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Nov 1, 2018

"Many of my friends don't understand, they think I'm stupid..."

Foster parents recounting her experiences
Foster parents recounting her experiences

In late October, Care for Children hosted a two day family placement conference in Shanghai, China. The aim of the conference was to share international best-practice in family placement for orphaned and abandoned children in Asia. We were lucky enough to have a number of foster parents speak about their experiences of fostering. Here is the remarkable account of one of them:

“Many of my friends don’t understand, they think I’m stupid. I disagree. My neighbours, who are also foster carers, we together provide a home and this kind of love has filled every corner of our village.

“Li Wei* was very ill - often it took half a day to take him to hospital. It was so difficult. My husband and I lost our initial excitement of fostering but the incredible support of the (orphanage) staff kept us going. They visited two or three times a week and took a lot of the pressure off us. Since then Li Wei has learnt to walk, read and eat all on his own.

“We go to the park and Li Wei dances when he hears music. He loves to dance. He’s part of our family now. One day when I was feeding him egg he shouted ‘Mum, Mum’. This was the first time he had called me his mum.

“Zhang Min also joined us to be a sister to Li Wei. They’ve been with us for three years and now our house is filled with love and laughter because of them. Our family is more happy because of them. My heart is filled with happiness when they hug and kiss me. It’s normal to love our own baby. But to love someone else’s baby takes courage as well.

“I’ve had bad moments, I’ve shed tears, but because of Li Wei and Zhang Min I want to give them the warmth of a home. My life is much richer than before because of my experience of foster care. We’ll keep doing this so that more and more children can have an opportunity to have a better life.”

Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected with our work.

 

* All names have been chnaged to protect anonymity.

Sep 24, 2018

Thai project half-year update

So far this year, the Care for Children team in Thailand has had a busy season. We started out the year with a National Foster Meeting, bringing together senior government officials, orphanage directors, social workers, and family placement workers from 20 government children homes.

As our relationships with these groups develop, these meetings are growing increasingly fun and productive. There was a lot of lively discussion in these sessions as we looked for ways to strengthen the foster care programme and place more children in families. We had the chance to hear from a young woman who had grown up in foster care, followed by the stories from the wonderful couple who had been her foster parents. The young woman who shared her story is now grown-up and has her own family, but she still returns to visit her foster mother and father on a regular basis and their current foster children call her 'big sister'. Hearing this woman speak about the importance of her foster family and seeing the person she has become reminded our team of the importance of this work for individual lives.

The training team has been busy visiting and training staff from nine new project sites, where we will be able to serve children in exactly the way their specific communities need. We were encouraged that the government requested Care for Children to expand the foster care training program to include these nine additional children’s homes. We will only be able to transform the way children grow up if we do it together, and greater interest from the government indicates a growing awareness of the need to open up opportunities for all children in state-run institutions to be cared for in a family-based setting.

Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

Aug 30, 2018

Milestone for project!

Trial workshop
Trial workshop

At the end of May, the team delivered its first official workshop - a milestone event for this project. The workshop, which was intended to be a trial, was entitled ‘Introduction to Foster Care’ and was the first activity on the 2018 Training Plan. The Deputy Director General, Madame Hoa, and other key staff from our government partner attended, as well as the whole Care the Children team. Although not without a few (mainly technical) hitches, the workshop was a great learning opportunity, giving the team plenty to think about before delivering the first workshops to the two pilot Social Protection Centres (orphanages).

In June, the project team visited one of the two pilot project sites in Hanoi.  The meeting was designed to help us gather more information on childcare in the area and within the orphanage and to help the staff from the Social Protection Centre understand more about the background to foster care.

The first training module (Introduction to Foster Care) has been developed and is scheduled to take place in September. We will be running three workshops; one at the national level and then two at the provincial level.  This will ensure that the key stakeholders will be familiar with the concept of foster care and why it is a positive alternative to institutional care. Once complete we will then deliver all the initial core training in the following months this year.

One of our early objectives was to become registered as an NGO in Vietnam. We have just received the fantastic news that we have been approved! This has taken just over four months and, from speaking to other NGOs in the area, has been extremely quick. 

We look forward to the upcoming months, working with our government partners in the training workshops as we continue the work to see the development of foster care for children as a positive alternative to institutional care.

Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

 
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