Last summer I took some visitors from the US to visit Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village, just outside of Beijing. Run by the Philip Hayden Foundation, Shepherd’s Field is a foster care facility for special needs children. Most of the children come from orphanages around the country that do not have the resources or facilities to care for kids with physical or developmental disabilities.
We spent the morning playing with the children and talking with the leaders of the facility about the difference that the facility was making in the lives of the kids and the impact it was having in the community. At the end of the visit, the head of the village said that he’d decided that the next two girls that came to the village would be named Noel and Joann, after me and the other woman in our group of visitors.
Last weekend I was out at Shepherd’s Field with some other friends from the US and asked if I could see Noel and Joann. I was able to play with them for a bit and to take this photograph:
Noel (7) and Joann (6) both came to Shepherd’s Field in June 2009 (just after our visit), and both have cerebral palsy. They are working hard with physical and occupational therapists and leaning how to sit and use their legs. When Noel first arrived she was sad and crying all the time, but seems much happier now, even though she can’t talk. Joann is always cheerful and loves to sing “Jesus Loves Me.”
Be warned! These kids will find a way into your heart instantly!