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 grow....how 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.