Wish You Happy Forever: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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Wish You Happy Forever: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains

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Overview

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.

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  • Wish You Happy Forever - Book Trailer
    Wish You Happy Forever - Book Trailer  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

For Jenny Bowen, a single 1996 newspaper article planted the seed. The piece about dysfunctional Chinese orphanages overcrowded with abandoned girls sparked the activist impulse of this empty nester mother of two. Even a pair of Chinese adoptions could not sate her sense of charity: Before long, she, her husband and her new children had moved to Beijing to launch a foundation for improving the lives of children in orphanages. After some strenuous wrestling with bureaucratic strictures, her Half the Sky project gained traction and even official support. This first-person narrative presents the heartening, yet unsugared story of lives transformed by good works. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
12/23/2013
In this moving memoir, Brown, founder of Half the Sky Foundation, details her journey toward the establishment of nurturing conditions within China's bleak state run orphanages. After reading a 1996 newspaper article detailing the miserable conditions prevailing in Chinese orphanages, Bowen and her husband made a life-changing decision. "So we set out on our adoption journey not to build a family—we had raised two lovely children, the nest was empty—but to save one life. That was how we saw it then." Following the adoption of a Chinese baby girl, soon followed by a second adoption, Bowenwas spurred to especially help female infants and those with special needs. Bowen chronicles the political, cultural, social and administrative obstacles encountered throughout the process of establishing her foundation. The couple, with their two daughters in tow, eventually moves to Beijing, hoping to raise awareness regarding the foundation's work. Bowen's remarkable narrative illustrates how dedication, compassion and love can create enormous change against incredible odds. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Both heartrending and victoriously uplifting, Wish You Happy Forever provides the backdrop on the lives of thousands of orphan girls and their foster grandmothers, teachers, volunteers, donors, and the ever-grateful adoptive parents. This is a must read for lessons on compassion, persistence, and true love." —-Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan
“Both heartrending and victoriously uplifting, Wish You Happy Forever provides the backdrop on the lives of thousands of orphan girls and their foster grandmothers, teachers, volunteers, donors, and the ever-grateful adoptive parents. This is a must read for lessons on compassion, persistence, and true love.”
Anne Lamott
“Jenny Bowen is a brilliant and amazing person. Her work and writing are great, profound and inspiring.”
Jane Pauley
“An astonishing and inspiring tribute to the power of human imagination harnessed to passion and purpose.”
Nia Vardalos
“The hopeful smiles of a million waiting children shine from the pages of Jenny Bowen’s writing. This compelling story is a page turning must-read of breaking down barriers as one woman embarks on the monumental quest of building families, forever.”
Dr. Larry Brilliant
“An inspiring story of triumph in the face of struggle, Bowen’s lyrical prose and her remarkable journey transforming Chinese orphanages amidst government bureaucracy, earthquakes, snowstorms, and more, is a testament to the power of perseverance.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-05
A social entrepreneur and former filmmaker's account of how adopting two Chinese daughters inspired her to help China reform its child welfare system from within. Bowen and her husband were two empty nesters with respectable but unfulfilling careers in the Hollywood movie industry. That all changed in early 1996 when they saw a photo of a malnourished Chinese child in the New York Times and learned that China allowed thousands of orphans, most of them female, to die every year. After adopting a little girl and watching the sick, dispirited waif grow into a healthy, happy child, Bowen realized that she also wanted to help her daughter's "orphaned sisters." So in 1998, she created a nonprofit organization that advocated a child-centered approach to caring for abandoned or parentless children. She named it Half the Sky in honor of a Chinese saying that "[w]omen hold up half the sky." At the time, the Chinese government actively discouraged foreigners from setting up aid programs in China. Yet Bowen persevered, often going against a board of directors that disagreed with her decisions and tactics. She faced other major challenges as well, such as fallout from 9/11, the SARS epidemic, earthquakes and other natural disasters. These found embodiment in her second adopted daughter, a wary, physically traumatized child who came to trust her only very gradually. But Half the Sky succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Bowen was able to establish more than 50 sites around China dedicated to helping all abandoned children, including those with special needs. In 2008, government officials allowed Half the Sky to become just the third registered NGO in China. Two years later, Bowen's most ambitious vision—to help Chinese child welfare social workers create loving environments for orphans—also became a reality. Memorable and moving, Bowen's story is a gift straight from the heart. A great complement to Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's Half the Sky (2009).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062192011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 40,234
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Jenny Bowen, a former screenwriter and filmmaker, is the founder and CEO of Half the Sky Foundation, an organization dedicated to reimagining care for orphaned Chinese children. Bowen received the American Chamber of Commerce's Women of Influence Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007 and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2008.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    Hard work and miracles

    Inspirational and heart wrenching!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    I just finished reading this from cover to cover in 2 days! What

    I just finished reading this from cover to cover in 2 days!
    What an incredible true story! Very well written with inspiring details!
    I adopted my sweet Emma from Yiyang city in 2005.
    She is the light of my life!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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