The ten orphan children formerly in the care of Beijing resident Ray Wigdal are adjusting well to their new environs since being moved to a Child Protection Center on December 6, according to a source who spoke to the Beijinger on the condition of anonymity.
The source, a long-term resident of Beijing with first-hand knowledge of standards of orphan care in both China and overseas, knew the children before they entered the facility located southeast of the city, and has since been one of a handful of adults that are given regular access to them for visits.
The facility is a temporary first stop where abused and orphaned children live until they can be evaluated for placement into longer-term orphanages, which then give the children a chance to be adopted or enter foster care, according to the source.
Their former primary caregivers, American Ray Wigdal and a 76-year-old Chinese woman surnamed Guo, are not among those approved to visit the children.
The children were removed from Wigdal and Guo's care 11 days ago when authorities looking into allegations of mistreatment of the children, sparked by the hospitalization and subsequent death of one one of them, discovered that none of the caregivers had any legal paperwork naming them as foster caregivers or guardians.
The ten children, ranging in age from three months to 17 years, have been given special accommodations in that they are all allowed to stay in the same room, as opposed to being segregated by age and gender which is the normal practice.
They have access to hot showers, each have their own bed, and they are given daily school lessons as well as free time to play outside and watch TV. They also have access to medical care and to psychological support.
The source indicated that the facility is clean and exceeds the standards of most of the 3-star hotels the source has stayed in while traveling in China.
The source has been with the children almost daily and says they are slowly adjusting to their change of environment. They have asked about “Uncle Ray” and “Granny Guo,” who were the most prominent of the group of caregivers that took care of them prior to their arrival, and have been told they are both OK. The children were able to reach Wigdal by phone at one point after their arrival, but since have not been in touch with him.
The children are being transitioned slowly to life in the new facility and after settling in will receive physical and mental evaluations from both local and foreign experts to determine where their next step will be.
Although the source cannot say for sure how long the children will be in the center, she assumes that they will be there for at least a few more weeks or months before they receive their evaluations and placement recommendations.
Normally the next step in the process for children in this facility is placement in a Beijing-area orphanage that would then attempt to find a foster or adoptive family for the kids.
Meanwhile, the Beijinger has learned that Wigdal has not left Beijing and is still lobbying to visit the children and is concerned about their treatment. The Beijinger met with Wigdal over the weekend and will be presenting a detailed report from his perspective later today.
Photos: Courtesy of anonymous source
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog