My Truth, finally...

 January 23, 2013

I have to admit that I am torn about yesterday's post…Kenlyn’s brave post…my chicken shit reference to it... because I should have written the post the second night I was at Shepherd’s Field, because I knew then.  Heck I knew BEFORE I even left, when they required me to pay a fee under their new “policy” that something was wrong. I knew and I didn’t write about it here.  I had a voice, a blog with a strong following and I knew I should speak up. 

But I didn’t. I was paralyzed.

Because there are still children there.

And they need to be cared for.  They need the donations to Shepherds Field that provided for their food.  Because I cant be certain that they are aren’t better off than they were in their state run orphanages.  It is all so imperfect. I know that publicly exposing Shepherd’s Field means risking the financial support FOR THE CHILDREN STILL THERE which is why I stayed silent.

But I was wrong. It was a lazy, cowardly response. The fact that there are still kids there is why I needed to say something.

When we were there we found Shepherd’s Field being run largely by a group of young adults who seemed more focused on beer than prayer. 

  •  Mia.... filthy, scraped, bruised, covered in grime and rashes. Feral. (Her clothes were so dirty we threw them away-too awful and upsetting to even want for sentimental reasons.)
  • Unclean, uncared for children
  • Rashes and dry cracked sometimes bloody skin conditions resulting from being unclean
  • Babies in urine soaked diapers who smelled so bad I could hardly hold them.
  • Kids undisciplined, running wild
  • Kids in corners, left laying on floors, ignored
  • Scratches and bruises on the kids (one in the shape of a hand on Mia’s back)
  • A volunteer staff of 20 something’s who seemed to have little role in the care of the kids.
  • A food pantry that was EMPTY. (If I had not brought some food in our suitcase I would not have even been able to feed Mia that first morning we had her.)
  • No doctor, none of the Baker’s, no one “in charge” ever even stopped in during our adoption trip.
  • We learned Mia never received any therapy while there. NOTHING.
  • EVERY single thing we sent for Mia was missing, (supposedly “lost”) right down the book filled with our photos they showed her when she was told we were her parents.


 We stayed two nights at SF and I was sick to my stomach by the time we left. In tears I prayed I had not further injured my new daughter by moving her there.   My first act as her mother and I had F-ed it up.

deep breathe in...

 SF needs new leadership, MATURE, committed, available leadership. Leaders who actively assure the safety and high quality care of the children they are blessed to care for. 

The have good fundraisers and spokespeople and lots of volunteers taking pictures of kids on their GAP year adventures.  They need people willing to give those kids a bath, and a hug and direction.  

They have beautiful buildings and furnishings.  They need a physical therapist and loving engaged staff.

They have people willing to volunteer (beyond a day visit/photo op).  They need to humbly accept that help.

Also Shepherd’s Field’s finances including all material donations made to the staff needs to be audited.  Is this a business venture for the Baker’s or a charity?  I am not sure. 

One of the most troubling things we encountered (aside from the condition of the children) was a requirement by SF under what they called their “policy” for us a the adoptive parents to pay the cost of transporting the child (including the cost of a guardian) back to their home province for adoption.  SF HAS NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER TO CHARGE ANY FEES TO ANY ADOPTIVE PARENT. I didn’t challenge them at the time even though I knew it was absolute bullshit.  I reconciled it as another “donation” and honestly since they had my daughter in their care and I didn’t want any bad feelings, for her sake. Ironically the only "Hague violation" I encountered in my Chinese adoption was at the hands of the American run Christian NGO.

I don't know what to say to those who ask me how they should respond to SF.  Pulling financial support will hurt the children in their care but continuing to support an organization that is failing and perhaps isn't directing maximum funds to the kids anyway can not be allowed to continue either.

I have no recommendations.  I'm just sharing (finally) our experience. I'm praying for clarity. And I'm wishing it wasn't so.

She deserved better...they all did.

copy of the email and attachment I received from SF just prior to our adoption travel.

to: Lori Printy <>
date: Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 8:30 PM
subject: Re: TA!

Hi Lori,
Congrats again for your TA!!! We look forward to seeing here!!!! I enclosed a letter from the Tim and Pam about the new policy we have here that concerns the traveling , please read it :) and let me know how you think! Thanks!


Dear Lori and family, All of us at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) are very excited for you and Mia as you begin your lives together as a Forever Family. It is indeed our calling, and our great joy and privilege to care for children – including yours – throughout the beginnings of their lives, but as we pass them along to you, they’ll always be in the hearts and minds of our family here at SFCV. Hopefully, you will be able to visit us again before too much time passes, as you are always more than welcome here. You are part of our Shepherd’s Field family now, forever bonded with us.

We are also thrilled that you’re able to come directly to Shepherd’s Field to add Mia to your family. We know this is a special blessing for families to pick up their children here at SFCV, rather than those children having to return to their home orphanage a week or two before you arrive in China to get them. We want to continue to offer this service when possible to families, but due to the expense involved we’ve adjusted our policy regarding the process. As of Feb. 1 of this year, families will cover the cost of their adopted child’s transportation, as well as the transportation, lodging and food of the Shepherd’s Field team member who escorts the child back to the child’s home province.

I’m genuinely sorry if this presents a problem for you, as you may not have anticipated these expenses, but we just don’t have another choice. Our own monthly operating costs continue to go up. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this new policy, or if we can be of any assistance to you. Have a safe journey as you travel to your child’s home province, on to Guangzhou, then back to your home country. We pray that all goes well with your adoption journey, and that
Mia adjusts well to your new, expanded Forever Family!

Many Blessings,

Tim & Pam Baker
Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village

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