Yaoyao: A story of Courage and Hope


In late May 2023, a passerby heard a faint cry under a dark bridge, found a newborn baby and brought him to a nearby orphanage.

The welfare institution director named him Yaoyao: brightly shining future.

At just a few weeks old, he had overcome his first life-and-death hurdle, far earlier than anyone should have to. The director immediately knew the baby needed serious medical treatment and the support of OneSky-trained caregivers at the China Care Home, where medically fragile children receive full-time care before, during and after extended hospital stays.

A few days later, Yaoyao was placed in the arms of Xiaoyan, his China Care Home caregiver, who rushed him to the hospital. Yaoyao had a large, thin-skinned mass on the back of his neck, the doctors diagnosed him with a severe form of spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and infections throughout his body.

Xiaoyan stayed in the hospital with Yaoyao around the clock for two months, caring for him while he endured multiple surgeries and complications. Other babies crying, doors shutting and abrupt movements upset him, so Xiaoyan spent hours at a time kneeling over his crib, soothing him with words and touch so he could feel, at the deepest level, that he was loved. As Yaoyao became familiar with her soft voice and loving hands, he quieted down and became less fearful. When he finally slept, she slept next to him on the floor by his crib.

Scared of the machine’s noise, Yaoyao is calmed by Xiaoyan’s touch.


After more than two months in the Beijing hospital, Yaoyao moves to OneSky’s China Care Home (CCH) to continue receiving expert, loving care from Xiaoyan. His caregiver’s focus now is on his recovery, strength and growth.

It takes Yaoyao several weeks to acclimate to his new surroundings, but because of his strong bond with Xiaoyan, the transition is smooth.

At first, Xiaoyan wakes Yaoyao every three hours during the night to give him his bottle. His skin is extremely sensitive, so she also needs to make sure that he is comfortable and dry. As Yaoyao gains weight and strength, he becomes more interested in what’s happening around him. He reacts to Xiaoyan’s voice with curiosity, trying to lift his head. The spina bifida had made it nearly impossible for Yaoyao to move his head in certain directions, so Xiaoyan continually supports and encourages his efforts to turn, tilt and raise his head.

Throughout the day, Xiaoyan makes sure to speak to Yaoyao, describing what is around him. “I say his name, and he looks right at me,” she says. “I teach him about different toys and colors. I talk to him about what I’m doing as I wash him, change his diaper and feed him. Even if he doesn’t understand what I’m saying now, he grows more relaxed in my arms. We both love going to the window to enjoy the sunshine streaming in.”

At four months old, Yaoyao begins spending time in the activity room with the other children. Safely held by Xiaoyan, he opens up to the sounds and movement of the others playing. He giggles and seems to want to reach for toys, though he doesn’t quite know how to grab them yet. All the caregivers notice the remarkable change in Yao’s physical and emotional development.

“After drinking his bottle at midnight last night, Yaoyao seemed perfectly content and happy. He just looked up at me and smiled,” Xiaoyan told us. “Then he cooed and soothed himself back to sleep in my arms. For me, there is no better feeling in the world.”

Little ones from welfare institutions who require medical treatment for serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions, can receive full-time responsive care through the China Care Homes from OneSky-trained caregivers before, during and after surgeries. All babies, no matter what their circumstance at birth, need connection, safety and attention. Please help us continue to transform lives, like Yaoyao’s, with quality, loving care.



Six months had passed since tiny Yaoyao had been found under a bridge, alone and critically ill. His journey had taken him first to a nearby orphanage and then to a Beijing hospital and OneSky’s China Care Home. Now it was time for him to return to the orphanage that had taken him in. Two welfare institution caregivers traveled to Beijing to bring him back, aware that the China Care Home was the only home Yaoyao had ever known.

To prepare for his departure, Xiaoyan took Yaoyao to his final medical appointment at the hospital for a check-up and brain scans. His doctors were thrilled with his increased strength, weight gain and brain function. The chief doctor approved his release from the China Care Home, and Xiaoyan returned to share the news with the other staff members.

While Yaoyao rested in his crib, Xiaoyan began folding his clothes, gathering toys and preparing his bag for his long trip. She watched him in his crib and remembered when she had slept on the hospital floor next to him, holding his hand so he wouldn’t be scared. He had come so far, and she was filled with so much pride—and sadness too. She needed to say goodbye.

The staff brought all the little ones together to hold a farewell party for Yaoyao. They decorated the windows with bright red homemade cut-outs, and made dumplings and cakes — Lunar New Year festivities. The older children wrote best wishes for him on small red cards and surrounded him with love and attention. Yaoyao had become a favorite in the activity room with his giggles and big smile.

The orphanage caregivers arrived, and Xiaoyan spoke softly to Yaoyao before she handed him to the caregiver who would hold and love Yaoyao like she had all these months. “Yaoyao, will you miss me? I know they will take such good care of you,” she told him. “Be healthy and happy forever. This is your new beginning.”
The caregivers we train have the knowledge and skills needed to create safe spaces for these little ones to grow and learn. And they offer so much more! The deep loving bond that forms between caregivers and children is truly transformative and gives these vulnerable children an opportunity to thrive. Please support our work to allow us to continue changing lives like Yaoyao’s.

We ask you to join us in celebrating the generosity and dedication that has given courageous, little Yaoyao the good fortune of a new beginning. Everyday our caregivers across Asia exemplify the red envelope’s joyful spirit of love and hope. As we enter the Year of the Dragon, please support OneSky’s life-transforming work.

Over the past 14 years, we have established China Care Homes in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou for children like Yaoyao. We maintain close cooperative relationships with over 50 hospitals across the country. More than 4000 children from welfare institutions across China have been given the best care possible while receiving medical treatment.