When Holt matched Vivienne with her family three years ago, she was about to receive surgery for her cleft lip and palate — a common condition among children living in orphanage care in China. At the time, she was in care at Peace House, Holt’s medical foster home in Beijing.
“It was hard being so far away, wondering if all was well,” her mom, Catherine, reflects.
Fortunately, Holt’s staff in China regularly sent updates about Vivienne’s progress —including medical records, photos and video. “We knew she was safe and well cared for,” says Catherine.
In China and many of the countries where Holt works, more and more children like Vivienne are coming into orphanage care. They have cleft lip and palate, congenital heart defects, orthopedic issues, cerebral palsy or loss of vision or hearing. They are relinquished or abandoned by their families, often because they lack the resources to care for their children’s special needs. While some children may just need specialized therapies to help them overcome developmental delays, many children will require multiple surgeries before they are strong enough to go home to a family in the U.S. Last year, 60% of children placed with families had moderate to major special needs.
And the number just continues to grow.
For these children, gifts from supporters like you can make all the difference in the world. Your gift to the Molly Holt Fund for Children with Special Needs means that a child like Vivienne can stay at a Holt program like the Peace House in Beijing. It means a small staff of trained caregivers will give her the attentive, nurturing care she needs to grow strong enough for surgery. And it means that after her operation, she will return for intensive follow-up care.
This extra care is essential.
While orphanages in China do their best to provide post-operative care for children with special needs, caregivers have limited resources and medical training. And when children return to orphanages right after surgery, many never truly heal. Others develop major, life-threatening complications.
But at Holt’s medical foster home in Beijing, Vivienne healed beautifully and soon traveled home to her loving family in the U.S. “She came to us with a strong sense of security and trust,” Catherine says of her daughter, who she calls Little Bear. “And it is that sense of security and trust that is the foundation she needs to grow and blossom.”
Vivienne could have been just a number. Instead, because of supporters like you, she became Vivienne Hui-Ying — aka, Little Bear.