Monday, June 6, 2016

House of Hope: Caring for China's Critically-Ill Children

There are people who see acts of service as a kind of project, the sort of thing you do on occasional weekends and then there are the people whose acts of service are simply a way of life. 

Dr. Joyce and Robin Hill embody people who live out acts of service. They are the founders of New Hope Foundation, a facility in Beijing, China for sick babies and babies who need intensive surgical care. They describe their work as providing palliative care and medical treatment for orphaned children in China. New Hope Foundation seeks: "To comfort always, to relieve often and to save sometimes."

The work they do is very, very hard. They see children in all forms of distress and need. The Hills started New Hope Foundation in 2000. They had been in China for several years doing private work in their respective fields and at the end of their tenure there, instead of returning to Australia, they were prompted to start a foster home. 

The work the Hills and New Hope Foundation do is very personal for me. My youngest son lived there. It is because of the work on New Hope and a partner organization, Love Without Boundaries, that he is alive and well. 

I was not able to visit House of Hope due to procedural rules at the time of my son's adoption, but I have "met" online and in real life several of the people who volunteer there. There are lovely, lovely people. Because of the work they do, it's easy for people to see them as "special," and these are indeed skilled, qualified and hard-working individuals. But their primary qualification is that were willing. 

They were willing to say "yes" to something audacious, scary and unknown. Many of the people who volunteer at New Hope are college students, some have never been out of the country. Most are not experienced in caring for children, certainly not critically ill children. These are simply people with willing hearts and ready hands. 

New Hope sends out a monthly newsletter and I received mine this weekend. In that newsletter, they give updates about the children in care at House of Hope, and their linked care facilities in other cities. This month's update informed that they had: 2 admissions, 11 hospitalizations and surgeries, and 8 adoptions. It went on to say that, "For the first time in our memory, we have had a month where no babies in our care have passed away. We are very grateful."

These people have been running a foster home for 16 years. It's the first month they can remember with no deaths. That means that there were 191 other months where a child in their care passed away. 

Can you imagine? Because I can't. 

191 other months where they lost a child. 

That's years of discouragement, defeat, doubt, and literally, death. 

And yet. 

And yet, they keep on. Because they keep on, other children live and thrive and go on to grow up and become sisters and brothers and sons and daughters. They go on to have families and become families. 

Can you imagine? Because I can't. 

Whatever seemingly thankless task you're doing today, whatever downtrodden-ness you face, whatever belly of the beast you might be in - don't stop, don't quit, don't wave that white flag. 

You stand up and you fight. The work that you are doing matters. It is of consequence and significance. It has lasting value, even if you can't see the fruit it will bear now. 

Thank you Dr. Joyce and Robin. Thank you staff and volunteers of New Hope. Thank you for  your sacrifice and steadfastness. Thank you for never giving up the fight. 

Interested in finding out more about New Hope Foundation? This video explains why they have a $4mil operating budget for their 5 care facilities and special care units. 

This video explains what prospective nurses coming to work at New Hope or other facilities might expect day-to-day. 

1 comment:

  1. The Hill's are truly heroic. Sixteen years of triumphs, struggles and great sorrow of the loss of so many children. They are strong pioneers in China. I pray for their strength and that they will have many more months, years with out the loss of a child. May God give them all that they need. We are very grateful to them. Sending them another donation today.