Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baoji Babies

Happy Anniversary!

Last year on Thanksgiving Day, one of our directors in China was able to visit the Baoji orphanage in Shaanxi Province, which was requesting help with their formula purchases. We were able to start a nutrition program there, and have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the director and aunties since that time. I was so pleased this week to receive our latest quarterly update...a HUGE batch of new photographs for their one-year anniversary, plus a description of each and every child, compliments of the aunties. It is so nice to hear a little bit about the personalities of the children, this absolutely made my day! The staff there was so kind to take the time to do this! Here are a few of the comments:

"T is a naughty boy but he is so happy and always makes other people laugh."
"C is a smart boy and he likes to explore everything he can find."
"Y loves to read picture books and he is very good at imitation. He brings so much fun for everyone."
"Q is a happy girl. She is a very good eater. She is healthy and strong now."
"N is a strong-willed, bossy girl. She always grabs the toys from the hands of other kids."
"Y is a smart little girl with pretty eyes. All the people like her!"
"K loves to be cuddled and he likes colorful toys. He always smiles!"

Happy Anniversary to the Baoji Babies!

Jan Champoux, Nutrition Director

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Little Erik

Erik is a little boy in our foster care program. He is almost 5 years old and his special need is being blind. He currently has two foster care sponsors, who have shown such care for him by writing to me and asking about specific toys that they have found that he might enjoy. I am planning to visit him in a month or two and they may want to send something with me for him.

One of these sponsors, after choosing to sponsor him, asked me if there was anything else that could be done to help him. Sadly, I had learned that he was on three adoption agency lists and had never been chosen by a family. This means that he will most likely remain in China for the rest of his life. In order for him to have a real chance at a productive future, he will need to go to a School for the Blind to get educated in a skill. I started looking into this, and we have now found a school for the blind, but it is about 6 hours from where he lives. Last week he traveled there with an orphanage worker and his foster mother. Our facilitator in China sent us pictures of his visit there. It has been decided that he is too young and dependent at this time, but they plan to send someone next month to visit him in his town to help teach his foster parents how to prepare him for future registration in the school.

I am so grateful for the sponsor who motivated me to look into this for Erik. It will make a huge difference in his life. Not only did this sponsor motivate me to look into this, but they are planning to cover his tuition when he does go to school. We are so grateful for all the sponsors who are helping to provide this wonderful blessing of family to these children. It makes all the difference in the world!

Suzanne Damstedt

Foster Care

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh what fun is a Field Trip!

The teachers of the Believe In Me Too school in Hunan recently took the students on a field trip to the Changde Chrysanthemum Show. If you follow our blogs, you may remember that these children spent part of their summer learning about and growing plants. This was a wonderful opportunity for them to learn even more about plants and flowers.

The trip began with lunch at KFC. I am so proud to know that these students displayed such good manners and behavior during their meal while still having such fun.

Next the class headed to the park to see the beautiful flowers. I have been told that everyone was so impressed with the knowledge that these young children had. They remembered what they learned this summer and applied this knowledge to the chrysanthemums.

There was also a playground at this park for some extra fun.

Soon it was time to go home. With everyone in accounted for and in line, this class headed home. We are grateful that our teachers in China who were willing to extend the learning to outside the classroom.

Missy Ridley

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Gift from Down Under

LWB would like to give a great big thanks to Jane Taylor and her friends in Australia who sent a huge parcel of homemade hats, blankets, sweaters, and socks to Shanghai. The babies and kids having surgery at Shanghai Children's were all given a treat. Beautiful LiLi just had brain surgery this week to remove a tumor. Doesn't she look lovely in her new purple hat? And little Hao is looking particularly snazzy in a new sweater and hat as well.

THANK YOU to everyone who made a gift for the kids. They will be given to new children arriving for surgery and soon they will be spread all over China!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This Thursday, millions of people will sit down around a Thanksgiving table with their loved ones and give thanks for all the blessings that are in their lives. I think at the top of that list will be “family”, as the blessing of being able to share your life with those who love you can never be taken for granted. But what do we list next? I googled around a bit and learned that “good health” was usually second, and then many Americans count their homes, their cars, their jobs, and ‘technology’ as blessings as well.

How many things can you list? Most of us sure have a lot to be thankful for.

This past weekend I heard one of my favorite songs in church. I have mentioned it before, but I heard it again like it was the first time. It is called “The Blessing”, and the beginning verse says this:

Let it be said of us, while we walked among the living,
Let it be said of us, by the ones we leave behind,
Let it be said of us…..
That we lived to be a blessing for life.

The second line is the one that got to me. What will people say about us when we are no longer on this earth? What do we want our children to say about us when we are no longer with them? I can think of no higher compliment than the last line of that stanza. What an incredible thing it would be to have someone say about you, “he lived to be a blessing to this world”.

It made me realize that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to not only count all of our wonderful blessings that we have in our lives….but it is the perfect time to ask ourselves what we are doing to be a blessing to others.

Thank you to everyone who blesses the lives of those children who live each day as orphans. Thank you for blessing the lives of children who could never imagine a feast as wonderful as those we will be served this Thursday, and who have never been able to know the simple warmth and security that comes when you join hands around the table with your very own family.

This Thanksgiving….after counting all of the wonderful blessings that we have personally been given in our own lives, let us all choose to be a blessing to the world as well.

Yuan leaves the hospital

Little Yuan has been discharged from the hospital after her big surgery during the cleft mission. She was given many gifts by the wonderful volunteers in Shanghai, and everyone there was sad to see her go. They all hope they will see her again someday, possibly when she has her second surgery.

We are still waiting on the pathology report on what type of tumor she has. During this week of thanks, we are very grateful for the outpouring of support and love shown to this beautiful little girl. We give thanks for all of the people who have supported our medical program, which allows us to touch the lives of so many children in China who will be in our hearts forever.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Classroom Monitor

On my recent trip to China, I learned that a very important person in a school is the classroom monitor. Frequently elected to the job, it is a prized position. Monitors lead the other children in song and exercise. A strong voice and watchful eye is very important.

This past weekend our monitor in the Believe In Me Too school left for her forever family. Now the baby of a family, she will have others to watch over her.

In the US, November is a month of elections. This school was no different. Elected to the position by the staff of the school is Hunter, a bright 6 year old that enjoys singing, reciting poetry and learning English. We hope that the trend continues and he will one day be leaving his position too!

Missy Ridley
Associate Director of Education

Friday, November 16, 2007

Believe in Me IV - Hubei

Such wonderful things are happening at Believe In Me IV in Hubei. With the help of two wonderful sponsors, we have been able to send one of our students who is deaf to a highly respected school for the deaf in her home city. This girl was so excited to finally be able to participate in school activities. LWB hopes that next she will have hearing tests to see if she can benefit from hearing aids. Also this month, the LWB medical team helped coordinate cleft lip surgery for one of the students as well.

Recently the teachers of our school in Hubei traveled to Changde, Hunan for a special training session on education. While they were away, a wonderfully talented little birdie came in and brightened up the school room walls. If you look at the picture with the tree, you'll see the students' handprints on the leaves. The artist is also going to incorporate the students' pictures into the mural. The kids were very excited to see the art and were pleased to have a part in decorating their room.

The students are doing so well in school. They are learning so much; how to recognize their written names, shapes, and colors, and how to count. The teachers have been spending a lot of time helping them better their small and large motor skills. They have been practicing stringing beads, stacking cubes, and playing soccer.

All of their successes are because of the wonderful sponsors who care enough to make a difference. Thank you!

Heather Hough
BIM IV Coordinator

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The books are coming, the books are coming!

So have you received your copy of Love's Journey 2 yet? A huge shout out of thanks to Canterbury Press in Atlanta for their wonderful work on our newest book and for getting them ready to ship for the holidays!

I heard today from one friend who got hers in the mail. She was alternating between tears and laughter and emailed that the essay "Bonding" by Tim Chauvin was priceless. I was paging through my book at the same time that she emailed, and was glad to read a story with humor as I had just finished crying after reading "For ShaSha's Foster Mother" on page 82. After meeting so many foster families last month in China who told us that they still cry over the children they had to say goodbye to....the photo of the foster mom sobbing as she got ready to say goodbye to the little girl in her care just about did me in.

I had pretty much quit crying after looking at a few more pages of the beautiful families and children. How could you not smile when looking at a picture of the "Fu Sisters" reunion or "the many faces of Alana Peilan?" But then I happened to turn to page 149, with a poem written by Fang Fang Wu Lee at the age of 13.

Time to buy stock in Kleenex.

Trust me....the book is worth $60. There are 278 full color pages which will cause you to alternate between smiles and tears. And how many books have you bought this year where 100% of the proceeds go to help children? Not 20, not 50....100%.

Be a sport....order 10! :-) And then be an even bigger sport and convince 10 of your friends to buy 10!

Yes, that was a shameless plug. But the photos are worth every penny....and we've got babies waiting to be helped. Thanks for spreading the word that your life will not be complete without a copy of this book. (was that too dramatic?) Okay, how about "buying a copy of this book will lead to inner peace?" Or perhaps we could do a James Bond kind of thing and just walk up to people all serious looking and say "Journey. Love's Journey". I'll let you decide how to plug it. It's after midnight and obviously I'm sleep deprived if I'm trying to sell books with a James Bond impersonation. :-)

But when you DO get your book, let me know if there is a story that particularly touches you. It was a long time in the making...but finally it is HERE.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Believe in Me V!

Believe In Me V is soon to celebrate its opening! The government of Jinjiang, Fujian is building a beautiful new orphanage to replace the older one which has a history of 160 years. The older orphanage is in the city, with no space for the kids to run and play, and we are so excited to be able to partner with this city to open up our fifth Believe in Me School. Our BIM V will have two bright classrooms in which to hold classes for twenty-four children. Photos of the children in need of sponsorship are now posted on our website under Education. These children can be found by the E-JJ (Jinjiang, of course!) We can’t wait to hear the sound of children learning and playing in their wonderful new surroundings. Stay tuned for more news on this school and the wonderful children who will be attending.

Marilee Gilmore

Coordinator of Believe In Me V, Jinjiang, Fujian Province
Love Without Boundaries
"Every Child Counts"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy Day at Shanghai Childrens

Below is a letter from Winnie, one of the LWB medical directors in China. Please keep all of the kids having surgery tomorrow in your thoughts and prayers. Little Dou (first photo) had her spinal tumor break open in the orphanage. We are all hoping she will be okay.
The twins are also listed on our website as urgent as their care is costing a great deal every single day and we haven't raised very much for them. "Moving forward on faith" is definitely what we are doing with their medical care. Their names together mean "rainbow" and their orphanage does so many international adoptions that I know if we can get them healed, they will eventually become a family's treasured new daughters. Keep fighting rainbow girls!

Dear All:

We will have a very busy day tomorrow. Dou, Hui and Li will have their surgeries at the same day. It takes a long time to do the CT for Hui because he doesn't sleep at all. Dr. Zhu has to use anaesthesia to get the CT done eventually. He is sleeping so deeply that his caregiver worries when he could wake-up.

I get a call from NICU regarding to the twins, the little one : Hong is having anemia and need to have the blood useage certificate. I go to the blood center to apply for the certificate, guess what? they don't charge me anything because they realize that Hong is an orphan. Also, the NICU nurses ask for Vitamin drops for the twins. From the pictures, you can see how well they are growing now.

Wen is still yellowish now. She is fed by formula and eats very well, but her color is not good as others. Yun is fully fed by formula today. She looks healthier and shows more interests towards surroundings. She may need several days more to wait for the stitches removal and her foster family in Shanghai will come to SCMC to learn the after care, then she will be discharged soon.

After removing the patches on her head, Yuan is leaving for Henan either on Thursday or Friday. She is still a happy girl even though the stitches on her head is noticable!

best regards,


Birthdays for Boys

Several times on this blog we have profiled some of the young ladies in our teen program on their birthdays. Thanks to the support of some wonderful donors, we were able to allow each of the older teens in one Guangdong orphanage to go shopping on their birthday with 100 rmb (about $13 US) and pick anything they would like on their special day.

Recently it was three boys' turn. We wanted to share their birthday list as it was quite different from the young ladies! Here are some of the items the boys chose. I think we have a theme going, wouldn't you agree? :-) I think it is fair to say that if you want to donate items for the older boys in an orphanage...think SPORT.
sport bottle 6.9 rmb
paper handkerchief 5 rmb
watch 46.8 rmb
wristband 8.9 rmb
sport tool 11.9 rmb
sport bag 39.9 rmb
better sport tool 22.9 rmb
sport safeguard 59.9 rmb

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Believe in Me III

Believe In Me III is Love Without Boundaries newest school in Anhui Province. BIM III has several classes including tutoring classes for orphans that attend public school, as well as Kindergarten-Prep for those students who will attend public kindergarten next fall. Two LWB volunteers visited this new school just last week. They were delighted with the students willingness to learn! Here’s what Sandy Hartman, Coordinator for the school has had to say:

“We have visited the programs and there is so much to report. First, we met a tutoring class. Those wonderful students are so excited to participate in tutoring. They literally run to class, throw down their book bags, pull out their pencil boxes, and get ready to study. It was so much fun to see the pure joy on their faces and their eagerness to study.

After visiting with the older tutored students, we joined the Kindergarten-Prep class. Like the older kids, these children clearly enjoyed participating in the class. They were very proud to recite some traditional Chinese poems and songs to us with lots of energy and spirit. Today the children were learning different pinyin and they were thrilled to display what they knew!

The Believe in Me III pre-school class was also amazingly enthusiastic. This morning we arrived during exercises and I think the youngest children were even louder than the kindergarten-prep children! They were so proud to demonstrate their exercises. The older children were also thrilled to display their drawings.

Our school monitor tells us that the children have changed so much since starting the programs. She said they cannot wait to arrive at school. These programs are definitely making a measured and positive difference in their lives! Thank you to every person who has supported this school with good thoughts and the funds to make it happen.”

Sandy Hartman, Coordinator for BIM III

Friday, November 09, 2007

Surgery Mission - Final Day

Hong was the first child on the surgery schedule today. He came back from surgery with his eyes wide open and was so alert. We had not had a baby come down to the ward from surgery so awake. He and his ayi were looking at each other and she kissed him over and over.

Shuai was our last bilateral repair of the week. He is our very quiet baby and is so good. The repair of his lip was absolutely amazing!!

Our two Guangdong babies, Xian and Xuan are two of the sweetest babies. So many volunteers have fallen in love with them. Many volunteers have claimed these girls as “their own”. One of the Shanghai volunteers has come in each night to hold and cuddle Xuan. The volunteer has been working hard to make her legs stronger and just hugs and cuddles her each night. You can already feel the bond that they share. Xuan loves to look at the colorful photos that hang on the walls in the hall and is always looking around. Xian loves to grab her own feet and is also so alert. Both of these babies are just so sweet and most of the volunteers had to go take a peek at how they had changed post surgery.

Ping was the very last surgery of the day. All morning she was giving huge grins. Everyone took turns holding her and she had the absolutely largest grin. She was enjoying the attention so much that she seemed to forget she was hungry. What a happy baby!!!

For lunch each day, a restaurant called the House of Flour has delivered and donated the most delicious lunches. These lunches have consisted of sandwiches, salads, rice dishes, and pasta – something different every day. We have also received treats of cheesecake and other wonderful desserts with the lunches. Today we were honored to have the owner and the chef come and deliver our meals in person. They got to see and hold some of the babies and we were able to tell them in person how grateful we are for their generosity!

Yuan Yuan continues to feel better. Today she ate lunch, played with bubbles, and played a tickle game. A group of volunteers went to Walmart today to get her a new wardrobe of girly girl clothes. It was like Christmas for her as she looked at them. They would hold them up to her and say how pretty she was and she would get huge grin. She also was back to saying Nihao and shaking everyone’s hands. Everyone just melts. At the end of today she surprised us all by walking down the hall to where we were. She is slightly unsteady on her feet but over all is back to the fun and ever smiling Yuan Yuan that we all fell in love with the first day.

Little Yu was very busy again today. You can tell that she would like to be eating more than just formula. She happened to find our snack room today and kept getting a treat to take to her ayi. When her ayi wouldn’t open it, she would get another one. Between cookies and buns, I think her ayi had a pile of about 10 things. She also played the upside down peek-a-boo game with our facilitator Stephanie. Stephanie had her belly laughing, the first time we had see this from her serious busy look.

Emily, one of our nurses, took Tao into our storage room. She placed him on a blanket to play with him. He enjoyed throwing the toys all over the room instead of playing with them and by the time he was done, the room was in total destruction. What a silly little boy. What a change from the tiny little baby we received this summer that had a heart defect and a cleft lip and palate. Now this child is almost totally healed – what an incredible change to see this big happy baby.

At the end of the day today there was a festive spirit in the air. Everyone one is celebrating the completion of a hugely successful mission. It is a bitter sweet evening as we have made so many new friends. We were reminded that no matter how big the ocean or how different the cultures, when it comes down to it we are all just people who love these sweet kids.

In the evening, we all had a wonderful banquet – all the doctors, nurses and volunteers from both the US and China. You could see and feel the friendships that were made this week, as we were able to celebrate all of the success of the lives that have been changed forever. Almost 30 children have received life-changing surgery. Our dinner was celebrated in a restaurant that was in the large world globe that sits on the edge of the river. We all talked about how we had seen this large round building the night before on our river cruise. How fitting it was to be in this restaurant because being on a trip like this, it really makes you feel how small the world is. Even though we are from countries on opposite sides of the earth, we are all just people united by our dedication to helping children.

Karen Maunu
Wendy Petersen

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Surgery Mission - Day Five

Isn't this a cute picture of Gong Lu and her new friend? It has been another wonderful day of surgeries in Shanghai.

You can tell that some of the kids from the first couple of surgery days are beginning to feel much better by the amount of activity in the children who have already been healed. The babies are eating more and are so busy. Two of these children are Sara Jiao and Yu, who are both about 18 months old. Both of these little girls were from the same orphanage in Henan and are only two months apart. Sara Jiao is at Hope in Beijing, however, and Yu is in foster care in Henan. We tried to see if they would play together. Other than looking at each other closely, they weren’t interested. Both of these little girls have a big group of fans who snap photos of them and follow them around.

A volunteer brought up a toy puppy that moves and barks. Sara Jiao in her cute little pigtails absolutely loved it. She would follow behind it as it moved laughing and chasing it, but the minute it would stop and bark, she would turn and run. Another time, Wendy went into see her. She brought Wendy three bottles of water one at a time and then put them back on the table, one at a time. She also enjoyed running up and down the hall with her little black boots.

Yu, the little girl whose lip was attached to her gum, was also feeling better. It was great to see her feeling better and back to her same little self. She has just enough of an attitude to keep everyone amused. She walks up and down the halls swinging her arms and checking things out. She had fun playing in the closet, going in and out, shutting the door. Later, she was playing in the hall with a ball.

Long, a baby who had surgery yesterday was really fussy today. As his ayi was walking down the hall with him, she had tears in her eyes. She is so worried that he is in too much pain. It is so touching every time we see the ayis fussing over the children in their care. This mission has been filled with so many compassionate and caring aunties.

One of the adorable babies that had surgery today was a beautiful little baby boy from Zhejiang named Jia. He has the sweetest little face and big eyes. If you old him facing out, he loves to take his right foot and twirls it in a circle. It doesn’t matter who holds him, he just loves to do this.

The most touching story of the day was Yuan Yuan. This girl and her ayi continue to touch everyone. Today she was much more awake and I even received a smile from her. Her ayi refuses to leave her side and she took a nap this afternoon by sitting in a chair and resting her head on the bed. I was able to deliver a beautiful afghan that a wonderful supporter sent right before we left. This woman was so touched by Yuan Yuan, that she made this beautiful blanket and stitched her name on it. She loved her special blanket as we tucked her in.

Late this afternoon, the ayis tried on a box of clothes donated by the Shanghai expats. This group has thought of everything, including thanking the ladies who work SO hard each and every day in orphanages to care for the kids. Don White, one of our board members, helped this group of women. How funny it looked to see him helping all of these ladies choose their clothes. One ayi tried on an outfit that consisted of a vest and a jacket. Don complimented her on how great she looked and she just beamed.

The hospital took us all on a river cruise on the Huangpu River right through the heart of Shanghai this evening. We all were so taken by how beautiful this city is. The lights of the Bund and the skyscrapers were quite spectacular. What a wonderful treat this was to all of us.

In total five smiles were made new – three bilaterals and two unilaterals. It is hard to believe there is just one more day of surgeries. The first 8 children from Hope foster home just left for the train station. 10 caretakers, 8 babies, and 10 suitcases have left the building. How fun to see everyone leave so excited and so anxious to get back home. It will be wonderful to see each and everyone one of these babies find their permanent homes in the coming year.

We received an email from one of the expats who has been coming to rock the babies. Her lovely words sum up this week.

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this experience is for me. The babies are an amazing blessing and so resilient. I think the Ayis have shown themselves to be wonderful caring women. I see it in their faces as they hold and play with their children. As well as the sadness and fear in their eyes as they await them after surgery. I personally have enjoyed seeing what just a few hrs of love and affection can do to the children. I am happy to put a smile on their face each day. They are so deserving of the opportunity that LWB has given them and I only wish more love for them all.

Wendy Peterson
Medical Trips Coordinator

Karen Maunu
Medical Director

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Surgery Mission - Day Four

Six more children received their surgeries today. While the surgeries were going on in Shanghai, a small group of our volunteers took the train to Hangzhou to tour the orphanage and the site of our new Hangzhou Surgical Healing Unit (HSHU). Wendy Petersen, the Medical Trips Coordinator, was in Shanghai while Karen went on the trip to Hangzhou.


Today was another successful day of surgeries in Shanghai. The morning started off with our team making rounds with the Chinese nurses and doctors. The nurses are all so professional and efficient. They are so graceful when they work, and somehow manage to look as fresh at the end of the shift as they do at the beginning. SCMC has chosen their top nurses to work this mission and their care is so loving and kind. The Charge Nurse on the day shift is a sweet young lady who we have taken to calling "Spring". Spring is one of the most beautiful Chinese women I have ever met. She is usually all business but today she took a few minutes just to hold a baby. I was told she was walking around the hall holding Heng saying "my baby! my baby!". It seems everyone has a baby or two that they have claimed as their own.

Yuan Yuan is the sweet little 5 year old girl who had a very large tumor removed from her head yesterday. Today she slept most of the day and her very dedicated ayi stayed right next to her the whole day. Several other ayis offered to take care of her so she could have a break but she would not budge. What is so remarkable is that she has only been Yuan's ayi for a very short time. I am so glad Yuan was able to rest so much today but I hope some of her spunk will return tomorrow.

Several ayis and foster moms cried when their babies were brought back from the OR. When Yu came up her foster mom was very anxiously waiting for her at the doorway and began to cry. I love the expression on Yu's face in this photo. You can almost hear her saying " I don't feel good mommy". She lay in her foster mom's arms with a look of both pain and total comfort on her face.

Long's foster mom was also in tears when he returned to the floor from surgery. We asked why she was crying and she said she was worried that he was in pain. We were able to reassure her with the help of the wonderful Chinese nurses that he was sleepy and relaxed. We comforted the foster mom while she leaned over and comforted Long.

Everyday I am just amazed at the Shanghai volunteers. They have just absolutely gone above and beyond to bring food, hold babies and tend to our every need. They have taken us out to eat, taken us shopping, and at every turn asking what else they can do for us. We have had many opportunities to share our passion about orphans with them.

Surgeries went so smoothly that our team finished up early and most everyone got a chance to go out and enjoy Shanghai a bit. All of the babies are in great hands and we look forward to getting back to see them again in the morning. Good night from Shanghai.

Wendy Petersen
Medical Trips Coordinator


The day to Hangzhou began on a high speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou. During our train ride, a woman in the car in front of us started screaming. Just five rows in front of us, her husband was having a heart attack. Our group of people jumped to action. They immediately started chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. One of our volunteers, Elfie, helped to take his pulse, while one of our facilitators John helped to call for a doctor on the train in English as the train staff called in Chinese, and Brad, our HSHU Director, helped with the mouth-to-mouth. The train’s staff then called ahead to the next station where they had an ambulance waiting. When we came to the station, both Brad and John helped to carry the man off the train. We aren’t sure what the outcome for this gentleman was, but our team was happy to be a part of the heroic efforts made to help him.

Once we arrived, the Hangzhou director picked us up and took us back to her current orphanage. While we were there, we went to their medical isolation area. In this area, we saw three beautiful little babies who need our help. One of the babies, Ming, has a liver duct blockage and was very yellow. This baby will need an exam as we try to find the very best hospital to send him. There was also a beautiful newborn baby girl, Hui, who was two weeks old with a huge spinal tumor that the director said was urgent. This tumor is leaking and we will try to get this child transferred to SCMC for surgery immediately. This baby girl will soon be on our website as urgent. The last child was a toddler, Ping, who has anal atresia and will need his colostomy closure surgery. Another adorable child!

While we were here, we saw an absolutely gorgeous three year old with OI or brittle bone disease. Her paperwork has been submitted for adoption, but the orphanage has not heard if she has been chosen. She was just too cute with absolutely HUGE dimples. The orphanage also brought Li Li, a six year old little girl with a brain tumor. Her surgery has been sponsored and we are waiting for a bed for her to be moved to Dr. Bao at SCMC. We have heard that she will be moved sometime very soon.

After we saw some of the children in the current orphanage, we went to the location of their new orphanage. We drove around the orphanage compound and saw all of the beautiful buildings. This orphanage will include a gymnasium and an orphanage school. The director said that the whole orphanage will be able to hold 500 children. These new buildings will be opened in January and you can already see how they are putting on the final touches.

We stopped at the building that will hold our healing center. Our rooms are located on the second floor and are so large and bright. We will have a playroom, two children’s rooms, a kitchen, an ayi room, an office, and a room for our director to live. Even though we will be starting with 9 beds, there is quite a bit of room to expand when we have the funding. How wonderful it was to know that very soon, some of the most vulnerable babies of all will be able to use this unit. Because we want to make sure that every child receives the very best pre and post op surgery care, this unit will help us to make sure that every child with heart, neurosurgery, or colon issues has a place to go while they are recovering.

Soon it was time to have a quick lunch. We were so happy to have Dr. Li, one of the cardiac surgeons we love the most from Zhejiang Children’s Hospital, join us. He was able to share that he performed a heart surgery on one of our babies just that morning. Heng from Anhui, a child with a complex heart condition, received the first stage of her surgery. She is now doing wonderfully!

All too soon it was time to go back to Shanghai. This time, the ride was much less eventful, but did go fast as we discussed the plans for the HSHU. Once we arrived back to Shanghai, I couldn’t wait to go to the hospital to check on today’s surgery cases. All of the children looked great and it was wonderful to hear how quickly today’s surgeries went. The team was finished in record time and again the children looked amazing! I can't wait until tomorrow so I can go back to the hospital to see even more children have their lives changed in such dramatic ways.

Karen Maunu
Medical Director