I’ve made 31 international trips in the past 4 ½ years, but none of them were to China. We’ve hosted Chinese child welfare officials, teachers and orphanage directors at our offices in Washington, but I haven’t traveled to see my friends and colleagues in Beijing since 2005. As you can imagine, there have been tons of changes.
There’s more cars and fewer bikes. Many more tall beautiful office buildings and much less visible poverty. A new airport in Beijing, miles of new subway lines… and a heat that I just don’t remember being so oppressive.
Our host during our time in China, the China Center of Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), has also changed. Previously known as the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA), they not only have a new name, but also a new building, and most importantly an expanded mission. As we met with Director-General bZhang Shifeng it became obvious that the CCCWA is not the only one who has improved.
The changes at the CCCWA in many ways mirror the changes here at Joint Council. We both have a long history in intercountry adoption and have built upon that work to help children find families in more ways than one. And now we are creating new programs and services to help those children who have little to no chance of finding a permanent, safe and loving family.
In fact, our focus this week is our newest program, the Joint Council Orphan Nutrition Initiative. Our nutrition work is being led by Christina Tobias-Nahi and involves a broad array of partners such as the SPOON Foundation and Love Without Boundaries. We’re in China with some of our partners doing assessments of children and orphanages. Our goal is to improve the well-being of children without parental care through improved nutrition. It’s a lofty goal, but we’re a lofty bunch.
Thanks for following our journey with us. More tomorrow…
Tom & Christina