LWB Community Blog

The Joy of Garrett

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.

In 2010, he was sent to see our surgical team in Fuzhou, but when Dr. Ness examined him in person, he said that what Garrett really needed was to be adopted as he would need an extensive team of surgeons and physicians in his corner since his repair would be multi-staged and extremely difficult. (See the blog from that trip for more details.)

On that medical exchange was an RN named Jenn, and she fell madly in love with Garrett during that week in Fuzhou. When she learned he could not receive surgery in China, she came home and began working tirelessly to try and get him to an American craniofacial team on a medical visa. When that effort didn’t come to fruition, she then decided that becoming his mommy would be the absolute best solution of all. You see, Garrett was on the shared adoption list by that time, and no one had yet chosen him for their son. The Chinese government had recently changed the rules regarding single parents, and so Jenn’s application to make Garrett her son was approved.

Jenn wondered how her small town would view Garrett’s special need as some people admit they find bilateral cleft lip difficult to see. However, he was not only immersed into a family who adores him to the moon and back, but also embraced by his town as well. According to Jenn, he’s the town’s “welcome wagon.” Nowadays, Garrett struts down the street with his hand up and ready to wave “hi.” After eating at a restaurant, he stops at each table to say bye and in the grocery store, everyone knows him by name and are ready for high fives! He is so enthusiastic that few can resist him. He loves fire trucks and the beach and has earned the nickname “Joy Boy.”

His cleft is one of the most extensive possible, and his mom has taken him to three cleft teams getting opinions on the best steps forward. All three teams had different plans for his repair, which shows just how complex it will be.

All of us at LWB feel like it is a miracle that he ended up with Jenn as his mom, and it is clearly where he was meant to be. Don’t you love when everything comes together in a beautiful, perfect plan? Garrett – you sure bless this world by being in it!

~Amy Eldridge, Executive Director

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