In October 2013, three LWB volunteers visited foster care programs in Henan and Anhui provinces. Today we want to share a few photos and stories from their visit to Sanmenxia, in Henan province (northern China).
Love Without Boundaries has had a foster care program in Sanmenxia for several years now. However, it was growing smaller as more and more children in our care were adopted (a good problem to have!) Orphanage officials asked us to a meeting to discuss expanding the program to include new children.
We met with the directors of the orphanage and met many children they wished could be considered for LWB foster care. Although the orphanage has their own foster care program in place, with rising costs in China, they were hoping we would partner with them to help support these children. By working together, the foster families can then receive a fair stipend for their very important work of caring for children with special needs.
First, we visited Timothy and his foster family. Timothy, who is 16 months old, was originally delayed but is now doing really well. He is walking, speaking and generally doing all the things he should be, and they feel he is quite smart. He demonstrated his potty skills right then and there for us, and we all applauded! His foster grandparents are so proud of him.
16-month old Anthony is very handsome! He is said to be a bit of a toughie and doesn’t like to share with his foster brother Harry. He is speaking a few words. It will be fun to get to know him a little bit better.
Harry, who is 18 months old, doesn’t like strangers and only goes to family members at this time. He wasn’t too sure about three funny-looking western ladies coming to take his photo and entice him to play! Pretty understandable for a little guy of his age.
The next morning, we visited three boys who live in different foster care homes in the same neighborhood. Five-year-old Daniel is a happy, friendly fellow and ran right up to greet us. He has cerebral palsy and although he can walk, long distances are a struggle for him. He does, however, love cuddles and let us all pick him up and play with him.
Daniel’s friend Bobby has heart disease and a malformed ear. His language is not great, but he is not deaf. He really liked the toys and snacks we brought and kept trying to take them from Daniel, who didn’t seem to mind one bit!
The little boy in the arms of his foster granny below was going to be in foster care; however, we just learned that he was adopted domestically. What good news for him!
After meeting the children, we were privileged to experience lunch in an underground dwelling known only to this area of Henan province. These dwellings are called Silo-cave Courtyards, or underground courtyard houses, and about 100 villages of this type still remain. Our lunch was made with local ingredients and was cooked outside in the courtyard…and it was absolutely phenomenal. Our Chinese director, Cindy, said that it was the first time she had experienced this as well.
Getting to know a bit of the culture of this province and its people was truly special for us, and we left Sanmenxia excited about the possibility of growing our foster care program there. We look forward to seeing the children settle and then bloom within loving foster families.
Of course, we can’t leave Sanmenxia without showing off our two veteran residents, Maria and Joey.
We have heard that they are both to be adopted in the next few months! There is no doubt that these children have thrived in their foster families in Sanmenxia, and it leaves us with great hope for the future.
~Arlene Howard, Barbara Neiberg, and Sidney Pogatchnik
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