The Beginning

 The Bright Connection, Center for Special Needs children, officially opened in Sanya City, Hainan, China, February 2004.

The Beginnings of The Bright Connection, really began in 1997.



Bright side of life

By Erik Nilsson (China Daily) 2009

(Up-date by John 2012)

Like most proud parents, John and Maggie Davis will never forget the day their daughter took her first steps. Unlike most children, though, little Qiong Jian was already 7 years old.


The American couple adopted the girl, who had autism, cerebral palsy and congenital hip defects, after the 8-month-old was left in a basket at a university in Hainan province, where the couple were studying Chinese in 1997.


"Naturally, we felt sorry for her for having been abandoned. Now, here she was, in a safe environment and needing attention and care," says John.


Little did they know she wouldn't be the only special needs orphan they would nurture. Seven years later, the couple opened The Bright Connection (TBC) center in Hainan's southern city of Sanya, which today provides care for 29 children, including 13 orphans, who have cerebral palsy, autism, learning delays and hearing impairments.


On that day in 1997, however, it was all about Qiong Jian. "She was lying on her back, wrapped in a baby blanket, wearing pajamas and waving her little arms in the air," John recalls.


"We later learned this action is a trait of autism called 'filtering'. I just thought she was waving at a host of her own unseen angels."


Her real angels, it turned out, were the two foreigners who fell in love with her.


They began visiting her almost daily in the hospital. Maggie baked chocolate-chip cookies for the nurses and sometimes slept curled up with the baby.


John recalls the moment Qiong Jian really stole his heart. He was walking through the hospital hallway, holding her and humming a lullaby.


"I quietly told her, 'time to go to sleep', and, with her eyes and mouth closed, she made one of those tongue-in-cheek expressions as if to say, 'I ain't going to sleep yet'. That was definitely a personality response that touched my heart."


When the hospital said it couldn't provide full-time care for the girl, the Davises made arrangements to bring her home with them.


"We named her Grace, because as grace is freely given, so Qiong Jian was also given to us," John says. "Frankly, without grace, no one can do what we decided to do."


The Davises have since spread a lot more grace around Hainan. They met several parents of kids like theirs at Qiong Jian's physical therapy sessions and cultivated a relationship with the local orphanage during the adoption process.


"We knew that Qiong Jian wasn't the only child in China with special needs," John says. "We felt we could take our experience and practical understanding, and help other kids along with our daughter."


They opened the Center in 2004, the same year Qiong Jian took her first steps.


"The rewards of running The Bright Connection are seeing the individual progress of the children," John says.


This started with watching Qiong Jian walk on her own for the first time. At the beginning of her physical therapy, she used two walking sticks but later needed only one.


When her parents noticed she sometimes walked without the stick touching the ground, her physical therapist decided to swap it for a banana, which she held to keep a sense of security. Today, she gets around without any walking braces - or fruit. ( in 2008 she had Spinal Fusion surgery because of severe Scoliosis. This has set her back somewhat in walking, but she is overcoming daily ! )


The Davises say other children at TBC are making similar progress, including one young girl who recently learned how to lift her head.


"Now, she can look around and appreciate her environment, and now everyone can see her beautiful eyes and smiles," John says.


One boy with cerebral palsy loves his new walking braces so much that he sleeps with them. He's also learning to be aware of his mouth - how to keep it closed and how to improve his speech.


"Working on motor skills that most of us just don't even think about, like stringing beads, is a real challenge for our kids," John says.


"But they love being praised, being tickled and laughing at a fun cartoon. And seeing the kids learn to help each other, like one child can pick up and hold a cup so she gives a drink to her little buddy who doesn't yet have that skill, is a wonderful sight to see."


The Americans found their foreign status helpful in starting and running the Center.


"It's brought a bit more attention to what The Bright Connection is doing," Maggie says. "We have no complaints. The community, the local folks all pat us on the back and let us do what we do with approval. And if we need special help, we usually get it."


A local masseuse refused payment for helping their daughter during her physical therapy and several local companies donate money and services.


The couple's dream is to expand the Center to care for 100 children . 


TBC, which costs more than 65,000 RMB ($10,500 USD) a month to run, is mostly funded through private donations, with additional money coming from parents. Fees are based on ability to pay.


In addition, the Center will expand its current staff from 20 and increase salaries, as many of the employees live and work at the Center all day, every day.


"They deserve it," Maggie says. "It's no ordinary job and worth more monetarily than we are presently able to pay, so it's definitely a servant's heart sort of job."


The children vary in abilities and needs. Some can walk, some can crawl and some can do neither. Some can talk, some can babble and some are silent.


"But all of the children know when love is expressed to them," John says.


"Some will come for a loving hug. Some can smile and look at you with a twinkle in their eyes."














他们并不知道她会不会只有特殊需要的孤儿,他们将培育。 7年后,夫妇俩开了明亮的连接器(TBC)中心,在海南的三亚,今天提供照顾29名儿童,其中包括13个孤儿,有脑瘫,自闭症,学习延误和听力障碍的南部城市。


然而,在1997年的这一天,这是所有关于琼建。 “她趴在她的背上,一个婴儿毯包裹,穿着睡衣,在空中挥舞着她的小胳膊,”约翰回忆说。














“我们给她取名恩典,因为作为自由给予的恩典,使琼剑也给我们,”约翰说。 “坦白地说,没有宽限期,没有人能做到,我们决定做什么。”




“我们知道,琼建是不是只在中国有特殊需要的的孩子,”约翰说。 “我们认为我们可以采取我们的经验和实际的了解,并帮助其他孩子,以及我们的女儿。”








当她的父母发现她有时没有坚持走触地,她的物理治疗师决定换一个香蕉,她举行保持一种安全感。今天,她得到周围没有任何行走括号 - 或水果。 (然而,2008年以来因脊柱侧弯Fussion手术,她走路的进展已设置有点,但她每天练习会带来改善)。






脑瘫男孩喜欢他新的步行括号,以至于他与他们睡觉。他还学习要知道他的嘴 - 如何保持它关闭,以及如何改善他的讲话。








“这带来了更多的关注明亮的连接是做什么的,”麦琪说。 :“我们有没有投诉。社区,当地的乡亲都拍拍背面我们,让我们做什么我们不经批准,而如果我们需要特别的帮助,我们通常会得到它。”




这对夫妻的梦想是扩大中心照顾100名儿童,但融资仍然是一个挑战。 “我们仍然有信心!”






“是他们应得的,”玛吉说。 “这不是普通的工作和价值更多的金钱,比我们目前能够支付,所以这绝对是一个仆人的心脏工作排序。”