challenge of adoption. While there will most certainly be discomfort, it may also bring the greatest joy and happiness – for you and for that child.
As we reach the end of our 25th year of serving China‘s orphaned and vulnerable children, we continue to wait for the next chapter to begin. Like most of the rest of the world, the coronavirus continues to affect our plans to move forward. None of us would have expected a year like 2020 and the challenges it has brought. It’s not to say that over the past 25 years we haven’t faced our fair share of challenging times, though. There have been many ups and downs. But looking back, we can see a beautiful collage of the lives that have been transformed by this mission of love and care. So many children have found their Forever Families around the world.
Children’s physical disabilities and conditions have been changed through medical care provided by our Medical Team and partner hospitals. Our mission remains the same – to care for orphans and vulnerable children wherever they are. Anyone who has been to our campus knows that James 1:27, “pure religion is to care for orphans and widows in their distress” is the driving value behind what we are here for. We look for more opportunities to serve many kids in the new year. We thank you for standing with us.
It’s a sad fact that more than 98% of the orphans in China have disabilities, and most never receive the therapy they need to enrich and expand their lives. Philip Hayden Foundation and the Bright Stars Therapy program have been forerunners in the country by helping more than 100 kids on our campus, as well as training scores of caregivers at orphanages throughout China in giving specialized care. One boy helped by Bright Stars Therapy is Leonard. Leonard has cerebral palsy, and has difficulty eating. Our Occupational Therapist patiently taught Leonard and his caregivers how to improve his ability to chew and swallow. Leonard was very excited to finally be able to eat something other than thin liquids or soup, and is thankful for this small change that has vastly improved his daily life. This is just one example of how we show love in a tangible way.
This particular preschool class was all boys all the time – full of energy and fun! Their teacher, Carm, noticed, and celebrated the quirks that make each child unique and valued. At Philip Hayden Foundation, these boys were seen, known and loved. In our safe, secure environment, each boy began to trust adults and started to thrive. Some, like Levi, needed long-term medical care. Others, like Anthony, needed therapy after medical care, just to participate in daily activities. And each one needed security and love, because transitions will always be hard for these kids.
Three years later, this energetic group of boys live all over world. Anthony and Levi still reside in China, waiting for their Forever Families. Three of the boys, Rocco, Shawn and Isaac are now with families in the United States. And two – Morris and Axel – were adopted by loving families in Europe.
Transitioning from PHF to a Forever Family in Europe was challenging for Morris, so his adoptive mom reached out to our staff, who gave her the encouragement and help she needed. His mom shared that with help, Morris has adapted to his new family and way of life, and learned to express his feelings in a healthy way. “He is kind to others, likes to help, and cuddles and talks all day.” Well done, Morris and family!
PHF has been blessed through 25 years of helping orphans, and getting a front row seat to so many changed lives – like Anthony, Levi and Morris. Never forget that You have made this help possible, and with your continued support, we look forward to helping a new group of orphans and vulnerable children as we move forward.
Because there are orphans in need, our work is not done. Perhaps they’ve grown up in an institution, and need help with life and vocational skills that will help them to live independently and hold a job. Maybe they reside in an orphanage without access to skilled therapists. Or perhaps they need medical care. Wherever they are, we know that they need to be seen and known before they can be valued and loved.
“The storage on my cell phone has been full for years now. Normal people would have taken the time to empty the needless things that fill it, but I can’t do that. That space is filled with an instant source of joy for me – thousands of images from time spent in a foreign land, that are sure to brighten any hazy day. Seeing the infectious smiles of kids that are so loved, reminiscing on relationships built over exceptionally American 4th of July celebrations, reminders of how far God’s beauty stretches around the globe. How could those things not cause one to overflow with happiness?
“That’s what Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) provides. I had the pleasure of assisting Naomi and the therapy staff in the summers of 2017 and 2018, along with my fellow physical therapy students. I wouldn’t trade the weeks I spent in that therapy gym with those kids for anything. Shepherd’s Field doesn’t just produce love with words, they produce love with action. That’s an example that I continue to follow as my PT journey around the country progresses. Thank you, SFCV for showing me what love looks like.” – Tyler Webb
The staff of the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) have been very kind to us through the years. HSBC bankers and executives have partnered with us on many projects, and have personally volunteered to help make life better for our children. For instance, they built our amazing Aquaponics Greenhouse. They also redid all of our on-campus sidewalks – which made them smoother and wider for our children using wheelchairs and walkers. The children enjoy fresh organic grapes from the grapevines planted along the south and west sides of the greenhouse . These gifts just keep on giving! We offer heartfelt thanks and gratitude to HSBC, and to all of the volunteers who have given time, money and talents to the children here. We love you!
In the decade since 2010, more than 160 children from Shepherd’s Field have joined their Forever Families. The busiest year was 2012, when 32 children were adopted by families in China, the U.S. and throughout the world.
Do you recognize any of these faces? While most of the children pictured here were adopted, some still live in institutions in China, and a few did not survive. All have disabilities, and your donations and support profoundly changed the lives of each child pictured here – as well as countless others not shown.
The faces of orphans in China are changing, as are their most pressing needs. Our decades-long commitment to orphans and vulnerable children is only increasing – and thanks to you, we’ll be able to change many more lives now and in the future. Thank you!