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A wonderful day in Shantou

Today our trip took us to Shantou. Despite the cold and damp weather, we were very warmly greeted by the orphanage staff. We began our visit with a wonderful lunch, sponsored by the director, and then we were taken to the orphanage to spend time with the adorable children.

One of the first rooms visited was where our Believe In Me School was in session. The school curriculum used is Montessori based and the kids just have so much fun. The director said that they love this school program because the children learn and have so much fun. When we visited the room today, it was music time. The ayi was playing music and dancing with the kids. Every child was so engaged and one little boy in particular was just dancing away, swinging his hips to the beat of the music.

When we were in one of the baby rooms, an ayi rolled in a crib with four babies sitting up in it. What an absolutely adorable sight!! One of the babies had cheeks so big that showed that she must enjoy her formula. She also loved Tracie’s scarf and decided that she wasn’t going to let it go. It took two people to pry it out of her hands.

Another baby that we were able to see today was baby #3 from our Top Ten Photos on our website. This little girl had a bilateral cleft lip repaired in October during our 2006 Cleft Trip. Her lip looks fabulous and this child has quite the personality. She was all smiles and when put down, ran back to get a hug.

Baby En, who had his first stage surgery for a very complicated heart condition was absolutely adorable with the most kissable cheeks. This sweet baby will need a second surgery very soon and will soon be on our website. He has changed so much since his the first picture we received of him and could be a more loveable baby.

Lori and Tracie also delivered a giraffe to three of our cleft babies sponsored by a gentleman who also had a granddaughter with a cleft palate who passed away when she was two. He has sponsored these babies in her honor and sent the giraffes because they were his granddaughter’s favorite toy. Soon these babies will have their cleft surgeries performed and his kindness will make such a difference to each of them. One of the babies, baby Can, has the sweetest smile and she will have her cleft palate repaired.

One of our foster care children, a two year old little boy named Feng, came to the orphanage with his parents to visit. We had SO much fun playing with him and spent over a half hour with him. He loved to play with bubbles. As we would blow them, he tried to pop them. Soon, he decided that he would do it himself and tried to take the whole bottle. When his foster mother took the bottle away, he had a temper tantrum and made the most adorable faces. He was soon cheered up when we gave him a matchbox car and necklaces. We had to laugh when he preferred the necklaces. What an adorable little boy.

After we had our fill of all of the beautiful children, we took the older children to their favorite restaurant where they serve hot pot. We watched in awe as they enjoyed their meal so much. I sat with one of the girls who has the most beautiful smile. Every time I looked over at her, she just gave me her huge grin. I told her how beautiful I thought she was and she just beamed bigger. She is such a sweet, soft spoken girl. I just loved being able to share this time with all of these kids and wished that we had more time.

It is goodnight for now, as we are off to Hangzhou tomorrow. In Hangzhou, we will be meeting Dr. Li, one of the most kind and skilled heart surgeons. We currently have four babies at his hospital and we are all looking forward to seeing them. After seeing so many heart babies over the last few days who have been healed by this man, I can’t wait to shake his hand in appreciation for all he has done.

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