With nearly five million orphans, China is faced with a problem that is simply too large to handle. To help alleviate this situation, the Philip Hayden Foundation established Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) in Tianjin, China. At SFCV we take in at-risk and special-needs orphans, love them, provide them with surgeries to correct their special needs conditions, and we work to find loving families to adopt them.
Of the nearly one hundred children in our care, ninety-five percent have a physical disability or serious medical condition, which often led to their abandonment because their parents considered them broken. Our philosophy is to take in these so-called “broken” children and transform their hopelessness into beautiful stories of redemption and love. Since 1996, we have provided more than 3,000 corrective surgeries for orphans. Although we are not an adoption agency, we have helped over 900 families adopt from China, and have had many of “our children” adopted into families in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and China. In addition to working with orphans, we foster good will by encouraging teams from around the world to visit our children’s village where they can engage the people and culture of China.
With one nanny to every two or three children, our homes are designed to model a family environment, de-emphasizing the institutional feel of traditional orphanages. Because of this, our children are able to form attachments and receive the attention and care that nurtures them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Our vision is to resurrect hope in the lives of special needs orphans of all ages by providing:
- Security and Love in their otherwise uncertain lives;
- Family environments and facilitation of their permanent adoption;
- Care for their medical, emotional, and educational needs; and
- Vocational Training to prepare for life beyond SFCV.
Nearly 10 years ago, at the age of 15, Wendy (Su Ying) joined our family here at SFCV from her home orphanage in Fuzhou. Wendy was born with paraplegia, which left her unable to walk or actively move her body from the waist down. Regardless of her physical limitations, Wendy proved to be a smart, active, innovative, and confident young woman who truly has a heart for others.
After excelling at and completing her education here at SFCV, Wendy joined our staff as an administrative assistant and worked on our Guest Relations team giving tours and sharing her story and the story of SFCV with visitors. In the time that she worked with us, many lives were touched by Wendy’s words and kind gestures.
In the midst of many success stories from SFCV, we are very proud of Wendy. Early this year, she courageously moved off the SFCV campus to pursue a new career and life as an independent young woman. Wendy was offered and accepted a job, working reception at a pet store in Beijing’s Tongzhou neighborhood. After a month, she decided to look for something else and found a new job she loves, as a customer service representative for an online company.
In addition to finding both of these positions, Wendy also found herself an apartment that fits her needs and is close to her job. Anyone who has ever lived in Beijing will tell you this is no small task. Wendy is an inspiration to us all, and she’s very thankful for the job skills and other training she received at SFCV, which helped prepare her for this new independence.
Earlier this spring, Wendy also received a new active wheelchair. After finding and taking her new position, Wendy soon realized that the wheelchair she was currently using was too wide for her work space, making it hard to move around her environment. Wendy made her need for a new chair known to our staff and with the great help of our friends at LIH Olivia’s Place in Beijing and Global Mobility in Van Nuys, California we were able to find Wendy the perfect chair. This new chair was donated by a young woman around Wendy’s age from the USA, up-cycled and custom fitted just for Wendy.
We are so grateful for the Lord’s provision of this new wheelchair. Not only is this wheelchair a perfect fit, but, Wendy loves it! She’s able to fit through door frames and maneuver her new living and work space with no complications. We are so proud of Wendy and all her successes!
While Wendy’s story is inspiring, there’s still much work that needs to be done to help other kids like her.
In China, orphans who reach the age of 14 are no longer adoptable. By the time these aged-out orphans reach 15 or 16, their orphanages normally require them to leave. Healthy kids may get help finding work and somewhere to live, but teens with special needs or disabilities will be sent to an adult institution, where they’re often warehoused—hidden away from society. They’ll have little opportunity to develop normal relationships, live outside of an institution, develop vocational or self care skills, or have regular jobs.
At Shepherd’s Field, we hope to change this with the opening of our new Vocational Center.
Here we’ll teach older teens and young adults life and job skills, and help them find purpose for their lives. Our hope and prayer is to open this new vocational school later in this year. Currently, we are awaiting the final building inspection by our local government. Please pray as we work with the authorities to get our building up and running.
We truly believe that the teens and young adults that the Lord will bring to SFCV and to our new vocational training program have great potential to be active, independent, and skilled members in our community. We know this program is a huge undertaking, but with your prayers and support we’ll see more young people like Wendy succeed in life.
For more information about Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village and how you can be involved, check out their website at http://chinaorphans.org.
In August of 1988 Tim and Pam Baker and their three girls, Rebecca (6), Sarah (4), and Rachel (5 months) arrived in China, with hearts ready to teach English to the Chinese. Although they were in a city of several million people in northeast China, they were the only westerners... View Full Bio