I truly believe your kindness has created miracles …

We are excited to share that little Liu — now Penelope Lian — is home with her family in New Jersey!

Penelope with her mom, Lauren.

Earlier this year, sweet Penelope was living at Peace House, Holt’s very special, donor-supported medical foster home in Beijing. Because Penelope was born premature and experiencing global delays, Peace House offered a more nurturing alternative to orphanage care. At Peace House, Penelope received 24/7 attention from a dedicated caregiver and she grew and developed rapidly in a short time.

Penelope with her dad, Ben.

Sadly, however, while Penelope was in care at Peace House, 20 children died of unknown causes at an orphanage in her home district. In response, the provincial government called for all children living in private care from Penelope’s province return to their state orphanage.

Almost immediately, Penelope and about 70 other children were forced to return to an orphanage in her home district — an orphanage that was only equipped to care for about 14 children.

But suddenly, they found themselves caring for more than 80 children!

Penelope at Peace House in January 2016.

Like Penelope, many of these children were weak, undersized, malnourished or needing specialized care for their disabilities. The orphanage was overcrowded, understaffed and there weren’t enough supplies, medicines or food to meet every child’s needs.

We feared for children’s lives. And when we told you about the situation, so did you, too.

Ben, Lauren and Nathaniel meet their daughter and sister for the first time in China.

You jumped to action ­— making a generous gift that bought medicines, food, blankets and clothing for the children in care. Your gift has already helped to hire five new caregivers, and more will be added, soon. You have ensured that these precious, vulnerable children receive the medical care and loving attention they need.

In fact, your generosity has even inspired local fundraising efforts — which has raised enough money to paint and decorate an additional room for children, reducing overcrowding issues. Now, babies have a bright, safe place to play with matted floors and new cribs to sleep in.

Most importantly, your generosity has helped Penelope join her loving family.

Penelope with her dad, Ben.

Penelope’s mom, Lauren, says that she and her husband feel incredibly blessed to have Penny and are looking forward to watching her grow up. Lauren says their first meeting in China was beautiful.

“Penelope smiled at us, let us pass her around, and generally tolerated our gushing and cooing. Our son, Nathaniel, whispered to me that she was the most perfect baby he’d ever seen, and even though I’m not much for superlative I couldn’t help but agree.”

Penelope with her mom, Lauren.

“Since we’ve been home, we’ve continued to be amazed at Penny’s resilience and good cheer.  She loves meeting new people. She also loves bath time, the beach, and scrambled eggs.  Although we read advice about cocooning — basically staying at home while the baby acclimates — the truth is, Penny is an extrovert who points to the door whenever we’ve been home too long.  Therefore, even when I’m almost too exhausted to move, I find myself wandering the streets of our town so she can point to new things and charm everyone who passes us by.”

Penelope with her brother, Nathaniel.

We cannot say thank you enough for your tremendous generosity. In a time of great need, you answered the call for help.

On behalf of the 80 children’s lives likely saved by your support, thank you. You are our hero.

Beth Smith | Director of Services, China Program

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