Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
On our trip to China last week, we left Anhui and headed into the province of Henan, to one of our most favorite orphanages because the staff are so completely committed to the children in their care. In the older children's room, we immediately met Yuan. This little five year old girl had entered the orphanage just one week earlier, and the tumor on her face was the very first thing we all noticed. She actually has two tumors.....one on her forehead and then another on her cheek, affecting just one side of her face, but both grown to a size that has changed her entire appearance. While we might have noticed the tumors first, within seconds we were treated to the beauty of her smile. Soon we were graced with her sweet and gentle personality and I thought to myself that this was a very special child.
We offered Yuan a little cake and she insisted that I have some, too, and then when she noticed that I had empty wrappers in my hand, she called out to me "ayi" and took them from me to throw away. When I pulled her close for a hug, she melted into my arms, and I could feel her tiny hands on the back of my head stroking my hair. She gently pressed her cheek into mine and patted my face, and my heart broke inside thinking of the fact that she had just lost her parents a few days before.
We asked the orphanage to get an immediate MRI, which they had done within 24 hours. Yuan will be traveling to Shanghai next week to meet Dr. Buckmiller to see what can possibly be done for her. She will most likely meet Gong Lu. I hope if she does, Yuan will look into her eyes and recognize what HOPE looks like. It is my daily prayer now that Yuan's story will have the same happy ending as Gong Lu.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We also got to meet the children who will be attending our new Believe in Me school, which is just in its beginning stages. These great kids have never attended school before, and they are so excited by the idea of finally getting a chance to go. We learned that one of the older boys is a great singer, and it was so wonderful to think of him getting a chance to have music class in the future. We were all so excited thinking about coming back on a return trip one day and hearing the stories of what they have learned.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I know Heidi and Jan already wrote about their wonderful trip to Gaoming and Foshan. Linda and I headed from Beijing to Shantou instead. Early the next morning, Linda and I started at the orphanage and were met by the kids in our school program who were downstairs playing on the new playground equipment that was recently installed. We got lots of hugs from the children before heading upstairs to check on all of the kids LWB had sponsored for surgery this year. Each baby was so beautiful, and it was great to see how the children who had heart surgery had filled out and were looking so great. The aunties joked that following surgery they all became so active that their work load increased. There are several children needing cleft surgery, and one particularly stole my heart. His eyelashes are so long that they looked like black fringe, and he was sitting in his bamboo chair listening to the music playing in the room. He is so tiny but he was wiggling back and forth to the music in perfect time. It was SO cute to watch!
On the third floor the kids were having lunch, but they still took the time to come and say hello. Many of the foster families stopped by with their kids as well. I am always so touched by the care and concern of the mamas and babas, and one dad in particular was SO proud of his foster daughter. He brought her up to me over and over again to say “see…look what she can do!” and he would stroke her cheeks and say “beautiful girl” with so much pride.
At lunchtime the teen kids came back from school, and it was so great to see them all again. We were able to sit down and talk with them about their futures, and as I listened to each one speak, my wishes were that each of them be able to find a way to make their dreams come true. I have known them for five years now, and can’t believe it is now time for them to make very real decisions about what they will do when they leave the orphanage.
All too soon it was time to head to the bus station to catch our bus to Fujian province. As we headed off on the highway north, my head was filled with the images of all of the beautiful children I had seen that day. So many amazing children….. each one so deserving of knowing love and happiness.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Today was the first Special Needs Training in Jinjiang, Fujian. It was attended by more than 100 nannies and orphanage officials from more than 50 orphanages in Fujian. We were also honored to have the vice-mayor of Jinjiang give a speech and attend the evening banquet. Officials told us that almost every orphanage attended because all of them want to learn everything possible about giving the best care to children with medical need.
As soon as we can get more reliable internet access, we are going to blog in depth about this wonderful day, but we wanted to share some quick news that the training was a complete success!
If you haven’t seen the manual yet, you can see more about it on our website at
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
We met our wonderful guide, Cindy Wu, after breakfast and then drove to the Gaoming orphanage. We have been providing formula to Gaoming for the past three years, and this was my first opportunity as nutrition director to visit in person. We were happy to visit with the orphanage director and staff, and of COURSE, cuddle some very adorable babies!
Gaoming is a small orphanage with BIG babies. Our arms got a workout as we picked up and held each of the babies as we chatted with the orphanage staff. The director proudly pointed out renovations recently made to the baby room…all provided by Gaoming families. The new paint and tile made the room look so bright and cheery!
In order to meet our next flight, we had to do a quick turnaround and zip off to one of our newer nutrition programs at the Foshan Shunde orphanage. Again, it was absolutely fabulous to see such bright-eyed, lovely little babies. The orphanage director told us that one precious boy was soon to be adopted by a family in the United States soon, so I gave him a little hug in advance of his adoption. That had to be the highlight of my day! Again, we held as many babies as we could get our hands on, and were rewarded with bright smiles and sparkling eyes. The babies there obviously receive plenty of love and affection from their caregivers.
Then it was a mad dash to the airport and for a quick flight to Xiamen, our second province of the day. We made it to our hotel in Jinjiang in time for a dinner with government officials, doctors, about 100 directors and nannies representing approximately 70 different orphanages in Fujian Province. Tomorrow begins the training seminar for adoption of special needs children, and several of us plan to make another orphanage visit as well.
We are looking forward to a good night’s sleep, I know I will be dreaming of babies in my arms all night! Amy and Linda won’t arrive for another hour long after Heidi and I are sawing logs. We can’t wait to meet them at 7:00 AM for breakfast to hear about their adventures.
Wishing you all well from Jinjiang!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
One of these bikers is a high school teacher that is delighted to be supporting the complete college education of two hardworking young people.
Our other student will be majoring in computer sciences in a 3 year program.