Her story started like so many others. Abandoned in a small village in southern China, no one knew where she belonged. But unlike the many children who make their way to an orphanage, Catherine was found by an older couple. They took her in as one of their own, raising her alongside their two older sons who she knew as her uncles. She was the daughter they never had, and you can see the indelible imprint of love they left on her life in her quiet confidence and deep security.
As a family, they moved from south-eastern China back to their home province in south-western China. We don’t know much about the years that followed, but we know that Catherine had a happy life, surrounded by people who she loved and who loved her. They were a poor family, but rich in love, and though on paper she might have been an orphan, she never knew the reality of being unwanted and abandoned.
Catherine's grandparents passed away and in 2009 her uncle contacted the local orphanage to see if they could help provide funds for the heart surgery she needed shortly after. The orphanage contacted us and we agreed to help Catherine. Catherine arrived at New Day in October of 2009. When she arrived she quickly captured everyone's hearts. Catherine was outgoing and always had a smile on her face.
In December of that year Catherine had the 1st heart surgery that she needed. While Catherine was at New Day a family came forward wanting to adopted her, but her uncle decided that he would take her back so she returned to his home in April of 2010.
In the fall of 2010 a few of our staff members were able to visit Catherine. They were very surprised to see that the once outgoing girl was now very shy. Catherine hid behind her uncle and talked very little. Her uncle said that she didn't attend school and mostly stayed at home, worked, and watched TV. While at that time he said he took her to the doctor he didn't know what would happen and she wasn't consistently on her medication. When they left our staff members were very worried about Catherine and said it was a bad situation.
A few years later her uncle divorced and she was taken to the local orphanage in August of 2013. She had not received the 2nd heart surgery that was required and lacked basic education.
In January of 2017 the orphanage that Catherine was at contacted us about another child in their care. While they were telling us about him they mentioned that Catherine was back at the orphanage. We were immediately interested and wanted to see how she was doing. Our hearts broke as we heard of her current situation.
Now 16, an age that means she is not eligible to adoption in China, doctors didn’t know if heart surgery would even be possible for Catherine. She had no formal education and lacked skills and basic concepts.
We knew we had to give Catherine a chance. We knew we had to once again say yes to stepping outside of how things are normally done to help this sweet girl.
Catherine amazes us with her resiliency and her joy. She is excited to be back at New Day and faces each day with a smile on her face. She has a long road ahead of her, but we are committed to walking it alongside her.