A little over a year ago little Abby was admitted to LWB’s Henan Healing Home. Because of her bilateral cleft lip and palate, she had great difficulty feeding, and the HHH nannies set her up with a feeding tube. Having reached a healthy weight, Abby was able to be part of LWB’s cleft exchange trip held in April last year. After a difficult surgery, her results looked amazing. Happy to be rid of her feeding tube hat, Abby smiled more, became less shy, and gained more weight as feeding was so much easier.
When Abby entered LWB’s Changzhi Foster Care Program the following month, she was chunky and healing well. However our China foster care manager reported that both she and the Abby’s mother were concerned that Abby’s neck was weak and leaning a little to the left. Abby’s observant foster mother told our manager that Abby’s grip and hand strength were not as strong as other babies and that she had difficulty grasping objects. She also reported that Abby was sticking out her tongue while trying to eat cereal, which made it come out of her mouth.
Our foster care team was able to share these concerns with a network of LWB volunteers and other connections. Following the helpful suggestions received from medical, physical, occupational, and speech therapists who reviewed Abby’s records, our China team provided the family with small baby spoons to help develop better oral and feeding skills. They were encouraged to use a special fingertip to brush her gums, teeth, and tongue to help her become more aware of her mouth and better able to coordinate her mouth muscles. Abby’s foster family encouraged her to strengthen her grasp by giving her lots of things to hold.
Thanks to the intervention of so many people and the dedicated care of her foster family, Abby is continuing to make improvements. Just take a look at how well this beautiful young girl is doing now! We hope to hear news that she has been united with her forever family very soon.