Three years ago, Tiffany Powell welcomed her son, Reid, into her family after the Baobei Foundation brought him from a Chinese orphanage to Shanghai. Reid was one of the many children who were given life-saving medical treatment by Baobei, after arriving in Shanghai and receiving surgery when he was just 10 days old. Today, Reid sits in his permanent home in Jinqiao, speaking a mix of Chinese and English, laughing, excited, and happy.
Powell, who is originally from the US, started working for the Baobei Foundation after hearing about their work at a parent organization meeting held at Concordia International School, only a month after arriving in Shanghai. “I came home and said, ‘There is this incredible organization called Baobei.’ Five months later, we called them and asked how we could help,” Powell says, as she hands Reid a bowl of Chex. “I started out as a healing home family, for several different children.”
Founded in Shanghai in 2008, the Baobei Foundation provides both life-saving surgeries and post-surgical rehabilitation to abandoned Chinese orphans with disabilities and severe medical conditions. The name of the foundation, Baobei, translates into English as ‘precious child.’ For Baobei, every child, regardless of his/her health conditions, should be loved and cared for and treated as precious. As Powell explains, “Baobei takes care of babies in life-threatening situations.” The Baobei Foundation aims to bring in abandoned babies from orphanages across China and fund any necessary surgeries. All babies are brought to Shanghai Children’s Medical Center in Pudong, and are given appropriate care and treatment, including any follow-up surgeries or physical therapy. With donations from the community, Baobei funds all medical care that these babies require.
After their treatment, Baobei places these children in a foster home that the charity calls ‘healing homes.’ “It has been proven that babies just heal so much better with love and care and with a family, rather than being in an orphanage situation,” Powell says. Nothing proves this more than watching 3-year-old Reid run around his home with a grin on his face.
While Baobei is not an adoption agency, they hope that their babies will be put on the adopted list and taken in by caring and loving families across the world. “What we need is for families to love these babies and help them heal while they’re waiting to be adopted,” Powell states. Until then, she and the hundreds of other families volunteering for Baobei continue to take children into their homes. In addition to having three babies long term, Powell houses babies for anywhere between a day and a week, depending on the situation. “Sometimes we bring in babies for a few days while they wait for follow-up surgery,” Powell says, turning to Reid and asking him whether or not he likes playing with the babies. “We have babies come today?” Reid asks his mom while jumping around the room.
At present, Baobei has helped more than 150 babies heal and recover from their surgeries, and have them placed into loving homes. As Powell said, “Every baby [of Baobei’s] is a success story. All of our babies come out wonderful and healthy.” Unlike other childcare non-governmental organizations, the Baobei Foundation is located right in the heart of the issue. “At Baobei, we’re so lucky to be in this unique position to be able to help hands-on and change the lives of these babies.” And for Reid and the hundreds of other children brought to Baobei, their lives have been changed forever.
For those of you wanting to get involved with the Baobei Foundation, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the newsletter list. To donate, head to their official website and learn more about how you can help save a child’s life today.