LWB Community Blog

2014 LWB Cleft Exchange – Monday

After a short formal ceremony this morning to officially open the 2014 international cleft exchange, the surgeries began.


Ted and Joy were the first two babies taken back to the OR. Ted went with Dr. Ness, and Joy went with Dr. Tolan.

Dr Tolan

Dr Ness

Joy’s daddy and her grandfather waited anxiously outside the operating room, pacing back and forth while waiting for news. Finally her surgery was finished, and she was brought back to the ward for post-op instructions.  Her mom was waiting right outside to get her first glimpse of her daughter’s new smile.


Joy was very hungry since she was not allowed to eat all night, and our doctors told her mom she could nurse her.

Joy back with family (3)

Understandably her mom was very nervous about doing anything to hurt the repair, but Joy did great.


She slept off and on during the morning, and our volunteers were all so touched by how tender her father is with her.


It is obvious that the entire family loves this little girl so much. We are so glad we could help them with Joy’s surgery.


Her Western name certainly fits her well, as this tiny baby girl has brought so much joy to everyone around her.

Little Ted looked amazing following his operation. On all of our cleft trips, the caregivers for the children always wait so anxiously for news during surgery. Ted’s nanny was thrilled with his post op results and immediately started sending before and after photos back to Beijing. He did cry for just a little while but soon was sleeping very calmly.

Ted afterTed

Baby Paul was happy and sweet as usual before surgery despite not getting any food this morning. He checked out the surgeons very carefully before they took him back.


After his surgery he was crying just a bit, but soon his nanny had him resting and back to sleep.

Paul (2)Paul

Robert Owen was also in a great mood this morning, even without his bottle. He was all grins as they got him into his hospital gown. Everyone was so happy to see his wonderful repair when the doctors brought him out. By the end of this week we know he is going to look fantastic.

Robert OWen - CopyRobert Owen

robert owen post op

Our team evaluated nine additional children today for possible surgery.

More exams

Austin came to us from an orphanage out west. He was very thin, but he made good eye contact and seemed very observant of everything going on around him. He just made weight (5 kg), so he will be put on our schedule.

Austin (2) - CopyAustin

Carlos and Ander both passed the scale test as well. We all think Carlos looks a lot like a little Winston Churchill. He has a nice round belly on him!

Carlos (2)Carlos

The doctors also added Rosemary to the schedule, an adorable little girl from the Kaifeng PT Center, which takes in orphaned children from all over Henan province. She will have her palate repaired later this week.

Rosemary - CopyRosemary

Winston and Luce were still perfectly content little babies today. None of our team have yet to see them cry even once. The nannies at our Anhui Healing Home must have a very calming touch!

Luce (1)Luce

Winston (1)Winston

Robin has been passing her time in the hospital watching movies.  She knows many English words, and so she has been able to speak some with our team directly.  Dr. Ness and Dr. Tolan have come up with the plan for Wednesday for her. Her operation will take at least four hours.

Robin Dr NessDr. Ness and Robin

A few of the kids from Gansu are still not very happy with seeing our team, so today they tried their best to stay out of that room as much as possible. : ) Jennifer finally warmed up once she got a ball and a toy car from our volunteers. They still haven’t managed to get a smile from her yet, but at least no tears today!

Jennifer (3)Jennifer

Kenny and Melissa were napping together when they visited. Thankfully Kenny is now feeling much better, and he is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.

Melissa and KennyMelissa and Kenny

Aimee and Harley have stolen the hearts of everyone at the hospital. They are such great friends and smile and wave at anyone who comes near. Today they had a great time playing with stickers and decided it was even more fun to put the stickers on each other than paper. Didn’t they do a great job?

Aimee and HarleyAimee and Harley

Freddie and Tyrone both got to pick special hats today that were donated to our team. If they were on a fashion blog for “Who Wore it Better?” we believe it would clearly be a tie!


Freddie (1)Freddie

We had many rural families come to the hospital today asking for surgery for their children. Could baby Liane be any cuter? Her parents are rural farmers, and they were overjoyed when they learned their daughter would receive surgery on Friday.

Liane smileLiane

Another rural couple managed to get all the way up to the OR somehow, where they camped outside the door waiting for our doctors to come out. Their son was born with a cleft palate only, and they kept saying, “Please help our son.”


Sadly many of the orphaned babies today were just too thin for surgery. It was very hard on our team to have to say no to them, but it just wouldn’t be safe to put them under general anesthesia at the moment. We had to remove Carol Anne and Thomas from the schedule, which is never something we are happy about. We will continue to follow these children and hope we can help them with surgery in the future once they have gained the weight they need. Like all of these medical trips, there are both incredible joys when surgery can be done, and then heavy sorrows when a child doesn’t qualify. However, the safety of the children has to come first.

Tomorrow there will be eight surgeries, as many more children were added today. Dr. Ness will operate on Winston, Freddie, Aimee, and a ten year old rural girl whose parents are hoping he can make her look more “normal.”


Many of us reading this don’t like that word, but it is just a very real truth still in China that visible special needs often aren’t accepted. Dr. Ness said it will be a very quick surgery – maybe 40 minutes at most.

Dr. Tolan will be doing surgery on Luce, Tyrone, Harley, and then a three-year-old little boy from the countryside whose parents are also worried about him being shunned with his current repair.

Wen rural child

We know that it can be very difficult on children with cleft lip to be accepted completely in their communities, and so our doctors want to help if at all possible. His surgery should also be a quick one, but hopefully it will help him and his parents feel much better about his future.

Thank you for all of the good wishes you are sending to our team. We are so grateful! If anyone would like to help support the surgeries for the rural children, they are listed on our website here.

More tomorrow!

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