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Joanna’s Beginning

A new baby is like the beginning of all things: wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. ~Eda J. Leshan

I remembered this quote last Friday, when my newest grandson was born into the world.  Baby Eldridge is doing well now, after a few days in the NICU under the bilirubin lights for severe jaundice. He should be discharged later today to go home with his very proud parents. Just a day or so after his birth, a tiny baby girl came into the world as well, this time in China, and her beginning was certainly different than my grandson’s.

An orphanage in Anhui called us last weekend about a newborn they had just received who was in trouble. This baby was born with a condition called gastroschisis, which means her intestines and liver were outside her body, but thankfully in her case still covered by a thin transparent sac.  Here in the US, even when the medical team is expecting and prepared for a baby to be born with this condition, it is considered a medical emergency. Each time we see a baby arrive at an orphanage with her condition, it is truly a miracle to me that they survive.

The difference between my grandson’s birth and this little girl’s certainly wasn’t lost on me. My son was calling and texting to tell me how amazing his new little boy was, while at the same time I sadly knew there was a couple in China who for one reason or another felt they had to leave their newborn baby on her own.

I cannot imagine their grief.

Baby Joanna was rushed to Anhui Children’s Hospital where she underwent an immediate surgery.

Isn’t she perfect in every way?

Just today, we received the incredible news that Joanna came off the ventilator and continues to recover following her major operation. She had such a huge hole in her abdomen that doctors are monitoring her closely, but so far she is doing wonderfully! Yet another little warrior girl.

Joanna’s surgery and ongoing medical care is estimated to cost around $16,000, as she still needs to stay in the  ICU. So far we have raised just 35% of that amount.

I know I have an extra special reason right now, through my newest grandson, to give thanks that my own children and grandchildren have ready access to medical care.  If there’s a child in your life who means the world to you as well, please consider making a donation today for sweet baby Joanna in their honor.

Joanna certainly has had a very rough start to her life.  Her health and future now depend completely on the kindness of strangers, and I know if we all come together, we won’t let her down.

~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer

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