Today I took 13 people to the Hope Foster Home to visit the incredible center run by Joyce and Robin Hill. It started out as a handful of us going, but then the Shangrao orphanage staff really wanted to go as well since they have two babies there at the moment that we have transfered. We all got to experience Beijing traffic at its finest 🙂 as we left our hotel by the CCAA at 8 a.m., arrived at the Lido hotel where we were meeting Hope’s driver at 9 a.m., and then arrived at Hope at 10:50 a.m. It was quite fun for me because I had not had an “official” tour since 2004 and so I got to refresh all of my details about the great work they are doing there. The first room we went to had several of our medical babies. One of the babies we sent there for club foot casting was the first one I spied and she looked at me with a very furrowed brow as if to warn me not to come a step closer. The wonderful thing about having only 2 children to every ayi is that the children are SO attached to their nannies and it is so great to see them hurry over to their aunties for reassurance when they see foreigners. Within a few minutes, however, they realized we were “fun” people and not scary and then the laughter began. Digital cameras are the ultimate icebreaker for children as they all LOVE to take photographs and see themselves. Several children with quick hands grabbed the cameras from us and they were so happy snapping photographs. It is obvious they are quite used to being “hams” in front of a camera. It was so great to see Aurora after her heart surgery in Singapore. She looks AMAZING and has so much energy.
As we walked room to room it was wonderful to see so many familiar kids. Of course baby Hercules brought tears to my eyes as he just looks so wonderful. However, what a change from the last time I saw him in May when he thought I was the cat’s pajamas. Now he is firmly attached to his ayi and he wanted NOTHING to do with me today. I was more than content to admire him from afar!
It was fabulous to see our new Heartbridge unit in person. That room has the tiniest and most fragile babies in Hope, and I noticed that when everyone went into that unit (of course after sanitizing our hands), that a quiet hush fell over everyone. The babies are just so little! I was disappointed that I couldn’t see baby Yang right then because her IV shunt had clogged and she had to go to the hospital. I did see baby Song, though, who was the one who had the leaking spinal fluid for so long. She is GORGEOUS! All fat and chubby and just perfect. I also saw our gorgeous boy from Shangrao who had colon surgery and several heart children.
Following a wonderful lunch, I learned that baby Yang had arrived back from the hospital so I quickly went upstairs to meet this little fighter in person. Oh there just aren’t words to say how tiny she is. I picked her up and it was like holding a newborn. She has SUCH severe heart disease and was breathing so very heavy, but she locked her eyes onto mine and she SMILED. I am starting to cry right now thinking about it. She has such a spirit about her. I kissed her head and told her that the next time I come back I expect her to be all chubby and healthy. Oh how I pray that is the case. She truly has such a severe heart. I know so many people, however, are praying she can have surgery.