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Uganda Pediatric Surgery Mission: Day One

As the morning sun rose over Mbarara, Uganda, the LWB team made their way to Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital.  A week of healing for so many children was about to begin, and final preparations were needed to ensure this first pediatric surgery mission would be a huge success for the kids.

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LWB’s Pediatric Surgery Mission in Uganda: Dr. Situma

We hope you’ve seen the wonderful news that LWB’s very first pediatric surgery mission in Uganda will be taking place next week.  From August 30th to September 5th, our goal is for 100 extremely impoverished children to finally receive the surgeries they need. Many of them have been waiting years for their operations, enduring daily pain that can quickly be corrected with proper medical care.  Today I would like to share the back story on how this exciting new mission project came to be.

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Jeremiah: 5 Hearts, 7 Days

Jeremiah was Joselyn’s first baby.  While pregnant, she spent her days dreaming about her baby’s future, praying over life, and wondering whether she’d be blessed with a boy or girl. As it turned out, though, her birth story was nothing like she had dreamed. Jeremiah’s father abandoned Joselyn at the hospital. She has not seen him again, and he has never seen his son. Those first days with her child marked a difficult turning point in her life. She left the hospital as a single mom — a single mom of a baby with medical needs.

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Lianah: 5 Hearts, 7 Days

Lianah’s mom has never been out of Africa, or even Uganda, but she is ready with her brand-new passport.  The prospect of traveling outside her country is a frightening one, but Robinah is ready and willing. Her daughter, Lianah, has a very fragile heart.  She just turned one, but at 14.5 pounds, she simply is not gaining enough weight. Her breathing is heavy and labored. She’s in urgent need of surgery.

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Joyce: 5 Hearts, 7 Days

Lydia had just been told that the complex heart surgery her baby girl Joyce needs to live could not be performed anywhere in all of Uganda. The hospital staff told her that she’d have to travel abroad and would have to find help on her own. Noticing her tears, a kind stranger on the street stepped carefully toward Lydia to offer a few minutes of comfort. Before stepping back into the crowd, this mysterious woman handed her a slip of paper with a phone number on it.

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5 Hearts, 7 Days

Last week, I traveled to Uganda to visit some of the children being helped by LWB. I traveled with Christina Lindseth, our Managing Director for Ugandan programs, and Rebecca Radicchi, author and adoptive parent. One week ago today, we sat together in a grassy area of central Uganda, meeting with worried parents who shared one common anguish: the child they adored would die without a heart surgery they could never afford.

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Journey to Odisha, India: Part II

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I recently had the opportunity to visit several locations in the impoverished western region of Odisha, India, meeting with a wonderful local charity called YCDA. With limited resources, they provide essential support to orphaned and vulnerable children. During my trip, we were given permission to visit several local orphanages.

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Journey to Odisha, India

LWB’s work in India to date has been primarily in the medical field, helping with rural medical care and partnering with Mission Smile for cleft surgeries. Our hope for many years has been to expand LWB’s foster care model from China, Cambodia, and Uganda to help orphaned children in India as well. While it’s difficult to get an exact count on the number of orphaned children in India, a number frequently cited is between 20 and 25 million. Less than 1% of those children will ever find a permanent home, leaving countless numbers to spend their entire childhoods in crowded institutions. We would love to do our small part to help change that, as we believe every child born deserves to be raised in a caring family.

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The 2019 Cleft Medical Exchange: Meet Our Team!

This year’s Cleft Medical Exchange in Lanzhou, Gansu, China is a blending of previous and new team members. We are so thankful to have both those who are returning and those who are joining us for the first time as they each bring their unique skills, experiences, and passion for helping children to this exchange. Some of you might remember that Dr. Lisa Buckmiller adopted a little girl named Gong Lu from China whom LWB helped bring to the US for medical care in 2006. (The remarkable story of Gong Lu is told in the LWB book, The Heart of an Orphan.)

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You Got A Smile So Bright: The 2019 Cleft Medical Exchange

During last year’s Cleft Medical Exchange, we met a baby girl born with cleft lip and palate named Faye. When Faye’s family brought her to the hospital in Gansu, she was just eight months old and one of three daughters in a farming family. To make additional money to support his little girls, Faye’s father made noodles in Beijing, so he rarely returned home to Gansu. However, Faye’s dad wasn’t about to let his baby girl have surgery without him, so he traveled 1,500 km to be with her.

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