On March 21st, I came across a post from Lifeline’s China program director that said: “Please join us in praying for the precious children who are being cared for in our Foster Center in Zhanjiang, China. Because of some new laws being implemented this year in China, we were notified very unexpectedly last night that the children currently living at the Foster Center have had to return to their orphanages. We are praying this is temporary as we seek to meet the new requirements laid out by the Chinese government. It is our hope our children will be able to return to the care of the nannies at the Foster Center soon. In the interim, please join us for praying for the caregivers at the Foster Center and especially for the children, as they are in a new place. Please pray for physical, spiritual and emotional protection for these little ones; they are so very special to us!”
My jaw dropped and my heart broke that day because, though I had not been to the Foster Care center referenced in that post, I had advocated for many of the kids who were under their care. Some have since found families and some still wait. It was obvious how loved and well-cared for these kids were. I had also see photos, videos, and updates from their home orphanage and know how hard of a place it is in comparison to the Foster Center.
Seth and Scout, below, are just a few of the kids who had been cared for by the Lifeline Foster Center who are still waiting for families.
Seth is a 7-year-old boy diagnosed as having cerebral development malformation; red capillary hemangioma on the forehead. As of March 20th, Seth went back to his originating orphanage after spending about three years at Lifeline’s Foster Center. He is listed with Lifeline’s Kids of Hope program, but his file is transferrable.
Seth is said to be speaking more words and more clearly! The update also states, “He is better able to control his temper and that his mood is much better than before. He is a sharp, observant little boy who has such a servants heart and is fascinated with learning how things work. Recently he is becoming more verbal, of course still challenging to understand, but this trip was the first time for me to be able to understand his Chinese, which is great improvement. Along the way with Seth we have had some behavior challenges, many as a result of his background and some we think as a result of not being challenged enough as he is a sharp kid. As we have worked with our caregivers thru trainings talking to them about consistency of care, Seth’s abilities and things he can be doing to challenge him more we have seen great improvement!”
Updates from the Foster Center:
• May 27, 2016 – Seth likes to help us do homework, he helped the nanny to collect the dry clothes and blanket
• June 3, 2016 – Seth likes swimming and playing in the pool. He speaks more and clearly, not just Cantonese but also mandarin
• June 28, 2016 – Seth can speak Chinese words like: Planes, Ships, Buses, motorcycles, Carriages, Trucks, High-speed rail, Police cars
• August 21, 2016 – Seth speaks more and more clearly
• August 31, 2016 – Seth learned how to write
• November 31, 2016 – Seth can speak: “1,2,3,4,5” in English
• February 5, 2017 – Seth likes to draw trains
• March 22, 2017 – Seth likes to make a plane by using paper
Please watch some of his videos here – the password is Seth
Scout is a 7-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy (wheelchair dependent). As of March 20th, Scout went back to his originating orphanage after spending about three years at Lifeline’s Foster Center. He is listed with Lifeline’s Kids of Hope program, but his file is transferrable.
This little boy has beautiful brown eyes and his smile lights up the room. He is quiet, but very smart and likes school. His favorite thing in the world – cars! He loves playing with cars and trains and loves to go for car rides. He also loves to play ball – catching and throwing!”
Scout “really wishes he will have a family” and tells his nannies that he “will go to America by car!” Scout is always smiling and is very friendly. He loves to wave and say hello to those he comes in contact with – he obviously enjoys being around others!
Updates from the Foster Center:
• May 5, 2016 – Scout can control his wheelchair very well, he knows how to brake, and he likes talking with people
• May 27, 2016 – Scout is very smart, he learns language fast, some words he learns from us just when we were talking, and he knows what is going on. He really wishes he will have a family, he always said that: “I will go to American by car.”
• June 9, 2016 – Scout is becoming more and more independent, when children go to help push his wheelchair, he will say: “I can do it by myself!”
• June 20, 2016 – Scout’s physical ability is better than before, turn over faster than before
• July 6, 2016 – Scout can put his hands on the ground and sit very straight
• July 15, 2016 – Scout studied new lessons, he can speak English: door, chair, window, bed, fox, dog, sun, water
• August 16, 2016 – Scout can speak the English words: boy, girl, teacher, student, brother, sister, father, mother, grandmother, grandfather
• November 31, 2016 – Scout can speak “1,2,3,4,5” in English
• December 9, 2016 – when we ask Scout these questions: “What’s your name? What is this? What day is today?” he knows how to answer that
• January 20, 2017 – Scout knows how to open and close the button on clothes
• March 14, 2017 – Scout can imitate by writing the letters: “ABCDEF”
Please watch some of his videos here – password is Scout
Within days of the announcement from Lifeline, similar stories were filling up my feed. Bethel lost one little boy, Davie, who was sent back to his orphanage.
Davie turned 1 in November of 2016. “He still cannot sit independently, but if you help him sit up he can play sitting for a few minutes. He is a very happy baby and he loves to shake musical toys and will always babble back when you talk to him.”
“He often falls asleep when you stop playing with him so the caregivers try to keep him busy and practicing his gross motor skills. He has a walker he uses sometimes to practice standing. Bethel loved having him and were devastated to have to send him back.”
Harmony House lost seven children.
Andrea is a little bitty six-year old. “Tiny for her age, Andrea may have suffered some malnutrition. She has been diagnosed with light pulmonary stenosis and some language delay but has otherwise developed at a normal rate for her age. She is little Miss Personality, running and playing.”
She very much enjoys being at Harmony House and was starting to show a lot of progress.
Video is available. Andrea was listed as ‘Suzie’ with WACAP but is now on Hand in Hand’s list as ‘Julia’. For more information, please email Handinhand.firstname.lastname@example.org.
George is a handsome 7-year-old boy who spent almost two years in care of Harmony Outreach. “George had made big gains while in care of Harmony Outreach. He was showing improvement with the help of his weekly speech therapy and counseling sessions with a teacher whom he loves. He often grabbed her hands and gave her a big smile when going for his appointments. He had been known to cry if she had to cancel for some reason.”
“He now sits still to learn and he has begun to answer simple questions. He will also help gather toys. He has learned to read and has begun to go to the nannies when he wants some help. He will bring his book and take the nanny’s finger, pointing it to the word he wants explained—or the animal he doesn’t know.
And George is quite the little artist. He sometimes has a hot temper and may run to his room, cry and hide if he gets unhappy. What’s improved is that now, when others seek him out to comfort him, he will respond, allowing them to comfort him and turning his crying into a smile.”
George is waiting for a family on the shared list and can be adopted via any agency with a China special needs program! Madison Adoption Associates would offer a $2,000 agency grant and WACAP would offer a $4,000 promise child grant for a qualified family.
New Day South initially lost six children.
At this point, it was only kids from Guangdong province were being pulled back. But within a week or two, things got worse. New Day South posted again. This time their six medically fragile children they had been told they could keep had to return to their orphanages as well.
Morning Star Foundation posted that they lost three children back to their home orphanages as well.
These are just some of the hundreds of children from Guangdong province that had to be returned. Unfortunately, by early April, some other orphanages in other provinces started following suit by insisting that their kids be returned as well.
Why did this happen?
At first, foster care and specialty care homes were under the impression it had to do with the new NGO laws that started being implemented in January of 2017. But not long after the initial announcement, it was clarified that this was due to an incident at a Chinese-run care center in Guangdong province. You can read more about that in the following articles at Global Times and BBC.com.
What can you do?
You can start by keeping the children that were returned to the orphanage in your thoughts and prayers.
Pray for their little hearts, many that have been shattered yet again, and for protection.
Pray for the caregivers who loved them and devoted their lives to caring for and helping them progress.
Pray for the orphanages that are now being inundated with more kids-for resources, support, and for the staff that will now have more children to care for, many who have serious or complex medical needs.
And lastly, pray for these kids to find families and that more families might open their hearts to adoption.
The need is great.
– guest post by Brooke