2014 LWB Cleft Exchange – Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday saw 20 children from around China arrive to Kaifeng in preparation for their cleft surgeries this week. The rest of our medical team also arrived from overseas, and the doctors quickly got to work making sure every detail was in place regarding the OR.
Instruments were counted, sutures were checked, and the post-anesthesia room was finalized.
All of the children got pre-op exams as well. Hearts were listened to, temperatures were taken, and there were a lot of “open wide and say ahhhhhh”s!
The rest of our team got busy setting up the patient wards. Every child has a medical record and sign over his or her bed both in Chinese and English to make sure the local medical team and our American team know who is who.
We’d like to introduce you to many of the children having surgery this coming week. Ted and Robert Owen made the journey from Beijing and are both so social and sweet. Ted is working on his walking skills and is a complete ham. He had a great time playing with our volunteers and didn’t seem to mind one bit that he was in the hospital. Robert Owen is a little younger than Ted, but can quickly roll all over the bed. Both boys were the picture of health!
Baby Paul came to Kaifeng from Inner Mongolia. He is only four months old but so chunky and healthy. He was very content to let our team members hold him for a long time today.
Tyrone arrived from his orphanage in Anhui province. He is a playful little guy who is pretty quiet, but he wasn’t scared of our team at all. He was also happy to be a model for the homemade bibs people sent with our team.
Baby Maureen is so chubby and social. She was giving everyone lots of cute smiles. The doctors said they had never seen a cleft quite like hers before. It involves her lip and her tongue as well.
Winston and Luce both came to Kaifeng from our Anhui Healing Home. They were very content to sit with their nannies in the hospital and eat. Not a peep of concern out of either of them!
Everyone was very surprised at how small Vicente still is. This little one has faced challenge after challenge. As we would get updates on him from China, it was clear in his photos that he was indeed gaining weight, but it was still a bit shocking to see how tiny he really is in person . He can’t sit up yet, but when the nanny would lay him down, he would use his abs to pick his head up – pretty impressive! What a fighter he is. We all hope this surgery will allow him to eat a bit better.
Madeline came all the way over from Gansu province. She is a quiet little girl but still very playful. She loved watching everything going on around her. She traveled with Melissa, Kenny and Karis. Melissa is so social and outgoing. She was smiling and waving at everyone and complete unafraid of the foreigners. Unfortunately, both Kenny and Karis arrived quite sick with high fevers. We are treating them with antibiotics and hope they can still have surgery at the end of the week.
Harley and Aimee both arrived to the hospital from Guangdong province and are truly delightful. They seem to be very good friends and were extremely happy to greet the doctors.
Our team was very happy to meet baby Joy in person. Joy was born in February to a very young rural couple who understandably felt quite overwhelmed when their daughter arrived into the world with cleft lip. Many children in China who are born with this special need end up being abandoned and entering orphanage care, of course. Thankfully, baby Joy’s aunt quickly reached out to a man she knew who was doing charity work in China to try and find immediate support for this young family. He quickly contacted us because he knew about our Unity Fund for rural families, and literally within hours everything was arranged for baby Joy to be see our team in April.
Joy’s mom has obviously been taking wonderful care of this little baby as she is so healthy and chubby at just two months old. She will actually be the first one tomorrow to receive surgery by Dr. Tolan. We are overjoyed that this family is still together and that Joy is oh so loved.
Our team was also so excited to meet an older girl named Robin in person, who came to see us from an orphanage in southern China. We had learned about Robin after reading a blog on the Huffington Post by a high school girl named Sophie Johnson. Sophie was adopted from China, and she wanted so much to help her “Chinese sister” Robin who had aged out of the adoption process before finding a family. Robin had been born with cleft lip and palate, and was still facing great difficulties and bullying because of her appearance.
We were so happy that everything fell into place for Robin to fly up to Kaifeng to be seen by our team. She arrived to the hospital so very excited. She couldn’t stop grinning, and one team member said she is so happy to get this chance that she was “bouncing on her toes.” The surgeons are deciding on the final plan for her, but at the moment we think she will have a P-flap procedure done as well as a rhinoplasty. She talked to Dr. Ness for quite some time and was truly radiating joy.
So for Monday, we have Joy, Paul, Ted, and Robert Owen having surgery. The doctors will also examine nine additional babies who are from the local city, five from orphanage care, and four from rural families.
Let the healing begin!