A Visit to the Anhui Healing Home
Every time I visit the Anhui Healing Home, I wish more than anything that I could just unpack my bags and work as a nanny there. This home has a very special feel because all of the caregivers are related or good friends. When you walk in the door, you hear music and laughing – and you know within minutes that all the babies are in very good hands, from their heads to their sweet little toes.
Our residents here of course change continually, as kids are healed and graduate to foster care and as new babies needing TLC arrive. I wanted to give you a snapshot of the babies I met on my trip, however, because it shows the tiny miracles that are unfolding here daily.
The first baby I held was little Etan. Some of you might remember that he was the tiny preemie whose twin sister tragically passed away before we could get them to the hospital. Etan fought for his life in the NICU, and he was so tiny and weak when he arrived at AHH that he couldn’t even open his eyes. Now he is learning to play with toys and making great eye contact. I am so thankful his life could be saved, and as I stood there holding him I kept hoping that someday when he is adopted that his new parents find us. I hope he can know someday that he was a twin, because I never want his little sister to be forgotten.
Cadence is a beautiful “heart baby” who was blue as could be when she came into our hands. Post-surgery, she is the picture of health, and she was making us all laugh with her constant babbling and expressive faces. She will be moved to foster care in the next week or so, and I know the nannies are going to miss her fun personality so much.
Clara Jane was the very sick baby with cleft who had IV marks all along her head when she entered orphanage care. Clearly someone in her birth family had tried to make her well before she was found. She is so sweet and happy, and she loves being held. How I wish we could let her family know that she is now okay.
Matt can only be described as a total “chub-a-love.” He is smiley and happy, and loves to bounce up and down on your lap. He will also be moving to foster care soon, and boy will his foster mom get a workout lifting him up and down all day.
Judy and Heather were so fragile when they first came into our hands. Their cleft lip repairs look fantastic, and both girls had such sweet and gentle spirits.
Paxton made us all laugh when he first saw us. He opened his eyes really wide, and his whole body shook in excitement. He was so tiny and thin on the day he was admitted, but he is making incredible progress under the care of the nannies.
Little Chandler has a whole lot of initials after her name to describe her heart defects (TOF, PA, ASD, PDA, TR). Those are some pretty big issues for such a tiny baby girl. I am so glad she is safely at AHH where she will get the care and monitoring she needs.
The baby I was — and am — the most worried about was little Faith. She is the one whose spinal tumor had already ruptured when she was found, and it was severely infected. She had only been discharged from the hospital two days before our arrival in Hefei. Her head had begun swelling from hydrocephalus, so we are praying that will stabilize. After getting the okay from the head nanny, Kelly gently picked her up and held her for a long time. She was weak, but she made wonderful eye contact. Her incision on her back is still open in one spot, and so I know she has a long road ahead of her. But I take comfort in knowing she is getting 24/7 care. I asked the nannies if they ever had a time during the night where all the babies were asleep at once, and they quickly shook their heads “no.”
At one of the orphanages I visited, I found a newly abandoned baby boy with severe heart disease. He was like a little blueberry, and I am so grateful his orphanage agreed to move him immediately to AHH. Welcome Branson to the LWB family, and he certainly can use some prayers as his heart defect is one of the most complex.
We are also awaiting arrival of three new babies, including this tiny baby girl we found on our visit. We hope she can moved as quickly as possible to AHH. At the moment we think her only special need is club feet, but she is extremely thin.
Here are a few more photos from our visit. Thank you to everyone who supports the Anhui Healing Home. I hope each of you knows what an enormous difference you are making in the lives of some very vulnerable babies. If anyone else would like to be a part of this life saving project, you can sign up for a sponsorship here. The work at AHH is essential, and every child there is so deserving of help.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer