In my last post I shared the first part of Xu Bing’s story, an amazing young woman in China who was moved by the plight of families and children with disabilities, and responded by launching GIFT, a parent support club.
Xu Bing saw how parents of children with special needs struggled, often isolating themselves because of the shame they felt. “I would see these parents wear sunglasses so that their neighbors couldn’t see that they had been crying, and I just felt so badly for them. In the parents’ club they see that they are not alone, and they receive tremendous support and encouragement from each other.”
With Bethany’s assistance, Xu Bing continues to work with parents through GIFT, which has now grown to serve more than 200 families, as well as working with the orphanages to provide support to foster families.
Because of China’s one-child policy, infants who are born with disabilities are often abandoned and end up in orphanages, which have become overcrowded. These children are then placed with local families to provide temporary care for a small stipend. These families are often ill-equipped to care for an additional child, especially one with special needs, and the child often ends up back in the orphanage within a short time.
Bethany felt that a more holistic approach to foster care would be accepted by Chinese families if they received training and financial resources to assist them. “At first it was difficult finding families who would take in foster children and truly care for them as their own,” Xu Bing explains. “And when I approached the orphanages to share Bethany’s goal of finding loving foster families to care for children with special needs as if they were their own, they said it would never work. But when the families saw that Bethany would stand with them and provide the help that they needed, they began to accept these children.”
These children receive far better care than they would in a state-run orphanage—and some have even been adopted by their foster parents. Xu Bing’s success has convinced her that even more children will someday find a nurturing and loving family. “The majority of children in the orphanages are disabled, so we still have a lot of work to do in finding foster care for them.”
Through Xu Bing’s efforts, children who have never known what it is like to be part of a loving family are given hope.
“The best part of my job,” Xu Bing shares, “is to see these lovely children smile and be happy because they know someone loves them.”