In 2014, Lifeline opened a foster center in southern China to work with children from an orphanage in the region. Through the care of the staff at the Foster Center, children who were not expected to live are healthy and thriving; children who were once thought to be unadoptable are being adopted into loving forever families. This training has laid the foundation with our own team for the exemplary care the children at the Foster Center are receiving.
Although we are incredibly grateful for the difference the Foster Center has made in the lives of children who have been moved there, our commitment to the children of this region extends beyond the Foster Center, and our work there in 2016 took a significant step forward in providing resources that will enable caregivers to more effectively disciple and prepare children for life beyond the institution, whether that be in a forever family or whenever they reach a certain “adult” age and are released from the orphanage to live on their own, without support.
In 2016, Lifeline’s (un)adopted® ministry and Crossings team developed Life Skills Education Training Curriculum (LSET), a set of training resources designed to equip orphaned and vulnerable children for independence and to equip their caregivers with caregiving strategies that promote healthy development. Pastor Raphael, a partner in Uganda, praised the caregiver training at the Busega School for the Deaf and Blind, “More than anything, the caregiver training impacted those caring for our deaf students who thought these children had been cursed [because of their disability] but now know how to love and care for these children.” LSET is comprised of three parts: Caregiving Education, Developmental Education, and Life Education.
Lifeline has been given the privilege to invest in the China foster center and its regional orphanage staff through LSET training and consultation. This year, we have seen the direct impact of LSET training in both our own foster center and one of our partner orphanages in southeastern China. Through trainings that Lifeline teams have conducted with the orphanage staff, the caregivers have been attentive to learning skills and techniques that foster attachment and healthy development in the children in their care. This training and our work to cultivate a healthy caregiving culture in the orphanage are still in the early stages of development, but there is reason to be encouraged.
This past year, a team from Lifeline visited the orphanage and saw firsthand the fruit that is beginning to blossom from this training. An orphanage that was once a dark and dreary place now has been outfitted with playrooms, complete with colorful murals on the walls and brightly colored foam tiles on the floors. The building was just the beginning of change, as transformations in caregiving practice are becoming evident as well. In many orphanages, the atmosphere is one of eerie silence, as children have learned not to cry as a result from lack of attention and comfort. Also, children who have limited interaction often do not have an age-appropriate understanding of what it means to play. Instead of the silence of the past, the new playrooms in this orphanage are beginning to become home to the sounds of children as they play. These few beginning strides point to a hopeful future as this orphanage is changed through intentional investment of caregiving principles and timeless truth. Hear from orphanage staff about the impact of LSET caregiver on themselves:
“I was lucky enough to hear Lifeline’s Caregiver training. I learned that most importantly, we must establish good, positive associations with the children so that they know how to build good relationships with others, how to laugh, how to love, how to be loved, and let us become truly important people in their lives, people who have a positive influence on them.” – Orphanage Director, China
“We’ve never had a training like this, nothing that talks about the holistic care of children or about nurture.” – Orphanage Assistant Director, China
The impact of LSET training on this orphanage is but one example of the almost limitless number of opportunities Lifeline has to change the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children through resource development and consultation. Join us as we seek to continue investing in the lives of children, their caregivers, and their communities.
None of this is possible without the partnership of people and churches with vision for caring for the “least of these.”
If you would like to be a part of impacting the lives of vulnerable children by partnering with communities around the globe, you can learn more about LSET at lifelinechild.org.