Monday, July 30, 2007

Going Green and Getting Clean

The Mama’s Wish teachers have been hard at work this summer overseeing a project to bring water to an extremely remote minority orphan school in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Qinghai Province. The energy efficient solar water system is capable of producing three tons of warm water per day and will benefit appx 700 students and teachers in Batang County. Two shower rooms were constructed, (one for boys and one for girls), and the rooms contain sixteen shower nozzles. The shower system will be used not only by the students in the orphan school, but also the students who are studying in nine more village schools in the surrounding area. From now on, the students will be able to have a minimum of one shower every week!

And because little clean bodies deserve to wear clean clothes, five washing machines were also donated to the school. A wonderful group of volunteers in Shanghai also donated new clothes (and toys) to the children.

The water project made big news in Batang County, and the teachers believe that illness in the school will be reduced because the children will now be able to practice better hygiene habits, such as brushing their teeth and washing their hands in the new wash basins.

Our deepest thanks go out to the generous donor family, who not only financed the entire water project, but also helped to see it through fruition.

If you’d like to know how you can help the rural minority students and orphans in the Mama’s Wish education program, please contact

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A day at Shanghai Children's

We are so grateful for John Dai, who visited the children having surgery in Shanghai each day for us and who would send wonderful reports on their progress. Today, instead of telling a story in words, we thought we would simply tell the story of a typical day at the hospital in pictures. Enjoy! (although we do have to comment on the stylish Mohawk hairdo that the aunty gave Hao while waiting for surgery!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Every Child Counts

As everyone who follows this blog knows, LWB is a charity committed to helping orphaned children in China. It is our sincerest hope that we can help as many children as possible be adopted, or else feel a sense of worth if they must live their entire childhood in an orphanage. It is what we do every single days a the orphaned.

Sometimes in our work, however, we are introduced to rural families who also have children in great need. Their stories are often hard to hear, as most of us live in comfortable homes and our children have access to good medical care. When we hear of these families, our hearts ache inside imagining how very difficult it must be to have a child who is sick and not have the funds to make them better. We often wonder how many of these families make the very hard decision to leave their child at the gate of an orphanage, with a desperate hope that their child will be able to receive medical care. I have often asked myself if I would be able to make that same sacrifice if I had a child in need of surgery but didn't have the funds to heal them. We have met these families in person on our trips to China, and the love they have for their kids is humbling. I know for myself, meeting the rural families who are raising kids with medical needs and hearing their pleas for help has impacted me in a way that has changed my life forever.

Last week, we learned of another family who is facing a situation that has made our hearts ache. They are in their early 30s and live in the rural countryside of Guizhou.
After this couple married, they had a son. Can you imagine the excitement they felt to give birth to a healthy little boy? However, a few years later, they received the devastating news that their son had leukemia. They spent all that they owned trying to heal him, but at age 9....he tragically passed away. Just last December, they gave birth to another son, baby Tao. While they would never get over the loss of their first son, they rejoiced in the birth of Tao. However, a few months ago, a tumor started to grow from his back at the waist, a spinal tumor that if left untreated, will eventually cause their son to become paralyzed. The local doctors told them that nothing can be done. But of course LWB knows Dr. Bao at Shanghai Children's, and we believe this child can be healed.

This young family has no funds for surgery. They are rural farmers, and they have a lot of debt since they borrowed so much trying to save the life of their first son.

Of course....these situations raise the very difficult question of who LWB helps. Who do we raise funds for? Should we only heal orphaned children? Or do we believe fully that every child deserves a chance at life? We have talked these issues through for hours and hours. And we have decided that when we hear of a family such as this one, who tried everything possible to heal their first child and who are now watching their second son's tumor can we possibly walk away from that? Yes, Tao has a family. But that is what we dream of for every child we help, isn't it? When we have an opportunity to keep a family together...we believe we have to help.
Baby Tao is up on our website now, under medical, and we are hoping there will be people out there who will look at his little face and want to give him a second chance. We believe healing him will give the most amazing gift of hope to this family.

As I thought about this baby this past weekend, I asked myself again what role LWB should take when we have so many children in orphanages needing medical help as well. And then I went to church today and the minister talked about the importance of recognizing all of the blessings in our own lives and sharing those blessings with those who are truly poor. She talked about the importance of not turning the other way when we see people in real need. It was all the confirmation I needed. Baby Tao needs to have a chance to grow up and bring the same joy to his parents that our children bring to us. Baby Tao's life is important, and it is my prayer that together we can see him be healed.

Amy Eldridge

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love's Journey 2 Sneak Peek

We are getting SO close to having the second volume of our Love's Journey series finalized. The proof readers and editors are having a wonderful time reading all of the stories and of course looking at the beautiful photographs.

In this second book, we have photos from every country that does international adoptions from China. We just wanted to tease you a bit by showing the page from Iceland. Aren't the kids so beautiful???

Presales for LJ2 begin next month! We hope everyone in the adoption community is going to want to own a copy....especially since 100% of the proceeds will go to help kids in China.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Critical Care

Most of you know that the way LWB raises money for the children we heal surgically is by putting them up on our website, finding sponsors for their surgery, and then notifying the orphanage that the child can be moved for their operation.

However...there are times that we cannot wait to move a child. There are many times that we are notified by orphanages that they have received newly abandoned babies who are critical. It is during those times that we are so grateful for our general medical fund, as we can immediately use those dollars to do emergency surgery. We have even told our facilitators that whenever they are called by an orphanage about a child who is critical, they don't even need to talk to us first....the life of the child is first and foremost and they can contact us after they have made the medical arrangements to save the child's life.

Last week we learned of a tiny baby girl, just a few weeks old, who had arrived at an orphanage in Anhui with severe megacolon in critical condition. Thankfully she was able to have emergency surgery that very day because of our general medical fund. We thought you would love to see baby Wa recovering from her surgery in the hospital. What a beautiful little girl who now has a chance to grow up and be adopted. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!

Concerned Momma

We just loved this and had to share!

The first foster care reports came in from our new Yunnan program. This little girl is named Jayne, and her foster mom reports that Jayne gets milk 4 times a day and she wakes her up at night and feeds her twice more. The foster mother's main concern that she reports is that the child is not getting enough calcium. But from the number of chins we can count, we think everything is AOK. :-)

If you have considered sponsoring a child through foster care, you might want to check out some of the Yunnan kids. There are 11 out of 28 children left to be sponsored and we know you will love the photos and reports.


This gorgeous and handsome young man is Chuan's best friend, Yang. You might remember Chuan from previous blogs. He is the 12 year old who had neurosurgery on his spine and who wants to be a doctor some day. After he had surgery in Shanghai, he was moved to an orphanage in Hangzhou where he could study and get the PT he needed every day.

Yang and Chuan originally were from the same orphanage in Anhui. Yang came into the orphanage as an older child and quickly became best friends with Chuan. Yang can read and loves to study, and so he taught Chuan to read and write.

When we told Chuan in the hospital that we could move him to Hangzhou, he was all excited about the chance to go to school except for one thing...he wouldn't be able to see Yang again. So he asked if we could send some gifts for Yang and asked to visit him if we ever had the chance.

Of course, when that chance came, we didn't forget about Chuan's wish. Our mobile medical van was to visit Yang’s orphanage this month. One of our volunteers went shopping for Yang and got some really cool looking T-shirts, pants, a big dictionary, an encyclopedia and some study supplies for him. She thoughtfully printed out some pictures of Chuan, including Chuan's favorite picture of himself for Yang to see. Yang was so happy receiving all the gifts that came in the name of Chuan for him. Of course, he was thrilled to see Chuan's pictures and see how much he had changed. He hopes that he will be able to see him sometime in the near future.

Everybody on the trip, including the orphanage staff, were so touched by their brotherhood. We definitely hope that someday these special friends can meet again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dr. Bao in Anhui

Dr. Bao just went on a run with the mobile medical van in Anhui. He is a very famous neurosurgeon in China, but is one of the most kind and caring doctors that we know (along with Dr. Li the heart surgeon). After this trip, he said that we would love to do this regularly in the future or whenever there is a need.

Over and over ag ain, he took time out to exam every child that needed to be checked. He impressed everyone who met him with his kindness and caring nature. He even wore bright colors daily, because he wanted to be colorful for the children.

As they traveled, the people traveling with him kept commenting on how smart he was. This was how Dr. Bao’s responded:
He kept saying his IQ is really low, but his EQ is very high. Some people didn't get it and asked him why.. he said as long as you have a heart full of sympathy, you will become smart.

Dr. Bao is so proud to be a member of LWB, but we are SO grateful, not only to have his incredible medical skills, but to also learn from his generosity.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A visit to Heartbridge

Our Heartbridge medical unit is located upstairs at the Hope Healing Home, and is run by the amazing Dr. Joyce Hill. As the number of surgeries we did each month increased, so did the number of children who truly needed intensive post op care. This 9 bed medical unit takes in children who are either too weak for their surgeries or else who need specialized one on one care following their operations.

Recently one of our LWB facilitators made his first visit to Heartbridge. We know you will love seeing some of the photos he took that day. It is hard to believe that these babies were among the most vulnerable of all, as now they are thriving with TLC.

The very best news of all is when one of these beautiful children "graduates", which means they are well enough to move into foster care or back to their home orphanage to prepare for adoption. Recently, one of our sickest heart children, sweet Li, received his "graduation papers". He is now in a loving foster home with his very own mama and baba. When we received his photos, I think everyone at LWB gave a collective shout of "HOORAY!". This couldn't possibly be the tiny little baby who needed a breathing tube for so long. This was a robust and happy toddler who is the picture of health.

Each child at Heartbridge is an absolute miracle to us. Thanks to everyone who helps support these children who face critical medical needs.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Summer Camps Begin!

We just received a wonderful update from one of our summer camp programs in Henan province. The kids had an incredible time doing fun games, sports, and learning how to set up and work on computers.

Our facilitator sent photos and wrote the following words to the adults who came from Shanghai to put on the camp:

"Just want to share some precious moments of the time you spent here in Kaifeng, I scanned them again and again, every moment is in my mind and will be forever. Thank you so much! You really brought the priceless experience for all the kids!"

Thanks to everyone who has supported our summer camp program for kids. You are definitely allowing some wonderful memories to be made. (click on the photos to see them in larger size)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cute as a Button

There is a little girl we have been helping for several months who had a complex spinal tumor. Her name is "Naomi", and she first came to Shanghai Children's during the UCLA medical mission, where she proceeded to charm the socks off of everyone, including the neurosurgeon.

Naomi has returned to Shanghai for the second part of her surgery, and once again the hospital ward is buzzing with stories of her cuteness. One of our friends visited her today and wrote these words which made us smile:

"I saw Naomi for the first time. She is so cute. Everybody in the ward loves her, and I am no exception. "

Isn't that great? He also shared with us that Naomi speaks in long, long sentences of her own language and using her own grammar. She just loves to chat! In fact, she especially loves to talk on anyone's cell phone who is near, so of course she had to try out his.

We are so happy to report that her second surgery went very well, and we know she will now have a great chance at adoption.
Hope her future parents-to-be have a good calling plan! I think they are going to need it. :-)

Questions from a Kindergarten

I just love the book, “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” and during my recent trip to China, I really understood why this is so true. My daughter is in Kindergarten. She and her 14 classmates followed my trip. I sent them emails as often as I could and they checked the blog daily. I would be so excited to check emails to see if they had responded.
This wonderful group of kids made cards & letters for us to bring to China. Each child in China that received one of these letters also received a picture of the author. The kids in her class also collected stickers for us to bring to China. These were a big hit. I probably had over 10,000 stickers in my suitcase. There were 3 gallon Ziploc bags full of them in my luggage. Wonder what TSA thought when they came upon them.

Children ask wonderful questions and I just love their thought process. Once day, they sent me a list of questions. Here is what they wanted to know and some of my responses (paraphrased a bit):

The food sounds different in some ways - what does it taste like (is it yucky or good)?

I had told them about our meal of Sea Worms, Squid & Eel which was very good but very unlike what we normally eat in the US. So they had lots of questions about how things tasted.

What do you do in the van for 3 hours when you travel - do you have a TV to watch?

Every time we got in the van, it seemed like the trip was 3 hours. Mostly we chatted, looked at the sights and sometimes, we just slept. No TV.

Do the children have TVs or Video games in the orphanages?

I had to laugh when I saw this question. Yes, most of the orphanages that we visited did have a TV, but we didn’t see any video games.

How many children live in the orphanage?

This depends on the orphanage. The first few that we visited did not have many children. Most of them were less than 50 children, but the last one had close to 200 children.

When they start the school, will they do morning message and circle time?

They love morning message and circle time. The children don’t call it by the same name, but it is the same action. Children in the Believe In Me Too School start their day very much like the kids in Upstate NY.

Do the children sit on mats or in chairs? What do the classrooms look like?

The children sat on chairs at a desk. Their classroom had many of the same items that we have in the US. There were books, toys & supplies.

What do the beds look like in the orphanage?

This one just made me giggle a little bit more. The beds looked just like the one’s that we sleep in, except that they didn’t have mattresses that were as squishy as ours. In China the beds are very firm & hard.

Do you eat at tables? Yes they eat at tables. And they use spoons & chop sticks.

What do people do there for jobs? Are there firefighters? Are there malls there?

People do the same things that they do in the US. There are teachers, doctors, nurses, retail workers, factory workers and everything in between. Yes, there are fire fighters. And yes, there are malls.

Love,The KB Kindergarten (There are 2 kindergarten classes, so there is KA & KB at my daughter’s school)

Pam Moore, LWB Education

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Loving Li

Recently we learned of a beautiful 4 year old girl who has very severe heart disease. Her oxygen levels are very low, and she had become so weak that she is unable to stand for more than a few minutes and can only walk with support. On Monday afternoon, we placed her photo on our website with a note saying she was urgent. By Tuesday afternoon....dozens of people had spread the news about her and we watched in awe as the amount needed for her surgery went from $4500 to $3000 to $1500 to just $50. And then, in less than 24 hours, her surgery was funded.

Thank you for loving Li. We read the touching notes that came in with each donation: "Get better soon beautiful girl", "our prayers and hopes are that she will become well enough for a forever family", "we love this dear girl". Please join us in praying for a full healing for Li. It is so wonderful to know that so many people are lifting her up.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Yang is Moving

Miracles happen often around here, but there aren’t too many children as special as Yang. Yang was our very first resident of Heartbridge, arriving last October. She was so tiny and so sick. There were so things wrong with her little heart. On January 24, she received her life-saving heart surgery. You can read more about her story in this blog on that date in the article titled “Sweet Baby Yang”.

You would never believe that this is the same child. Yang is now doing so well and is thriving! She will now be leaving Heartbridge for regular foster care. She no longer needs this intensive medical care she was getting. In fact, she won’t need another heart surgery for 3-4 years and her orphanage is now putting her paperwork together for adoption.

This child is truly a miracle and a fighter. She has overcome so much and is an example to us all on what strength one little baby can have.