China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Audio Interview Up

Hello all, we just posted a new audio interview up at the China-Babies website.

You can listen to the audio here:


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China-Babies Research

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ok...I simply could not resist......

I recently was sent a picture in email of one of our little cuties that we did a recent report on, and it made me so happy I had to ask if I could share it.

With mommy's permission of course =)

The thing that was SO cute to me, is that the thought that went through my head when I saw this picture was "OMG that BASKETBALL is almost bigger than she is!!!"

Seriously, too cute.

Mei-Ling Rose Santistevan, DOB 2/25/05 Suichuan, Jiangxi, PRC adopted and brought home by Bernadette & Michael Santistevan 9/26/07 and living in Utah!

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China-Babies Research

Saturday, September 06, 2008

China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research is an expert in performing research on the early life of your adopted child / baby from China.

Our Chinese staff knows the customs of China very well, are familiar with and in some cases work in the China Adoption System.

If you have adopted, or are in the process of adopting a baby from China, China Babies Adoption Research can help you.

You can find more information about our organization and services at

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China-Babies Research

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So cute, dont you just want to hug her?

Ok, this has got to be one of the cutest things ever!!!!

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China-Babies Research

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wittle Baby Pic Update Launches!

We are excited to tell you that our new Wittle Baby Pic Update has just launched!

For more information please follow this link: Wittle Baby Pic Update

Remember, the first five people who contact us for this service we will be doing free of charge, after that the normal fee will apply so dont delay!

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China-Babies Research

Saturday, June 07, 2008

5 Baby Pictures ASAP!!!

Dear adoptive parent, we are excited to tell you about a new service we will be offering soon.

While our Update and History Reports are continuing to grow in reputation and demand, we have noticed that there are alot of Mommies out there who really would like a quick simple update on their baby in the form of pictures without having to wait for a full research report.

So we have come up with what we think is a great idea:

The Wittle Baby Pic Update.

This is a simple no frills package of 5 current pictures of your baby.

Thats it in a nutshell. The simplicity of this will allow us to process these packages much faster than our traditional reports, and while they do not include the thoroughly detailed research we conduct in our normal reports, they will give you the visual peace of mind that your baby is doing "ok".

How do I get started you might ask?

At the moment you cant get started yet because we are still putting together the pieces of this package and need to set up all our website info etc. to support this program as well as get our staff geared up to handle the demand for this.

BUT, I wanted to get this out to you all so you knew what we had planned and to watch for it as it gets going.

I am thinking we will do the first 5 requests for this free of charge, so who ever replies first (do not try and sign up for this yet, we will set up a sign up link and email you about it when its up if you are subscribed to our newsletter!), but only so we can pilot what the final product will look like and get the system working cleanly. After that we will likely offer this service at around $125.00.

Stay tuned and watch your email for notice of when this service goes live!

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

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China-Babies Research

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Half the Sky Earthquake Update - May 26-28

Dear Friends,

First, an update on the airlift to remote Aba Prefecture. No less than 40 uniformed soldiers arrived at the Chengdu CWI yesterday to load two big trucks with emergency goods for the 1,000 stranded children of Aba. We’re waiting now for confirmation of the air drop.

This week HTS also erected a giant BigTop at the Chengdu CWI to aid with intake and shelter for new arrivals.

Ma Lang and Yang Lei, two of our intrepid team members traveled to Leigu, in hard-hit Beichuan, along with some young volunteers from the Jiuzhou Stadium. They knew the situation was dire, as this is the site of one of the “quake lakes” threatening to overflow. But they also knew there were more than 2,000 children of all ages in those villages and they needed help. I am so happy and relieved to tell you that the mission was a huge success!

I have placed photos of raising the big tent, loading relief goods for Aba and delivery of goods to Leigu on our website. Please visit

On Saturday, after we complete delivery of balance of requested relief goods, we will erect a second and even larger BigTop tent in the largest refugee settlement at Dujiangyan City, close to the epicenter of the earthquake. This will become a huge Half the Sky children’s activity center for refugee children of all ages, complete with furnishings, toys, computers, areas for art and dramatic play and reading and quiet talk, everything that a HTS center offers. With your help, this center will serve thousands of children as their lives and homes are rebuilt. And, although we’ve already been busily working and planning, it will mark the official beginning of the second phase of our efforts - addressing the current and longterm emotional needs of the children.

I want to tell you more about the Sichuan Caregiver Training Project that HTS has launched in partnership with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the US-based National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Thanks to one of our supporters, we were put in touch with David Schonfeld,director of the NCSCB and perhaps the world’s foremost authority on child bereavement.
Since its inception after 9/11, the NCSCB has counseled and been a resource for governments, schools and organizations, especially those confronted by large numbers of children traumatized by disaster. From hurricanes to wars to school shootings, this organization has a long history and understanding of child trauma, what to expect and how best to respond.

Half the Sky is so fortunate to have the NCSCB’s help as we embark on this journey. There are so many unknowns for all of us - We at HTS have never tried to provide services mid-disaster - and our advisers from the NCSCB have not much experience working in China. Knowing we can rely on each other's expertise, I feel confident that HTS, and other NGOs that we hope will join us in this effort, can have substantial impact, both in these early days and down the road as the long process of recovery unfolds.

During the weekend, I toured hard-hit towns, children’s shelters and orphanages with the MCA, trying to get an overview of the situation. HTS’
director, child development, Ma Lang has, of course, been in Sichuan since May 16 on our behalf and was able to give us a great deal of information and insight. This week, a team of seasoned HTS field supervisors, one from each of our programs, is doing a more detailed assessment under the guidance of Ma Lang: Zhang Yuxia, Yang Lei, Zhou Dan and Anni Wang. They will give us their full report on Sunday, but here’s an excerpt from Anni on the first day of observation. The need for trauma-training for caregivers is immense:

“In the tent school, as I was looking around the room, my eyes caught a little girl who was holding her school bag very tightly. She had one of the saddest faces I have ever seen and it felt like she didn’t want to be in the classroom. She kept holding her bag and looking at the exit behind, as if she were waiting for someone. When the ‘fun activity class’ started again, she still held her bag, but then later put it down and tried to follow the teacher’s instructions. She was one of the shortest children in class but sat in the back row.

“In the ‘fun class’, the teacher kept saying: “if you are happy, smile….
And clapping his hands and he said that a few times walking round the room but the little girl I mentioned didn’t smile. Not even once. I was not sure which of the children in the room were smiling because they were happy or because they were sort of asked to smile. However, I suppose the fun activities will be a distraction (at least for the time being) for children who may have lost a parent or close relative. When I was leaving the room, I waved to the little girl and she sadly waved back.”

On June 2-3, we will host a workshop for all HTS field supervisors, program directors and representatives from the MCA and CAB as well as two expert field advisors who will supervise field work in the next phase.
Leading the workshop on behalf of NCSCB: Robin Gurwitch, PhD - Professor in Dept. of Pediatrics at University of Oklahoma, Program Coordinator for the US National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement; Marleen Wong, PhD - Director of Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services at the Los Angeles Unified School District; and Suh Chen Hsiao, LCSW PPSC - Psychiatric Social Worker, Team Leader at the Los Angeles Unified School District, Specialist in Crisis Intervention.

On June 4-14, with expert advisors - Pi-Nian Chang PhD, pediatric psychologist at the University of Minnesota, Dan Zhang, MD, PhD, psychologist, counselor, Vancouver Community College, worked with survivors of Tangshan earthquake – HTS will commence field trainings for caregivers, coordinated by Sichuan provincial CAB.

Afterwards, Half the Sky will continue to work closely with government and the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement to develop a long-term plan based both on the NCSCB’s extensive experience with the effect on children of similar catastrophic events and also what is learned during the two week period in the field. It is sincerely hoped that, during the next two weeks, many, many children will be reunited with, if not their parents, surviving family members. For those children who, sadly, cannot be reunited, Half the Sky will continue to assist as best as it can to help mitigate the long-term effects of this disaster.

Half the Sky is a small organization. We are limited by our charter to serving orphaned children. We hope that other child-focused NGOs will join us and the government in outreach. There are many thousands of children who have surviving relatives but who are nevertheless traumatized and need help.

Rebecca Chang grew up in an orphanage in China and, with HTS’ Big Sisters Program support, went to university. When she graduated, we offered her an internship in our Beijing office. She has now become a field supervisor in the Big Sisters Program and is helping us now in Sichuan.
She understands the children of this tragedy perhaps better than any of us. She sent us this story:

“The place was so dead when we arrived, everything was still, only wind was blowing. I saw a boy standing in front of the rubble of the school for a long time without a blink. I went up to him and said hi.
I asked: which grade were you in?
He said quietly: Fourth grade.
I squatted and said: Why are you always standing here?
I saw tears coming up in his eyes. He said: My classmates are gone.
Teacher Gao got injured because of me!
I didn’t know what I could say that would make him feel better. I just reached out my hand and held his. His hand was cold, so cold. When I was about to leave, I was trying to hold back my tears and asked: What do you want to do the most now?
He lowered his head and answered in a shaking voice,‘I want to go to school, but my school is not here any more.’”

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund you can do so by calling Half the Sky (+1-510-525-3377) or visit our

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call Half the Sky - Asia
(+852-2520-5266) or donate online at

If you’d like to view previous earthquake journal entries:

Thank you!

with love,


Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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China-Babies Research

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Half the Sky Update on Earthquake

Dear Friends,

I want first to give you an update on our efforts to get food and shelter to the 1,000 orphaned and displaced children in Aba. The roads are now closed. We asked our colleagues at the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) to see if we can possibly bring the desperately-needed goods in by helicopter. A couple of hours ago, moments after the latest giant aftershock, we got good news – a helicopter for Aba tomorrow! More soon -

Yesterday morning, when I arrived in Chengdu, I was invited by MCA to visit some of the hardest-hit sites. We visited Dujiangyan – very close to the epicenter. It was a painful day (I’ve put a few photos on our website - some just too sad to write about) but I was also heartened to see both how quickly the government has come in and tried to take care of the basics - building thousands of temporary shelters and schools – and how the people have come together to help each other. A sign in one of the tent cities reads, “The earthquake has destroyed our homes but it can’t break our spirit.”

Today we visited Mianyang Zitong CWI. A 6.4 aftershock struck moments before we arrived at the orphanage. All of the children were rushed outside and, in what’s become routine now, they all sat calmly in little chairs. There were 8 new arrivals – all of them had lost their parents.
It seems they are not brought to the orphanages until officials are fairly certain that they will not be claimed by extended family. One little boy told us in a matter-of-fact way that both his parents were killed. Ma Lang, HTS’ director of child development, after days assisting the displaced children staying at the Jiuzhou stadium observed, “From the volunteers’ and counselors’ perspectives, the children’s most common signs of being traumatized included insomnia, nightmares, tearfulness, indifference, and refusing to eat. In the first few days, the volunteers in the stadium’s 'inner circle (a holding place for separated children) had to search bathrooms and corridors for children who hid there and refused to eat. The volunteers told me it was heartbreaking to see the children’s eyes and persuade them that they should eat.”

We visited the “inner circle” at Jiuzhou stadium today. Almost all of the children who had not yet been identified by family members had been transferred to children’s shelters. The Mianyang Civil Affairs director told us that many, many children had been reunited – if not with their parents, then with extended families. One of our colleagues at the MCA told us that of the 200 children who’d been brought to shelter at the Chengdu Medical College, only 18 had not been reunited with extended family. Today we met a girl who has become famous in China because she was interviewed on television by Wen JiaBao. It was believed her parents had died. He tried to comfort her. Soon after, her parents were located.
Although they haven’t yet been able to get to Mianyang to pick her up, today we met one happy little girl. The media has been making much of the idea of thousands of orphans. Our friends at MCA are not certain this is true and, to be honest, the situation is still too fluid to pin down the numbers. There are certainly many, many children with uncertain status.
And they are traumatized and very much need consistent, caring support.

Provincial CAB (Civil Affairs Bureau) has begun the process of sending displaced children to structurally-sound colleges, military bases, welfare institutions, and other facilities. In less-stable areas, where there are fears of flooding and environmental issues, children housed in some temporary facilities are being transferred, yet again. Almost every orphanage has been advised that they should prepare for new arrivals. We met a few sad little faces yesterday at the Chengdu CWI; they are told to expect at least 100 more. The director at Zitong CWI told me the same thing. And so did the director at Guiyang CWI in Guizhou! The truth is, I believe, nobody yet knows.

These past days, the MCA has been working to draft recommendations for the care of displaced and orphaned children. I believe they will release an official statement soon. After two days traveling with MCA officials, one thing is clear - government is extremely concerned that every effort be made to reunite children with surviving relatives before adoption by non-relatives of orphaned children is even considered.

Meanwhile, tent schools are quickly being established wherever children are sheltered. There is a great desire to give the children the comfort of settling into a routine and regular attendance at school is seen as key. I visited a large tent city in Dujiangyan yesterday and the scene at 4:30 pm, with children streaming out of the temporary school toward dozens of waiting parents, was identical to that taking place in Chinese cities and towns every day.

HTS is working hard to complete its emergency relief efforts and turn its attention towards the effort for which it is better equipped – helping orphaned children begin to recover emotionally. By the end of the coming week, with your extraordinary generosity and the help of the amazing crew at Gung-Ho Films, we will have purchased and delivered more than 30 tons of tents, medicines, food and formula, children’s clothing, diapers and other infant supplies. With the helicopter to Aba and the purchase today of an emergency vehicle to transport orphaned and displaced children for 9 counties and one city, we will have answered every urgent request to take care of the children’s basic needs. Now we move on to try to address those needs no less urgent, but more elusive in every way.

Tomorrow (Monday, May 26) Half the Sky will launch its Sichuan Caregivers Training Project. I am thrilled, honored and very, very excited to tell you that HTS will work under the guidance of the foremost child trauma and bereavement specialists in the world, the National Center on School Trauma and Bereavement
Based at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, but comprising an international network of child trauma experts, the Center grew from the tragedy of the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11 and has served as a resource during hurricanes, school shootings, airline disasters and wars.

Together with NCSTB and MCA, HTS will hold a two-day planning workshop, June 3-4 in Chengdu. Three experts from the Center will lead the workshop. Attending will be four volunteer pediatric psychologists and psychiatric social workers, HTS team of 15 field supervisors, our program directors and officials from MCA and Sichuan CAB. That will be the start of what will likely be a long-term project to help children orphaned by the disaster to recover and rebuild their lives.

I’ll send along further details of the Caregivers Training Project soon.
It’s almost midnight and I’m exhausted. I’ve had two days on the road through a landscape filled with aching sadness, determination and hope.

More tomorrow!

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund you can do so through Global Giving:

Or directly to Half the Sky. You can donate by calling Half the Sky
(+1-510-525-3377) or on our website:'s+Earthquake+Fund

Many companies have announced they will match employee gifts for earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your gift!

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call us at
+852-2520-5266 or online at

Thank you!

with love,


Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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China puts death toll at 50000

China puts death toll at 50000
Daily Dispatch
May 22 2008 8:46AM

CHINA said yesterday that more than 50000 people were estimated to have died in the devastating earthquake that hit the southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday.

The government’s disaster relief office announced the estimate via state media, following an earlier report of more than 19500 confirmed deaths in Sichuan and at least 300 more in nearby regions.

Troops stepped up efforts to rescue survivors and get vital aid to tens of thousands of people in isolated towns and villages in Sichuan yesterday.

Dozens of extra helicopters and planes were brought in to drop food, clothing and bedding to residents of Sichuan’s worst-hit counties of Beichuan and Wenchuan.

The government said it would allow the first foreign rescue teams, from Japan and Taiwan, into Sichuan and was considering an offer of help from an Australian team.

It also imposed temporary controls on food prices and transportation fares in Sichuan and three neighbouring regions to “stem hoarding and speculation”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The move followed reports that some food vendors in Sichuan’s Mianyang city, where nearly 20000 people were reported missing in collapsed buildings, were fined for raising prices to more than double pre- quake levels.

Sichuan hospitals had treated more than 64000 people hurt in the quake by yesterday, including about 12600 seriously injured people, Gao Qiang, the deputy minister of health, said.

The Beijing military command said its troops had found 38 survivors with the help of sniffer dogs.

Damage to several dams and rivers has posed new threats to some quake- hit towns and villages.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who flew over Wenchuan in a helicopter on Wednesday, ordered an extra 90 military and civilian helicopters to be used in the relief operations, Xinhua said.

Railway ministry spokesperson Wang Yongping said 844 freight cars were en route to Sichuan carrying 79700 tents, 828600 boxes of water, 18870 doses of medicine and 351100 overcoats and blankets.

At least 26000 people were believed to be buried in collapsed buildings, while Xinhua said more than 30000 people were missing or out of contact in Sichuan’s city of Shifang alone.

At least 10000 Chinese and foreign tourists were still stranded in two scenic areas close to the epicentre on Wednesday night, reports said.

But the extent of the damage and casualties in Wenchuan, which has a population of 105000, remained unclear. A paramilitary officer who was one of the first outsiders to reach some of the worst affected areas on Tuesday said that several towns were almost razed to the ground.

Heavy rain had initially prevented helicopters from flying emergency aid to Wenchuan. — Sapa-DPA

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Half the Sky Update on Earthquake

Dear Friends,

Today we were starting the process of wrapping up the major portion of our orphanage relief efforts. With your help, we have purchased and delivered or are in the process of delivering huge amounts of medicines and medical supplies, tents, cribs, cots, bedding, baby formula, diapers, kids clothing and shoes, rice, noodles, cooking oil, water, powdered milk, bowls, cups, towels, mosquito repellent and much, much more. As we finalized plans to ship, then bring in engineers to erect two giant tents to house hundreds of newly orphaned children, we got an emergency call from Aba Civil Affairs Bureau.

They are caring for approximately 1,000 orphaned and displaced children, most of whom are 7-12 years old. There are over 100 infants. They’d been placing the children in local shelters but had just received news that 70 more children are on the way. There are no more tents and no more beds for them. Further, they urgently need powdered milk and diapers. And they need foods that don’t require cooking as most of their cooking stoves and supplies have been destroyed. They need so much they can’t even give us an estimate.

The roads to Aba are dangerous but the need is tremendous. We have obtained the necessary road pass and organized a convoy of three trucks.
Our senior preschool field supervisor, Yang Lei, will be leading the effort along with Aba drivers who are familiar with the dangers. It’s a 3 day round-trip and they leave at dawn. I am so thankful our Half the Sky staff are as tough as they are!

Stop presses! -- Just as I finished writing the above, I received the following email. The situation continues to be ever-changing:

“While everyone has done an absolutely incredible job pulling this urgent shipment together, it simply cannot leave tomorrow morning as we've all been pushing for. The road between Chengdu and Aba is simply too dangerous to travel, based on all the information we are able to gather. While it hasn't registered on the news, nearly 200 people have died in the last few days along these roads due to mudslides caused by the early summer rains.
Communications are, of course, sketchy, and we know Yang Lei has her permit to travel the roads, but all reports are now that it's just too dangerous and too unsure to risk take such a risk. The Director of the Aba Institution agrees and the Director of the Chengdu Institution agrees.

“The efforts you've all put in today on behalf of the babies at Aba will not be in vain. We will monitor the road situation very, very closely.
Civil Affairs wants us to get in, we want to go in, and the moment we feel it is safe, we will go in. The good news is we've managed to amass everything on Aba's "needs list" in one day and it's staged at Chengdu SWI and ready to load on trucks. The items that were scheduled to load on the Aba trucks will stay at Chengdu, ready to travel to Aba when conditions allow. THESE ITEMS ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE IN THE COMING DAYS, THEY ARE TO BE KEPT TOGETHER, AND SEPARATE FROM ALL OTHER INVENTORY, AND WILL TRAVEL TO ABA AS SOON AS CONDITIONS ALLOW. This is a very difficult decision for us to make, but we simply can't risk life to save life.”

You can see that the relief effort is not quite over. I will keep you all posted.

Meanwhile, we have spent almost exactly the amount we have raised in donations (just over US$300,000. And we have not yet really begun the second critical phase of our operation in Sichuan: training caregivers and volunteers to care for and address the non-material needs of displaced and newly-orphaned children. There are billions being donated for rebuilding.
But we need help putting young lives back together.

Here’s a note from Ma Lang, who was at a “model” relief shelter today talking to newly-orphaned children:
I talked to a junior high school girl. Here is part of our conversation:
Lang: Do you know there are psychologists and counselors there to help people?
Girl: Yes.
Lang: Would you be willing to talk to a psychologist?
Girl: Yes.
Lang: What would you like to talk about with the psychologist?
Girl: Things that make me happy. Like happy stories and movies.
Lang: What do not you want the psychologist to ask?
Girl: [pause] Do not ask me where my families are!
P.S. There is little coordination among the 10 plus counselor groups at the shelter. One main method they chose their “clients” was to look for sad faces. If a child or adult looked sad, the likelihood was that she would be “counseled” by more than one group of counselors. One concern that I had was that the children (and adults) might be traumatized again by the “counseling” process.

And then….

“I met Lei in the “inner circle” at Jiuzhou Stadium. He was a cute and curious second grader who’d lost his parents in the quake. He approached me and asked me what I was doing when I was organizing the pictures I took. We looked at the pictures together, and chatted a little bit. He told me that after the earthquake, there come aftershocks, and then comes the epidemic. He said epidemic means you die if you do not wash hands before and after meal. When I asked him what earthquake is, he said if you talk loud, earthquake happens. I lowered my voice and asked him if our voices were loud. He said, I do not know.”

Half the Sky is finalizing plans to work in consultation with an important international resource for children traumatized by crisis. I want to thank all of you who have worked to help us locate Mandarin-speaking child trauma specialists. I think we are assembling an outstanding team. I will share more details in the next few days. What I hope I can communicate to you all is that our work is really just beginning. We need more help!

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund you can do so through Global Giving:

Or directly to Half the Sky. You can donate by calling Half the Sky
(+1-510-525-3377) or on our website:'s+Earthquake+Fund

Many companies have announced they will match employee gifts for earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your gift!

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call us at
+852-2520-5266 or online at

Thank you for all you’ve already done for these children – and for what you will do.

with love,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hundreds of Beijing couples clamouring to adopt orphans

Peter Simpson
May 21, 2008
South China Morning Post

Adoption hotlines in Beijing were in meltdown from calls made by
couples offering to care for Sichuan's quake orphans, officials said

Ever since adoption hotlines were opened last week, "hundreds of
thousands" of Beijing couples had offered homes to children who lost
relatives, said Wu Shixiong, director of the Beijing Civil Affairs

"Hundreds of calls are being taken daily from families wanting to
help by adopting children from Sichuan. It underscores the sense of
unity over the tragedy," Mr Wu said.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday that 70 children had so
far been classed as orphans.

Within hours of the quake, Mr Wu's department began working with the
Sichuan Provincial Civil Affairs Bureau, the Ministry of Civil
Affairs and the China Adoption Centre to ensure there was an
efficient adoption process. Three hotlines were set up - one
specifically for people in the capital who want to adopt.

Mr Wu said applicants would receive forms rapidly and the process of
matching orphans with adopted parents would start soon.

There are fears that the adoption process will prove too slow to cope
with the influx of orphans.

Mr Wu would not confirm whether the adoption laws would be changed,
such as the one-child policy, which strictly governs the size of
families in certain regions.

Under adoption rules passed in 1990 by the National People's
Congress, applicants should not have children. If the law remains,
thousands of couples in the capital could be left disappointed in
seeking to expand their single-child families and provide a home for
one of the bereaved young.

Kate Redman of Save the Children - who arrived in Chengdu last night
to assist with the orphan crisis - urged the authorities and
potential adopters to be patient. "Adopting is not to be taken
lightly and plenty of time is needed to consider all the options and
complications," she said.

The priority was to find children's relatives as many would have
extended families, she said.

The deputy chief for the Ministry of Civil Affairs' welfare
department, Li Bo, said the adoption procedure would be activated
only after "basic order" is restored. He said the work to identify
the children and find their families was ongoing. "We will activate
the procedure as soon as the identification is completed."

Although orphans and other child survivors of the quake are at high
risk of psychological trauma and need special care, they have been
treated in relief camps or wards for adults.

In Mianyang , children without parents were simply left at Jiuzhou
Stadium to live with the 40,000 other victims in soiled tents.

In Chengdu's West China Hospital, the understaffed paediatric
department did not have the resources to counsel children who had
probably been orphaned.

Additional reporting by Chris Zhang, Ng Tze-wei and Fiona Tam in

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Death toll in China earthquake rises to 7,600


In this photo distributed by the official Xinhua news agency, rescuers searc...
54 minutes ago

BEIJING — A massive earthquake struck central China on Monday, killing more than 7,600 people and trapping nearly 900 students under the rubble of their school, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan county in Sichuan province after the 7.8-magnitude quake, raising fears the overall death toll could increase sharply.

Xinhua cited the Sichuan provincial government as saying 7,651 people died, but the situation in at least two counties remain unclear.

The earthquake sent thousands of people rushing out of buildings and into the streets hundreds of miles away in Beijing and Shanghai. The temblor was felt as far away as Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand.

Rescuers had recovered at least 50 bodies from the debris of the school building in Juyuan township, about 60 miles from the epicenter. Xinhua did not say if any students had been pulled out alive.

An unknown number of students also were reported buried after buildings collapsed at five other schools in Deyang city in Sichuan, Xinhua reported.

It said its reporters saw buried teenagers struggling to break loose from underneath the rubble of the three-story building in Juyuan "while others were crying out for help."

Two girls were quoted by Xinhua as saying they escaped because they had "run faster than others."

The earthquake hit less than three months before the start of the Beijing Summer Olympics, when China hopes to use to showcase its rise in the world.

Shanghai's main index inched up Monday, but the advance was capped by worries over inflation and potential damage from the earthquake. Analysts said that shares of companies located in the Sichuan region may fall in coming sessions due to the quake.

It struck about 60 miles northwest of Chengdu in the middle of the afternoon when classrooms and office towers were full. There were several smaller aftershocks, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site.

Calls into the city did not go through as panicked residents quickly overloaded the telephone system. The quake affected telephone and power networks, and even state media appeared to have few details of the disaster.

"In Chengdu, mobile telecommunication convertors have experienced jams and thousands of servers were out of service," said Sha Yuejia, deputy chief executive officer of China Mobile.

Although it was difficult to telephone Chengdu, an Israeli student, Ronen Medzini, sent a text message to The Associated Press saying there were power and water outages there.

"Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting," he said.

Xinhua said an underground water pipe ruptured near the city's southern railway station, flooding a main thoroughfare. Reporters saw buildings with cracks in their walls but no collapses, Xinhua said.

The earthquake also rattled buildings in Beijing, some 930 miles to the north, less than three months before the Chinese capital was expected to be full of hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors for the Summer Olympics.

Many Beijing office towers were evacuated, including the building housing the media offices for the organizers of the Olympics, which start in August. None of the Olympic venues was damaged.

"I've lived in Taipei and California and I've been through quakes before. This is the most I've ever felt," said James McGregor, a business consultant who was inside the LG Towers in Beijing's business district. "The floor was moving underneath me."

In Fuyang, 660 miles to the east, chandeliers in the lobby of the Buckingham Palace Hotel swayed. "We've never felt anything like this our whole lives," said a hotel employee surnamed Zhu.

Patients at the Fuyang People's No. 1 Hospital were evacuated. An hour after the quake, a half-dozen patients in blue-striped pajamas stood outside the hospital. One was laying on a hospital bed in the parking lot.

Skyscrapers in Shanghai swayed and most office occupants went rushing into the streets.

In the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, 100 miles off the southeastern Chinese coast, buildings swayed when the quake hit. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where some people hurried out of swaying office buildings and into the streets downtown. A building in the Thai capital of Bangkok also was evacuated after the quake was felt there.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake is considered a major event, capable of causing widespread damage and injuries in populated areas.

The last serious earthquake in China was in 2003, when a 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Bachu county in the west of Xinjiang.

China's deadliest earthquake in modern history struck the northeastern city of Tangshan on July 28, 1976, killing 240,000 people.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The Top 5 Reasons For The Slowdown in Adoptions from China

We have been asked recently by one of our clients to look into the reasons for the recent slowdowns in adoptions from China, and the increased wait times.

This is the information that we have been provided by one of our partners in China.

She actually predicted this happening about two years ago. These are the reasons she states for what is currently happening with adoptions from

1. With the Olympics coming and many foreigners heading to China, it is an issue of "saving face" in China. They feel it reflects poorly on their country that they have so many orphaned children, and so many international adoptions. They do not want to portray that image to the international community.

2. With so many girls being adopted out of China, there is a serious imbalance in the gender ratio in China and they are becoming aware of the long term problems this will create.

3. China has raised the standards foreign families must comply with. More stringent requirements including income, marital status, health standards, etc. have made it more difficult for parents to qualify to adopt through China.

4. There is an increase in domestic adoptions in China. More families in China are choosing to adopt from through the Chinese adoption system, and they are of course given first priority to adopt over an international adoption.

5. Because the Chinese economy is doing much better than in the past, the standard of living is improving over there. Many abandoned babies used to come from the villages. Because of the improved economy, the families in the villages are now keeping their babies, instead of abandoning them. The number of abandoned babies is decreasing significantly. Many of the babies still being abandoned have health issues, which most adoptive families don't want.

Based on all of the above info, our partner indicates that the amount of children adopted internationally will continue to decline and the wait times will be much longer.

She couldn't predict numbers or length of time for wait, but said it is unlikely that it will return to what we have seen in the past.

Misty: "I hope this helps those who are wondering. I am sorry for those in the wait period, I remember how hard that time was for me. I pray those of you waiting are able to get a referral soon and able to get your child before it gets any worse."


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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Update From Half The Sky

Hello and a belated Happy Spring!

In February, during the last hectic days of the Little Mouse emergency, when we were trying to protect so many children from China’s winter storms, I got a phone call. Half the Sky was to be honored in a most extraordinary way. We had been selected to receive the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. In Oxford, England. Presented by former US President, Jimmy Carter.

I sat there teary-eyed as I continued updating the list of urgent needs at orphanages hard-hit by the storms. We’ve won a few awards and some fine recognition in Half the Sky's 10 fantastic years - but the Skoll Award is not just another award. It is given each year to a few select organizations whose proven innovations have “the potential for large-scale influence on critical challenges of our time.”

Our work is being recognized not just for the lives we have helped directly, but also for the positive changes we are helping to bring about for all of China’s orphaned children. I am so proud of Half the Sky. I am so proud of you - of all of us who have worked so hard and given so much!

The Skoll World Forum at Oxford was amazing. You can see some of it here: , including presentations by Jimmy Carter and Al Gore. I met dozens of extraordinary people from 35 countries, each one doing their bit to make the world a better place.

The Award comes with a monetary gift. That gift will help us formally evaluate the effectiveness of each aspect of our four HTS programs so that we can understand how best to teach others what we have learned. That gift will also help us expand our outreach so that others around the world will hear the voices of institutionalized children and learn how they can help. But that gift won’t run our programs or support our hundreds of loving nannies, teachers and foster parents. For that, we must turn to you, the community of friends who make our work possible.

Being part of the Little Mouse emergency response was a stunning experience for all of us at Half the Sky. Our community care together like never before. And you brought along perhaps 2,000 of your friends, family members, colleagues and neighbors. But not one cent of those phenomenally generous donations will go to support Half the Sky programs.

People sometimes tell us they assume that, because HTS programs have been so successful, we don’t need their help anymore. The very opposite is true!

Now, as we re-group and recover from Little Mouse and carry on with our efforts to bring family-like nurturing care to ALL of China’s orphaned children, we need your help more than ever.

The great news is, there are all kinds of ways you can help keep Half the Sky’s vital programs alive and growing.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Half the Sky – We have a beautiful Nanny Sponsorship certificate that we hope you will want to present to every mother, grandmother, mother-to-be in your life.

Sponsor a child – Many, many of the children in our programs still don’t have sponsors. We will be adding more children this spring and fall as we open four new Half the Sky centers (more about that below.)

Help older children live their dreams -

Help children who can’t be adopted know the love of a forever family -

Or underwrite the costs of a variety of special projects, each one with the power to change young lives -

In fact, however you decide to help, you will touch a child’s life.
That’s a promise.

A little bit of news:
Funds from the Little Mouse Emergency Fund have been fully distributed to the 98 orphanages that needed help. We visited with the Vice Minister at the end of February; you can see our final wrap-up here We’re now working with the Ministry of Civil Affairs on emergency preparedness kits for all the orphanages.

Because of the storms, we were asked to postpone our spring builds. The Guiyang build will now happen in May. Hangzhou has been postponed until fall.

Next week we will travel and select the sites for our already-planned fall builds (funds permitting, of course!) We’ll announce the cities immediately after. We are now accepting applications from those who would like to join a work crew in early September.

Our wonderful annual Spring Progress Report newsletter is in the works right now and should go out in the mail next month. If you have a change of mailing address or would like to get on the list, please notify us

Thank you, every one of you, for helping Half the Sky make better the lives of so many children.

More news soon!

With love and gratitude,


Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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Friday, February 15, 2008

International adoptive families share experiences

By Christina M. Mitchell/staff

HARRISONBURG —The clicking sound of the bamboo sticks hitting the floor keeps time as 8-year-old Abby Lachance jumps.

Her long black pigtail and colorful beaded necklace bounce as she moves to the beat, two short jumps and then a slight pause on the third.

The sticks move in an opposite rhythm to her feet, first apart, then together, as Abby bounces in and out of their wooden boundaries.

Then a second girl half Abby's size joins in, and the beat slows a bit as the younger girl learns the steps. The two hold hands and jump together, like near-twins in their pink and red silk pajamas — special outfits for this special day.

The event, celebrated last Sunday at Mulenburg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg, was held in honor of the Chinese New Year. It's the annual mini-gala for ValleyAdopt, a regional coalition of families who've adopted or are seeking to adopt children from outside the United States. Both Abby and her small friend were born in China but are growing up here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Part reunion and part support, the event is the largest of several that the group holds each year, chances for parents to get together, share stories and enjoy their children. For the kids, it's also an opportunity to interact with people who look like them — and who don't ask the awkward questions that the outside world sometimes does.

"When people would say, 'Is she yours' or 'Is that your real daughter?'" Kristan Lachance said. "It's just ignorance, and I know what they're asking."

"Part of doing an adoption is learning the terms that we use. I say, 'Do you mean where was she born?'"

Abby was born in China. She spent the first part of her life in an orphanage and then foster care before her mother found her. At the New Year celebration, she and the other children marked the site they were born on a large wall map. The map soon was dotted with neon Post-Its over China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Russia and the United States.

"They used to call it your abandonment site," Lachance said of her daughter's first home. "Now they say her finding place ... I like that it's such a positive term."

Mother and daughter also celebrate "Gotcha Day" or the day Lachance first met Abby. The then-toddler cried at first, until her mother pulled out the exact replica of the blanket the little girl carried in her arms — the match to the one Lachance had mailed.

"It was absolutely beautiful, and it was immediate," friend Nina Siebens said of the bond between mother and daughter.

Siebens was Lachance's travel partner for the long trip to Beijing. The experience inspired Siebens to adopt a daughter of her own, a little girl from Thailand named Mali.

ValleyAdopt began about seven years ago with just a handful of mothers seeking to adopt children from China. The little group grew, however, and now includes nearly 100 members. Though the group's reach stretches from Winchester to Augusta County, families stay connected online through their Yahoo! Group, coordinating events several times a year.

"It's important for us that our children grow up with other families like ours, and learn something about their culture," said Diana Ferguson, one of ValleyAdopt's founding members.

The group's other purpose is to help other families go through the sometimes painfully long wait between filing adoption papers and picking up their child, Ferguson explained.

"When you're waiting, there's nobody else that knows what that wait is like, except for somebody else who's been there," she said.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2007 US Federal Income Tax Benefits for Adoptive Parents

We have just hosted a file that outlines the 2007 US Federal income tax benefits for Adoptive Parents.

You can view the file here:

2007 US Federal Income Tax Benefits for Adoptive Parents

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Children suffer as historic snow hits China

Posted: 12 February, 2008

Ice covers power lines in China. Power throughout southern China was affected by the historic ice and snow.

China (MNN) ― Transportation, power generation and the food supply are slowly getting back to normal in China after the worst winter weather in decades. Dozens of people were killed, and the weather caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

Children's Hope International's Program Director Corey Barron describes the situation. "It snowed from mid-January into early February, and it's being called China's Katrina. Many, many millions of people were devastated by this. There are reports that over 300,000 homes were destroyed, and over 800,000 were damaged."

According to Barron, the snows were unprecedented. "There were snows as far south as Guangzhou in China, which is on the southern tip of China just north of Hong Kong. It just doesn't snow; it's a tropical area down there. And so we have regions that have buildings that are not suited for this cold snowy weather, especially the orphanages."

Children's Hope is doing all they can to help the isolated orphanages that were cut off from supplies, electricity and water for days on end. "We are fundraising to raise money for clothes, food, for heaters. A lot of these orphanages need heaters, diapers, for essentials like water, and formula and charcoal. A lot of these towns were cut off from their suppliers so prices have skyrocketed."

They're partnering with Operation Blessing, a ministry of Christian Broadcasting Network. Barron believes that as they help, "We can make a difference by showing the love of Christ in a crisis situation. There are a lot more than 13 orphanages in China, but we're focusing on these orphanages that have been hit very, very hard."

According to Barron, you can make a difference with just a $100 gift, which goes a long way. He's asking people to go to "You'll see the different orphanages that we're working with right now and that continues to build. In some instances, roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow, and everything got wet. Or they didn't have enough supplies anyway because they weren't prepared for such cold weather ."

Children's Hope gives needed physical, medical and humanitarian help to orphans at risk and in need, with the ultimate purpose of bringing spiritual life and accompanying hope, faith, strength and direction to all those who are served.

Pray that many will help with the humanitarian disaster. Pray also that God would use this situation to draw caregivers and others to Himself.

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Some not smiling over Juno's sarcasm on China

Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

San Rafael real estate agent Lo Mei Seh was shocked when she saw a theatrical trailer for the hit movie "Juno" in December. In one scene, the title character sarcastically tells the rich suburban couple hoping to adopt her unborn child, "You shoulda gone to China. You know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those T-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events."

Seh, the mother of two adopted Chinese girls, noticed a young Asian girl sitting behind her getting noticeably upset and muttering, "That's so mean and unfair."

"I calmed myself down, saying these things are just going to happen, and as a parent I have to teach my children to be strong," she says. But after that particular scene was shown on televised award shows like the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards, she became angry all over again.

"I know some people will say 'lighten up,' but that's not the point," Seh says. "The trailer is misleading" about the complexities of adopting infants from China.

"It's not only hurtful, but harmful," she says.

Seh is not alone: Online message boards and blogs have been lighting up locally and nationally with debates on the heavily promoted scene as parents, teens and other interested parties weigh in. Many defend the movie itself as an unusually positive representation of adoption but bemoan the "iPod scene."

The debate is fueled by the fact that the scene is widely available as a clip on the Internet. In addition, a promotional video on the "Juno" Web page shows star Ellen Page telling screenwriter Diablo Cody that those lines are her favorite of the movie.

While the lines are spoken by a sarcastic, irreverent 16-year-old character, critics say that it plays into the misperception that adopting transnationally is simple and easy and renders the children themselves as little more than accessories. Nothing could be further from the truth, say those who know about the adoption process firsthand.

In an e-mail statement to The Chronicle, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody say the joke was intended to showcase Juno's teenage ignorance.

"No one could be more sensitive to this idea than myself. My wife and daughter are Chinese, and my sister is adopted," Reitman says. "While I am connected to this on all levels, I have always felt that it is important that we find humor in which we are most sensitive. It is through comedy that we can begin conversation instead of hiding behind political correctness - a wall that simply divides people and stifles communication."

Cody agrees.

"Juno's remark is meant to be casually insensitive in that wince-inducing, quintessentially teenage way," she writes. "The iPod line is a moment of sublime, ridiculous brattiness that was meant to be amusing. It's the kind of thing a kid who'd never experienced that pain would say."

But to the offended parties, the scene feels like an insult.

"Parents are correct to think that it's something very personal," says Susan Soonkeum Cox, vice president of public policy at Oregon's Holt International, a large adoption and children's services agency and an adoptee herself. "This is not to say you shouldn't have a sense of humor, but even though this is supposed to be a clever line, no child wants to think of themselves as throwaway or a souvenir. That's real."

The irony of the "Juno" line is that adopting from China is very difficult. The Chinese government began allowing adoptions to the United States in 1991, and the country became the No. 1 source of international adoptees. Approximately 55,000 Chinese children, 95 percent of them girls, have entered the United States since the early '90s, according to news reports. Adoptions from China reached a high of 7,906 children in 2005, but dropped to 6,493 in 2006 as new Chinese legal restrictions on adoptive parents went into effect. (New restrictions include barring gay parents, single parents, and parents over a certain body mass index and under a certain income level).

It's impossible to pinpoint where the highest concentrations of adopted children have ended up, but Berkeley resident Peggy Scott, the Northern California chapter president of Families with Children from China, says the Bay Area is a hub. She estimates that there are 600 members in her chapter and another 600 in Southern California. Nationwide, Scott estimates the group has a membership of more than 5,000.

"China has become what's considered the gold standard for international adoption - legal, fair, straightforward," says Scott, mother of an adopted Chinese-born daughter.

"They were one of the first major countries that required parents to go to the country to pick up their child," Cox says, "and China has a beautiful giving and receiving ceremony for the children. It's a very serious process."

Scott saw "Juno" with her 14-year-old daughter, Abbey, and says they loved the film and the Juno character. But before they saw it, Scott was listening to NPR's "Fresh Air" program when she heard the clip played as an example of the film's snappy dialogue. She says she felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown on her.

"My daughter and I talked about it when I heard it on the radio. I told her I'd heard this line, and I told her it was on 'Fresh Air,' and she went, 'Oh, my gosh.' " But Scott says her daughter's first response was a quip.

"She said, 'Are the e-mails flying yet?' because she knows that's what happens when something comes up ... and sure enough, by the next day, the e-mails were flying."

The national magazine Adoptive Families set up a Web page to discuss "Juno," although editor Susan Caughman says she doesn't think most people involved in adoption, including her 16-year-old Chinese-born daughter, were offended.

Several parents interviewed say that they receive wrong-headed comments regularly as a result of misunderstandings about adoption.

"I think people who are touched by adoption feel like a targeted group," says Beth Hall, founder of Pact, a local nonprofit organization providing adoption services to children of color. "Often they are viewed with positive stereotyping, like 'Oh, it's so wonderful you rescued that child.'

"The flip side is that the child must be so bad, only a saint would take care of him or her."

The parents also say that the "Juno" line also plays on racist Asian stereotypes in an unacceptable way.

"Could you have made that joke with any other minority?" Scott says. "I don't think so. You'd catch hell."

International and transracial adoptions have been in the press more in the past few years thanks to growing multiracial celebrity families such as that of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and a child trafficking scandal involving an adoption agency in Chad in November. Mills College Professor Julia Chinyere Oparah, co-editor of transracial adoption anthology "Outsiders Within" and herself a transracial adoptee, says that there is a long history of "saving" children of color by removing them from their families and communities.

Adoption is a difficult subject in general to talk about: As Hall says, it "makes people nervous."

"Any adoption situation, regardless of international or domestic, always has issues of grief, issues of loss, issues of abandonment. We as adults continually deal with it," says Lisa Marie Rollins, the founder of local group Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora who is writing her dissertation on transracial adoption. She said she was "completely taken aback" when she heard the "Juno" lines in a clip.

Oparah echoes that comment: "On an emotional level, I was one of those children that were available for adoption," she says, adding that she was born in Nigeria and raised in England, "so to say that you can get them like iPods, like commodities, it's speaking to the adoption industry, and it's said in a really brutalizing way."

With "Juno" nominated for four Oscars this year, including best picture and best actress, Seh became concerned that the iPod clip would be shown again, this time to a potential audience of more than 1 billion people around the world. She wrote the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The academy is paying attention. Last week, Seh got a call from academy President Sid Ganis, who said in a voice-mail message that he had gotten her letter, was sympathetic to her concerns, and would pass it on to others. The academy, through communications director Leslie Unger, confirmed it had heard from more than one person on the issue. Seh says she hopes the offending clip won't be broadcast when the awards air Feb. 24.

Sound off: Does that line from "Juno" offend you? Call (415) 777-6268 to comment for an Open Mic podcast at

E-mail Reyhan Harmanci at

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China-Babies Research

Monday, February 11, 2008

Update on China Weather and Nanchang

Special thanks to several people who have made donations to help out in Nanchang, we are purchasing two large electric space heaters that can also be used for drying diapers, as well as blankets.


We have made delivery of the blankets and heaters, here is a photo gallery:

The Nanchang SWI sends it thanks!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Two nights ago we spoke to our staff in China and the Nanchang SWI has asked us to provide some specific things to help them through the current weather crisis. To this end we have created a fundraiser and will be using the proceeds to buy electric space heaters and blankets.

You can use the widget below to help.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and support.

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Half The Sky Update

Dear Friends,

Tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve. Families across China who’ve not had to cancel their holiday plans are cozy together preparing huge feasts to greet the New Year. Although it gets harder and harder to reach anyone, we at HTS have not stopped reaching out to orphanages in central and south China that have suffered through the recent storms.

Despite the difficulties -- anyone who possibly can has gone home, all shops and offices are closed, no one answers the phone, the whole country is suddenly quiet -- we had some success today in getting the word out.
In all of the six hardest-hit provinces we’ve managed to begin spreading the word, town by town, that we (and you!) are here to help. We’ve begun getting calls from directors of some of the small county-level institutions. We expect their numbers to grow over the coming days.

The weather remains bitter-cold but no serious snow is forecast now until the beginning of next week. For families in China, that’s wonderful news, as relatives make their way from house to house with greetings and treats for the new year.

For our little ones in the institutions, it’s good news too. Thanks to you and the provisions and heaters and winter clothes you’ve made possible, most will have a snug and safe holidays.

There has thankfully been only one instance so far where we felt the children were in real danger. In Chenzhou, Hunan, the subject of many recent news stories, the institution has been without power or running water for two weeks. In fact, a giant power grid was destroyed by heavy snows and the whole city has been dark for days. Yesterday in Chenzhou,
11 workers died in an attempt to restore power.

We were worried about the children at the Chenzhou SWI – over 150 infants, some of whom were falling ill. Food supplies were running out and coal for heat was becoming prohibitively expensive. The SWI director was borrowing funds from caregivers to buy supplies at inflated prices. Even candles tripled in price. To complicate matters, because of the power failure, all banks were closed and the roads were closed. We were feeling pretty helpless.

I’m happy to tell you that an intrepid little group, led by my husband, Richard, is now heading home from having successfully stabilized the situation at the Chenzhou SWI. There is now at least a week’s worth of food, 2 weeks worth of coal, blankets, diapers (another group managed to drop off diapers and clothes as well and today a local farmer came by with a cart of cabbage) and plenty of money to buy what they need if they run out. Richard tells me that all they lack are 60 infant snowsuits and, as soon as the stores re-open after the holiday, the director knows where to get them. Although it’s expected to take 3-6 months for Chenzhou to fully return to normal, we’re so relieved that the children are safe and, at least for now, out of danger.

I hope to be able to tell you more of the story soon. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the situation in Chenzhou daily.

We will not stop reaching out to all potentially affected institutions, especially smaller ones, that we haven’t heard from yet. We’ve made a commitment to the hugely over-burdened Civil Affairs offices, that we, as a community, are going to take care of the children through these critical days, with everything we’ve got to give.

You are giving a great gift to the children in this New Year. You are also giving a great gift to me and my colleagues at Half the Sky. It is such a privilege to be empowered to help so many children in need. I feel very lucky right now!

Please check our website for the latest update To contribute to Half the Sky’s Little Mouse Emergency Fund to meet these emergency needs and others, click here

I’ll send further information at least once each day as long as the situation merits.

Please pass this on to anyone who might care.

Thank you…be safe. Xin Nian Kuai Le!


Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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Monday, February 04, 2008

10,000-car backup as ice shuts Chinese road

Trains returning to normal, but millions without power as cold continues


Xinhua via AP
China's attempts to clear ice off roads includes using tanks like this one in Anhui Province on Saturday. The idea is to break up the ice with the heavy weight of the tanks.

updated 12:25 p.m. ET, Sun., Feb. 3, 2008

BEIJING - Railway service inched back to normal Sunday in southern China, a day after one person died in a stampede by frustrated train passengers who were stranded for days because of snow ahead of an important holiday.

More than 10,000 vehicles were backed up on an icy section of a highway in central China's Hunan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The vehicles were backed up for nearly 45 miles, even though workers were removing ice from the roads Sunday, it said.

The freakish weather is now in its fourth week, throttling the country's densely populated central and eastern regions as tens of millions of travelers scramble to board trains and buses to return home for this month's Lunar New Year holiday.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

The weather has ripped down power lines and disrupted trains and road transport. Damage has been estimated at $7.5 billion and at least 60 people have been killed, mostly in traffic accidents.

On Saturday, frustration boiled over among passengers stranded at the Guangzhou train station where a stampede to get on a train crushed Li Hongxia, a watch factory worker who was trying to get home to the central province of Hubei, Xinhua reported.

Parts of Hunan province already have been without electricity for days and people have been stranded at snow and wind-swept train stations. The provincial weather bureau has forecast more snow for Monday and Tuesday.

Hunan, like many temperate parts of China, has little experience of snow. Houses are poorly insulated and many communities lack snowplows and other winter equipment.

While central parts of the country were struggling to cope with the weather, Xinhua said rail service in Guangzhou, the capital of southern Guangdong province, began to return to normal, with 100 trains scheduled to leave Sunday carrying 300,000 passengers.

The trains also are needed to move vast amounts of coal, which provides much of China's electricity.

Normally coal mines use the weeklong holiday that starts Wednesday to cut production so equipment repairs can be carried out and their workers can go home, but this year more than 80 percent of the state-owned mines will run full blast, the State Administration of Working Safety said.

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Half the Sky - China Weather Crisis - Update 3

You are phenomenal!

I feel so honored to be a part of what has become a worldwide effort to help the children through this terrible time. We have not had a chance to put a number on your commitment to the children but it’s already far beyond what I imagined just a few days ago when I told you what we had learned about their plight. You are proving beyond doubt that the world cares about China’s orphans.

The weather gave us all a bit of respite today. Together with our friends at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, we’ve been talking to the institutions in the hardest hit areas and have posted a longer list of needs on our website at The list is too long to email now. Many of you have asked, so I’ve begun also posting anticipated costs for the relief effort at each site, as we begin to get estimates.

We have now pretty much surveyed Hunan province. If you don’t see a Hunan institution listed, you can assume they are fine. We’ll continue talking tomorrow. More information about other affected provinces as well as further details about those already listed will be appearing as we have them.

New storms are expected to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, with snow almost certain by Wednesday. By then we hope that most of the institutions will have purchased what they need to weather the next cold front.

Our amazing HTS staff is working around the clock during what is supposed to be a relaxing New Year holiday with family. I can’t express how grateful I am to each of them… and to every one of you, who cares so much.

Please check our website for the latest update To contribute to Half the Sky’s Little Mouse Emergency Fund to meet these emergency needs and others, click here

I’ll send further information at least once each day as long as the situation merits.

Please pass this on to anyone who might care.

With love and thanks,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Half The Sky : China Weather Crisis Update 2

Here’s an update on conditions and needs at the HTS institutions. Some will be repetition from last night. I think it will be useful to have all in one list. I will post this on our website as well and update whenever I can.

We’re still trying to get through to a few orphanages. We’ll provide information regarding those and other orphanages needing help just as soon as we have it. In general the needs are for fuel, food, disposable diapers, warm clothing and bedding. Prices are soaring because no goods can be shipped and cold weather has destroyed all winter crops. Half the Sky is responding to the emergency by getting funds directly to the institutions in a variety of ways.

Beihai, Guangxi – Although ill-prepared for the bitter cold, the institution has so far managed to keep the children warm and fed.

Changzhou, Jiangsu – suffered the largest snowfall in Jiangsu Province.
Several buildings have collapsed. But the institution rushed to prepare for the cold and the children are fine.

Chengdu, Sichuan – is experiencing the coldest winter in memory. They need a large room heater, diapers, shoes, socks and winter jackets.

Chenzhou, Hunan – still facing the most difficulties of the orphanages we’ve reached. They’ve had no electricity or running water for 8 days and there is almost no possibility that power will be restored before New Year’s Eve (the 6th of February.) Because of the blackout, the hospital is closed. 20 children are ill and being cared for by institution staff as well as they can. The banks are closed so staff is contributing personal funds to buy food, coal and diapers. Prices are skyrocketing as all roads to Chenzhou remain impassable.

Chongqing – warm and well, despite the terrible cold

Chuzhou, Anhui - has both water and power. Only public transportation has failed. HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home extra early to be there for the children.

Fuzhou, Jiangxi - lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal.
The snow stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors and HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep them warm. They’ve bought New Years clothes for the children and will have a party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has enough food and water. They want us to focus on those in more serious trouble and ask us please not to worry.

Gaoyou, Jiangsu – Despite incredibly heavy snow, the children are warm and well.

Guangzhou, Guangdong – This city is truly unaccustomed to cold and it is getting more difficult to find necessities to keep children warm. They ask for 30 space heaters and warm bedding.

Guilin, Guangxi - has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture rooms and they’ve asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold. They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our HTS nannies who’ve been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as they come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.

Guiyang, Guizhou – no report yet.

Haikou, Haikou – Even sunny Hainan Island is experiencing a chill. The orphanage request a clothes dryer to keep the children in clean warm clothes.

Hefei, Anhui – reports that they have everything under control and the children are warm and well-fed.

Huangshi, Hubei – is in desperate need of disposable diapers. They ask for funds to purchase since goods can’t be sent to them right now. All heater/air conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm clothes for the children. Several HTS nannies have fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat cuts and bruises.

Jiujiang, Jiangxi – had another heavy snow storm last night. Pipes have burst and the five boilers are broken. They are unable to bathe the children and are having trouble keeping them warm. They need quilts, bedding, warm shoes and space heaters. They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.

Lianyungang, Jiangsu – is doing the best they can despite the lowest temperatures in history. While they still insist we help others first, they do request winter jackets for the children, warm mats to cover the floor and bottles for babies with cleft lip/palate. The last item we’ll have to ship from Beijing as soon as we are able.

Luoyang, Henan – all is well. They are accustomed to the cold.

Maoming, Guangdong - no report yet

Maonan District, Maoming, Guangdong – In the sunny south, they have never seen this kind of cold and damp weather before. It’s been a month with another month in the forecast. They need space heaters. Local citizens have donated warm clothes and blankets for the children.

Nanchang, Jiangxi – asks for warm floor mats and disposable diapers. They need a working room heater. Their electrical supply has been sporadic and with only a small generator, they’re not confident they can continue to provide heat to keep the children warm.

Nanjing, Jiangsu – continues to manage, despite the heavy snows. They would like 200 children’s blankets but insist that we look after others with greater needs first.

Nanning, Guangxi – is experiencing its worst winter in 48 years. They are doing their best to weather the storm but could use 6 large space heaters,
86 warm quilts for our Family Village and disposable diapers. Like many places, they are having trouble finding affordable food right now and would appreciate a subsidy to help through this difficult time.

Qingyuan, Guangdong – no report yet.

Sanya, Hainan – all is well in this southernmost tip of China.

Shaoguan, Guangdong – needs disposable diapers for 27 babies. They need 3 large room heaters and warm mats for the floors.

Shaoyang, Hunan - has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is sufficient water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm. However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one stands and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark.
Children and caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students are cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that the power pole will continue to stand.

Wuhan, Hubei – is having a very hard time finding affordable food, “even cabbage.” They ask for food subsidies for the Family Village, 20 space heaters and 50 warm quilts. Heaters are working but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels this may be the best decision to keep them safe, so their requests are only for the Family Village.

Wuzhou, Guangdong – is enduring bitter cold. They need warm mats for the floors, disposable diapers, warm clothes and shoes for the children.

Xiangtan, Hunan - has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is “broken again.” There is no water for cooking right now but they do have electricity, coal and blankets. They are still able to buy food but prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work every day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies every day, along with the institution’s caregivers.

Xinyang, Henan – is accustomed to the cold and all is well.

Yibin, Sichuan – no report yet.

Yiyang, Hunan – still has electricity but the water has been shutting off and on. They have stockpiled food for the children. The greatest challenge is for the nannies to get to work. Because the buses are down, they must walk on icy roads.

Yueyang, Hunan - also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator is being used in the children’s dormitory. They are relying on coal heat but the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food and have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy more. Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often slipping on the ice, “even though they try to be cautious.”

To contribute to Half the Sky’s Little Mouse Emergency Fund to meet these emergency needs and others, click here

Thank you again, everyone. You are just incredible!

More updates soon.


Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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