2012 Volunteer & Board Trip
It’s hard to explain the value of foster care. To westerners familiar with the practice, it seems so obvious; but in China it can take months even years to convince orphanages. This year was different.
Volunteers and staff traveled to Henan Province this year to develop foster care programs. In the city of Jiaozou, they toured the new 15,000 square meter, 10 story orphanage. It’s big. During their visit, they found a little boy with club feet. The GHC volunteers and staff shared with the orphanage director about the Orphan’s Wish program in Guilin that treats children with clubfoot. The director was encouraged by the news and sent one of his staff along with the little boy who was named “Austin” to Guilin. Ms. Gho, an orphanage care giver, traveled with Austin, the volunteers and staff to Guilin, Yongning, and Nanning. During Ms. Gho’s trip, she met over a hundred foster families. She was very impressed and convinced that foster care should be the model in Jiaozou. She is the greatest advocate for children in foster care in Jiaozou now. The orphanage director promised to move eight children. Because of Ms. Gho, they have now moved 17. It is amazing to see the change in the lives of the children and Ms. Gho.
|Ms. Gho (right) with "Austin" at Oprhan's Wish
||Heather aids in transporting little "Austin"|
Changing Foster Care Landscape
The care of orphaned and abandoned children in China continues to change. The Chinese Government has invested millions of yuan to build new orphanages, group homes, and rehabilitation facilities. Some orphanages are withdrawing children to fill their new group homes. Other children have returned to the orphanage to receive therapy. The buildings are nice and new and staff training is improving, but in the end it is clear to see that what matters is the love of a foster family. What matters is that a foster parent loves and nurtures a child. Therapy has value in developing the body, but it is the love of the family that develops a child. We will continue to champion the care of these children through foster care.