Here at No Hands But Ours, we are passionate about the Fatherless; the orphaned, the child who so desperately needs a family. And so we advocate, we encourage, we inform, we love.
We also know that many of our readers are as passionate and want to support and love on children who need families… some who may not be called to adopt now, but feel called to do something.
In an effort to connect those passions with action, we’re sharing organizations we believe are doing the most life-changing kind of orphan care in China: nourishing the body, engaging the mind and healing the heart.
We recently had an opportunity to talk with Karen Brenneman, founder and director of New Day, a foster home in China caring for the most medically fragile orphans since 2000. A place where children are tenderly loved and cared for – inside and out.
Read on to see how you can make a difference.
Q: Tell us a little about New Day:
With a heart to touch the lives of orphans with medical needs, New Day Foster Home began modestly. We built relationships with nearby orphanages in Beijing and Tianjin, and in 2000, we began caring for six orphans who needed minor cleft lip and palate surgical repairs. We cared for them in a couple of apartments, and then built our 21-bed facility now known as New Day Foster Home soon after.
In 2003, we began taking on more serious cases. Our first critical case was Jon, a little boy in need of heart surgery. When we first met Jon, we did not yet have the funds to pay for his surgery. With a firm belief in the power of prayer, we stepped out in faith and brought him to New Day for treatment.
Jon’s surgery was a success and we moved forward to reach out to more children in desperate need. Since that time, all of our surgeries happen because of generous donations from supporters and through doctors and hospitals who work with us to keep expenses minimal.
A little boy named Jacob inspired us to begin the Formula Project in 2006. Jacob also came to us with a severe heart condition. Severe malnourishment — his orphanage did not have the funds to feed him milk formula, so they fed him sugar water instead — exasperated his medical condition, causing a long, expensive recovery.
Because of Jacob’s story, we began supplying milk formula to several orphanages throughout China to give each child under the age of one year a healthy start.
As our reputation spread to more orphanages throughout China, we received more requests for children to come to our facility. To better meet the needs, we expanded our Beijing facility by placing the children who were post surgery with caring Foster Families in our local village.
Since the Foster Home’s founding in 2000, we have been privileged to touch the lives of hundreds of children throughout China. Our work simply would not be possible without many people around the world offering their time, resources, and expertise to help our children experience hope and healing.
Q: When was New Day established?
Q: Where is it located?
There are three locations. Beijing, Inner Mongolia and Zhongshan.
Q: What is your role/position there?
Q: What is the mission of New Day?
“Bringing Hope to the Hopeless and the Fatherless Home.” Alleviating the pain and suffering of Chinese orphans born with physical handicaps by providing for their every physical, mental and spiritual need, we give these children a future and a hope while they wait for their very own loving family.
Q: How many children are currently in your care?
Q: What is the age range of your kids?
Currently it is infant to 9 years old.
Q: How do you prepare the children for adoption?
Adoptive parents send photo albums to the orphanages. The orphanage then sends it to us and we go over it with the children daily.
Children who are matched open their gifts from their new families and look through their photo albums with all of the children in our care watching. We make a big deal of this so that they all realize this is something to be desired. We talk about it often with the them.
When we get the travel date we make a countdown calendar for the children. Then everyday they get to put a sticker signifying it is one day closer to when their parents come to get them.
The children as soon as they turn two attend preschool where they learn in English and Chinese. Being exposed to and learning English helps them with adoption. They are also exposed to a lot of foreign interns, which helps.
We also celebrate American holidays in addition to Chinese holidays. This way the children begin to get exposed to other cuisine.
Q: What (if any) recommendations do you have for adoptive parents preparing to meet their child for the first time?
1. Realize that most children in orphanages have not been exposed to foreigners. We look different, sound different and even smell different. Be understanding as they leave ALL they are familiar with.
2. Loving unconditionally makes a difference.
3. Learn everything you can about attachment. Most agencies provide training – this is key to helping you begin to attach with your child.
Q: Is there a specific success story you’d like to share?
Here is a link to a little girl, Connie, who really is a miracle. At her most recent checkup the doctor told us, “You really don’t understand. There is no way this child should be alive.”
Q: How much is a monthly sponsorship?
$35 per month.
Q: What does the sponsorship cover?
It covers the children’s basic needs, health checkups, adoption paperwork, facility maintenance, therapy (PT, ST, OT) etc.
Q: What percentage of the sponsorship cost goes directly for the care of the child?
Around 95% (depends on method of payment – with checks there is less of a fee, but they aren’t as convenient for the donor).
Q: Do donors receive information specific to their sponsored child?
Yes – monthly updates and pictures by email.
Q: Beyond monthly sponsorship, what other ways can donors help support New Day?
1. Help fund the formula project (we provide formula for children in four government orphanages)
2. Help fund children’s surgeries
3. Volunteer: medical experts needed to help write medical protocol – potential volunteers can email me
4. Volunteer: medical, therapy, education experts needed to come and do training
5. Supply needs: often there are items we need that can’t be obtained in China
Because New Day is not able to publicly share images of their children beyond their own website (and you can see all kinds of cuteness there!) we’ve contacted some families who have adopted children from New Day and asked them to share a little of their stories.
From Sara, Ruby’s mama:
Our family adopted Ruby almost seven years ago.
When we found out she was at New Day (before we were united in her home province of Henan), we went for a visit. We wanted to know more about the foster home that had saved her life.
What a moving experience!
New Day is a place of hope and healing that has transformed the lives of countless orphans. We are so thankful that our daughter was taken there from the state run orphanage as it saved her life, literally.
Ruby is miracle, a gift from God! We are forever grateful for the staff at New Day for living out the gospel each and every day.
From Shauna Zeke’s mama:
We adopted our son from New Day South in December 2015.
There is nothing but good things to say about our experience. We did not have any contact with New Day during the process, however, we did get many updates and videos of our son until we was in our arms.
My husband and I are not travelers. Traveling to China for our son was the first time we traveled out of country. We were in complete culture shock, homesick, and deeply missed our four kids at home.
During our visit at New Day South, we couldn’t have felt more welcomed. Doug and Janice Bush took us into their home and loved on us while we were there. For that day, the homesick feeling was freed from us! We got to spend the afternoon meeting nannies, seeing where Zeke lived, who he played with, and just visiting with each other.
We felt the love at New Day South and knew our son was very much loved there. It was such a relief to know he was well cared for for the first two years of his life.
We are so thankful for New Day South, and the love they poured into our son while he was in critical medical condition and until he came home to us.
From Amber, Tessa’s mama:
Our story to our Tessa Joy started with something as simple as saying yes to a child sponsorship.
It didn’t take long for us to jump right in and start sponsoring one of the children who had just arrived into New Day’s care. Her name was Annabel and she was quite the miracle.
We were blown away by the quality care the children at ND were receiving. We saw clearly that Annabel and her little foster sister AnnaRose would not have survived infancy if it wasn’t for New Day coming to their aid. We watched over the months how these two precious baby girls grew and thrived. Our monthly email updates and pictures of Annabel were always so amazing to read and to see how much progress was happening in her development.
Fast forward many months as we moved forward in our adoption process and it came time to wait for “the call”. It was nothing short of a miracle that we were matched with AnnaRose! Our daughter was right there before us for months! She’s our Tessa Joy! We quickly learned about her personality, what she loved and how silly she was. She is SO us!
My heart nearly burst at the seams as the sweet souls who were my daughter’s monthly sponsors and volunteers began introducing themselves to me… to hear from those who prayed over her, cherished her and celebrated her being matched with her forever family? Well, that did me in. I was in awe. I still am.
I will never forget the moment when I meet Tessa’s dear nanny, Susan. She stayed with Tessa weeks on end while she was hospitalized for her heart surgery. This woman’s eyes so full of sadness and joy as she said goodbye to Tessa and placed her into my arms.
The pictures and personal moments we have with Tessa’s foster parents are another piece of the treasure that New Day Foster Home is.
All this because we said yes to sponsoring a child.
Earlier this year, New Day celebrated the milestone of 300 adoptions of children in their care. And still so many more that are waiting. Consider how you might join arms with them in their commitment to caring for and loving on the least of these.