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Giving orphans hope for the future

By Wang Ru (China Daily)

08:13, June 11, 2012

Tim Baker cradles a child at the Shepherd's Field Children's Village in Tianjin. (China Daily/Jiang Dong)

Guang Meitong, a 4-year-old girl from South China, was born with a cleft palate and is autistic.

She barely talks but loves being held by visitors and resting her head on their shoulders as she clutches their clothes.

Guang was abandoned by her parents at birth. But thanks to the loving care of a US couple, she has had surgery and is awaiting adoption.

Her saviors are Tim and Pam Baker. Four of their seven children have been adopted from China, with the first joining their family in 1992, four years after the couple arrived in the country.

The Bakers also co-founded the Shepherd's Field Children's Village, which has cared for more than 4,000 orphans like Guang. More than 3,000 operations and medical procedures have been carried out and 900 children have been adopted.

Construction work began on the orphanage in June 2003 and it is home to 86 children.

The compound was built and decorated in traditional Chinese style.

All the children receive education and are under the care of 100 workers, including teachers, Chinese nannies, Western doctors, volunteers and interns.

The village, in Dawangguzhuang town in Tianjin's Wuqing district, is a compound of 11 buildings, including five dormitories, a school, a workshop and a clinic.

It receives children from orphanages around country. The majority of them come from impoverished rural areas.

About 40 children are adopted annually, with most joining overseas families.

The village has a long wall covered with the handprints of orphans who were adopted.

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