LWB Community Blog

Heart Babies: Colin and Mary

Right now we have two babies with serious heart issues in the hospital in Shanghai. We wanted to introduce them both to you as they need every good thought and prayer sent their way.


Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect seen worldwide. In 2011, a study was done in Shanghai to observe the prevalence of heart defects found in babies in four counties there, which found a prevalence of 18.7 per 1000 births. This is a significantly higher prevalence than found in North America in the same year, with 6.9 babies per 1000 being born with heart defects (source: American College of Cardiology). Because of the high cost of surgery to repair their child’s heart, many poor families in China make the difficult decision to abandon their child, and so it isn’t unusual for orphanages to often have multiple children at one time with this special need.


Recently we were contacted by an orphanage in southern China who was very concerned about two of the children in their care. The first baby is a little boy named Colin. This gorgeous 11-month-old was born with a heart condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). This means he has four defects with this heart, which made him quite blue, tired, and short of breath. Normally TOF is repaired fairly early in infancy, but often babies in orphanages receive their surgeries much later if the local hospital isn’t equipped for the repair.

Colin3.15Colin before surgery

We moved Colin to Shanghai earlier this month, and he underwent surgery on March 18th. Doctors were very happy that his vitals immediately improved post-op. His oxygen levels went to 99%, taking him from blue to a lovely pink. However, Colin has been unable to be weaned from the ventilator yet. Doctors tried earlier this week without success. They will be trying again later today, so he needs every good thought sent his way.


The second baby is little Mary. She is from the same orphanage as Colin, but had only recently arrived. Mary is two months old, and her orphanage called us when she began going into heart failure. She would have spells where she stopped breathing and became lethargic, and she was sweaty all the time.


Surgeons in Shanghai did a full evaluation and concluded that she needed surgery immediately for her large VSD and ASD, so she was scheduled for her operation today. Mary loves to be held by her nanny, and our hospital manager has said she is a calm and peaceful baby. We are anxiously waiting news on the outcome of her surgery.


We are so very grateful to everyone who donates to our Heart Surgery Fund. Thankfully, many families around the world are open to adopting a child born with congenital heart disease, so our prayer is that Mary and Colin will both recover fully from their surgeries. Then they can prepare for the next stage of their life journey – being registered for adoption and finding families of their very own.

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