Qingyang: Love Starts Here
Several months ago, we were contacted by some parents who had adopted from the Qingyang orphanage in Gansu province. They wondered if we would consider starting any of our programs here, and so we began discussions with local officials about which of our projects might benefit the children in their care.
This orphanage has over 100 children born with medical needs, and many of them are unable to attend public school. Because of this, we decided that opening one of our Believe in Me schools onsite would be a great first partnership. We have been so amazed by the outpouring of support for the children here that we wanted to share some of the beautiful things that can happen when people come together as a community for the kids. Qingyang is such a wonderful example that Love Starts Here!
Within weeks of our decision to open a school, the initial start up funds were raised to hire teachers, send them for training in both Guangdong and Beijing, and to outfit the orphanage with bright classrooms and an indoor play area for the kids. The adoption agency which has the partnership with this orphanage spread the news, along with the incredible adoptive parents, that sponsors would be needed for the ongoing school costs. Families from around the world began stepping up to pledge their support for the beautiful kids here.
We made our first site visit to Qingyang in October, and we met several children who were in need of medical care. We are very happy that one of the babies will soon be arriving to our healing program to get the TLC she needs to thrive and quality for cleft surgery.
In addition, we were given a long list of other children born with cleft lip who have not had their surgeries. We look forward to arranging their operations in the very near future.
On that visit, we also met an older orphaned girl named Anna, who was born with a port wine stain birthmark on her face and who had aged out of the possibility of finding a permanent home. Thanks to an incredible teen in the U.S. who was adopted from China, funds were raised within weeks to support this young woman for two years of computer training so that she will be able to secure a good job and support herself in the future.
In addition, we were asked to help an older girl from Qinyang who had grown up with the diagnosis of deafness. The orphanage director told us that he had wondered if hearing aids would possibly help her. We were able to quickly get her a hearing exam, and we were so excited to learn that she responded to sound! She was recently fitted for hearing aids, and she is so happy that this new door has opened for her.
The audiology company in China was so touched by her story that they discounted her hearing aids and offered her free batteries for the first year.
We also noticed that many of the babies in this orphanage spent the majority of their time in their cribs. When we mentioned bouncy chairs and bumbo seats to the staff, they said they had always wanted them but knew they could only be brought in by adoptive families since they weren’t available in China. Because we have been able to source them from companies within China, we were able to send 20 new chairs within days to the orphanage. Now the babies can get out of their cribs for easier feeding and for some social time.
All of this has come together so quickly, and we just wanted to give thanks today to everyone who has stepped forward with such LOVE for the children in Qingyang. We look forward to a wonderful partnership with this orphanage for many years to come. It always humbles us so much to see the great things that can happen when people step up for the kids and say, “Yes! How can I help?”
You all are AMAZING!