Recently a family who was waiting to adopt a little boy with repaired cleft lip in China got the phone call that no one should ever receive....they learned that their baby boy "Scotty" had developed severe pneumonia in the orphanage and had tragically passed away.
All of us at LWB were stunned at the news, as we had followed this little boy through his surgery and were overjoyed he had been chosen as a waiting child. It didn't seem possible that Scotty was now gone and our hearts ached for the family who would not get to hold him in their arms.
The very same day that we received this news, we received an email from Western China. A friend had written telling us about a very poor rural family whose only child, a little girl named Hua, was dying of heart disease. Her parents were farmers, and did not have the funds necessary for her surgery, and so they were slowly watching her get weaker and more blue. Hua had started having fainting spells each day, and her fingers were starting to club. Her parents knew she didn't have much time left. The friend who wrote me wondered if we could help her. I wrote back saying we would try our best, but that we had dozens of orphaned children in need of heart surgery as well, and I could not promise that a donor could be found.
That night I heard from the agency director who had matched the little boy Scotty with a family. She wrote saying that the agency wanted to do something to honor this little boy who never got to know a family's love. As I read her email, I realized that on this side of the ocean, we had an adoptive family grieving the son they could not hold, while on the other side of the ocean we had a grieving family watching their beloved child slowly die. I quickly wrote back and said that perhaps this would be a fitting tribute to Scotty....to allow this struggling, rural family to not go through the same grief of losing a child.
The Children's House International group quickly put out a plea on behalf of Hua, whom they nicknamed "Flower". And within just a few days, her surgery was completely funded in honor of baby Scotty. When we let my friend in China know that the child could be moved to the hospital immediately, the parents were in disbelief. They began to prepare for a 30 hour train ride to Hangzhou, but then another wonderful donor stepped forward to pay for them to fly, so that Hua wouldn't have to worry about fainting on the train. Within one day...they were safely in Hangzhou.
Hua's surgery went perfectly. The wonderful donors who sent funds for her surgery also sent cards and letters with get well wishes for her to feel better soon. There is no other way to describe it except to say there was an outpouring of love for this beautiful child. Just tonight, we heard that she is safely back in her home province, and that when it was time for them to leave to return home...that both the parents and Hua were crying tears of happiness. Hua has a new goal now....to go to school and to learn. For the first time in her life, this is now possible for her. With her new healthy heart....her entire life is now before her.
Tonight as I looked at photos of Hua, first with her mom looking so worried, then on her first plane ride ever, and now healed and healthy, I once again had the words "Circle of Life" come to mind.
"It's the Circle of Life, and it moves us all. Through despair and hope, through faith and love.'
Despair and hope. Faith and love. Both the joy and sadness of life all intertwined. Through the ultimate despair of losing a son came a new and precious hope fueled by faith and love. Hua is now healed. She will grow up and go to school and be forever loved by her parents. I can think of no greater memorial to Scotty, and no greater example of the amazing circle of life.