I am going to share with you a part of it now, because it helps illustrate my point - foster care is a quiet miracle.
For the background story, I'm going to just cut and paste a big portion of the LWB blog here:
"One of our facilitators had visited this rural orphanage, which is on the border of the Henan and Anhui provinces, and he immediately contacted us to see if we could help. This orphanage’s well had basically run dry, and so the only water they could use was muddy, and unfortunately because of this, many of the babies had fallen ill. They also did not have any air conditioners, even though the temperatures were very hot, and they had old wooden cribs that were unsafe. The orphanage’s small kitchen area did not have a refrigerator to keep food cool, and they did not have a sterilizer for baby bottles. Also, their washer and dryer no longer worked, so the aunties had to clean diapers and then drape them over a coal stove to dry.In other words, XiaoXian was in really tough shape. LWB went straight to work; getting donations, acquiring appliances and safe cribs, getting medical care for the kids, and digging a new well. LWB could have stopped there, a lot of organizations would have. But LWB isn't like others, they think bigger and when they thought about those XiaoXian kids, they knew that air conditioners are great - but a Mom and Dad are better. LWB gathered together the funds to place 20+ kids into foster care. No small feat, when the initial costs of placing one child into a foster home can approach $250.
Our facilitator told us that the staff was SO very kind, and that the children were receiving love, but this rural town was very poor and so there just weren’t enough funds to meet all of the orphanage’s needs."
I have seen with my own eyes what foster care does for these kids. Having a Mom and Dad, living in a real house with brothers and sisters, playing outside, helping to fix dinner, meeting the neighbors. We take so much of this for granted, and some kids don't know these things until they are well into their toddler years or older. Foster care takes "institutionalized" kids and turns them into "plain old kids". It gives these kids a chance at a real childhood.
Foster care is not flashy, it's not a heart or cleft surgery with quick results. Foster care is a quiet miracle.
I wish I could tell you that XiaoXian was a "one-off", that orphanages in China are all well funded and supplied. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the orphanage directors and nannies are long on love and short on resources. It breaks my heart to know that there are more orphanages out there just like XiaoXian that we are unable to help because we don't have the money.
A generous sponsor has come forward and agreed to match all donations to foster care up to $36,000 given between February 15 and March 15th. Let's not waste this chance to perform more quiet miracles in China. Please donate any amount to LWB's foster care fund by March 15th.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for supporting our cause.
XiaoXian Foster Care Assistant Coordinator
**the picture at the top is of Maggie Mao before foster care - here's her after: