When you sponsor a child in ICC’s care, it’s like grafting a new member into your own family, extending love and compassion as you would to your own child
Posted by Communications Staff August 30, 2016
Laura Askew first went on a China Team trip (ICC’s short-term service teams) in January 2007 and sponsored her first child in Hengyang after that trip. She then went on four more China Team trips, on one of which her husband, Phil, bonded with another child that they began sponsoring on their return home.
When their daughter, Maymi (pictured above), was born in 2013 Laura and Phil knew that they wanted her, and any children they had later, to sponsor a child as they grew up.
I was doing a budget for my maternity leave earlier this year and realised we had £25 a month of the money we normally give away “spare.” It seemed immediately obvious that we should use it to sponsor another child. It was about two weeks before Maymi’s second birthday and we hadn’t decided on a main present for her so that seemed perfect!
Our friend, Luke, is currently volunteering in Hengyang so I had a conversation with him about any children around Maymi’s age that needed sponsorship. We ideally wanted a child that had a small chance of being adopted so that Maymi could build a long relationship with them. Luke has been working really closely with Jiao and put her name forward with a lot of enthusiasm! I contacted the UK [National] office quickly and was able to give Jiao’s photo to Maymi on her birthday.
We gave her the envelope with Jiao’s picture in it when we were out for her birthday and explained that as she knew mummy had a special friend in China called Ci Ci and daddy had a special friend in China called Ying Ying, and now Maymi had her own special friend in China called Jiao. She was so proud of her special friend and we’ve had to put the photo in a frame on the wall as every time anyone came round she would go and get it off the fridge and show them and tell them who it was, and the photo was getting destroyed!
We often pray with Maymi for “Big Luke” as she calls him and that he would be able to help and love the children in China. So it seemed natural to suggest praying for Jiao. At first we would suggest it to her but now when we ask Maymi who she wants to pray for she nearly always says “Jiao, my special friend in China.”
Maymi is learning to feed herself most of her own meals with a spoon and fork. Some ends up on the floor or in her bib but mostly in her mouth! At the same time, Jiao (pictured below) has been receiving therapy to help her wean from a bottle to a spoon. She is just learning to eat with a utensil and for the first time finished a whole bowl without a drop in her bib! Maymi often prays that Jiao “would eat all her dinner.” With Maymi cheering and praying her on, Jiao will have it down in no time.
The Askews had a baby boy, Benjamin, in April and they look forward to finding a sponsor child for him when he’s a bit older.
He already has a special Chinese connection as his middle name is Tsui after a little boy who climbed into [Laura’s] heart on my first team; and despite leaving this earth shortly after I met him, he is still incredibly important to us. The name is to honour him but also to represent all the children we know and love in China; they are part of our family too!
Thank you, Askews, and to all of our sponsors, for being family to these precious lives who have no biological family to call their own.