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Farewell to a Legacy of Love: LWB’s China Healing Home

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Problems and solutions. So much of what we at LWB have done over the years has come about as a result of identifying a problem and finding a solution. This is exactly how our China Healing Homes program came to be 18 years ago, when our foundation was just a few years old.

The Story of LWB’s China Healing Homes Program

From the very start, Love Without Boundaries has been dedicated to providing life-changing — and even life-saving — medical care to children in need. You may be familiar with the story of Baby Kang in China, whose heart surgery was the very first operation arranged by LWB and paid for by hundreds of people who wanted to help in the belief that “Every Child Counts.”

Sad looking little boy waiting for heart surgery

Problem: As Kang and many others were healed, and as more surgical requests began pouring in, we realized that we had a pressing issue on our hands. Some of the requests were for children who were too weak and fragile to safely have their operations. Other children tolerated their surgeries well but needed specialized post-operative care in order to heal. Still others just need some good old-fashioned TLC in order to grow and thrive.

A fragile baby with oxygen whose head is being held in someone's hands

It didn’t take long to figure out that we needed to provide a place for medically fragile children to prepare for surgery, recover from their operations, or transform from babies with a mysterious “failure-to-thrive” condition into happy, healthy, engaged little individuals.

Baby boy with spiky black hair and a yellow sweater

We wanted to improve the children’s chances for both survival and a permanent family of their own through adoption. Solution: LWB’s very own pre- and post-operative healing home.

Baby with cleft lip drinking from a cleft bottle in a healing home

Heartbridge, our first healing home near Beijing, was created in partnership with Hope Foster Home in 2006. The success of the home gave us the confidence to open new healing centers on our own, and we expanded our program to additional regions in China.

Tiny baby wrapped in a blanket being held by a healing home nanny

Several years later, when medical costs in Beijing and other parts of the country skyrocketed and threatened our ability to keep the program going, we consolidated our homes into a wonderful facility in Anhui Province. It was a place of healing, love and laughter.

Laughing baby being held by nanny in pink
Little girl in pigtails playing with a truck and stuffed animal

Staffed with an incredible team of in-country managers, support staff, and an amazing army of nannies, our China Healing Homes helped over 600 orphaned children with medical issues such as cleft lip and palate, heart defects, spinal conditions, and many other medical issues. Following graduation from our home, most of these little ones went on to be chosen for domestic or international adoption.

Before and after of a fragile baby

The Closing of LWB’s China Healing Home

In 2016, the government of China implemented strict regulations for foreign charities. Thankfully, LWB was granted national registration, so our work there was allowed to continue. However, it is important to note that although we have approval on a national level, each province is allowed to implement additional policies regarding the care of orphaned children there.

And that is exactly what has happened. Sadly, we have been notified that the Anhui Civil Affairs Bureau has called all children back to their home orphanages, effective immediately. The children have already been returned to their respective orphanages and as a result, our healing home is now closed.

Little boy in a jean jacket

This news was completely unexpected, and we are heartbroken. When the pandemic halted adoptions in 2020, the children in our home at that time stayed for much longer than they might have in the past. Many of them had been with us for years, and our healing home was the only home they knew. They knew the nannies as their “moms and aunties,” and the other residents were their “brothers and sisters.”

For these children, as well as their caregivers, the closure of our home has been nothing short of traumatic. Please keep them in your prayers that their hearts and minds can find comfort and healing.

Nanny in China Healing Home holds and kisses little baby wearing a red vest and a hat

Thank You to Healing Home Nannies, Staff, and Supporters

Here at LWB, we are all grieving. Yet even as we struggle to take in what has happened, we are also thinking of the hundreds of children that we helped over the past two decades. We are looking over and sharing (with a bittersweet smile) photos and stories of the children, nannies and staff that we have come to love so much.

Some of the nannies have been with us for over 10 years, and they have all been extraordinarily devoted to the children. They have provided not only food, warmth and a soft place to lay little heads, but they have taught the children about love and trust. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for the children they have nurtured and sent along to the next stage in their life journeys.

Three nannies from a China Healing Home showing a book to a little girl

Paddy, our assistant manager, played so many roles in the home. He traveled all over China on emergency runs to orphanages to pick up fragile children. He drove sick children to the hospital, often in the middle of the night. He brandished his clippers to give hundreds of haircuts and compassionately helped struggling babies with their breathing treatments. In fact, he did so much more in the healing home that it would take pages and pages to list everything he did. We are so appreciative of all his efforts and his good humor.

Man holding a baby on oxygen

Manager Ming kept the healing home running in tip-top shape. He worked with the orphanages to identify children who needed our help, communicated with doctors about the children’s medical needs, and served as an extraordinary photographer. He always managed to capture the children’s personalities, making it possible to create beautiful child updates for all of our sponsors and create histories of each child’s time in our care. As with Paddy, we could never list all of the work that Ming has done over the years but are eternally grateful for his steadfast devotion to the children.

Man and boy reading a book together

We can’t forget the countless volunteers and sponsors who have also been a part of this vital healing homes team. Some have been with us for a VERY long time, and we hope they know that we are keeping them in our hearts as well.

Little girl in braids on her nanny's back

Continuing our Work in China

Our work in China will now continue in a more focused role. Our Unity Initiative continues to provide heart and cleft surgeries for impoverished children in China, enabling families to stay together. We continue to provide healthy family-based care on-site in orphanages. And we will continue our work around the world in other countries where our programs are expanding significantly.

LWB will continue because our world still needs people to pour out love on hurting children. This work matters. So let’s continue to carry out our China Healing Home’s legacy of love — a Love Without Boundaries.

Woman and toddler boy with foreheads touching
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