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Advocating for Phillip

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  Written by Shila Henderson on 09 Apr 2016

The best way to learn about what makes a waiting child smile or laugh or turn their nose up in dislike is to spend time with that child. Advocacy opportunities like hosting or in-country advocacy trips are a perfect way to discover what makes the fine qualities of a waiting child stand out.  Soon, RainbowKids will introduce a new area, Hope Gallery. Our goal through the Hope Gallery is to bring a focused hope through advocacy articles about specific waiting children written by those who are spending that quality one-on-one time with a child whether it be through hosting or an advocacy trip.  

Today we would like to introduce you to joyful Phillip!  Please consider sharing his story.

 Let's Find Phillip a Family!! 

Our trip to Beijing, China was full of emotion from day one.

The last day was especially memorable. It was the “goodbye party” where we said a farewell to the kids. When I woke up that morning I knew it would be hard, especially with “Phillip.” We had spent four days with 9-year-old Phillip and he had asked us many times if we would find him a mother. He had even said he would take any mother, even a “white-haired grandma-mom.” I both laughed and cried when he told me that.

"Phillip is intelligent, loving, outgoing, kind, easy-going and sweet. He loves to sing and is full of joy. He enjoys taking things apart to see how they work and I imagine him as a future Lego maniac."

Phillip has vision challenges, which make him appear cross-eyed, but he can navigate well. A highly respected pediatric eye surgeon also viewed photos and videos of Phillip and he believes Phillip’s condition can very likely be corrected with surgery and glasses.

The goodbye party with the children was full of excitement and noise, but also some tears. At the end, most of the nannies slipped out with the kids — my guess was that it was too hard to officially say goodbye. But soon after, we went to lunch and the kids were there. We had some difficulty finding Phillip because he was eating in the next room over. As I walked toward the table, Phillip and his nannies gave me a big smile. I bent down to Phillip and told him he was a good boy and I would never forget him. I held back tears as I told him I would try to find him a family. He didn’t understand my words, but I know he understood my feelings. He then reached over, gave me a big hug and said, “Wo ai ni, Mama.” I love you, Mama. He then placed the most precious kiss on my check.

I still remember the feeling of that sweet hug and kiss. He had on a puffy blue jacket, and his hug was gentle, soft and warm. He giggled and smiled up at me. When I heard him say he loved me, I hesitated. For some reason, the thought came to me that I shouldn’t repeat those words back to him. He had called me “mama,” and I didn’t want him to be confused. I wanted him to hear “I love you” from the woman that would eventually be his real mama. Someday, I hoped.

Instead, I squeezed him again, put my hand to his cheek and told him he is amazing and that I would never forget him. Then I hurried out the door before allowing the tears to fall down my cheeks. I cried for Phillip and all the children there who just want to be loved. They want families and they want to belong.

After a bit, we headed back down to the hotel lobby as the last of the kids were boarding the bus to go back to the care home. I looked forlornly at that bus. The snow was turning to slush and the grey skies fit the mood. I couldn’t see faces because of the tinted glass, but what I wanted to do was rush out to that bus. I wanted to run down the sidewalk, race up the stairs and search for sweet Phillip. I wanted to hug him tight, kiss his cheek and tell him, “Wo ai ni, Phillip. I love you.”

Because I do.
And I hope he knows that.

I won’t give up finding him his forever mama. I won’t give up trying to find mamas for all the kids.

Please visit Phillip's RainbowKids waiting child profile page to learn more!

To ask about Phillip, please contact Jessica Zeeb at

The kids we met are also listed on Holt’s waiting child photolisting

Shila Henderson | Holt China Ambassador




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