Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hope4China Team 2010....a wee bit long, but worth it:-)

The Hope4China Team has always been here working away behind the scenes...........but during this year it has been growing and evolving as special people with different talents have mysteriously... (NOT!!!!!!) appeared and merged into this Body with new arms, legs and vision.

Here are SOME, tho' not all, of  the wonderful people working behind the scenes to make our work possible for the children in China.

I am Sharon, proud as punch mummy to Tilly aged 5 ½ adopted in Nanning in 2006, married to the lovely Paul – we all live in Bath.
As an adoptive mother life takes unusual twists and turns but certainly one of the HUGE benefits of adopting is that your world gets opened up to a wonderful community of like minded people. Through adoption I have met some of my greatest friends, and have also adopted a wonderful country - China. At first China seemed to me (as a great traveller, though never to China) to be a country that didn’t really interest me, it certainly wasn’t on my wish list of places to visit– it felt cold and austere, unwelcoming to my ignorant eye.

 When we nervously visited Nanning in 2006 to adopt Tilly I was expecting a frosty reception, cold business-like, efficient people and that we would be quick in and quick out. Of course our experience couldn’t have been further from that, Nanning is a wonderful city, the people (well those that we met) including the amazing Matthew were beyond nice, there was plenty of warmth and welcome, how wrong I’d been. I remember the flight back to the UK with Tilly for that first time and I remember then wondering how quickly I could get back to that wonderful country and explore more of my daughters heritage.

In 2009 we returned – again a wonderful trip and on that trip we spent a week with Matthew, walking in his shadow, lapping up his stories, marvelling at his life experience. We saw the SWI’s from a different light, saw the great needs that China has and the huge difference that Hope4China was providing.

I was ‘in’ hook, line and sinker and just wanted to do more, on the blower to Linda as soon as I returned.

So, now I hold the proud title of ‘Nanning Mama’, I get to facilitate the arrival and safe dispatch of all the reports of our sponsored children in Nanning – who would have thought it! And it’s a role I do with honour and privilege. I love sending out those reports to the wonderful people who pay each month to sponsor the kids. As a sponsor myself I love getting the reports of the little girl that we sponsor and seeing her grow and thrive in a foster family, something that wouldn’t happen without our contributions.

My friends ask why do I help a country like China that is so rich and has so much – why can’t they help their own kids – and I answer because life is unfair and every child deserves a family so where there is a need (a big need such as that in China) then the country doesn’t matter, but the child certainly does.
I’m going on a bit ( I do that ;-) but I am so chuffed to be part of this team.
The boring bit and some credentials are that I am trained in family systemic psychotherapy, positive psychology, transactional analysis etc........ I have worked with children on the ‘at risk’ register in UK schools and within a CAMhs team and continue to work with families day in day out as part of my day job as an executive coach for working parents.

My final word on all this ;-) is that small charities really DO make a difference, no large admin costs and bureaucracy – every penny really does count and that inspires me too……thank you for reading if you made it to the end ;-)

Hi all Hope4China friends! 
 My name is Marion and I live in Fife, Scotland not too far from Linda and her wonderful family. I have known Linda for  years now and have always marveled at the work she and Iain tirelessly carry out to give the girls in China a better life, so I am delighted to be an official  part of the ‘Team’

I have two daughters, Amy aged 22 and Maisie aged 5. Maisie was adopted from China 4 years ago. Like all of us here, the children and teenagers ‘Hope4China’ and ‘Grace and Hope’ support have a special place in my heart. I was particularly delighted and honoured when Linda asked me to be the "Yongning Mama" as all the children in this group have special needs.

Anyone who knows me will know that this is my passion in life!!!!!!!

I have worked with children with a wide variety of very special needs for the last 21 years and my eldest daughter also has complex special needs so I feel I have a real connection with these children and the staff who work to support them in China.

I am also delighted to hear that ‘Hope4China’ is going to be developing further links with children who have special needs by helping provide appropriate equipment for them and training for staff. Provision for children with special needs in China is severely lacking. Equipment is expensive, training difficult to access and general understanding and acceptance of special needs has a long, long way to go. ‘Hope4China’ is taking small steps to try to address these issues where possible.

I'm Heather,
We have 5 daughters (ranging in age from almost 30 to 4), one son-in-law, one grand-daughter and one soon-to-be son-in law. Our youngest two girls are adopted from China - Abbie Jiang Ya, 9 and has been with us since 2002, Lian Hai Yan is 4 and has been a precious part of our family since 2006.

We met Linda and Iain years ago - not long after Eilidh Fu Yi joined their family. They were living on Skye, and used to "pop in" as they went past. Linda shared her vision for helping the children who had been "left behind" in China - those who weren't considered "right" for adoption by the authorities, and it just struck such a chord with me that I knew there and then that I had to help as much as I could, and the fact that everyone would give their time voluntarily meant such a lot to me (I really object to giving to charities that turn out to have big fancy offices and loads of paid staff, and adverts on the TV and in the press - all the money needed to pay for those things comes from the donations that people give, and that to me seems just wrong!). So we began by sponsoring a child, and then another, and another. We heard that one of our sponsored children had been adopted and we were able to get in touch with the new parents and share photos and reports with them - I cried when I heard that one of "our" children had found a "forever family", I was just so happy.
You perhaps have read of a mad man that runs marathons - well, that's David. He opens a Just-giving page and every penny he raises in sponsorship goes straight to Hope4China. His sponsor money has gone to help with medical expenses, long term fostering, special needs children and much more....

 I have taken on one of the Fund-raising roles for Hope4China - I sell on E-bay and my seller's name is hope4china (what else could it be?) 100% of the price paid by anyone for anything that I sell goes straight to our fantastic cause - and I calculate the cost of postage and packing to make certain that I don't lose out on that. I donate all listing fees, to make sure that Hope4China gets every penny that is paid.

Hi, my name is Shawn.

I'm a proud Mama to 5 precious children, with number 6 on the way.
Our children's ages start at 24 and at present , encompass our youngest who is 4 and three quarters, as she never ceases to inform us.

I come from Sao Paulo, Brasil, and have been married to Chris an English country vet for 27 years.

We lived in Tanzania in East Africa for 6 of those years, where 4 of our children were brought up , with our youngest son being born there, at home: )
Our youngest daughter comes from Xiangfan in Hubei province and our baby on the way is being adopted from Ethiopia.

I have a passion for babies, toddlers and all children,
 and adoption has been a dream come true.
I have a varied training background, but my principal role with Hope4China is that of a Neuro Developmental Delay Therapist, which means I look at children with and without known Special needs, try to identify and help remedy, through specific excercises, delays that children may be experiencing in Gross and fine motor control, problems with balance an coordination, sensory issues and behaviourl challenges due to poor posture, concentration and inability to retain information due to over stimulation or high alertness.

I have been priviledged to work in China in Orphanages and Foster Homes, teaching and training staff and foster parents in the Neuro Movement Program which also has a very strong bias in bonding and attachment, which I have developed through my training with Birthlight and INPP (Institute of Neuro Physiological Physchology Chester)
I also work extensively in aquatic therapy, much of my training been undertaken through Birthlight, a charitable teaching trust which focuses on conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond, within the yoga and aquatic environment, to which I am one of the Senior Tutors.

I also teach swimming to Children and adults with and without Special needs, which has also been introduced to a small number of orphanages in China last August, this is an area which I hope we will be able to develop further with Hope4China.

My latest training has been in the American Method of Theraplay, a method which has complemented and enhanced my understanding and training for working with children from hard places.
I am honoured to be invited to join the Hope4China team and hope to be able to bring to this gifted body of people, knowledge and insight in my specific area of work.
With love
And a word from Ellen, The Guangxi Girls ( GGEF) Mama......
For my husband and I, adopting our daughter, Annaliesa, from China in 2006 has been our single most wonderful blessing. As well as the joy that entered our lives when Annaliesa became part of our family, we continue to be gifted with friends, opportunities and experiences that we might otherwise not have been fortunate to welcome to our lives.
And becoming associated with Hope4China is one of those good fortunes that has blessed our family! We had been considering how we could support our daughter in staying connected to her birth culture, and sponsoring a beautiful young girl through Hope4China was our answer. As I learned more about Hope4China and GGEF, I soon realized that my heart was wanting to be more involved in somehow making a difference in the lives of the girls associated with Hope4China.

As much of my career has been nurtured in environments teaching and mentoring young people and adults, it seemed serendipity that I can now share some of my life talents in a multitude of ways with Hope4China. In particular, I hope to have plenty of opportunity over the coming years to work directly with the girls in the GGEF programme, both through helping to manage their sponsorships and through meeting and mentoring the girls themselves during visits to China. My dream is to help inspire the girls to expand their life vision – to value themselves through a strong sense of self-acceptance, to believe in themselves with a robust sense of self-confidence, and to trust themselves to know how to navigate their world in the fullest way possible.

It is such a privilege to belong to this amazing team for Hope4China. And I am honoured that the Greenshields family has placed their trust and enthusiasm in the vision that we will, together, create and sustain for Hope4China.
Ellen Bower

....I also have to mention so many others........ like my friend, Manna in Finland, who creates wonderful photo pages for us, another wonderful lady from Finland, Pauliina, who has just arranged an incredible publishing Event for Hope4China........more later ;-), Desheng families, friends in Spain, Anne who is looking at "big funding", the many friends around the world who run marathons, help arrange events, gather donations for orphanages, offer support...and help in so, so many ways. The list is endless........

   And of course our faithful sponsors, big and small, too many to mention, 
without whom NONE of this could happen!!!!!!!

So privileged to be part of this extraordinary Team...
and excited to be getting ready for the 2010 trip to China!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Qingdao...another world, Oct 09

It was very strange to leave Guangxi and head for different pastures. Our heart has always been in Guangxi, but now we were returning to the area where our littlest one began her life, Qingdao in Shandong Province in the north east of China...and we wondered what we would find there............

Shandong Province, Qingdao was like another world!!!!

.......but most importantly it also had special friends in it :-)

This is our special girl, normally VERY shy and reserved with strangers, jumping immediately into the arms of "her friend", Ms Zhang Ronghua, Qingdao CWI's Director who had come to meet us at the airport!

Her driver took us through the disrticts of Qingdao, past amazingly bright, modern, clean buildings to our hotel by the sea!!!

It was truly another world, very prosperous with European/German architecture.

The next morning we were picked up at our hotel by the Qingdao driver & staff and taken back thro the amazing streets to the Blue Sky Home

We were all excited and a bit nervous as we drove up the hill to the Qingdao Blue Sky Home

All was quiet and calm on the ground floor where there is a lovely reception area to greet visitors.
and we had another to another warm welcome and embrace from the staff.
They were VERY excited to take our little one upstairs.....

.......for  a very special Birthday party

for a very special girl!!!!!!!!
The staff had arranged for all the children the same age as our daughter to be there, along with all the babies and young children who were currently at the Blue Sky Home.

Qingdao CWI, Blue Sky Home  is the entry place in Qingdao for orphans who have been found around the city. Many children remain there to be assessed and treated for whatever special/health needs they may have. Thereafter the majority move to the wonderful Therapy Canter and Foster Care Community in JiazhouTown, a 2 hour drive away

The children were lovingly cared for by nannies and directors,  fed with care, and encouraged to play together amongst the toys.
The walls were bright with photos of the children and the atmosphere was just wonderful!!!!!!

For the staff, the most exciting part of the Party seemed to be the presentation of the Photo Book we had created with photos of Qingdao children who had been adopted. They were soooooo excited to see "their children" at home and loved with their new families.

They all gathered round the book, asking questions and pointing to photos of their chilkdren.
 There were tears of joy!

Thank goodness for our faithful friend who was there to translate all the excited questions :-)

Nannies do no tforget their children here......as the photo on this phone tells us!!!!!

The pictures on the wall show the importance of all the children in the Blue Sky Home

the bright, clean,warm cots for the babies, 

the one to one care for each baby was just wonderful to see!!!!!

There were many toys inside

and more outside......

with plans to create a whole  new play area, which I amsure will be in place by now.

After the sharing of gifts and stories about the children, and lots of photos,

it was time to go for lunch with the staff

Ms Zhang Rong Hua shared  the story of her life and the way she came to be in charge of Qingdao CWI. She is a very dedicated and caring woman with deep love and concern for every child in her care. It is her vision that every child, no matter the extent of thie disability or special need, will be enabled to reach their full potential under her care.
She wishes most of all for all  of the children to have a family.
Those who are unlikely to be adopted will be LOVED by her staff,not just cared for.
And she has great plans for how her children will be treated as they grow up within the "home"
(More on this in the next blog about the Centre at Jiaozhou Town where her dreams become reality)........)

The girls were well occupied during this time, playing with the staff and their gifts.

We had come to Qingdao most importantly for our daughter,but also to see if there was any way we could help there thro Hope4China'sChildren..
It had become very clear that it was the other way round.........and we are now hoping to partner with Qingdao in helping our Special children in Guangxi who do NOT always benefit from this level of care and expertise.

For everything there is a reason.........

But for a very special girl, it had been a very special day, overwhelming in so many ways, with many gifts, physical & emotional to treasure over the years........ but there was even more to come the next day.........

But for now,

Sweet Dreams xxx

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Auld Alliance...Scotland to Paris...to help children in China and Africa

Auld Alliance Cycle Event

This is a charity cycle ride to raise funds for Good Causes in Malawi such as Mamie Martin Fund , supporting Girls education , Ekwendeni Hospital ,and Hope4China'sChildren, that takes place from the
Scottish Parliament to the outskirts of Edinburgh, then via minibus to Hull and an overnight ferry to Zeebrugge in Belgium.

We then cycle from Zeebrugge to the Champs Elysee in Paris over 4 days.

We then have 2 nights in Paris and sightseeing in Brugge on the way back back to the UK by minibus and ferry. The total cycling distance is approximately 250 Miles where we average about 50/60 miles per day apart from the short cycle to the outskirts of Edinburgh which is about 7 miles.

Over past three years , we have had blue light escorts from the Police , in Lille (first overnight stop) as well as reception , then onto Perrone and another blue light escort and reception , the third night is in Compiegne , with blue light into the town and a reception...before the final run to Paris and a blue light escort for an hour to the Champs Elysee.....
Who takes part?
Everybody who enjoys cycling is the simple answer! Over the past three years we’ve had people from all walks of life, from a Post Office Manager 3 hours south of Melbourne, Australia to independent financial advisers from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Ages of participants range from their mid 20’s to their early 60’s. Everybody encourages each other to complete the trip and add support when the going gets tough.
We welcome people that would like to take part from the rest of the United Kingdom, Europe, and all around the world to come and join this charity cycle from Edinburgh to Paris. We can assist with accommodation in Scotland if necessary.

Thanks so much to Ann and Allan as they set off on their trip.........
to make a difference to many, many lives around the world!!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Love in Action.......from small seeds.......

                                   " Why do you care for these children?"

   A question often asked of our friend in the Yongning/Nanning community where she works, dedicating her time to caring for our very special children, like this precious soul, Lily,  thro New Hope for Special children.

                                                             China is changing so fast.......

Thankfully today fewer babies are being placed in orphanages. Many orphans are now being adopted by families in China. However there are still so many, many children living in orphanages who need the love of a family, and many, many of them with special needs.

While it has "officially" become easier/more acceptable for families in China to adopt ( informal adoptions have always taken place), there is still not wide acceptance of the needs and intrinsic value of children with varying special needs.

Our dream, starting last year with the small seed of New Hope4China's Special Children, is that communities will see the difference that can be made in our children's lives with lots of love and individual therapies and excercises which can change their lives!
They will see the love that these children can bring to their lives too!

It has been wonderful this week to share the latest updates on New Hope's children...
for many children, huge advances....
for some of the children, still great need...
but ALL are being loved, cared for by familes thro Grace-Hope and Hope4China
and given extra therapy thro New Hope.

I LOVE this photo!!!!!!!!!!!

Bertha is blind and at the moment unable to walk or talk, and would have faced an intolerable life in an institution, but here she is enfolded in love.

The body language of this close cuddle is worth millions.........it sent tingles up my spine!

                                    All of these photos mean so much and tell their own story.....

the determination to succeed.......
..the love and the hard work to bring improvements......

the sheer joy of learning for this bright little spark :-)


...Team Effort ...and with a smile :-)
and our gorgeous Patricia in her own special chair.

I think the answer to the question above is quite clear?

We LOVE them because they are LOVELY!!!!

It is a small start, but already people in the community around are becoming more aware of the needs of these children, AND the hope and possibility of caring for them at home, seeing  great improvements in their quality of life.
We hope that this will encourage more women to foster children with special needs, making it possible for them to leave the orphanages and live in the community with support, and even for local families to care for their own children born with such needs..

We are so appreciative of the team  who are working to make this possible...... from Helen working in China alongside Angel House staff, to our team of experts back home providing advice, Dunfermline Rotary, St Nicholas' Sunday School, Desheng Families and many more friends around the world who provide the backing and finance necessary.

We are busy preparing for our trip in October to meet these special children and their foster families where Shawn, an adoptive mum who is also a Neuro Developmental Delay Therapist  will bring her special skills to train Helen, the foster mums, and new staff and offer new hope for our children.

Next year, we hope to expand this work to other areas to employ more staff to help more children...and change perceptions, one child at a time.

Please, please if you can, help us to make this possible?

If you would like to be involved and help change these children's lives, you can make a one-off donation via the Paypal button at the top of the page and mark it for New Hope.

Or if you would  like to make a regular donation, involve a community group or business, please email us at
We would be happy to set up a link and share these special reports with you.

Giving Hope............we cannot do it without you,,,,,,,,