Recently our Training Team visited one of Care for Children's oldest and most established foster care projects in China. As it was my first visit, I was eagerly anticipating what I would find. We spent one day checking in with some of the project's foster families.
One of the families we visited had fostered two children, a girl and a boy. I really enjoyed talking to the teenage girl, Dan Dan. She was quite shy but gradually opened up to us as we asked her about what she was doing. Her hands were busy stitching and we found out that Dan Dan had a keen eye for cross-stitch and design. She clearly had a skill and her foster mom recognized this and how much joy it brought her.
Her foster mom was really proud of her. She explained she had encouraged Dan Dan's talent by investing in some cross-stitch design kits with various patterns. This had really fuelled her interest. She really enjoyed sitting with her foster mom and talking about her designs, and her foster mom painstakinly unpicked any wrong stitches or mistakes. Her patience and love for her foster daughter was so evident, and she proudly displayed Dan Dan's work around the room for everyone to see. Maybe one day her unique talent and potential will take her further than she could imagine, who knows?
The foster family had become a place where Dan Dan could meaningfully contirbute to her home, put her own special mark on it and be reminded every day that she belongs.
That's what I love about foster families: the attention to detail and the sensitivity to care that can be offered. That's why I love visiting the families we work with and seeing the small things that make a huge difference to a child's life. And that's why your support, no matter how large or small makes a real difference.
Your support creates changes that last a lifetime. Thank you.
"I can't wait to hear him call me Mom for the first time!" said foster mom, Shan Shan, to our team at a recent site visit in China's Shanxi province. Her new son has had some trouble with his speech, but since living with Shan Shan it has been improving quickly. One of the important aspects of placing children into families is to provide them with the opportunity to develop a sense of security, safety and trust. "When children can trust in their secure base, they are free to explore, learn and develop.” says Care for Children's Group Training Manager, Mary Beek. The children being placed into families often have been diagnosed with a learning disability, cerebral palsy or show signs of developmental delay, and we have heard countless stories from our project partners of the vast improvements in a child's development after being placed with a family. This is how your donation makes a difference. From now through December 31st, all new monthly donations are being MATCHED by an anonymous donor on Global Giving. This will be a one-time 100% match! To qualify for the match, supporters must give at least four consecutive months. Isn't that fantastic? Make your year-end gift go even further by signing up for recurring doonations to Care for Children on Global Giving this holiday season. Let's keep working together to change the lives of these children. Thank you for your support!
Faces like this show how important family can be. Xiao Long is 12 years old. He's lived with his foster family for 7 years. When he was first placed with his family, he couldn't walk or talk, and he was thought to have learning difficulties. Now he speaks well, attends the local school and has shown he has no learning difficulties to speak of! As you can see, family life has brought out his passion for art. The Child Welfare Institution where he used to live continues to support his foster family, and even helps to provide a private art teacher to cultivate Xiao Long's talents.
This Christmas, help give other boys like Xiao Long a new family. #giveachildafamily
From all of us at Care for Children, thank you for your support this year! We can't do this work without you.
How do you cope with change?
Perhaps you’ve changed jobs and are having to learn a new set of skills? Maybe you’ve been laid off and you don't know where the next pay check will come from? Or you might even be picking up a new hobby? The fact of the matter is, we all experience change one way or another and everyone has different ways of coping. For some of us, we embrace change and adapt to the new situation, but for others facing change can make us feel vulnerable.
Helping children and families cope with change is an important part of our work. Children who have been orphaned or abandoned have to bear the burden of loss from a very young age - loss of parents, loss of heritage, loss of identity to name a few. We provide training to family placement workers and foster carers on how to support children through change, separation and loss. We also help workers and carers maintain the right balance in dealing with the emotions of supporting children in care.
On a recent training trip to Chengdu, our training team spent three days with family placement workers and some foster families to work through the issue of dealing with separation and loss. There are different situations children and their foster families have to manage and work through - for example, some children need to move placements so that they can gain better access to education and others may be reaching independence and need support as they prepare to move on.
There were 30 participants who came from different parts of Chengdu, representing over nine different orphanages. Many participants had never attended our training before and shared how they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about coping with separation and loss. They also mentioned the need for more training like this to be rolled out! We love being able to meet and gather with our local partners to work and learn collectively together!
We at Care for Children would like to say thank you to all our Global Giving supporters who make this important work possible! You are helping to lay strong foundations for children to receive the best quality care!
We have the privilege of meeting countless families across the country who are devoting their time and energy to give disadvantaged children a stronger start in life. The love that is poured out on these children is very moving. Visiting families not only brings home some of the realities of the difficult job they do and the sacrifices they have made, but it is also encouraging to see how families have grown and been strengthened through their experiences of family placement care. Here's another story of a family who have been caring for two boys:
We pulled up to a traditional siheyuan (a four-walled courtyard). A little boy ran over to us, jumping and shouting excitedly. He was full of life. The boy was about 4 years old and had been in the family since he was a month old. As we entered the house he became more reserved, staying close to his “mum”, refusing to let go of her or stand too far away. As his confidence grew, he began to dance for us, or show us his best toys and sweets. Throughout our visit, he would regularly go back to stand next to his mum to regain confidence before performing or playing again. He had been born without fully formed fingers on both hands, but had learnt how to do things, hold things and open things independently. He was confident and his foster mother was proud. He had an “older brother”, 6 months his senior, who had severe cerebral palsy and was unable to sit up. He had been with the family from 6 months old and the foster mother adored him. From the moment we stepped into their house, she picked him up and carried him with her wherever she went. When she sat down, she sat next to him, holding his hand, gently wiping away his dribble, tenderly caring for him and keeping his dignity in tact. She was as proud and as attentive to this son as she was to the other.
This woman had 2 children of her own, both now married and grown up. We asked if she had much interaction with children with disabilities before fostering, she answered “none”. So we asked if it was hard fostering a child with severe cerebral palsy. Her answer: “In the beginning it was, as I knew little about what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know what he should be eating or how to hold him. I went to some training at the center, and now that I know what I am doing it is no longer hard.”
She went on: “Having foster children has influenced my own family for the better. My own children love the foster children, and often buy them presents when they come to see them”. She is now 48, when asked if she would continue fostering she answered, “I could keep going for years, and what’s more, I want to.”
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Assistant Director, China
Chao Yang District,