Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Adoption Made The Beijing Times...

I completely forgot that there was a reporter from The Beijing Times at Bethel the day we adopted Angelina. There is a lot of wrong information, but I guess that goes with the territory of reporters...

Here is a link to the article...

Chunyan meets her new parents/Photo by Xie Fei

By Liang Meilan/Jacklyn Liu

Last week the Bethel Training Center for the Blind in Fangshan District saw its 13th blind orphan adopted this time, by a couple from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The nine-year-old girl, Wang Chunyan, is going to be the American couple’s fifth child. In their 30s, Rebekah and Ryan Hubley have three biological children and a four-year-old boy who was adopted from Haiti in May 2008.

Rebekah said she likes the “full time job” of being a mom and a freelance photographer as well as a teacher at Huntington University. “For me, going out of the house and doing some work is a relaxing break,” she said.

What’s special about the family is that three of their kids have vision problems. Their oldest biological daughter, nine-year-old Hannah, was born blind, and the child from Haiti is visually impaired. The experience of taking care of these disabled kids has prepared the couple for the adoption of Wang.

They got to know the girl in February 2009 from someone who adopted two blind girls from Bethel. After collecting information about the girl, the couple learned she fit perfectly into their family.

But the adoption process was not rushed. “Before we really got in touch with the girl, we first prepared ourselves and did the adoption paperwork that was required. When all these were done, we talked with her on Skype, telling her our intentions and cultivating a relationship,” Rebekah said.

The whole process took one and half a years. Hou Meimei, Wang’s “mom” in Bethel, said they opened special classes for Wang to learn corresponding courses in the US.

“Thanks to Bethel’s consideration, we are not worried about transition issues. We believe Chunyan will soon take in the role of daughter,” Rebekah said.

Unlike most charity houses for disabled kids, Bethel – a non-profit school founded by a French couple in 2003 – has unique methods of raising and educating blind orphans.

“We have a lot of foreign volunteers who come regularly to be teachers in music, language, science and psychology, among other subjects,” said Hou, who is also a teaching assistant, adding that the most important thing is teachers and “moms” don’t force the kids to learn what they don’t want to.

“The curriculum for each age group is diversified, which is seldom seen in other charity houses,” she said. “The education concepts we use were introduced to us by many foreign experts who are also volunteers here.

“Though the kids are vision impaired, their behavior is normal and they even do better than ‘normal’ people in many aspects.”

Jacklyn Liu, a 16-year-old volunteer from New York, was amazed when she first saw the blind kids.

“It was impossible for me to tell how they were different from other children except when I looked in their eyes” she said. “I was astonished that two of the children proudly played the piano. They are open and talkative.”

“I will never forget the children making efforts to hold my hand to make sure I didn’t crash into the walls,” Liu said. “I came to Bethel to teach these orphans; instead, they’ve taught me.”

Established seven years ago with three blind children by the French couple Guillaume and Delphine Gauvain, the center grew into a big family with 40 children and more than 50 staff members.

The children’s dormitories have large bunk beds for those seven and above and cradle beds for toddlers. “We create this international environment with different age groups to teach the bigger children how to take care of the smaller ones,” Hou said.

Leaving the orphanage can be hard. Hou recalled the story of a child who spent five years at the orphanage, starting when she was three months old. An American family adopted her, but the girl kept calling and saying she was living in a strange place. “The girl was too attached and refused to adapt to her new environment,” Hou said, stressing that the first several months are crucial to the children and their new families.

The Hubley couple is doing all they can to make sure Chunyan adjusts to her new life. Chunyan is enrolled in a fine arts school, but her parents aren’t letting her go just yet. “The top priority for us is to really let the girl know that we love her. It will take time,” Rebekah said.

Children in Bethel are constantly in need of medical help. Information about donations and volunteering can be found on the website


Momto15 said...

SO cool! What a great picture!

One Crowded House said...

that is pretty awesome- and I love that picture of you guys!
(sorry if this posts twice!)