Philip Hayden Foundation

From the Heart

By Tim Baker

Our 26th year of serving some of the most vulnerable children in China is behind us. It’s time to look forward to another new year to see how The Philip Hayden Foundation can further help and support these vulnerable children. One huge takeaway from 2021 has been identifying where and what the needs are. As mentioned in last month’s Heartbeat, state-run orphanages in the cities have been renovated. They also have increased access to medical care and therapy. More caregivers have been trained to provide specialized care to orphans with disabilities. 

While this is a step in the right direction, orphan care improvement in rural areas still falls behind. These regions often lack the resources needed to provide the level of care required. On top of that, children living in poverty and unsupported orphans lack a stable upbringing. Many poor parents struggle to make a living, and cannot provide the support needed for their kids. There remains a need for outside help and support to provide for those vulnerable kids. 

A Need for Community Social Programs

We have government-provided assistance, charities, and organizations that support struggling families here in the United States. These groups offer help through various programs, providing food, therapy, and specialized education. There are not as many of those community-based programs in China. Many regions of China desperately need these types of community social programs. 

Supporting community-based social programs is a new way PHF is helping de facto orphans and special-needs kids in poor communities. Currently, the government provides many of the community social workspaces. But in some areas, local churches or other businesses offer space. 

The costs of community-based workspaces are low in poor regions, but they are very effective. For less than $100/month (USD), PHF can fund a social worker in a rural area. This worker will support families with kids who are disabled and de facto orphans. The social worker will be the guiding support between the children and their parents and between the government and society at large. You might say that the social workers are like guardian angels who help bridge the gap, increasing stability to the children’s upbringing. 

We’re thankful for those in the community who have opened their doors in providing space for this to occur. It’s definitely a team effort with all of us working together to help the most vulnerable. Thank you for being there with us to improve the lives of these kids


Meet Our Media Coordinator – Ally!

Allison Jarvis has been the Media Coordinator for The Philip Hayden Foundation since 2018. Her first-hand experience living at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village and passion for children with disabilities make her a valuable part of our team. Thank you, Ally!

Ally holding infant

My journey with The Philip Hayden Foundation started in 2011 when my family adopted my sisters Mia Grace and Teagan from China. Mia grew up at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, arriving days after birth. I can confidently say that Shepherd’s Field saved Mia’s life. My family is thankful every single day for it. Shepherd’s Field and its sponsors and supporters provided many life-saving surgeries for Mia and treated multiple infections. Her ayis loved her like their very own child. In 2017 my family adopted my sister Lainey from China, and we are still so thankful for how much her ayis cared for her when she lived in China. 

I only spent a day at Shepherd’s Field in 2011, but in 2015 I had another opportunity to volunteer at Shepherd’s Field. Our team helped prepare the Vocational Center for more remodeling and loved on the kids as much as possible. I fell in love with this place and was beyond excited to write my name on the guest house wall.

There was one child at Shepherd’s Field who grabbed hold of my heart, Simeon. Simeon was born with Myelomeningocele/hydrocephalus and reminded me of my sister Mia. He had a contagious laugh and the smile to go with it. In 2016 I knew that I had to go back, so I decided to intern on the therapy team for a month. 

Instead of on a surface level, I got to know each child as an individual. They were all so accepting and only teased me once and a while because I did not know Chinese. I spent time with Simeon in therapy, getting to know his more mischievous side. He loved to trick me into giving him more and more treats. Each child changed me in a way that I cannot begin to describe. They opened my eyes to the bigger picture of life and the worth of every person. 

A Year at Shepherd’s Field Changed Me

The Ayis, staff, and kids at Shepherd’s Field changed me for the better, and so in September of 2017, I moved to China, intending to stay for a year. I worked under the Director of Therapy, who helped guide me through my year there. It was really the kids who taught me! They became my brothers and sisters – and boy did they pick on me like I was their sister. Hector helped me with my Chinese, Cora taught me patience, and Brody showed me what joy really looks like. All the kids showed me unconditional love, and it is a lesson I carry with me to this day. 

Working on the therapy team meant that I witnessed the kids accomplish goals that they never thought they could. I remember the therapy team constructing a baseball bat that Charlie could use. Charlie has arthrogryposis and cannot grasp things well. We all went outside to try out his adaptive bat. The therapy ayis and I ended up chasing balls all over the playground while Charlie laughed at us and begged for more. 

Ally with PHF team 2018

There were tough times while I lived at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, but it could always be remedied by walking into one of the children’s houses. We had the most supportive staff anyone could want. Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village felt like home to many people – the kids, ayis, workers, staff, interns, volunteers, and visitors! 

In August 2018, the children were all recalled to their home provinces. After they all journeyed back to their home provinces, the PHF staff did not stop caring for the long-term wellbeing of each child. We continued to advocate and provide for those kiddos the best we could. And now we have widened our mission to children in Asia who need support to thrive – One at a Time Asia

After moving back to the States in 2019, I continued leading social media for PHF to stay connected to the place that I loved so much. Over three years later, I still work for the PHF in communication and social media. If you contact PHF through Facebook or Instagram, you will reach me! 

This is not just a job to me; it is a passion for advocating for orphans’ value as individuals and spreading that message to everyone around us.

– Ally Jarvis


Year End Planning

Have you moved? Prefer to receive your year-end contribution statement by email? Email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org and let me know! Statements are sent out the third week in January by mail. Update your records now by visiting our self service portal at chinaorphans.org/contact-us. You will need to provide your email address to log in. You can even check your donation history while you are logged in! 

If you prefer, call Lori at PHF at 866-526-3712 or email her directly. Your donations make a difference in the life of an orphan in China. 


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You’ll be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

Use your self-service page to:

  • Update your physical address
  • Update your email address
  • Change your online donations
  • View your donation history
  • Print receipts for past donations

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

From the Heart

By Lily Zhuang

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

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

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

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

Unsupported Children – the New Challenge

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

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

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


Orphans in Rural Asia Need Help

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

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

Orphans In Rural China Affected by Poverty

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

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

Orphan Care in Rural Asia

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

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

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

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


Stories of Children in Need

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

Severe Medical Need

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

Cerebral Palsy

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

Hemiplegia

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

Autism

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

Burns

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


Donate in Honor of a Loved One

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

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


Year End Planning

Have you moved? Prefer to receive your year-end contribution statement by email? Email Lori.Baxter@chinaorphans.org and let me know! Statements are sent out the third week in January by mail. Update your records now by visiting our self service portal at chinaorphans.org/contact-us. You will need to provide your email address to log in. You can even check your donation history while you are logged in! 

If you prefer, call Lori at PHF at 866-526-3712 or email her directly. Your donations make a difference in the life of an orphan in China. 


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You’ll be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

Use your self-service page to:

  • Update your physical address
  • Update your email address
  • Change your online donations
  • View your donation history
  • Print receipts for past donations

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

From the Heart

Many of you live in the United States, as I do and will celebrate Thanksgiving this month. This is one of America’s most beloved holidays, because it’s a day set aside to give thanks for all our blessings. Often, we’re the most grateful for our families, and I’m no different. But beyond my immediate family, I’m also grateful for my Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) family.

Isolation and uncertainty have heavily colored the last few years and affected all of our daily lives. To liberate ourselves, mental health experts remind us to practice gratitude, which can reduce anxiety and depression, and increase happiness. They often recommend writing down three things each day in a gratitude journal. However, if expressing gratitude is helpful, what if we also acted on our gratitude? Gratitude in action is thoughtful, creates change and helps others. The action can be big or small. It is often a gift of time or talent, but it can also be a monetary gift and always comes from the heart.

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude

Cynthia Ozick

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude,” says Cynthia Ozick, and that certainly rings true for me. Our family closeness – both emotionally and physically – is a real blessing, and something I cherish but sometimes overlook. There’s a sweet give-and-take in helping each other, in listening well and in connectedness. A recent study in Pediatrics noted that one U.S. child loses a parent or caregiver for every four Covid19-associated deaths. This means that from April 2020 to June 2021, more than 140,000 children 18 and under lost a parent or a caregiving grandparent who provided a home and basic care. The loss of a parent during childhood has a dramatic, lifelong impact.

Every Child Matters

Today, there are more than 600,000 orphans living in government orphanages in China, and nearly all have disabilities. In addition to those 600,000, there are another 500,000 that are de facto – or legitimate – orphans. China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs defines a de facto orphan as a child where one or both parents are unable to provide support because they’re ill, disabled or in prison. Beyond a need for basic care, orphans of all stripes need love, a sense of belonging and a purpose in life. We all need to know that we matter.

That’s what I love about our PHF family members, who believe that each child in China waiting for a Forever Family matters. And while we can’t help every child, we make a lasting difference in the lives of the ones we can help. Your actions reveal your heart. Some people pray, some donate time or money, some adopt or help others to adopt, and some share stories with the world. I believe all these actions come from your hearts of gratitude, and make a difference in children’s lives. Thank you for being part of our wonderful family!


Robert is Grateful

My name is Robert Powell, and I came home from Shepherd’s Field at eight years old. I’ve been with my awesome family for about five years now. I have five other siblings adopted from China. There are ten kids total in our big and fun family. I have Arthrogryposis. It affects all the joints in my body. I had amputations of both my legs at age nine. I had more surgeries on one arm and one wrist at age ten. I now walk on two prosthetic legs and use my wheelchair for long distances. I will be fourteen years old in December. Life is great for me! I enjoy reading, art, Legos, and playing many different games. Lately, we have played a Dominos game called Chicken Feet. My favorite subject in home school is Math.

My parents and I have learned a lot in our faith. We have gone through many challenges together. We are all learning to “do hard things” with Jesus’ help. When I came home, I learned that I am loved, and precious. I learned that I can trust my parents. We all get different medical care and counseling to help us understand big feelings. I think this helped me a lot.

“I am so thankful that I know Jesus and that God gave me a loving family. I am grateful for my loving parents and good doctors who help me. I know that God has a plan for me, and that I wasn’t forsaken. He knew me even before I was born. I want God to use my life and my story for His glory.

-Robert Powell

Charlie Gains Freedom through Therapy

October was Bone and Joint Health Awareness Month and we’d like to highlight sweet Charlie as a “poster boy” for the success of physical therapy. Charlie was born with arthrogryposis as well as bi-lateral clubbed foot, which was surgically corrected. When he first arrived at Shepherd’s Field, he was immobile. After surgery, our staff worked diligently to help him see his worth, and to encourage him to be as independent as possible. He progressed from a wheelchair to a specialized walker, and his success resulted in a huge, new smile!

Charlie learns to use dressing aid with Occupational Therapist

Charlie then started intensive therapy, where he worked on mobility and flexibility – and he made great progress. We were all proud and amazed at his perseverance, even though not every day was a good day – but there was always tomorrow. To help make it all possible, donors like you generously provided various dressing aids and a specialized walker, so that Charlie could become more independent.

Our Bright Stars Occupational Therapist worked diligently with Charlie to improve his fine motor skills, and despite the difficulty, Charlie has beautiful handwriting. On one occasion, a therapist constructed an adaptive baseball bat for Charlie, so he could learn how to play the game. It wasn’t easy, but we all had a fun time chasing after balls and trying not to get hit once Charlie started swatting home runs!


Bone and Joint Disorders

This month we’re focusing on joint and bone disorders – two of the most common disabilities we see at Shepherd’s Field. And the two most common ailments? Arthrogryposis and clubfoot.

Arthrogryposis

Arthrogryposis (arth-ro-grip-OH-sis), also called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), is a term used to describe a variety of conditions involving multiple joint contractures (or stiffness). A contracture is a condition where the range of motion of a joint is limited. It may be unable to fully or partially extend or bend.

While there is no cure, quality of life can be improved through therapy and using adaptive aids. Both physical therapy and occupational therapy are recommended to improve range of motion and foster independence. Sometimes surgery is also recommended to lengthen tendons, remodel joints, lengthen limbs or even correct the spine. The severity varies, so each case is unique. About one baby in 3,000 is born with AMC.

Clubfoot

toddler with clubfoot

Clubfoot is often caused by a shortened Achilles tendon, which causes the foot to turn in and under, and affects twice as many boys as girls. One foot or both feet point down and in, and the toes point toward the opposite leg – the bottom of the feet face inward. Treatment – sometimes surgery – is needed to correct this condition.

A clubfoot cannot be straightened by simply moving it around. The tendons on the back and inside of the foot and ankle are shorter than typical, while the tendons on the front and outside are too long and stretched out. In the U.S., treatment usually begins one week after birth. A series of castings are used, followed by bracing. If treatment doesn’t begin this early, a series of surgeries are needed. The long-term prognosis is good, with most children eventually wearing regular shoes and participating in normal daily activities and sporting events.

Over the years, many children with clubfoot have called Shepherd’s Field home. Your donations have provided surgery and/or therapy for Charlie, Aubrey, Robert, Samuel and dozens of others. To learn more about arthrogryposis or clubfoot, check out seattlechildrens.org or hopkinsmedicine.org.


share gratitude on Giving Tuesday

Give on Giving Tuesday

November marks the traditional beginning of the holiday season in the U.S., and the Tuesday following Thanksgiving is now referred to as Giving Tuesday, falling on November 30 this year. Facebook will again be matching donations on Giving Tuesday, and the Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF) will use your donations to help orphans in a rural area in China.

Over the past two years, PHF has continued to search for and expand its opportunities to make a difference in the lives of needy children throughout China, Asia, and the rest of the world. The Chinese government has worked hard to improve living conditions in its orphanages, and now many of these institutions have enough resources to meet children’s basic needs and provide education and therapy as well.

At-Risk Children Need Your Help

Many countries in Asia are now addressing the problem of specific children who are unable to live with their parents, due to a number of reasons. The parents may still be living but are ill, disabled, in prison or otherwise unable to care for their children. Some regions encourage group foster homes to care for these children. But resources are limited, and these at-children, who are called de facto orphans, need your help. 

Our director, Lily, recently visited a foster home in a rural area in Asia that takes in these orphans. This foster home partners with a local hospital, but needs help meeting the basic needs of the children in their care. Lily noted that the caregivers show Father’s love to the children in their care. Your donations will provide food, caregivers, and training for new caregivers. Will you join us? Please give to help One at a Time in Asia.


We Want to Hear From You!

To share a story or ask a question, direct message us on Facebook or email Lori and Ally at media@chinaorphans.org You can be sure we will not share your comments and stories without your permission. What you share with us can help shape our future changing the lives of orphans in China.


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You’ll be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

Use your self-service page to:

  • Update your physical address
  • Update your email address
  • Change your online donations
  • View your donation history
  • Print receipts for past donations

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

From the Heart

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

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

Most Orphans in China have Disabilities

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

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

Help for Orphans Continues

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

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


Awake to Sensory Awareness Month

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

Vestibular Sense and Proprioceptive Sense

Aubrey works on balance with Bright Stars Therapy team

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

The Brain and SPD

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

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

Overactive Senses

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

Underactive Senses

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

sensory play with shaving cream

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

Bright Stars Therapy Changes Lives

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

Oral Stimulation

beth uses a chewie to calm herself

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

Tummy Time to Improve Body Awareness Sense and Core Stability

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

Bright Stars Therapists Use Swings for Stimulating and Calming

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

Sensory Processing Disorder Affects Feeding and Eating

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


Update on Hanna

Adelei at 5 years old

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

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

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

Elena Behnke


We Want to Hear From You!

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

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


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You’ll be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

Use your self-service page to:

  • Update your physical address
  • Update your email address
  • Change your online donations
  • View your donation history
  • Print receipts for past donations

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

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

From the Heart

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

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

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


Spotlight on Hydrocephalus

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

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

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

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

Soft Giggles and Big Smiles

Jean Marie with hydrocephalus

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

Zack with a big grin

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


We Want to Hear From You!

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

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


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You will be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

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

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

From the Founder

Life Skills Training Transforms Lives

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

Accomplishments Bring Hope to Older Orphans

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


Adaptive Athletes Compete in Paralympics Games

logo for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

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

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

Athletes With Disabilities Compete

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

Adaptive Sports Foster Accomplishment and Hope

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

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


UPDATE! Shepherd’s Field Alumni in Italy

Forever Family day for one Chinese orphan

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

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

friends at shepherd's field

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

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

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

Remembering the Shepherd’s Field Paralympics

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


We Want to Hear From You!

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

Stories of Love in Action

visitor writing on the wall of the Inn

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

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

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


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You will be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

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

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

From the Founder

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

infant in hospital post cleft surgery

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

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

Surgery is Just the Beginning

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

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


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

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

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

Children Need Hope

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

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

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


Did You Know?

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

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

Cleft Lip Repair Surgery First of Many

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

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


UPDATE! Gratitude, Surgeries, and Time at the Beach

Jamie with mom Chrissy

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

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

Cleft Palate Medical Teams Support Families

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

Jamie with cleft surgeon Dr. Taylor at CHOP

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

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

Cleft-Affected Children Thrive with Coordinated Care

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

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


An Open Letter from Madison Adoption Associates

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

Dear China Waiting Families,

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

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

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

The staff at Madison Adoption Associates


Access Your Account Online

Great News! We have updated our online donation system, and you now can access your account online. For your security, you will need to request access through a link on our website here. You will be asked to provide your email address, and a link will be sent to you. For your security, that link is only good for 24 hours. But you can access your account as often as you want.

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

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

Mad Dog Memories Missing a Beat

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!

How Do You Celebrate Children’s Day?

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.

Children’s Day at Shepherd’s Field

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 Memories of Children’s Day

“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

Catch One of these Shooting Stars

Levi Brings Smiles

levi shows his silly side

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.

Warm-hearted Luke

luke

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 info@chinaorphans.org.

Therapy Training Nears Completion

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.

Practical Tools Improve Kids’ Lives

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.

Madison Adoption Associates

If you or someone you know wants to adopt a child mentioned in this newsletter, please contact us at info@chinaorphans.org. Contact Madison Adoption Associates for more information on adopting Levi or Luke!