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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
My family and I have supported Jenny and the Half the Sky Team since their beginnings in the late 90s. This book is a story of love that ending up changing the face of not just the orphanage system in China but the hearts and minds of the Chinese themselves. As a Caucasian father with a Chinese wife and two adopted children from China; a daughter adopted in 1994 (who is now 21) and yes a son adopted in 1995 (who is now 19) we saw first hand the neglect in the Chinese adoption area years before Jenny and Half the Sky started changing hearts and minds. One day in the late 90s in what I believe was Jenny's first mailing to solicit support and funds her story and dreams showed up in our mail. We had been supporting our local Families with Children from China (FCC) group since our first adoption trip to China in 94 but just sending money to help did not seem enough, Jenny's dreams and her love, nurture and stimulation ideas seemed to be what was needed. We jumped on board as we had seen how love, nurture and stimulation had made a difference in the early lives our Children especially our Special Needs Developmentally Delayed son. My Chinese wife said what Jenny was doing was what was needed but the Chinese officials would not like it and she would get a lot of polite "no's". Thankfully as you read Jenny did not seem to understand the meaning of no and the children are the ones who have reaped the success of that pathway. Sometimes people are drawn by a higher calling to make a difference in this world in spite of stereotype and opposition but as this story shows Love tends to win out if the love is based from the heart and is unconditional. You will find over and over in Jenny's story different and diverse Chinese officials and just normal people asking her what she wanted from them if they agreed to her demands. She continually just said I am her to give to the Children not take anything. This time and again sort of stumped the Chinese not many people especially westerners acted this way. She was and has always been genuine and authentic in her view and plan and said early on to us her supporters that her goal was to lift up the Chinese themselves to take over and affect changes in how they treated orphans and the handicapped. Half the Sky is well on its way to this goal moving toward more of a training group engaging in educating and empowering the Chinese themselves with western successful techniques of early child education. There are two photos in the book that say it all, one a scene with children strapped to chairs cribs in the background (common scene in the 90s in most orphanages) and one after Half the Sky came thru with children playing with staff in a colorful stimulating room. Maybe for most a simple scene difference but for those who understand and have been there a truly remarkable transformation. Love after all wins out.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2014
I first met Jenny Bowen five years ago and as she was giving me a little history of Half the Sky Foundation, she asked me to, “…imagine a couple of women from Japan turning up in Washington and telling the office of Health and Human Services that the way America was taking care of its orphans was all wrong.” That’s the journey Jenny and her team has been on in China for the last 14 years. When she began her quest, China was doing almost everything wrong for its orphans. Neither an expert in child welfare or institutional care, Jenny researched everything she could about the horribly debilitating effects of neglect. She met experts, some of whom immediately understood her vision and offered their support. When she traveled to China to see what could be done, in a cosmic turn of karma, Jenny met Zhang Zhirong, the woman who would become her guide, mentor, and partner. Together they took the first steps towards improving the lives of all of China’s orphans forever.

Jenny’s highly readable and engaging memoir is one of those rare opportunities to get an insider’s glimpse of what it takes to change the world. (Hint: you won’t do it alone and you have to be willing to give yourself to your cause unconditionally.) This book takes us from the moment of Jenny’s inspiration, through the formation of Half the Sky Foundation, an organization that has touched the lives of over 100,000 children, and up to the present day. Half the Sky’s work in China is far from finished and it won’t be done until all orphaned children know the love of family.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2014
This is a beautifully written, inspiring story written by a former screenwriter turned social enterpreneur. Jenny's story demonstrates how humility, a desire to learn and a drive to help others can accomplish anything. While she believes she isn't an expert, Jenny is a teacher for all of us on how to listen, connect with people from different cultures, keep your head down (when possible), and accomplish the impossible.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2014
Our daughter was a direct recipient of care provided by Half the Sky's program. Whenever I look at the photos of her with her Nanny, I smile.
This woman, seen only in profile, as she made direct eye contact with our baby girl, was such a blessing.

I have followed Half the Sky since we adopted in 2006, and have donated to the foundation whenever we can. I urge anyone who has been touched by adoption and Half the Sky to consider doing the same.

This book is enlightening in so many ways, and a great behind the scenes look at the persistance, diplomacy and strength it takes to achieve a miracle such as Half the Sky. I recommend it to anyone who needs an example of the power of 'one'!

To quote Shakespeare, "I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks" to Jenny Bowen. <3
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
I am a supporter of Half the Sky and have met Jenny once, so of course I got the book the day it came out. I loved it.

If you care about Half the Sky and the care of orphans in China, then you'll definitely want to read this book as it vividly portrays how orphan care has improved over the last 15 years largely due to Half the Sky. Even you never heard of Half the Sky and have no particular interest in China, you may still love this book. It is well written and gripping as it vividly portrays how a dedicated person with a vision (and lots of help) had a huge impact. It's a fascinating and inspiring story, and the book reads like a great novel.

In case you have heard of Nicholas Kristof's Half the Sky organization, there is no connection. This book is about the other (the first) half of the sky!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
(Review written by Douglas's wife, Jamie.) Jenny Bowen, I LOVE this book!!!! I'm obsessed. It's your story, their story. We are picking up our Kate next month in China, and my mom is coming, so I encouraged her to read it too. I've wept over the pages (Anya's story) and can't wait to hear of more orphanage reform. I'm almost done with it and I'm a sad because I never want it to end. I know families who have children from Half the Sky orphanages and its made a world of difference. What you have courageously done for thousands and thousands of children is the difference between death and life. You are a HERO in my heart. Thank you for pushing forward! I think of the GENERATIONS of children who are forever changed and given another chance at a nurtured, connected life and future. I'm recommending the book to everyone!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2014
This is an absolutely fabulous, wonderful, uplifting book about the power that is unleashed when one person decides to stand up and make a difference. Jenny Bowen sees the transformative power of love when she and her husband adopt a baby, Maya, from an orphanage in China. Within a year the withdrawn child has become a happy, bubbly little girl. Jenny Bowen wonders how she could help bring the experience of caring adults to the unadopted children who were then warehoused in institutions in China - and becomes the founder of the Half the Sky Foundation! The book reads like an adventure story. Can an American woman who doesn't speak the language or begin with connections make her dream come true of assisting the orphans? Pick up this wonderful book and read on! Jenny Bowen, you are an inspiration!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2014
In 2002, I adopted my daughter from China. Not long thereafter, I heard about Half the Sky Foundation and knew I had to donate to the cause, since my daughter would certainly have suffered the same fates as so many of the little girls left behind. I have been a donor ever since, and was so excited to discover that Jenny Bowen had written a book about her journey. While I thought I knew about most of the sad, tragic details the orphaned children experience, Jenny's descriptions and impactful writing really brought home for me the realities. She is a beautiful writer, and was able to walk a fine line between presenting the story in a too-straightforward fashion and being overly emotional about it. The end result is an uplifting and inspiring book that reads like a novel. I have so much admiration for her tenacity and compassion. The orphans of China are the beneficiaries of this beautiful soul and the other wonderful people (ZZ, Dick) she recruited for her cause.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2014
My family started forming in 1998 with our first adoption and concluded in 2005 with our fourth. Every word of this book rings true and has taken me back to those four journeys to China. I remember well the Chinese yes(no) , the incredible need for patience and the ability to go with the flow and to step out in faith moment by moment. This book is not only a good read but a great insight in to how anything is possible where there is great need, great love, and a mother involved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2014
This is a beautifully-written memoir of Jenny Bowen's passion and her undying commitment to improving childcare in China's orphanages. After adopting her first Chinese daughter Maya in 1998, Bowen founded Half the Sky- an organization that provides orphans like Maya with the nurturing environment necessary to grow and blossom. In "Wish You Happy Forever," Bowen shares with her readers the incredible obstacles she overcame as she worked to earn the trust of the Chinese and turn the government's perception of child care upside-down. She offers an interesting and unique glimpse into the realities of life in China and the cultural changes that have occurred over the past decade. Bowen's story is sprinkled with touching and uplifting anecdotes of the orphans whose lives she changed and in many instances saved along the way.

It is impossible to read "Wish You Happy Forever" without feeling inspired to tap into your own talents and effect meaningful change. Bowen's passion is contagious. Half the Sky currently has over 50 children centers and is working in collaboration with the Chinese government to train care-givers across China's provinces. After reading the story, it is easy to see why Half the Sky has achieved such great success. Jenny Bowen is a remarkable woman. Her story lends itself very well to book clubs as it will undoubtedly evoke thoughtful discussion. Everyone would benefit from reading this riveting and inspirational love story.
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