Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Half The Sky

Holding up Half the Sky

One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air. "What are you doing?" asked the elephant.
The hummingbird replied, "I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall." The elephant laughed cruelly. "Do you really think," he said, "that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?"The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, "Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do."
— A Chinese Folktale

As most of you know, we have completed our adoption and Havensong is now home. It has been one amazing journey and she has been such a joy to watch as she blossoms more and more each day. While I am so happy for us and for her, there are many children who do not get adopted and who never find their forever families. Half the Sky Foundation was created just for them by Jenny and Richard Bowen who adopted in 1997. They were amazed at the transformation of their daughter who was very behind due to her time spent in an institution. Their hope was that all children would have a chance to grow and thrive with the love and attention that all children need and deserve.

Half the Sky’s mission — to provide family-like nurturing care in the lives of orphaned children — was clear, but the effectiveness of its first pilot programs, launched in the summer of 2000, was an open question.

Could infants thrive under the loving care of their nannies?
Could children living in institutions and enrolled in Half the Sky’s Little Sisters Preschools become eager, happy learners when nurtured in a stimulating environment under the care of teachers trained to patiently encourage children to make developmental leaps?
Could Half the Sky’s staff develop deep emotional bonds with children living in institutions, the bonds of attachment that are crucial for children’s healthy development?

YES! And since the pilot programs were put into place all of the Half The Sky programs have turned out to be a huge success and have provided orphans the chance to learn an grow in loving nurturing environments. They provide training for nannies, and offer the only home like setting most of these kids will ever know.

They have the respect of the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), the adoptive community and many businesses and private organizations who support their efforts. Individual families choose to support this organization by hosting birthday parties and requesting guests donate to Half The Sky rather than bring gifts. Children host bake sales, lemonade stands and car washes. Every bit helps stretch their efforts across China.

I spoke to a representative recently at Half The Sky, and she told me that the CCAA would like them to reach all of the orphanages in China within five years. They make such a difference in sometimes very sterile environments, transforming orphanages into family like settings. They give the children a chance to feel loved and important. Opportunities open up for these children in so many wonderful ways, from enriching experiences to  furthered education.

 I feel so relieved to know this because it breaks my heart knowing there are so many children who will not be adopted. I am thankful such a wonderful group of people have taken this on and have made it something so helpful, live changing, and beautiful.

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