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

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

5.0 2
by Jenny Bowen
     
 

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Wish You Happy Forever chronicles Half the Sky founder Jenny Bowen's personal and professional journey to transform Chinese orphanages—and the lives of the neglected girls who live in them—from a state of quiet despair to one of vibrant promise.

After reading an article about the thousands of baby girls languishing in Chinese orphanages

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Overview

Wish You Happy Forever chronicles Half the Sky founder Jenny Bowen's personal and professional journey to transform Chinese orphanages—and the lives of the neglected girls who live in them—from a state of quiet despair to one of vibrant promise.

After reading an article about the thousands of baby girls languishing in Chinese orphanages, Bowen and her husband adopted a little girl from China and brought her home to Los Angeles, not out of a need to build a family but rather a commitment to save one child. A year later, as she watched her new daughter play in the grass with her friends, thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved, Bowen was overcome with a desire to help the children that she could not bring home. That very day she created Half the Sky Foundation, an organization conceived to bring love into the life of every orphan in China and one that has actually managed to fulfill its promise.

In Wish You Happy Forever, a fish out of water tale like no other, Bowen relates her struggle to bring the concept of "child nurture and responsive care" to bemused Chinese bureaucrats and how she's actually succeeding. Five years after Half the Sky's first orphanage program opened, government officials began to mention child welfare and nurturing care in public speeches. And, in 2011, at China's Great Hall of the People, Half the Sky and its government partners celebrated the launch of The Rainbow Program, a groundbreaking initiative to change the face of orphan care by training every child welfare worker in the country. Thanks to Bowen's relentless perseverance through heartbreak and a dose of humor, Half the Sky's goal to bring love the lives of forgotten children comes ever closer.

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Editorial Reviews

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:
03/11/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
180,077
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Jenny Bowen, a former screenwriter and filmmaker, is the founder and CEO of Half the Sky, 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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