Joys and Sorrows
LWB first began while trying to help a tiny baby boy receive life saving heart surgery. And while sometimes I am credited with starting it, the reality is that an entire community of people came together to help Baby Kang get his second chance. His life would not have been saved without the outpouring of support from people around the world, people who truly cared about a little boy whom they had never met in person.
Since that time, we have gone on to help thousands of children find healing. One of the things I love the most about our model is that every single child since Kang is still worried over, lifted up, and planned for as if they were our own children. It is a guiding point for our charity to continually ask, “What is in the best interest of this child?” as medical plans are made. We have celebrated again and again as successful surgeries have been done, and we have cried and mourned when children have been too sick to survive.
Making the decision to invest yourself into helping medically fragile children is of course filled with emotion, as the joys are higher than mountaintops but the sorrows take a piece of your heart each time.
This week we have once again had true joys and sorrows. We had moved two little boys, both with complex heart disease, to Shanghai for evaluation. The first was baby Mac, a gorgeous 5-month-old who arrived at the hospital looking wonderfully chubby and well-loved. Although Mac was a bit wary of our hospital manager to begin with, he quickly began babbling and laughing with anyone who would speak to him, and it was hard to believe he was really sick.
The second was little Fabian, 14 months old and weighing in at just 12 pounds. He was extremely weak upon arrival, with oxygen levels only in the 70s. His lips and skin were blue, and he really struggled with labored breathing. Both boys were scheduled to undergo heart catheterization so the surgeons could decide what course of treatment could be done for them.
Mac’s heart cath showed that he had an incredibly complex heart inside his little body. His official diagnosis is Truncus Arteriosus, with a missing left pulmonary artery and small left lung. This heart condition would normally be repaired as a newborn in the US, and without repair, his heart will eventually fail. Surgeons in several countries examined the heart cath film, and sadly…they all agreed that he is currently inoperable.
What a terrible, awful word.
Mac’s caregivers love this baby very much, and the director of his orphanage does not want to give up on him. She realizes that his only chance now is through adoption, as perhaps somewhere there is a cardiac center where multiple staged surgeries could be done. There are just so many unknowns. She has finished his adoption papers, and his file has been sent to the local government for approval. He will soon be available for international adoption, and it is our sincere wish that somewhere there will be a family who wants to make Mac their son.
Adoption is now his only hope for possibly extending his life.
A few days after receiving the sorrowful news that Mac was inoperable, little Fabian underwent his heart cath procedure as well.
We waited on pins and needles for news, and this time it was truly joyous. The surgeons felt Fabian could be healed through surgery, and they felt he was a good candidate for a procedure called the “Glenn.” With a successful operation, Fabian should go from a deep blue to a beautiful pink almost immediately.
Once again, we need a community of people to come together for these baby boys born with complex heart defects.
Once Mac’s file is available for adoption, we hope you will help us spread the news far and wide that this gorgeous baby boy needs a family who will love him no matter how many days he has left on this earth.
And now Fabian needs a community of supporters to come forward to help fund his heart surgery (please see his sponsor page here if you’d like to help). We have told the surgeons to please operate as soon as there is an opening as this little boy has felt weary and sick for far too long.
Joys and sorrows. Laughter and tears. This is real life.
We are so grateful to you for coming together again and again for children you often only know through photos. But they are so much more than that, aren’t they? The urgency of their situations cannot be overstated. Mac is returning back to his orphanage while we hope and pray for a family to be found, and Fabian will undergo a complex open heart surgery to save his life and give him the chance at a home as well. His file is actually already with an agency, but as of today no family has come forward.
Thank you for lifting up both of these boys! May each of them be CHOSEN and safely home in 2015.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer