When I first became involved in public service, I was tasked with training social workers in professionalism at the Tainan Social Welfare Bureau. Shortly after, I started working with my frontline colleagues to evaluate and provide appropriate services for disadvantaged individuals. By the time I finished my school training, I knew that I wanted to serve the poor. To this day, I still believe that I made the best choice for myself and for the public good to become a social worker.
I have been a Good Shepherd partner for 14 years now. Sr. Therese Thong, the CEO of Taiwan Good Shepherd Services (GSS), invited me to be in charge of GSS in the southern region of Taiwan after my retirement from government office. Without hesitation, I accepted this challenge. I remember how my core was shaken when I saw 63 babies in the GS baby center who desperately needed comprehensive care to survive and were searching for loving parents.
My first goal when I started my new position with GSS was to find safe and sound homes for those 63 vulnerable babies. In order to accomplish this goal, we started by making sure we had sufficient professional staff, government funding to acquire resources, donators’ support, medical support from the university medical center, and passionate volunteers.
We started to build up a comprehensive adoption center which received a Hague license issued by the United Nations. We ensure these babies find loving parents through thoroughly screening the applicants and by having regular follow-ups for the adopted families. We have accepted foreign adoptions from families in the United States and Sweden for many years. Moreover, Sr. Therese and I have been closely working together to lead GSS staff to pursue better quality services and consistently update our strategic plan every 6 years so that we may achieve our vision for the next 30 years.
We have been connecting with other GSS chapters internationally by mutually sharing resources and experiences through attending conferences, visiting other GSS chapters worldwide, and sharing stories through websites. We have consistently united with related NGOs to advocate for babies, children, trafficked persons, and women affected by domestic violence by increasing public awareness and encouraging governments to have a pro-human rights policy.
I love being a social worker because I am able to find meaning through my individual actions through this path, confident that I have fulfilled my life purpose. Although I have encountered numerous difficulties and challenges, all the experiences in my life journey have been meaningful each in their own way. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Sr. Therese Thong and all our partners to build up God’s kingdom through Good Shepherd Services.
I am extremely grateful for the help given by Diana Chen our Deputy CEO, Taiwan Good Shepherd Services. Diana came ready to take on serious responsibility and is so willing and helpful. She was an experienced, capable and zealous Social Worker so was able to take on responsibility for the babies Home and the Home for unmarried mothers. The Church asked us to take over the responsibility of these two homes but all too quickly and we did not have the time to prepare. I was running to the South all the time because we lacked trained personnel and most of our services were in the North. Can we imagine a mother with a baby and how busy she can be? We had 63 babies. Diana was the angel that we prayed for.
I tried to retire and planned for a sabbatical in Sydney for a year. Diana very kindly stayed to help the new CEO but before I could arrange to go away, I had to go back again to be CEO and this time Diana was really again very helpful. She could easily take over but she refused. She shares the responsibility to lighten my burden. She has been a wonderful help in the Foundation. A big thank you to Diana as we are working well together.
Yi-Fang Chen is a state director, responsible for all Good Shepherd Services in HsinChu City District, Taiwan. She wishes to share her experience of work and introduce her mission partners to the Asia Pacific region
St Lucy Center of Adoptive Services in Tainan, Taiwan supports young women, children and families who are dealing with complex and challenging situations
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
In Taiwan Good Shepherd services are well established in almost every part of the country - all developed since 1987. Now they are working towards changing leadership from a Sister to lay Mission Partners