Helping Create New Smiles in Gansu
The opening of a new Believe In Me education program at the Qingyang orphanage in northern Gansu Province also led to us assisting with medical care for some of their children. This orphanage is home to many children with cleft lip and palate, and we had just recently connected with a physician in Xi’An who specializes in helping kids with this medical need.
Thanks to our supporters, we were able to send three children from Qingyang to the hospital in Xi’An in December for their repairs and will plan to send more there in the future.
The first of these three children receiving cleft surgeries is six-year-old Spencer who had waited a long time for his cleft lip surgery. This little guy was old enough to be very aware of his cleft lip compared with his peers, and because of it, lacked self-confidence.
Spencer had his cleft lip surgery in December and has recovered nicely. Because of the complexity of his cleft, his repair was the first step of a two-surgery process. We hope Spencer can have his second lip surgery in April during the Cleft Exchange, and then his palate surgery soon after that.
Spencer is enjoying being involved in his new Believe in Me classroom! We know once his palate is closed, his speech will hopefully improve and he will be able to participate more fully.
Babies Blake and Breanne also had their cleft lip repairs. Although 11-month-old Blake suffered from a cold soon after leaving the hospital, he’s now feeling better and his lip repair looks great!
Sweet Breanne (seen above) was well cared for by her nanny while in the hospital and has also recovered well. At ten months old, she’s on the verge of crawling.
The Qingyang orphanage is very happy with the repairs these children received and said that their experience at the hospital in Xi’An was positive. They have several more children with unrepaired cleft lips, and we hope to send them for surgery soon. The waiting babies are gaining the weight necessary to be healthy enough for their lip repairs with the help of the soft squeezable bottles we sent them.
We are very thankful for the opportunity to help these children get their life-changing cleft repair surgeries and look forward to a continued partnership with Qingyang in the future!