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[Expat] Mixed family a harbor of love for orphans
Latest Updated by 2006-12-04 15:54:15

A LOVE for children has led Yang Fan and Brad B. Bauer, a mixed couple from the United States, to give up their respective careers to start a new after-school program in Shenzhen.


Having adopted two Chinese orphans and hopes for two more, they are also planning to set up a children's home for orphans in the city's suburbs next year.


Yang, born in Hebei in North China, left for California to pursue a degree in 1992.


"I met Brad on Thanksgiving in 1992, and we got married three years later," she said.


"I loved her from the very beginning because she is very Chinese," Bauer said of Yang.


Bauer followed Yang Fan first to Hong Kong, then to Shenzhen, in 2002. To him, the Chinese culture, which has fascinated him for a long time, is now in his blood. "Thinking in both English and Chinese helps people broaden their minds," he said.


Back in the States, they had a cozy home in the Silicon Valley, where Yang once worked for Hewlett Packard's marketing and sales department and her husband was a graphic designer for a local advertising firm.


In 2001, Yang was sent to explore the Hong Kong market by a U.S.-based startup software company which led to her commuting frequently between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, to work as a volunteer for a local welfare center. Feeding the orphans and changing their diapers gave her a tremendous feeling and led to her decision to adopt a child.


"The first time I saw Helen, then 3 months old, her clear eyes stared at me, as if she wanted to come home with me," she said.


Helen, abandoned in front of a hospital on the day she was born, became a member of their family Nov. 15 in 2002.


"I will make up for the negligence she suffered so soon after her birth by giving her the best care and education," said Yang who quit her job as a sales manager three days after Helen's adoption.


Bauer then worked as a teacher with the middle school attached to Beijing University in town.


After going through complicated procedures and paying about US$20,000, the couple adopted Lance, a 13-month-old boy, from the Shanghai Welfare Center in August 2003.


"I don't mind telling them they are adopted children. And they know it's not a big deal, since we love them as much as any biological parents can do," Yang said.


The two adopted children, now aged 4, are Yang and her husband's pride and joy. "They speak English and Chinese fluently, get along with people and are happy and imaginative, "the couple said.


In October this year, they started a California Kids Club at the Riviera housing estate, offering after-school programs for local children. "I once asked a group of third-graders to fill in the blanks with names of animals for a sentence. To my disappointment, most of them came up with dogs, cats or rabbits," Bauer said. He hoped they could write down some rarer animals like giraffe, crocodile, or dragon. In his opinion, children should have a wild and vivid imagination.


"I hope our club can help build children's optimism and confidence while helping them to appreciate art and beauty," Bauer said.


More than 80 children are currently registered with the club. With profits from the club, and funds from the United States, the couple will build a children's home for orphans next year.


As for her own family, Yang gave birth to Katrina two months ago. "We will have another kid and adopt two more," she said with a smile, "since both of us love kids and want a really big family."


Editor: Wing

By:Li Dan Source:Szdaily web edition
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