LWB Community Blog

LWB’s 2019 Cleft Exchange – Day Six

Our 2019 LWB cleft team would like to send one final hello from beautiful Lanzhou, China.

The gorgeous Gansu countryside

We welcomed a very special guest to the cleft trip last night, a kind and caring woman named Ms. Xu.  She was the wonderful orphanage director who made it possible back in 2006 for Gong Lu (whom we mentioned on our Day One blog) to be able to come to the United States for surgery.  A lot of directors at that time were too nervous to ever move children out of their local cities for medical care, but Ms. Xu was determined that Gong Lu was going to get the surgery she needed in order to have a chance at adoption. We were happy to invite Ms. Xu to come to Lanzhou, and she and Gong Lu (now Anna) had their first reunion in 13 years.  Such a special time!  Hooray for all the quiet heroes around the world who take risks and go the extra mile to make sure the needs of children always come first.

Today we headed to the hospital early in the morning to do a final check on the patients who had surgery with our team.

Good morning Rowan!

Taylor’s grandpa had lots of questions about his grandson’s post-op care so he could make sure and follow all the instructions perfectly. We emphasized that Taylor needed to keep the no-nos on until the lip is completely healed to protect those perfectly placed  stitches. Taylor had a much different idea of taking them off NOW, but we know Grandma and Grandpa are going to make sure they stay in place to ensure his lip heals beautifully. (Thank you to everyone who donated no-nos for this trip. We’ll need a lot more for the next exchange, so please keep saving them!)

Bye handsome Taylor

Casey was up and alert this morning, sporting his wonderful lip repair.  Grandpa was proudly showing off Casey’s new look to everyone in the hospital hallways. No one can resist ooh-ing and ah-ing over this little guy’s shock of jet black hair sticking straight up on his head.

Adorable Casey

Rylan and Marley were both approved to begin their journeys back to their orphanages this morning. We all feel confident that after Marley’s lip heals she’ll be chosen for domestic adoption. She is a sweet and gentle little girl who loves being rocked and cuddled. Our sincere hope is that when we do post-surgery checks on all the children in a few months that she will be home with her very own mom and dad. We know you’ll join us with that wish.

Marley was sound asleep this morning

Rylan was up early, and her nanny was given lots of last-minute reminders on the proper care of her lip repair. We do not believe she has any paperwork filed yet for adoption, but we will continue to check. She really needs a family of her own to ensure she gets the ongoing medical treatment we think her hip requires.

Tiny Rylan

All too soon it was time to say our final goodbyes to the families, and everyone gathered around to say thank you to Dr. Buckmiller and the team.

Some of the older children who had their palates repaired this week, despite still feeling a bit sore, even drew goodbye cards for us. That touched our hearts immensely.

Sweet London is a wonderful artist

Every year that we do these trips, we’re struck by the universal commonality of children around the world.

They want to feel safe.

They want to be loved.

And they want to believe that the world is still a place of wonder and hope, even in difficult times.

This week once again brought people together in a single hospital from different countries, diverse cultures, and varied walks of life. We listened to each other’s stories and shared both smiles and tears as we connected during our time together.

The Chinese and US medical teams on the ground worked each day with the one shared goal of providing the absolute best care possible to every precious patient.

Dr. Buckmiller and Dr. Liu – surgeons united to help children

We also know this year’s cleft exchange was only possible because kind people around the globe gave from their hearts to make sure each child’s medical costs were covered.  It was one collective effort of healing, with such magnificent results.

How wonderful this world is when love still prevails.

On behalf of everyone on the 2019 LWB Cleft Exchange – we send our deepest thanks. We couldn’t have done it without you!  And keep watching this space because as soon as we get over our jetlag coming home, it will be time to start thinking Cleft Trip 2020.

But for now, with one final goodbye from Lanzhou, let’s celebrate together all of the beautiful children who were able to receive operations this week.  As you look at their gorgeous little faces, let’s commit yet again to help as many children as possible realize their lives are priceless indeed.  How fabulous it is to be part of a community who truly believes that EVERY CHILD COUNTS!

LWB would like to thank everyone who traveled to Lanzhou as part of our the 2019 team.  You are rockstars, every one:

Lisa Buckmiller, Cindy Wu, Adam Davis, Zhang Ming, Brandi Davis, Jean Gabarra, Stephanie Gonzalez, ZhiYuan Zhang, Anna Hinkle, Nadia Kane, Xiaohan Zhang, Alexandra Shams Ortiz, Debbie Rogers, Huiping Liu, Casey Sacia, Susie Chen, Jocelyn Wang, Nancy Williams, and Esther Li.


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