Over the past 6 months the orphanage in our city has made some changes, and we are already seeing the fruit.
Although we visit the orphanage as a team every week, I am often the last to find out about certain things, since I miss the side conversations and snatches of talk that yield useful facts.
All the more stimulus to press on learning Chinese, of course.
We knew they had a few couples fostering children and living on the social welfare campus that houses the orphanage (there are buildings for every age category from cradle to nursing home here), and suddenly there was a promotion on TV and the internet that the orphanage was searching for 20 more couples.
The word was, they had such a positive feedback from the trial of the first 8-10 households that they decided to implement the fostering much more broadly.
A Chinese friend called and inquired about how it worked, since they were considering fostering, and found out that it involved living on site at the orphanage apartments, taking in 3 or 4 children, and feeding them in a family style environment, and keeping them at night, for a modest stipend.
Apparently over 200 people applied for the positions!
We had, around the same time, started a more intensive monitoring of the most underweight children, with monthly weight checks.
The wonderful thing we are noticing is a dramatic improvement in the weights of many of the children in the past couple months, and the same children have nearly all been placed in this fostering setting very recently (in general less than 2 months of fostering).
The kids are being fed 3 square meals prepared by their primary caregivers, then spend mornings and afternoons at the orphanage. now more like a daycare environment for them.
The caregivers pick them up around 3:30 and take them home for the evening and night.
They can play on the playgrounds in the area, they can go for walks around the area, and in general be in a much more home-like environment.
I am convinced this will have a positive impact on their bonding ability as well.