"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.”
Our project staff visited Mianyang and Deyang in January this year to get a better understanding about the children who are being placed into families under the care of our partner orphanages.
Many children who come into orphanages are diagnosed with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or learning difficulties, which makes it even more important that children, and the families who care for them, are given the right kind of support. Our project staff were able to see first hand how children who have been placed into families are progressing in their development.
We love to share stories about the children who are benefiting from the love and care of a family. Care for Children’s Training Manager, Emma Zhang, had the opportunity to meet a little girl called Xiao Yun.
Xiao Yun’s story
Two-year-old Xiao Yun was abandoned by her parents and sent to the orphanage 3 days after her birth. She was placed into the care of a local family in October 2012. Her foster parents run a small local business.
When placed with her new family, Xiao Yun hardly ever played or moved around, she was very quiet and had difficulty walking. Xiao Yun’s foster mother gave up her job so that she could care full-time for Xiao Yun at home. She is able to spend focused time playing, reading storybooks and helping Xiao Yun with her walking. Three months into her placement, Xiao Yun now plays with a smile, and is full expression when she sees visitors. Her workers and foster family have noticed a real transformation in Xiao Yun.
Xiao Yun’s foster parents are really happy having Xiao Yun in the family and are already talking about adopting her.
It’s stories like these that affirm the need for orphans to be placed into families. One worker from the Shenyang Child Welfare Institution who has attended one of our recent training events, commented:
Through the three days of training and exploring [how children form close relationships], I finally came to understand that the institutional environment is not good for a child to grow up in…where there are no opportunities for a child to form close relationships with a primary carer. They have missed out on motherly love which is so vital and fundamental….the family is the best place for a child. Now I realize how significant my work is in helping transform children’s lives.
Thank you for your support that makes this important work in China possible.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Assistant Director, China
Chao Yang District,