How These Abandoned Children Learn Their Lives Have Value

“They arrive with no story—we help them write their own.”

Over the past 20 years, almost 40,000 caregivers have been trained to use the OneSky Approach, to help abandoned children love, learn and develop.

OneSky’s responsive care allows children to learn how to form relationships — a skill vital for future happiness, a feeling of self-worth and a healthy sense of self.

As these pictures from a Chinese orphanage show, Memory Books are an important way for OneSky staff to relate to the children in their care.

In a Memory Book, a child’s milestones are celebrated. As a child grows and progresses, caregivers add updates and pictures — just as a mother or father would do. The book isn’t filed away, but always available so each child has access. Children can look at it with caregivers, friends or by themselves.

And if adopted or fostered, children take the books with them. Memory Books are theirs to keep.

Jenny Bowen founded OneSky 20 years ago, inspired by what she learned about the power of love after she adopted a child from a Chinese orphanage. Just as a lack of love leaves children developmentally delayed, she found nurturing care could turn lives around.

Memory Books, kept for each child, are an important way for children to feel cared for and loved — to feel they matter.

“Beyond the love, hugs, learning and laughter of day-to-day childcare we found that Memory Books can play an important role,” says Jenny. “An abandoned child arrives with no story, but that starts to change from day one. Caregivers document progress. We found making this available to a child is hugely beneficial.

“When children are shown they are loved and cared for, their development can progress naturally,” Jenny adds. “Even from such a young age, they can start to understand their own progress. They can be proud of their development and themselves. Their lives are no longer a blank, and whatever the future holds, this is their book, their life.”

Memory Books have become a key part of the OneSky Approach not only in Chinese orphanages but in the care of children in Vietnam and

“Ultimately we get to write our own story, but we all need help to make a start,” says Jenny.