We’re John and Denise Schweinberg, and we’re very excited to share some great news with you. We’re adopting a child we’ve been matched with from China. He is Tongjun, an 8-year-old boy who has Down Syndrome, whom we called Tim. We are humbly writing to not only share our excitement and joy, but also to ask for your prayers and petitions as we finalize our adoption and fly to China hopefully by Spring to bring Tim home. We know that upon arrival there will be many additional up-hill battles that will need prayer including working through attachment issues as well as developmental delays.
We were introduced to Tim in 2016 while living in China fostering orphaned and abandoned children. Even though he has Down Syndrome, he is very high functioning and can do many day-to-day things on his own, although occasionally some help or supervision is needed. He loves, and sometimes insists, on helping others. He’s a gentle hearted youngster who’s very curious about everything, and also very much an 8-year-old boy!
Tim also has a difficult time speaking and chewing some foods. He can understand both English and Chinese when spoken to him and can provide a limited verbal reply. He’ll need speech therapy and occupational therapy to help with this; he’s also somewhat delayed for his age which may be in part related to having Down Syndrome. He attended a private “learning center” type of school where he was taught basic skills including math and spelling. He also was taught ASL sign language to help communicate which we helped reinforce at home.
We only discovered after we left China in 2018, that he was abandoned when he was 5 years old; left at a train station in Guiyang. He was picked up by the local police, then spent a few months in an orphanage, after which he was placed in our home. Imagine having a family for the first five years of life, then nothing, no mother, no father, no one familiar to him! It took Tim some time to learn to trust people, especially those foreign to him in every way. He soon discovered he was loved and wanted and his trust for us began to grow.
In January 2019 God placed on our hearts to adopt Tim, and thus the process began. So much paperwork, medical exams, background checks, Home Study and much more. On November 6th, we received our pre-approval from China to adopt Tim, this was indeed exciting news to us! We had been able to have regular communication with Tim since we relocated to the states, but not mentioning anything about the adoption until we received our pre-approval.
However, on November 10th we were told more children from the orphanage were taken back to the orphanage rather suddenly and without prior notice, which included our Tim. One thing we learned that stands out to us from living in China is no matter how nice the building looks, or the good reports you may hear, it’s never good to have children taken out of foster care and sent back to the orphanage!
We chose to move to China in 2013 specifically for the purpose of fostering children who’ve been discarded for one reason or another. Caring for children with special needs was new to us and we had to learn and adapt quickly. In our time there we helped to change the trajectory and family tree of over 40 children. We saw many children get adopted into loving, caring families in various countries, and sadly we experienced 3 children who died. Our heartfelt hope and prayer was to provide a loving, caring home environment for the children who were sent to us, and that these children would have a forever family soon.
Our adoption, like most others from China, will cost anywhere from $25-30,000 including airfare, paperwork, and mandatory fees. We have already paid 1/3 of the total cost, and the $4000.00 matching grant we received from Northway Orphan Fund (a ministry of North Way Christian Community), administered by Lifesong for Orphans, is an incredible help toward the rest! Please consider a year end gift to help us bring Tim home soon.
In all of this, we are thankful to be a part of Christ’s Body and want you to know that your friendship, prayers, encouragement, and support are greatly appreciated! We look forward to keeping you updated on Tim’s journey!
John, Denise and Tim Schweinberg
STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Schweinberg 08826”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.
Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.
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