I had the pleasure of meeting Aimee during the Cleft Exchange last April in Kaifeng. Aimee and another child from her orphanage in Guangdong Province, Harley, had such complex cleft lips that flying them to Kaifeng for surgery with our amazing doctors was the best thing for them. Aimee, at five years old, had waited a long time for their chance at surgery, and had seen her friends come back with repaired cleft lips, and then leave with adoptive families. Aimee is still waiting to be chosen for adoption, and we hope that this unforgettable girl will be able to know the love of a forever family one day soon.
Aimee and Harley were cared for in the hospital by their teachers from the Believe In Me school program that LWB runs at their orphanage. These teachers did an amazing job with Aimee and Harley, keeping them entertained, comforted, and well-fed during their week-long stay. Their room in the hospital was our favorite to visit because the kids were so animated and welcoming. Aimee would show us her toys, including a toy phone. She would pretend to call us on the phone and then would hold it up to our ears for us to respond.
Aimee enjoyed the stickers we gave her and ended up with them all over her face.
Although Aimee’s cleft lip surgery was difficult, she received a wonderful repair and healed well from the surgery. In the eight months since her surgery, her teachers have noted how significantly her personality has changed. Before surgery she was timid and quiet, obeying quickly out of fear. She would cling to her teacher and hide behind her.
Now Aimee is much more confident. In the summer when our Education Program held a Teacher Training event at Aimee’s orphanage, she enjoyed lots of attention and wanted to be in the center of things. Aimee especially delighted in each new activity.
She got to participate in dances and was very proud to show off the crafts she made.
Another notable change in Aimee’s personality since her lip surgery is her confidence among her peers. She doesn’t let them take toys from her anymore, but she stands up for herself and her friends.
In school, Aimee enjoys listening to storybooks and doing crafts. She understands and follows directions well and loves to participate in class activities.
Sometimes Aimee has a hard time concentrating and will move around and try to distract her friends. She can sing some children songs, but prefers to dance. Aimee knows and reads some Chinese characters and can write several too. She has been working hard on her numbers and can now count to ten.
Dr. Ness, the doctor who performed Aimee’s cleft surgery, writes this about her: I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites – but Aimee would just make my day! She was so happy and inquisitive. She loved playing games with me and was very snuggly.
We all felt a little sad when it was time for her to leave.
Even though I know she was in pain after her surgery, she was so attentive in trying to comfort the other children around her. She is a beautiful girl, and I hope that some family will read this and see her possibilities. She seems happy to see beyond her facial differences, and her forever family will too.
Aimee still has an open palate and will require palate surgery in the future. Once that is done, hopefully her speech will progress.
Please ask us about this incredible, unforgettable girl whose file is now on the shared list! She deserves to know the love of a family, and it is our greatest wish that she will have that opportunity!
~Kelly Eckert, Cleft Initiative Director
Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact [email protected]