December 18, 2013

To our cherished and steadfast supporters, I write this with a heavy heart.

As you all know, An Orphan’s Wish has experienced numerous changes over the last six months. We have done our best to navigate these rough waters with our mission of caring for and improving the lives of orphans in China at the forefront.

After the closing of the foster home in Guilin, it was our heart’s desire to continue to care for orphans. We prayerfully considered several possibilities and were ecstatic when, after much prayer and numerous discussions, we partnered with Lifeline in their efforts to establish a foster home in China.

As we pressed forward, though, it became evident that this pairing would not be one in which both partners could function optimally. As an all-volunteer organization, we were well aware of AOW’s limitations in time, energy, and resources. And we knew that finding a perfect fit was essential for AOW to be fruitful. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a suitable option for AOW to continue, even with an amazing ministry such as Lifeline.

After exhausting our options to continue, we have made the decision to close An Orphan’s Wish at the end of 2013.

But as heavy hearted as I am, as we all are, I am even more grateful. Thankful. Joyful.

Because what God began in LeeAnn Mill’s heart as a tiny charity – working to help fund the efforts of a brave couple in China – became profoundly successful. With the help of committed volunteers and faithful supporters, we were able to blossom into all God intended us to be.

We were able to bring 131 sickly and neglected children into care and witness as they were transformed by nutrition, medicine and loving care. We were able to provide treatment for children with clubfoot and watch these little ones, once unable to walk, take their first steps on beautiful, straight feet. And we were able to have a front row seat as many of our children had their heart’s desire realized – joining a forever family of their very own.

Now that is something to celebrate.

On behalf of all of the volunteers at AOW, I want to thank LeeAnn Mill, our founder, for her vision and leadership. Thank you, LeeAnn, for allowing us the opportunity to work alongside you on behalf of the orphan. Not only were the hearts and lives of many children forever impacted by AOW, we have been changed, too.

And on behalf of everyone at AOWI want to thank you, faithful supporter. Without you, that tiny charity would have never had the chance to blossom. We would not have had been blessed to witness the transforming power of love in the lives of some very special orphans in China. And we would not have had the opportunity to be changed by that love ourselves.





Stefanie Leist
AOW Director

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Alec has been waiting for a forever family to choose him since November 2012.

Alec has faced many challenges in his life thus far and the road ahead will likely not be easy for this sweet boy. But his road would be so much easier if Alec could take it with the support and love of a family.

Alec is wonderfully cared for currently by Little Flower but truly nothing can replace the love of a mother, a father and a family.

Alec needs to come home to truly blossom. Please consider opening your hearts to this precious boy. Could he be your son? He deserves unconditional love and he has much to give to a special family prepared to love him just as he is.

You can see our prior posts about Alec here.
Waiting for a Family
Featuring Alec

For questions, please contact

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We told you last week that Ellie (Eliane) was undergoing surgery to repair her cleft palate. Her parents, Amelie and Philippe, were thrilled to have the support of the An Orphan’s Wish community, and wanted to let you know that Eliane’s surgery was successful and she is recovering well. Here is an update from her father:

“Hello, it really warmed our hearts to know that many people, all around the world, are thinking about Eliane this week. Her surgery went without apparent complications, and she is recovering fast. We negotiated with the anesthesia team, so Amelie was able to be with her in the operating room until she was asleep, so she did not experience any real separation from us.

She stayed only one night at the hospital, and we are amazed by her resilience, she is such a brave little girl. We were worried about how she would cope with the arm restraints and the medications, and with the fact we have to feed her with a syringe for 3 weeks, but she accepted everything without complaining.

As expected, her anxiety worsened a little bit, but both Amelie and I are off from work, so we are always around to hug her and play with her, and her brother Etienne is very helpful also. It looks very painful, but with medication given on a regular basis, she is well, and two days after the surgery, she was running all over the house and laughing as before.

We followed up with her surgeon a few days after the surgery, and he was very pleased with her recovery up to now. He said the surgery was technically difficult because her cleft is very wide, but he managed to close it without too much tension on the tissues. Before her surgery, her audiogram showed moderate to severe hearing impairment, but she had tubes installed in her eardrums during the surgery, and we already see some improvement, as she clearly hears me when I am whispering, which was not the case before.”

Here’s wishing Eliane and her forever family many healthy and happy times ahead of them!

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We recently received an update about our little Miss Ellie (now Eliane), who is settling in nicely to her new life with her forever family in French-speaking Canada.


According to her father, apart from some nighttime anxiety, Eliane is joyful and mischievous.


She has had many new experiences since joining her family. She loves playing in the autumn leaves:


She has shown some talent with a hockey stick (a very important skill in a country where hockey is considered the national pastime!):


And she celebrated Halloween by dressing up as a princess, although she enjoyed handing out candy more than trick-or-treating:


In just three months, she has made big strides in her language acquisition, with the help of speech therapy. She can say about 100 words and is even starting to put together some short sentences. Just the other day, she was overheard telling her brother, who was standing on a chair, “Etienne, assis” (Etienne, sit down!), which he promptly did. Eliane then congratulated him with “Bravo merci” (Good, thank you!). Looks like Eliane has her big brother Etienne wrapped around her little finger!


And we would like to ask a small favor of you … would you please keep Eliane and her family in your thoughts today? She will be undergoing surgery to repair her cleft palate. Just one more big step for this spunky girl who looks to have a bright future ahead of her!


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In September we got to share some very special news with John!

John finding out about his family Sept 13 (2)

He learned that he had a forever family working hard to bring him home.

John finding out about his family Sept 13 (3)

And in October he received a very special gift. This isn’t just any Lightning McQueen book…

John with parcel from his family Oct 13 (1)

…it has the voices of his family reading to him. Over and over he listened, carefully studying their voices.

John with parcel from his family Oct 13 (2)

And as much as he enjoyed his Cars book, he loved this one even more, for in it were the faces of the family he can’t wait to meet.

John with parcel from his family Oct 13 (3)

Soon sweet boy, very soon!

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We are thrilled to be able to share with you that Ava met her forever family on November 4th! Here she was on her way to meet her family:

Ava leaving for Nanning

We know this sweet girl has made a great addition to her new family.

If you are her family, or know who they are, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at

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Elijah was very excited recently when he received a special package in the mail with lots of wonderful surprises inside.

Elijahfinding out about his family Sept 13 (2)

He enjoyed checking out the new toys it contained.

Elijah's package  29th Oct 2013 (4)

And he was proud of his new backpack, which he happily modeled.

Elijah's package  29th Oct 2013 (6)

But, the best part about this package? It was sent from Elijah’s forever family! He may have been happy to receive all of the goodies, but he was mesmerized by the photographs of his new family.

Elijahfinding out about his family Sept 13 (1)

He was even ready to ship himself right back to them … if only it were that easy, little man!

Elijah's package  29th Oct 2013 (5)

We are so happy for this special boy and his forever family, and for all of the wonderful times awaiting them in the future together!

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We just received a wonderful update about darling Bennett (now Jake) from his forever family. Bennett is walking like a pro! See for yourself:

It’s amazing what the love and attention a forever family can do for a child. Way to go, Jake!

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It is always exciting for us to hear about how the kids whose lives we touched briefly are adjusting to life with the families they will live with forever. Bennett (always to be known as Jake) met his forever family this past summer and seems to be settling in well with his Mom, Dad, and big brother Max. His father, Tim, recently sent us this update:

Jake is an amazing little guy!

Jake seems to love the extra Mom and Dad time that we were able to arrange with our work.

The doctors and specialists all noted that Jake is bonding very well with both of us and were amazed when we told them how long he has been with us.

Jake checked out as very healthy, and is lined up to see a highly recommended surgeon for his on-going orthopedic issues. He is sleeping through the night; no more crying when he goes down at night and we have to wake him in the mornings. Jake is adding to his eating horizons and with the help of Max, our oldest, he is more open to trying new things when they come recommended by Max.

Max I think was a little set back at first with Jake in our home but last week he informed us that he “really likes and loves” Jake “now”. He thanked us for bringing him home! Made our hearts race! The two of them play really well together: Max builds and Jake redevelops (tears down). At first Max had some issues with this but now he just embraces it and builds bigger and better.

Jake’s cheeks are very kissable and they continue to receive many warm loving kisses. Thanks for keeping them warm for us!

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Our precious, and precocious, Will has a contagious smile on his face most of the time.

Will June 2013 (2)edit

But, can you imagine how radiant his smile will be when he finds out he has a family to call his very own?

Will 25th Feb 13 (9)edited

Will came to us as a sweet two-and-a-half-year-old with unrepaired clubfoot.

Will (1)edit

Since then, he has been through a full round of casting, braces, and can now stand, walk, and even bicycle on his own two (straight) feet.

Will June 2013

Now, as a four year old, he has made great progress with his gross and fine motor skills and speech. His carers and friends find him easy to get along with, and he is very loving too.

Will 27th February 2013 (4024)edited

But, it is time for him to know the love of a forever family ~ hug and be hugged by his Mom ~ play in his sandbox with his toys.

Will April 2013 (4)

Yes, Will, it is true! You are officially Waiting for a Family!

Will June 2013 (4)edit

Will is available for adoption on the individual agency list of Children’s Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS). For more information, please check out the “Waiting for a Family” link above, or contact with any questions.

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