As I mentioned last week, I’ll be regularly featuring groups who do the work the president described in his SOTU speech: groups that “work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life“and that “reaffirm a fundamental truth [that] — all children — born and unborn— are made in the holy image of God.”
One of my favorites for many years: China Little Flower. This charity started out with a couple who had met as exchange students in China. They started out simply helping a few orphaned babies, but soon realized there was a great need for a more organized effort. Because China’s culture and legal system is hostile toward children with disabilities, many families simply don’t have the money, the education, or the cultural support to raise a child with complex medical needs.
According to the BBC’s blog on disability:
The most widely used word for disability in Mandarin is canji, which literally means deficient/deformed and diseased. … [M]any traditional, pejorative terms for disabled people are still in common currency: canfei (crippled and useless), yaba(mute), shazi (idiot) and xiazi (a derogatory term for blind people) can still be heard on the lips of many ordinary citizens of the People’s Republic.
The Chinese government may have relaxed its strict one-child policy, but the culture is not now more welcoming of disabled children. Instead, state propaganda encourages parents to produce healthy children for the good of the country. Women and girls and those considered “useless” are still treated as less than human. According to Leta Hong Fincher in a NYT opinion piece, when China relaxed its brutal one-child policy,
the government was only embarking on another grand experiment in population engineering: This time it was urging women — though only the right sort — to reproduce for China.
The government has unleashed in recent years a propaganda blitz on women it considers to be gao suzhi, or of “high quality.” “Make sure you don’t miss out on women’s best years for getting pregnant!” warn some headlines in state media. Those years supposedly are between the ages of 24 and 29, according to the government; beyond that, it says, beware birth defects.
Parents who are willing to raise their disabled kids have little cultural or financial support, and little education on how to care for them.
This important clarification from Kelly Mayfield, author of Mine In China: Your comprehensive guide to adopting from China:
“In many cases these parents have made a heartbreaking decision because they can’t afford the medical care the child needs. You can see some images of parents leaving their children at the Guangzhou baby hatch at this link. You have to have cash up front for heart surgery, cancer treatment, etc. There is no legal way to relinquish children in China, so they abandon them in hopes that the child will receive the necessary care when they’re in an orphanage or if they are adopted by another family. Some of the children are left with notes that say ‘Please don’t let my child die. We are poor and can’t afford the surgery.'”
China Little Flower’s mission:
Recognizing the beauty and dignity of each and every individual person, China Little Flower works to build a culture of life by reaching out to those who are rejected, abandoned, deemed as useless, and who have no voice. Whether by direct care, support, or education, we seek to show the value of each human life and build a culture that respects, protects, loves and serves life!
They provide hospice care for orphans, group educational foster care, special care for infants, and long-term care for severely disabled children.
Dew Drops will provide both a long term, enriching home environment for abandoned children, and also a temporary home for families in need of support and specialized care, while they navigate the health care system. These families will benefit from financial, emotional and medical support in caring for their child during treatment, as well as ongoing support after they return home. Our primary focus is on children born with complex heart defects.
Our Orphan Care Unit will provide specialized medical care as well as foster healthy emotional development for abandoned children:
- Children ages 6 month to 5 years old born with complex congenital heart defects
• Capacity of 30 beds
• Every child will stay with us until (s)he is adopted
• Employ full time ‘moms’ who are trained in trauma-informed care practices and who will provide continuous, 24 hour care. This helps abandoned children learn to form attachments and heal from the past trauma they have experienced.
In our Family Care Unit, in addition to specialized care, we also focus on educating families and advocating with them as they seek the best medical treatment for their child:
- Children from disadvantaged families (targeting rural areas) born with complex heart defects
• Capacity of up to 5 children/families at a time
• Children will be accompanied by at least one parent/family member during their stay
The founders, Brent and Serena Johnson, live in Beijing with their six children, and they donate their time and efforts to the organization. China Little Flower is a registered non-profit in the USA and received 501(c)(3) status in 2000. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or
If you know or have worked with an organization that works to build a culture that cherishes human life, please drop me a line at simchafisher at gmail dot com with “prolife spotlight” in the title.
I’m also looking for a name for this feature! Pro-life Spotlight is okay, but it could be better. Suggestions welcome.