In June 2007 we established a new foster care program in Zhaotong, Yunnan province in south-west China. When I tell people that I am a coordinator for a foster care program for orphans in China they always assume that all of the children are baby girls. However, in Zhaotong our program currently has 14 girls and 14 boys and very few of the children are babies.
Although I love reading the reports about the babies and their first words, first steps and first teeth, I always read the older boys’ reports first to see how they are developing into young men and how the love of a family is changing them. The Zhaotong boys joined the program as shy, quiet boys and they often had difficulties with their school grades. Over time I have seen a lot of changes with the Zhaotong boys and being part of a loving family has really made a big difference in their lives. Their personalties are blossoming and their characters are really showing through in the regular reports. Recently I read that Marty’s foster parents had resorted to buying an alarm clock because he hates waking up early for school! Kevin is a little mischief-maker and has discovered a great new game – locking the doors and hiding the keys! Michael used to spend all of his time alone and found it difficult to make friends. Now he has a new bicycle and rides around with other children from the neighborhood on the back. He also likes to play basketball with other local children. His grades have improved and he has started to smile! David is a very studious boy and loves his books. He did so well in recent school tests that he was rewarded with some pocket money from his foster parents. The said ‘We wanted to teach him the value of money. We gave him 20 RMB and he bought a toy. Then he had no money left. So he has learned the value of money!’ Peter used to run and hide whenever visitors called at the foster family home. Now he rushes to greet visitors and they all remark upon how polite he is to visitors.
Recently the local foster care manager sent some photos of the children in their new outfits. I noticed that Michael, a boy who 8 months ago wouldn’t smile and was very withdrawn, was helping the manager by holding the babies while she photographed them. There was also a wonderful photo of Michael and Marty together – they have become the best of friends. I am delighted to say that Michael’s paperwork is being prepared for adoption – what wonderful news!
I am so proud of the Zhaotong boys and how they have progressed so far. But boys will be boys and I love the fact that despite being on the other side of the world and in a totally different environment to boys we might know or have in our families, they are still just as mischievous and adventurous as any other boys.
Zhaotong Foster Care Coordinator
Love Without Boundaries Foundation
“Every Child Counts”