Wish You Happy Forever

Wish You Happy Forever

What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains

Book - 2014
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In the summer of 1998, Jenny Bowen looked out her kitchen window onto her garden, and her life changed forever. Her three-year-old daughter Maya, whom she and her husband had adopted months earlier from an orphanage in China, had transformed from a vacant-eyed, sickly little girl into a joyous being thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved. Watching her daughter play, Bowen was overcome with the desire to help the orphaned children she couldn't bring home. And that's when Half the Sky Foundation was born.

Wish You Happy Forever tells the story of China's momentous progress in its treatment of orphaned and abandoned children. When Bowen began Half the Sky in 1998 determined to bring a caring adult into the life of every orphaned child, it seemed impossible that China would allow a foreigner to work inside government orphanages, let alone try to bring meaningful change. Inevitably, the pathway to collaboration was fraught with challenges: Bowen had to find ways to lead her organization past closed doors and naysayers, bureaucratic roadblocks and reluctant government officials, as well as natural disasters and flustered board members to realize her vision for a loving, more nurturing approach to child welfare in China. But despite the oceans and ideas that divide us, in the end, all of us want only good for our children. Now the Chinese government not only trusts but partners with Half the Sky to make life better for the children in its care.

To this day, Bowen is the only Westerner working with the Chinese government to transform its entire child welfare system from the inside, and Half the Sky, with fifty-two children's centers throughout the country, has helped more than a hundred thousand children. Bowen's beautifully written memoir, Wish You Happy Forever, teaches us that saving a child's life can transcend language and cultural barriers, and that, above all else, a determined dreamer with a loving presence speaks at the greatest volume.

Publisher: New York HarperCollins, [2014].
ISBN: 9780062336972
Characteristics: viii, 320 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates :,colour illustrations, colour portraits, 1 map ;,23 cm.


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Feb 11, 2017

Interesting, but should have been half as long, as continued work was just a rehash of previous work.

May 06, 2016

I'd only watched the PBS documentary that showed some of the work by Half the Sky. (Or so I thought?) Areas were featured in numerous countries.

Thus I was puzzled when, upon reading the book, the focus was China.

This lovely couple embraced a life altering idea and create an enormous impact. Orphanages in China had been run in a method that diminished any potential of those (think females) placed there by parents.

Remarkable story that continues with the transformation of Half the Sky changing its name to One Sky.

Oct 20, 2014

I like this book.It's amazing--Both the the story and the author.

Jun 21, 2014

Inspirational, well-written account of the author's experience of adopting an orphaned baby girl from China, and from there helping hundreds of thousands of mostly female orphans. She does this with grace and compassion, and learns that sharing her knowledge and resources doesn't work by criticizing others but by working with them toward common goals. She learns who can be trusted and others who are more interested in their own needs. And she finds her calling.

bibliotechnocrat May 31, 2014

A great read. In the process of adopting a Chinese orphan, Californian filmmaker, Jenny Bowen, discovers the terrible conditions these children were growing up in. Tiny kids tied to potty chairs all day, with no stimulation, no physical contact with caregivers, scarring punishments for infractions.... Bowen decided she had to do something about these kids and set out to make a difference. And make a difference she has. She and her husband launched a non-profit called Half the Sky, dedicated to transforming the circumstances of abandoned Chinese babies. This unlikely memoir charts the transformation sparked by their initiative.

But imagine a Chinese national coming to Canada and setting up programs in our group homes or orphanages. At best, we'd ignore such audacity; at worst we'd arrest and deport. So how did an American transform Chinese institutional child care? The fragile dance Bowen and her cohorts conduct in order to fly under the radar and affect change makes for compelling reading. Well worth your time.

Apr 01, 2014

A moving story. Both heartrending and victorisously uplifting. This is a must read for lessons on compassion, persistance and true love for the children... Best book I read in a long time.

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