Mother and Daughter Advocate for Orphans in China

Rebecca and Lauren Bingham are determined to help these beautiful kids find homes.

Jennifer Galan June 07, 2016

When Rebecca Bingham wanted to give her teenage daughter, Lauren, a meaningful service experience, she knew it would be within the framework of adoption and special needs advocacy: two of the six Bingham kids are adopted, and three have neuro-diverse special needs. After consulting her online support community they discovered an amazing opportunity that seemed to fit them perfectly: Children’s House International China Advocacy

CHI Summer Camps
1. CHI Summer Camps

The CHI group operates week-long summer camps for special needs kids within specific orphanages in China, and volunteers are matched with kids who are looking for their forever homes. They spend their week playing, sight-seeing, and learning all about their new friends in order to spread awareness and hopefully find them a family when they return back to America.

2. Matched

Mom and daughter were matched with two amazing kids—one who has a family waiting for paperwork approval in order to take him home, and another who was still hoping for a forever family. Both kids spoke only Chinese, and both had special needs, but they immediately found a spot in their advocates’ hearts.

From Rebecca: “In China there is no real help for disabled orphans. Many consider them bad luck on two fronts: when they turn eighteen, if they are not adopted, they will be institutionalized. The most astounding thing is that their disabilities are things that, in the US, are not huge issues—things like deafness or blindness or cerebral palsy. These kids can have full and wonderful lives across the ocean, we just need to find them parents!”

Jannex and Lyrix
3. Jannex and Lyrix

Another kid, a boy that—for privacy reasons—they referred to by his “privacy name,” Jannex and his best friend Lyrix quickly became best buddies with Lauren and Rebecca. Both have CP and both are teens—and face uncertain futures. But the tenderness and kindness and love with which Jannex took care of his friends, the way he helped out the younger campers, and the way his heart was open to giving and receiving love stood out in a crowd.

Fearless Felix
4. Fearless Felix

Each day that they spent with their campers, taking them to the aquarium, teaching them to swim, playing, laughing, the advocates learned more about their charges, and began to formulate ideas on what exactly they would need in a home and what kind of families would fit their needs. Felix, for example, though severely vision impaired was fearless—he was the first to try, the first to succeed, and the first to climb to the top of anything he could find!

On a Mission
5. On a Mission

As camp came to a close, it was clear that there would be a lot of work to be done, but Rebecca and Lauren are committed to their advocacy. They decided that finding Felix, Jannex, and Lyrix (and the other campers they fell in love with) a home was going to be their top priority for the coming year—getting the kids publicity, searching for grants, and making sure that they were not forgotten. And they are already planning their trip next year, because the camp was such a success that the orphanages have invited them all to return again!

Advocacy Works!
6. Advocacy Works!

When asked if she would recommend the experience, both women unequivocally said that the CHI camp was life-changing. From Rebecca: “I quickly learned that older kids aren't as scary as I thought.  They were gentle and kind and very independent. Their foster moms work hard to teach them to take care of themselves and be kind. They need access to school and therapy and a family that will just love them.”

The kids that they met and are working hard to find homes for are sweet, loving, and not all that different from the siblings that were waiting back home for mom and sister. Saying goodbye was heart-breaking, but news that their Felix had found a family came a few weeks after camp ended. From Lauren, “Advocacy works!”

If you are interested in learning more about CHI, or the amazing kids they work for, you can find them on Facebook: Children’s House International China Advocacy Camps.

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Jennifer Galan

Jennifer Galan mothers four kids (one adopted, three biological) all while living the nomadic life of a military wife. She is a strong advocate for open adoptions, education reform, feminism, kindness, and naps. Mostly naps. Her favorite Doctor is number ten, and she is a proud Ravenclaw.

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