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World Down Syndrome Day 2018

Did you ever wonder why March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day?  March 21, or 3/21, signifies the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome. Around the world, people are proudly wearing crazy socks and celebrating the joy that people with Down Syndrome bring to the world. Today we would like to shine the spotlight on ten children with Down Syndrome in our programs who are waiting to be chosen for adoption.  Here they are from oldest to youngest:

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A Visit to Loudi Foster Care

Having farewelled the children, families, and staff in Xinzhou, our Foster Care Director Cindy and I were soon speeding towards Loudi, central Hunan, on another fast train. With a short stop in the capital Changsha, I had four hours to enjoy the changing winter landscape and blue skies outside my window, the latter a rarity in most Chinese cities. Flat plains of fallow fields changed to mountains and tunnels as our train approached Changsha. As the city outskirts came into view, I recalled my much-loved book, Doctors East Doctors West, that sits on a bookshelf at home, and marveled at how much China has changed since its author Dr. Edward H. Hume opened the Yale-in-China Hospital in Changsha 101 years ago. I thought about the medical exchanges LWB has had over the years and the medical exchanges and sharing of knowledge that will happen in the future.

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From Helplessness to Hope

When I first started going overseas almost 20 years ago, I encountered an all-too-familiar sight of children begging for money. Like so many, my first inclination was to dig into my purse to help out, but a visit to one particular city opened my eyes to the horrific realities of many children on the street. I will never forget getting out of the taxi and having children who were painfully thin begin to crawl towards me, pulling themselves by their arms. Many of the children’s legs were bent in such completely unnatural ways, and I stupidly asked my guide why so many in this one location were severely disabled. She whispered to me that there wasn’t an orphanage in this region, and so it was secretly known that gangs would pick up any abandoned babies and children to use for begging. To make the children even more pitiful, she told me that “bad men” would break the children’s limbs repeatedly so they’d be more effective beggars.

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A Visit to Xinzhou Foster Care

As my flight from Australia descended into Beijing, I looked through my notes that I had written about the more than 50 children I was intending to visit over the next eight days. I wondered if I was being a little overly ambitious: five cities in four provinces. The schedule that Cindy, our foster care director, had put together was a tight one, and I hoped for good weather. Much of the time would be spent traveling from one city to another, but once there, nearly all our time would be spent visiting the foster families and children in our programs: Xinzhou, Loudi, Tongren, Qiandongnan, and Lanzhou. It was with excitement and optimism that I stepped off my flight, negotiated Beijing International airport and eventually laid my head on a pillow

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Our Newest Foster Care Program: Datong, China

It is with great excitement that we announce the opening of our newest foster care program in Datong, China. Located in northern Shanxi province, Datong borders Inner Mongolia and is very cold in these winter months. The Datong orphanage has one of the oldest foster care programs in China. So why is LWB now getting involved?  Under their current model, children are often moved multiple times as babies, frequently returning to orphanage care around age 2.  Under the agreement that we have signed, the babies placed in LWB foster care will remain with their foster families until adoption. The importance of infant bonding with a primary caregiver cannot be overstated, and we are excited to work with the Datong orphanage on a program to encourage uninterrupted family care.

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Domestic Adoptions in 2017

At LWB, it’s a real celebration each time we hear that one of the orphaned children in our China programs has found a  forever home. Ten years ago, almost every child in LWB care would have had their files prepared for international adoption. Today, when we learn a child has been chosen, our first question now is “Domestic or International?” 

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Four Children Waiting For Cleft Surgery in China

LWB has been asked to help with four beautiful children in China who were born with cleft needs.  We are hoping to have their operations done before Chinese New Year in February, as travel becomes incredibly difficult the closer it gets. The three youngest children come from the Kaifeng Physical Therapy Center in Henan. The head nanny from our Henan Healing Home is now the head nanny at the Kaifeng PT Center, and we have done a number of projects with the center. The children here receive excellent care, and we have been pleased to help provide them with orthotics and braces which are very expensive in China.

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Waiting Children of 2017: Ages 5 and Under

Our deepest wish for the children in our programs is to have the love and support of a family. This blog features seventeen younger waiting children in our programs. Many of these little ones were not featured last year and are new to our list. We are so happy that their orphanages filed their adoption paperwork and hope that in 2018 some of these incredibly special children will find permanent families of their very own.

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Waiting Children of 2017: Ages 5-12

Every year, we do a blog that features all of the children in LWB programs who have been waiting for adoption for a period of several months or more.  Every year, this blog gets more difficult to do put together. Why?  Because so many of the same children wait, year after year after year. Of the 28 children we featured in last year’s Waiting Children blogs, only two boys and two girls were chosen for adoption in 2017. In this blog, we are featuring fourteen children ages 5-12 who are ready for adoption and waiting to be matched with a family. We understand that as children grow older, their chances to find a permanent family grow slimmer. Yet, we hold out hope that there may be a permanent family out there for each and every one of these twelve precious children.

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Isaac, Filled With Joy

This month we’re continuing to highlight some of the children whose lives you’re changing when you give to LWB. Today we want you to meet two-year-old Isaac, who was born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Isaac was just a tiny baby when he came into LWB foster care. It’s sadly very common for babies with Down Syndrome to become failure-to-thrive in orphanage settings, so we were grateful that Isaac was able to have his very own mom, dad, and grandma to surround him with love. It’s pretty clear from the early photos of his care with LWB just how happy he was to have so much attention.

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