Sunday, March 31, 2024

Growing Up So Fast!

 Little L was abandoned in 2016 as a tiny newborn with a serious intestinal obstruction.  She was only a few days old when we agreed to help coordinate the immediate medical intervention that was needed to save her life. 

Since her surgery and recovery from that, she has been cared for in our children’s home project in a northern province. 

L has been wearing glasses and undergoing treatment for strabismus since she was a toddler.  The ophthalmologist was waiting to see if she would need surgery to resolve her vison issues, but aside from that she has been pretty healthy!

 L is now a beautiful 7-year-old who is eager to help her foster mom with chores like folding laundry, doing dishes and caring for the houseplants.  She’s been doing well in school, though she can be a bit forgetful about what she has learned in class! 

She recently traveled back to our Beijing medical home for a follow up with the ophthalmologist, and he has finally determined that she will need eye surgery after all.  We had hoped to schedule that this month, but the surgeon's calendar was quite busy, and we didn't want to keep her out of school waiting for a slot to open up.  So we're now waiting until she is on summer break and can return to Beijing when the surgeon has another opening.

Once again, we’ve seen how our assistance is not only vital to saving the lives of vulnerable children in China’s orphanages, but also in providing stable, family-based care as they grow.  All of this is possible because of your support!

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Learning about colors

 The children in our medical home had a fun lesson on colors, learning about the primary colors and how they mix to form an infinite range of other shades.  

Everyone had a chance to try out a few color combinations for themselves:

Then we did a fun craft project coloring different vegetables.  Each vegetable was actually a plastic bag affixed to the back of a cutout on paper. Different color combinations of paint in the bag can create some very lovely vegetables!

After that we had a chance to blend some paints and embellish our work by painting directly on the paper.

Since we had all those lovely colors mixed up, we finished this lesson by doing a few more paintings.  

It was a fun day, and we learned a lot!

Friday, March 1, 2024

Created to Love and Connect

Recently we introduced our Made for Love project and explained the background about why we began this initiative and what we are doing.  Now we would like to give you a little glimpse into our goals and the philosophies that guide our work.

The most important principle that guides our work is the belief that children are created to love and connect.  Everyone knows that children need adequate nutrition, clothing, medical care and shelter.  Yet even when these are not lacking, we still see the terribly harmful effects of institutionalization. 

 Numerous evidence-based studies have demonstrated the crucial role that nurturing relationships play in determining both physical and emotional well-being during infancy and beyond. Indeed, human beings are born with intense needs for love, care,  and connection.  These are essential to a child's healthy brain development.  

We believe that meeting these emotional needs is every bit as important as meeting the child's physical needs.  This is true, perhaps especially true, for children who have been diagnosed with physical and intellectual disabilities.  Not only does scientific research prove this, we have seen with our own eyes - children's lives are literally transformed when their emotional needs for love and connection are being met. 

But, how do we help children who have become separated from their families? It is not within the scope of our work to facilitate birth family reunification or adoption placements.  What we can do is to provide nurturing relationships and a rich and supportive environment for the children in our care - starting as early as possible. 

In our work, we strive to support children in forming meaningful and stable connections with caregivers, group home parents, and early childhood classroom teachers. These important adults play a critical role in meeting children’s emotional needs and fostering healthy attachments. By offering love, consistency, and responsive care, we can help children feel safe, treasured, and capable of forming trusting relationships.

It is also important that the children in our care enjoy meaningful and joyful relationships with peers and siblings. What a blessing it is to have someone to play with, sometimes fight with, and grow up together with!

What is equally important for children in institutional-care settings is to be able to participate in a supportive environment which is rich in cultural and social activities. The outside world is brought to the children through well-planned everyday life and educational activities. We do our best to create a nurturing environment where children feel accepted, valued, and supported, where they learn to understand the world they live in, love themselves and the people around them.

Children are made for love.  Love and a sense of value and belonging are among the greatest gifts we can offer them!