In 2005, LWB held one of our most ambitious medical missions ever when we set up a mobile operating theater inside the Luoyang orphanage in Henan province. On that trip I was incredibly blessed to meet Maureen Brogan Gealey, an R.N. who had volunteered her time to care for the children post-op. I quickly realized that Maureen was such a remarkable person, as she moved effortlessly between building homemade IV poles, to arranging for the older kids in the orphanage to have a fun dinner out, to literally saving the life of a little baby who coded in the middle of the night.
As our friendship developed over the next few years, I discovered that Maureen had been involved not only with nursing, but public health, child protective services, and foster care as well. Having been a nurse in a small community, she was aware of the vicious cycles of abandonment, neglect, and abuse that can affect generations of families. With the adoption of her own two daughters from China in 2002 and 2006, she began using her passion for education to help families in all stages of the adoption process, becoming a well-known advocate for the waiting child path to adoption.
In 2007, when our charity realized that many orphanage caregivers in China were struggling to understand the myriad of medical needs faced by the children in their care, Maureen once again stepped up to help. She tirelessly worked on the creation of our first Manual of Special Needs, which was distributed to orphanages throughout China and was made available in three languages.
Maureen continued to volunteer her time for our cleft surgery medical trips as well, leading several medical teams to China and helping hundreds of children receive life-changing operations. Some of my favorite photos of Maureen are from those trips as it is so obvious that when she is working with babies and children in need that she is absolutely in her element.
This week we learned that Maureen has been chosen as one of the 2013 Congressional Coalition’s Angels in Adoption. This is a decision that our politicians absolutely got right. Everyone who meets Maureen quickly realizes that she is an incredible advocate for both at-risk children and for families. She is not only a hero to me, but a trusted mentor. I have lost track of the times over the years when I have called her to ask advice and get her always wise opinions on what would be best for the children we serve.
All of us at LWB send out deepest congratulations to this truly deserving woman. Maureen, you truly are an angel to children all over the world.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer