Many of our supporters will remember little Garett, who was cared for in our Anhui Healing Home. He had an extensive cleft, and he loved to smile at everyone with his eyes twinkling.
To say that Garrett lived life with gusto is the understatement of the year, and we know more than one of our nannies joked that she was completely worn out trying to keep up with him. Read more.
Last month 49 children received cleft lip or palate surgeries during LWB’s Cleft Medical Exchange in Kaifeng. One of those precious children was a very special little girl named Emily. Eighteen months ago Emily was born, missing both legs and one arm. When Amy Eldridge, LWB’s executive director, and Sheri Russon, LWB’s administration director, visited China in March, they met sweet Emily at her orphanage in Guangdong Province. They knew that this little one would need a little extra help finding her forever family and set the wheels in motion for her to be able to receive surgery during the cleft trip. Read more.
My cleft trip summary was supposed to be submitted right after Maureen Brogan’s beautiful post, but to be honest, I didn’t have it in me. I needed a breather as I felt both emotionally and physically raw after returning, and trying to sum up the week I witnessed in China with a few clever sentences seemed trite and disingenuous. I wrote earlier that these trips were hard, but I had no idea. I came back to the US changed. No epiphanies, but the world looked and felt different, and the problem was that I couldn’t articulate why, either to myself or others. Until tonight. Read more.
Visiting the Henan Healing Home is always a wonderful experience. While this home might be small in size (with room for eight babies), it is HUGE on love.
We have been working with a rural orphanage over the last year that really struggles with their babies born with cleft lip. We have a very good partnership in place where they contact us about their newly abandoned babies, and we move them to our Henan Healing Home as soon as we can. In February, we had taken in two new babies who were both really vulnerable and tiny when they arrived. Some of you may remember when little Bennett and Abby arrived to our home, neither weighing more than 3 kg. As we got new pictures of them each week, I could tell that their faces were starting to fill out, but it was hard to gauge just how small they were since the photos were normally closeups of their faces. Read more.
The next part of our recent trip to China was to Guizhou Province, which is home to several minority groups, including the Dong, Miao, and Yi. As we reported last year, the Dong people live primarily in eastern Guizhou and are renowned for their beautiful songs about both nature and love. Their songs are very important to their courtship rituals, which always involve music. In early relationships the young men and women sing traditional songs, but as the relationship deepens, they will begin singing spontaneously to each other. We were blessed to be able to listen to several traditional Dong songs on our first evening in Guizhou.
The next morning we visited the new Qiandongnan orphanage facility, which opened earlier this year. This is truly a massive facility, with space to someday hold over 1,000 children. Read more.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, we give thanks that our four healing homes are in place to take in the most vulnerable babies. When little Jan first came to our cleft medical exchange in October, she was so weak that she was unable to smile, and so thin that we worried whether she would qualify for surgery (please click on this link to see her amazing before and after photos). Following her operation, we knew she needed a safe place to recover and so she was moved to our newest healing home in Fujian province. Within weeks, she graced us with her first smile, and now she continues to make remarkable progress.
In the last installment of our series, “A Day in the Life”, we’re turning the spotlight onto two incredible volunteers in LWB’s Medical Program. LWB had its beginnings in healing children with medical issues and is now proud to have 31 volunteers dedicated to its Medical Program alone! Cathy Langguth is a fairly new volunteer who has just begun working with LWB in the Heart Surgery Fund, while Nancy Delpha, LWB’s Associate Medical Director, has been with LWB since its inception. Their heartfelt motivations for why they volunteer for LWB are echoed by many of the other LWB volunteers who could not be profiled here individually.
Nancy Delpha: In August 2003 I was privileged to travel to China with Amy Eldridge on a visit to Guangdong province where we visited two orphanages and were able to assess the needs of some of the children living there. Amy founded LWB after we returned from that trip, and I have been involved as a volunteer with LWB ever since in at least a small role including administrative work, foster care, and medical where I now devote my time.
This past week, I had the good fortune to celebrate Chinese New Year with my daughter’s third grade class. I read the stories Ruby’s Wish and Sam and the Lucky Money to the children. We also made paper lanterns festooned with riddles in the tradition of the Lantern Festival that is celebrated on the 15th day of every new year. There was a lot of giggling as my daughter’s classmates simulated a lantern parade and tried to guess the answer to such riddles as: What animal has its own built in shower? (Answer: An elephant)!
Gavin arrived at ACHH on December 14, 2008 at just 13 days of age. At first glance, all one might have been able to see was the very large cleft that engulfed the right side of Gavin’s face, extending into his cheek and up to his eyelid.
This is our high-spirited Mei. She had her cleft lip repaired nine months ago and is described as ‘an extrovert and active’, in other words, she is a handful!