October Visit to The Healing Homes and Foster Care
October was a very special time for our Healing program, as a group of LWB volunteers made its way to China. Concentrating on Anhui Province was the team of Julie Flynn-Coleman (Healing Homes Director), Maureen Gealey (Supervisor of Medical Care), Arlene Howard (Foster Care Director), and Jan Champoux (that’s me: Healing Homes Associate Director and Heartbridge Coordinator). Also traveling were Kate Finco (Chief Operations Executive) and Kelly Wolfe (Chief Administrative Executive), who moved on to other provinces the day after we arrived. We all agree that it was a wonderful and extremely productive trip, and we hope you will enjoy reading all about it.
First things first: nothing was going to happen until we snuggled some babies, so we headed to Heartbridge Healing Home on the morning of October 25th.
Little ones were held and cuddled, and six grown women were reduced to mushy little puddles.
Personal highlights for me included laptime with Joel (looking at a photo album of his future family), and simply watching how loving the nannies were with each of their little charges. These babies are truly adored.
Next we walked down the street (about three blocks or so) to Anhui Healing Home (AHH). We were all thrilled to see how terrific the two preemies, Vivienne and Cohen, were doing.
Both are now at the age when they should have been born, and looked like typical, beautiful newborns.
Arlene was very happy to meet Baby Arlene, who is such a gorgeous and happy little girl. It is likely that her ASD heart defect will close on its own, so we are just keeping her warm and healthy until she is a bit older.
Maureen and her trusty stethoscope gave all the babies a medical assessment. Patrick was found to have a fairly loud murmur, which is just fine after the type of heart surgery he received. He looked quite good! Leo’s heart also sounded great, post-surgery. While Brent’s lungs were clear after pneumonia, he was still working too hard at his breathing. We were able to secure a bed in Shanghai where he is now recovering from surgery.
Dominic’s heart sounded quite good, but he was not happy to see any of us. Especially Maureen!
The next day we were able to visit an orphanage that we have worked with for years. Fuyang is about a three-hour drive from the healing homes, and we currently have five Healing Home residents from that location. We were warmly received by the orphanage director and had a tour of their facility.
Arlene identified two beautiful toddlers (shown above) to be moved into our foster care program, and we are hopeful that they can both be chosen for adoption soon.
After lunch we were able to visit a group of families from our Fuyang foster care program.
This particular group lives in a small, rural village setting, and families brought the children out to a central location where Arlene did assessments and handed out gifts and warm coats.
Arlene is seen as the British female equivalent to Santa Claus, so all of the older tykes were happy to see her.
As you can see, the village is not extravagant in any way, but it is a very peaceful place. It was such a delight to see this program first-hand, knowing that many of our healing home residents will be discharged to these very families. The foster moms were so loving, and the children were clean and well-dressed. They played together, compared new toys and coats…they were wonderfully typical little children, free of any institutional behaviors. I was very impressed.
Above is Patrick with one of our favorite long-time nannies. This is the essence of LWB: the children are Loved, without Boundaries, and without reservation. They are bright-eyed and beautiful; and each one is seen as a gift — deserving of healing, continued good health, and the chance to belong to a family of their very own.
We thank you for making this a very real possibility for Healing Homes residents Abigail, Alan, Arlene, Brent, Catey, Christi, Cohen, Dominic, Evelyn, Jane, Joel, Leo, Linda, Little Joe, Patrick, Tate, Tony, and Vivienne, and ALL the children in foster care. Our work would not be possible without your support, and we are truly grateful.
~Jan Champoux, Healing Homes Associate Director and Heartbridge Coordinator