We left for the Hope Healing Home early on Saturday morning and I literally had to drag my ten-year-old daughter, Julia, out of bed. She grumbled about the fact that it was a Saturday, one of the few days when she can sleep in. As a parent who has been conscientious about teaching my children that there are others less fortunate than ourselves, and wanting to instill a deep feeling in them about what is right – promoting family movie nights with films such as Gandhi, Hotel Rwanda, and The Killing Fields – I expected my daughter to jump out of bed wanting to save the world with the suggestion of visiting an orphanage. I found myself getting impatient with her lack of enthusiasm, but maybe it was because I was feeling guilty. Our son and daughter are getting iPads and a trip to Hawaii for Christmas, but what have we done recently as a family to make a difference in someone’s life?
A visit to the Hope Healing Home in Shunyi was a good lesson, for both Julia and me, in how one can make a difference in the world. Although in this case, the home has already made a difference in the lives of over 1000 babies who were orphaned, sick and physically disabled. Expats Dr. Joyce Hill and her husband Robin had a vision to care for abandoned babies by helping the local Chinese Children’s Welfare Institutes. In February 2000 the Hills opened their home to orphaned children with birth defects and provided care and medical treatment. Later, they opened the Hope Healing Home that cares for 56 babies, and is the center for babies that are fostered into local homes.
When we arrived at the Hope Healing Home I was immediately impressed with the facility. It was well organized, clean, the staff was friendly and the babies – separated in different playrooms with their nannies – seemed content and well cared for. Robin Hill greeted us warmly and gave us a tour and answered our questions. I was startled by the graphic before-and-after photos of some of the babies who had received surgeries for their deformities. Many had cases I had never heard of such as intestinal atresia, arthrogryposis, or esophageal atresia.
Julia held a baby or two and interacted with some of the playful toddlers. I could tell she was uneasy and not entirely sure she wanted to be there. But I was glad that I had dragged her out of bed that morning. I realized that it’s a start to just be aware. That’s why I have pointed out to my children the injustices in the world. (We are now watching the old epic drama series about slavery called Roots). Knowing and being aware of things that are unpleasant to us is sometimes necessary. When you can’t ignore it than you might think you can do something about it.
To learn about the story of the New Hope Foundation and how it got started read the book The House of Hope: God’s love for the abandoned orphans of China by Elisabeth Glifford.
If you want to help The Hope Foundation you can donate money, sponsor a child or nanny, or provide medical supplies. www.hopefosterhome.com