Friday, March 30, 2007

More from Anhui

This is part four of the travel blog from our volunteers in China now.


Maire, Julie and I woke up early and travelled to Dingyuan. As always I felt truly glad to be back in my daughter's home town. Dingyuan is a beautiful place. The fields were bright yellow and full of rape seed in bloom and the landscape dotted with little villages, fields and buffaloes. It was a glorious day as we pulled into the orphanage.

After a chat with the Directors and sharing of photos of previously adopted children, we had a tour of the orphanage. The kids were all looking great. Rosy cheeks everywhere and happy smiles. We sat and played with the children for a while and then headed off to see the foster children.

We walked around and eventually I looked down an alleyway and saw one of the foster children coming towards us holding her dad's hand. What a sight. This child is just so happy in her home. She excitedly ran towards us and then led us to her house. There, with her foster sisters and brother she kept us amused for quite a while. These foster parents are so remarkable. Their dedication to their children is unbelieveable. As we left we presented the foster mum with a bouquet of flowers......such a small gesture for such a wonderful woman!

We continued on our way, handing out stickers and beanie babies to each child. Again these were donated by British families for the children. The children absolutely loved them and I would like to thank all the people who so generously gave these items. Your kindness was appreciated.

It was such a blessing to have the Mobile Medical Team from Anhui Children's Hospital with us. They gently checked each child as we went round and noted their needs and suggested exercises to improve their mobility where necessary. To say they are a pleasure to work with would be an understatement!

On this trip, I had to say goodbye to two children in our foster care program as they will soon be adopted. All of us at LWB wish them all the best for their futures with their new families.

The day finished up with a trip out to the local reservoir, as LWB have raised funds to help lay pipes for the water to be pumped from the reservoir to the orphange. Previously the orphanage had used well water but the well was not deep. It was certainly a tranquil place and one that was rather poignant for me. It was time to take a quiet moment and think of my daughter's home town.

Wednesday it was up and out the door early for yet another orphanage visit in Anhui. We were given a warm greeting by the orphanage staff and then went to see the beautiful children. It is near to the Qing Ming Festival (where Chinese people honour their ancestors) and firecrackers were going off everywhere. We could hardly hear ourselves speak. Initially the children were a little shy of us but as soon as they realised we had stickers they were very excited. Within minutes we were surrounded by children eager to receive their very own pack of stickers. Maire did a great job in covering the children head to toe! We were all particularly pleased to see one little girl who had received heart surgery sponsored by LWB. She was a little shy to start with but that didn't stop her from following us from room to room. This little girl had been so seriously ill but was now looking great, and the orphange staff referred to her as their "little miracle."

Arlene Howard

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hefei to Lu'An

This is part three of the travel journal of Julie, Arlene, and Maire.


We arrived in Hefei on Sunday afternoon and headed straight for Anhui Children's Hospital. It was such a great feeling as we walked into the hospital as it brought back many fond memories for Julie and I as we headed for the lifts to the 10th floor.

We visited a few LWB sponsored babies with cleft . In fact we were overjoyed to
see one of the babies who was on the Hefei Cleft Trip last October. Little Ying was not well enough to receive surgery then but has recently had her surgery and is looking great. I'm sure many people will remember her as 'Julie's baby with the spiky hair'. She has grown so much and we barely recognised her.

Next morning we were up bright and early to visit our Luan foster care program. At our first stop we were greeted by 2 smiling little girls. The look on their faces was priceless as we gave each of them a pretty fairy dress to wear. It was then the turn of the ACH Mobile Medical Team to work with the children. They went straight to work, assessing the medical conditions, making suggestions etc.

During the day we visited 42 children, handing out beanie babies and dressing up outfits kindly donated by CACH members in the UK. We also were able to purchase some items for the older girls and boys thanks to a kind donation of unused rmb, also by a CACH UK member. The children all loved their presents. We were particularly touched by our visit to some older girls with Cerebral Palsy. Their faces postively shone as we placed diamante head bands and hair clips on their heads, pretty bracelets on their wrists. We handed out stickers to all the children too - they were a BIG hit!!

I have to admit the highlight of my day was walking around a corner to be greeted by a little voice calling 'Ayi!!!' I would recognise that voice anywhere - it was one of our foster children, again from the cleft mission. This little girl captured everyone's hearts back in October when she had her palate operation. She came up the alleyway waving and smiling and I was greeted with a warm hug from foster mum. She followed us from house to house, dancing around and checking out our stack of toys - so nothing new there then!! And then her foster brother (also a child with cleft palate from October) arrived. His face lit up when he saw us and big kisses were given and received by him. These children were both so well and their palates are all healed up.
The wonderful ACH team worked tirelessly all day, only arriving back in Hefei at about 11pm, at which point we casually mentioned that we needed to leave the next morning for another visit at 8 a.m.!
Arlene Howard
Anhui Director of Operations

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Westerners and their Wacky (but fun) Ideas

We have INCREDIBLE facilitators in China, who pour their heart and soul into assisting orphaned children in China. None of our programs would work without the amazing dedication of our China LWB team. They are so professional and oh so understanding of us when we come up with new ideas on ways to help the kids. Today, however, I think we have hit a new high (or is that low?) in ways to raise essential funds for our mobile medical unit.

Today as Julie, Arlene, and Maire were making a mobile medical run in Anhui, they were sharing with one of our dedicated team members that they will soon be having an LWB "men's leg hair waxing" in Ireland to raise funds for the children. (note the word "wacky" in the subject line). Well, in true 3 women against one man style (ha ha), they coerced our poor facilitator into agreeing to be the first Chinese man to be a part of this. They convinced him that we could find 50 donors who would each donate $20 in order to see this happen for the kids, which would mean having his legs waxed would bring in $1000 for the children!

Julie sends the following message: "If you could pledge your sponsorship soon we might have the pleasure of waxing him on the last day :-) Wicked aren't we!! We have been making him tell all at every official banquet we have attended and now many orphanages are rooting him on! Remember $1000 is a lot of money for the kids! He will be so proud (and probably sore), but no pain, no gain! And it is for a GREAT cause."
If you could meet this wonderful and kind man, you would know that this is way out of his comfort zone. I think women should donate because this is just so funny that this poor, unsuspecting guy has agreed to this and I think men should donate out of sympathy! All for the kids!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A new team in China

Julie, Arlene, and Maire are now in China checking up on programs in Hunan and Anhui. This is part one of their blog.


The alarm clock rang at 6.30am and the three weary travellers struggled out of bed amid moans and groans, tired but eager to start their first day in Hunan. After a good breakfast, we hit the road for our first stop. The director and staff greeted us warmly, and we spent an enjoyable time meeting some of the children and sorting out any necessary paperwork. Randy and Shirley, the moderators of the foster care program also came to meet us. Director Li and her staff were delighted to see photos of children who had been adopted from the SWI and were thrilled when presented with the gift of a calendar made up of similar photographs.
They also welcomed gifts sent by prospective parents for their soon-to-be children.

In the afternoon, we went to visit the children in foster care and their foster parents. It was a fantastic experience to meet all the children and to see how healthy and happy they are. If anyone needed convincing that the foster care program is successful, spending time with the children was all the proof they needed. The love and bonding between foster parents and children was very apparent without exception and the relief and joy expressed by the children when returned to the arms of their foster parents was self-evident. One of the highlights of the day was meeting Nana, who is a marvellous lady, full of love and care for the children. She will be leaving the program as a foster mom next month as she has a new grandbaby to care for, and she will be hard to replace. All the families were thrilled with their gifts and the babies seemed to like their Beanie babies for the most part, and of course we delivered more princess clothes.

Oh were there a lot of stairs to climb up and down though! We all got a great work out. And then there was the issue of Julie joining the local women’s gambling den. Well the muscles of our legs are still telling the story and we’re getting Julie counselling for her little addiction, so all is well here!

All in all, it was a wonderful day and a marvellous first time experience for me of LWB in action. That’s all for now.

Maire ((on behalf of Julie, Arlene and herself – two Irish women and one wannabe!)

P.S. Arlene wants the world to know that she did in fact brush her hair,
despite appearances.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Born in my Heart Fund

Jie is a 6 month old baby with a very serious heart defect. He needed to have his surgery immediately, but his surgery will cost at least $5000. Jie was placed on our website and received partial sponsorship, but because of our Born in My Heart Fund, he was fully funded quickly. He has now been moved to the hospital has just had heart cath. The heart surgeon just confirmed how serious his heart disease is and he will now have the first part of a two part heart surgery. We are so grateful that he didn’t have too wait to long and was funded so quickly.

The Born in My Heart Fund was created to help fund the most critical heart kids. Many people wanted to donate money to a heart child’s surgery, but didn’t know what child was the most urgent or serious. We created the fund so that these children could be funded as quickly as possible. Donations made to this fund are transferred to the neediest child and then the donor is notified and receives updates on this child.

So far, nine serious children have benefited from this fund and we hope that many more will be helped in the future. Please check out our medical sponsorship webpage at for more information about the children currently needing medical help and for a link to our Born in My Heart Fund.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beautiful Faces!

We just received some wonderful photos from our nutrition program in Huainan, Anhui Province. Last summer we began sending formula for their babies who are small due to their medical conditions. Some of these children were too small and weak for surgery when we started, but look at those chubby cheeks now! And some are brand-new arrivals. How wonderful that a brand new baby can start on a great formula and cereal the very day they arrive! This way surgery can happen sooner, recovery will go quicker, and ultimately many will find their forever families. Thank you to our nutrition donors for making this possible!

Monday, March 19, 2007

For the Love of Music

Music. It soothes the soul. And, now is serving as a soul soothing link between children enrolled in Love Without Boundaries Believe In Me Schools and the families that adopt them.

Thanks to the Fields of Grace adoption ministry of the Hill Country Baptist Church in Austin, Texas and the big hearts of Sunday School children there, money has been raised to buy music CD’s that are f requently played for children in Love Without Boundaries Believe In Me Schools. When a child is adopted, their new family receives a CD of music that their new son or daughter is already familiar with to play in their new home. Each CD is presented to an adoptive family with a label that reads: Fields of Grace/Believe In Me: Musical Memories. A Gift of Familiar Music From My First Home In China.

Through a “red envelope” campaign, the Sunday School children raised enough money to buy CD’s for children adopted for the next two years. And, additional funds were raised by the kids to purchase school supplies for Love Without Boundaries future school being planned right now – Believe In Me III. One young Sunday School student was so moved by desire to help orphans that he donated all the money he had been earning for a new Nintendo to the school children of LWB’s Believe In Me students.

We are touch and inspired by the love children have for other children. Way to go kids!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

eBay Spring Auction

The Love Without Boundaries eBay store will have a special auction from March 17 -24, featuring donated clothing, shoes, books, games, DVDs and VHS movies, plus more. The emphasis is Spring/Easter clothing. We’ve been busy taking pictures and writing up descriptions of the many donations (primarily clothing that has been gently worn although we do have some new items too). The money raised from this auction will be used for some extra special medical needs that have recently been brought to LWB's attention. Also in the eBay store is a new listing Brown Eyed Girl written by Sarah H. Ledford, an adoptive mom, who writes about their adoption journey. It is a 3 book set and sells for $20.00 plus shipping. The author has generously donated all profits from this series of books to go to Love Without Boundaries.

The eBay store has grown over the past year and is receiving donations from all over the U.S. to sell "eBay quality" items. The funds raised from the store help in the areas of medical, nutrition, foster care and education needs. Visit our store at

This Spring/Easter eBay auction is not to be confused with the upcoming Art Auction which will be held in May to raise funds for life saving heart surgeries. Art Auction donations are currently being accepted and are so necessary to help heal heart children. If you would like more information, please visit our website at for more information.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Anhui Mobile Medical

And we're rolling!

Our Anhui mobile medical van has now hit the road, and everyone agreed the program is off to a great start. A team of 7, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists has already visited five orphanages in Anhui: Luan, Fuyang, Dingyuan, Huaibei and XiaoXian. They will continue to visit 4 of these orphanages each month throughout the coming year. Already on the van’s first trip, the medical team from Anhui Children’s Hospital diagnosed 5 children with heart disease who need help.

Everywhere the van went, the team was met by welcoming orphanage staff and foster families. Families came by foot and by bicycle, and many of the kids having their exams thought it was quite a bit of fun and were actually laughing out loud.

Now that initial assessments have been done, on subsequent visits the PTs will work with the foster children and help train caregivers how to do the exercises. Our goal is to make sure that every child possible becomes eligible for adoption.
We are very excited about this first pilot program, even though we have not yet raised the total running costs for this year. We welcome monthly sponsors at $25 a month or general donations to this program as well. We know this partnership with Anhui Children's Hospital is going to lead to wonderful things for the kids of Anhui. To learn more about the program, please email our Anhui Director of Operations, Arlene Howard at

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Biking for Babies

I learned this week that two really funny men in the UK have decided to "cycle the length of Great Britain" (about 1000 miles) in order to help children in China. When I first clicked on their blog and started to read, I came to this hilarious line:

"It's not that we are pathetic middle-aged losers desperately trying to cling to the vestiges of our long-vanished youth and vitality. Oh No! We are pathetic middle-aged losers with a mission! We are doing this to raise money for 'Love Without Boundaries'!"

I cannot wait to follow along! Please bookmark their blog at I can pretty much promise you a smile on your face each day.

The "big bike ride" begins April 28th! Stay tuned! And to get you in the spirit, here are some of my favorite bike pictures from my visits to orphanages. There's just something wonderful about hopping on a bike!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Making Friends in Fujian

This is the final post for the the most recent travelers to China on behalf of LWB:


Our trip from Lian Cheng to Zhangzhou took about 4-1/2 hours, and was really a beautiful drive along a river with views of the mountains. When we arrived in Zhangzhou we took a quick lunch break at McDonald’s. Our driver really likes McDonalds! The staff from Zhangzhou met us there and led us to the SWI. Zhangzhou is an orphanage with about 38 children living onsite, and another 19 in Foster Care. They took us up the stairs to the baby/toddler room where we were greeted by about a dozen chubby-faced babies. The babies were for the most part seated in little wicker chairs, one strolled about in a walker, and another toddler roamed about playing with a few toys. The director was quick to engage the children and play with them, and the children all responded. But the babies were a little more frightened of the strangers that had entered the room! It took a little while, but they finally warmed up to us!

We received a brief tour of the sleeping rooms – nice wooden floors with about 8 cribs per room, and a bed for the auntie to sleep on. We were told the older children were at school, but when they return at the end of the day they like to come and play with the younger kids.

They have one really large room where they do most of the caring for the children, and all of us who visited could envision a nice little toddler play area where the children could get out of the chairs and crawl and play. Wouldn't an indoor play area be perfect here?The director also expressed a desire for an incubator, where they could keep new babies warm. They currently use hot water bottles to keep the small new arrivals comfortable in the chilly temperatures.

From this city, we had to move on quickly as Tracie was catching a flight out of Xiamen that evening. Xiamen was about another hour away, and is an absolutely beautiful island of a city right on the coastline. Again, as we drove into the city we could see fireworks going off in different parts of the city. The traffic across the bridge to get to Xiamen was definitely a big groan from our driver, however!

The next morning we headed off to Jinjiang where we had almost 20 medical kids to check on and take photos of for their sponsors. It was another hour and a half from Xiamen – did anyone mention that we did a lot of driving on this trip?

This orphanage is in the middle of a busy city street, and you don’t really even see it when you drive up. The van dropped us off at this little doorway, kind of like an alley, and we went through the walkway and up several flights of stairs. The next thing we knew we were in a nice conference room where we briefly met with Fujian Civil Affairs, the local Civil Affairs official, and the orphanage director. Tingting explained we needed to get medical updates, so off we went to the baby rooms. We unfortunately arrived in the middle of naptime, so we quietly tiptoed in and out of baby rooms where we were able to photograph the children, some sleeping, some lying very quietly still. All of the children had chubby cheeks and were warmly bundled against the chilly air that seemed to follow us all over Fujian. When we found babies that were awake, we quietly talked to them and told them how special they are!

Our visit to Fujian Province was so wonderful. Our experienced driver took such great care of us and kept us laughing most of the way. We were warmly welcomed by everyone we met, and we will never forget the beautiful babies and children we met while we were there!

Nancy Delpha
Assoc. Director of Operations

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hangzhou to Beijing

Hangzhou is truly one of the most beautiful cities in China. West Lake and the parks surrounding it create such picturesque scenery. We arrived in Hangzhou to visit Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital where the famous Dr. Li performs heart surgeries. Flowers were in full bloom - magnolias, plums, and cherry trees lined the beautiful West Lake. The city of Hangzhou seemed so welcoming.

Dr. Li and Dr. Qiu, a fellow who will soon be promoted to staff surgeon, greeted us at the airport. After a quick lunch on the lake, we arrived at Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital. Here we were met with a national television crew and many of Dr. Li’s colleagues. They took us to a conference room where we were interviewed and introduced to the director of the hospital. We discussed the relationship between Love Without Boundaries and their hospital and how we would like to continue this relationship into the future. The hospital director pledged to give us a 20% discount and give every child we send to them the absolute best care.

After our meeting, we were taken on a hospital tour. First, we were taken to the ward and were able to see two our of heart babies. One of these babies, a little girl, had just had a pacemaker put in and the other, a little boy, was scheduled to have heart surgery the next day. Both of these children were adorable. The little girl tried hard to be happy, even though she had just had surgery hours before. She was just so sweet! Tracie had one stuffed animal left in her bag, and we agreed it was a very fitting one to give her as it had a big red heart on it. The little boy was absolutely adorable. He just cooed and gave us the biggest smiles, and we loved knowing that in the morning he would be having his life changing surgery.

Next, we were taken into the ICU where most of our heart children go after surgery. Dr. Tang, the doctor in charge of this unit, was so very kind and asked us about many of the children they had helped. One of these little babies was baby Li, who had been in ICU on a ventilator for two months. This miracle child had touched all of them. Lori had her computer in her backpack and pulled it out so they could all see updated pictures of Li. We had all of the ICU staff huddled around the computer to see updated photos. You could see how they all genuinely cared about the children as they oohed and aahed over every picture.

Then we were taken on a tour of the operating rooms. We donned scrubs, hats, masks, and booties. We were able to see a couple of surgeries in progress and then were able to see their cardiac ORs. They were spotless and had state of the art equipment. It was fun to think that so many of our children were healed here. Last year, this hospital helped 60 of our heart children.

Soon it was time to say our goodbyes to all of the wonderful people we met. This hospital truly has a heart for the kids. We learned that not only does the director support the work that we do, but is also very compassionate to the poor. I just love that fact that our children are given the best medical treatment and the tender loving care of their staff.

Dr. Li took us on a brief tour of their scenic spots, on our way to the airport. We walked along the lake, looking out at the boats, the pagodas, and the mountains. The views we had reminded us of postcards, as we saw so many beautiful sights. Dr. Li also took us on a short walk though a bamboo forest. He taught us how you can tell the age of bamboo and about the many different kinds of bamboo. The bamboo forest was so peaceful and I can understand why he comes here often.

When it was time to leave Hangzhou, Dr. Li accompanied us to the airport and helped us check in. We had schlepped our large suitcases all over China and had given a few of them names (like big Bertha). Dr. Li thought this was so funny and helped us to name the rest of them. As he was helping us with our suitcases, we told him to be very careful, because we wanted to protect his precious hands. He needed to be ready for our baby’s surgery in the morning. We all had such a hard time saying goodbye to this sweet, kind man.

Soon we were in Beijing and were met by Robin Hill of New Hope Foundation. I couldn’t wait to return to their home and see our babies in our Heartbridge Unit. Our unit had been has been in operation since October has made such a difference to so many critically ill babies. This unit has nine beds and has been set up to help children pre and post surgery.

After a comfortable nights' rest and a delicious breakfast, we began our tour. The babies in the Heartbridge Unit were absolutely precious. Baby Li, the baby that the Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital staff had huddled around the computer to see, was the first baby that we all laid our eyes on. This baby was just SO precious and is thriving. You would have never known that this child was so very sick just months ago and fought to live. He had a very serious heart and lung problem and truly is a miracle. We just all loved cuddling him. Another baby who has been in our hearts was baby Yang. This baby has many serious heart defects, but she is such a fighter. She has just had the first of many heart surgeries, but is also thriving. What an absolutely adorable baby!

We were also able to see the rest of New Hope Foundation and some of the other children we have sent to them. Joyce and Robin have such high standards and love for the children. The beautiful babies were all adorable and we all had so much fun cuddling and playing with them all. A visit to their relaxing and peaceful home was such a wonderful way to end our trip.

I am always so sad leaving China, as it feels like my home away from home. There are so many kind and compassionate people working together to help children, that it is just so hard to say goodbye. Plus, there are just so many beautiful babies to hold! During our trip, we have received many new children to help. Please check our medical sponsorship page to see their beautiful faces. We are just so happy that we are able to work together with the wonderful people in China to make a difference for every one of these children. Thanks again to everyone who helps to change the lives of these children. We couldn't do it without you!

Karen Maunu
Medical Director

Friday, March 09, 2007

Almost Home

Karen, Nancy, Tracie and Lori are somewhere over the ocean right now flying home from China. They are going to write up their final posts when they get back to the US as they did not have internet access over the last two days.

This time I got to be the one to stay home and wish I was there. I have talked to the teams each day by phone, and scribbled pages of notes on all of the beautiful children they met who will need surgeries, on the new orphanages who have requested projects or supplies, and of course I have been oohing and aahing over every photo sent to me of the wonderful children they got to spend time with. That part is always so wonderful. I don't think most people realize how very hard these trips can be as well though....only sleeping 2-3 hours a night and flying and driving long hours every single day to cover as much ground as possible. Each time I am in China, my friends there say "you must rest, go back and sleep", but of course we all say the same thing over and over, "I can sleep in America!...there is still too much do!"

I also know all too well what it feels like emotionally to hold a baby with severe heart disease and wonder where the funds are going to come from, or to have orphanage directors make the most unselfish of requests such as "please can we have high quality formula to make our babies as strong as possible". Oh where is that legendary money tree? As the volunteers called me each day telling me the names of the babies who need to be moved for surgery, I started wondering how I could meet the most recent Powerball winner. I know there have to be so many people in the world who would love to help save the life of a child with severe heart disease, especially when it can be done for "only" $5000. When I talked to our medical director last night, I told her when she got back from China to "please take Saturday off", and she immediately said, "no way....we have kids to heal."

I am so grateful to everyone who helps with LWB's work...from the orphanages to the donors to our amazing volunteers. The four women flying home from China all left their own children and families in order to help change the lives of children. They funded their trips 100% out of their own pockets. In a culture that makes heroes out of celebrities who often make less than ideal choices, I just want to say that we all need to remember that there are heroes all around us. Each and every day there are people working quietly and without any recognition to make sure the lives of children around the world are bettered. It's not the stuff of Headline News, but it is definitely the stuff of what life is truly about.

Amy Eldridge