Ten Years of Heartbridge
A few years after Love Without Boundaries was founded, it became clear that we needed to answer a very important question: What can we do to help children who are ready for discharge from the hospital after surgery, but who aren’t ready to return to an orphanage?
It was vital that we figure out how to bridge that gap for the most fragile children in our medical program. The answer came in the form of Heartbridge Healing Home which opened its doors in 2006.
Since that time, our Heartbridge Healing Home has provided pre- and post-operative care for over 185 beautiful children. Many have gone on to be adopted either domestically within China, or overseas to another country. The oldest are now entering their “tween years,” and of course we have current residents who are only a few months old, like handsome Henry (seen above) who will soon be having surgery to repair his cleft lip.
Today I would like to share just a few memories from the past decade. One of our very first residents was Hope, who joined us after complex heart surgery.
Hope stayed with us until the summer of 2009, and has since been adopted.
Hope’s mother tells us that she is a kind and outgoing “social butterfly” who loves to sing and cheer on her favorite sports teams.
Who remembers Mighty Marisol? She is the little gal who remained on the ventilator for such a long time after her heart surgery.
I was able to meet Marisol in 2010, when she was receiving in-house treatment for a respiratory infection and could not be admitted to the hospital because of chickenpox. I wanted to hold her so badly but didn’t dare risk the possibility of infecting other children in the home.
Marisol is now a spirited six-year-old and has been home with her family for several years. She and her sisters all love to dance.
Then there were the surprise twins, Max and Matthew. Max was already with us at Heartbridge when his home orphanage requested help for his twin brother. We were all a bit skeptical about the possibility that the boys were actually twins. Aside from having different medical needs, they didn’t look very much alike and were nowhere near the same size.
Over the coming months things changed, and a DNA test confirmed that the boys were indeed identical twins. Max and Matthew are now very active five-year-olds who live with Mom, Dad and three other siblings in the beautiful state of Colorado.
We love these fairytale endings!
However, not every story has a happy ending. We lovingly remember those children who earned their angel wings. They are not to be forgotten and continue to inspire us to help others in their memory.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Heartbridge over the years. The children whose lives you have changed are growing up all over the world, and that is an impact that is beyond measure.
Here’s to the next ten years of healing!
~Jan Champoux is the Director of Operations for LWB’s Healing Homes and has been the Heartbridge Healing Home Coordinator for seven years.