Working Together to Save Lives
Two weeks ago, one of my sons was injured in an accident, and I found myself flying to Nashville to be with him at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I am sure every mom out there would agree that sitting by your child’s hospital bed is very difficult indeed. We all would change places with them in an instant, and would do anything to bring them comfort or make them “all better”.
The first night my son was in the ICU, the place felt almost hallowed, as if one needed to whisper the entire time as the babies and children were all so sick and fragile. Because of my work with LWB, I have seen many babies in China in similar situations. The first two rooms on the hall had tiny babies recovering from heart surgery, their chest wounds freshly closed and their faces still covered by oxygen masks. The equipment was bigger than the babies, and I watched their anxious parents rubbing their legs and holding their tiny hands.
In the room next to my son’s, however, there was a tiny baby who had been born to a mother who couldn’t care for her. I don’t know the details, but I know the baby was alone the entire time I was there. The first night, as all the other babies and children slept, she wailed. She cried a frightened cry, a cry that said, ‘I am alone and where is everyone?’, a cry that pierced my mama’s heart and made me wish I could just go pick her up and rock her. I didn’t know the rules of an ICU, and didn’t know whether I was even allowed in her room, but finally at 3 a.m. I tiptoed in and stood by her bed. What a fighter she was. I am sure many babies would have given up calling out long before, but she continued to cry, while hooked to tubes and monitors and electronic devices that glowed in the night. She was so tiny and fragile, but oh I could tell she was strong in spirit. I held one of her tiny fingers and said a prayer of comfort for her, and of course was transported in my mind to all the babies in orphanages who cry out in the night as well. I will never get used to the idea that so many children around the world are sick and in need. The numbers are too big to even take in, which is why I always try to figure out how we can help each child individually. It doesn’t seem impossible when we help one child at a time.
I know I don’t have to ask anyone if they have heard about the current US economy. Almost every family I know is struggling in some way, and of course so many charities are feeling the effects as well. I talked to our medical director yesterday and she told me that we have 27 children listed right now for surgeries, many urgent. (look at little Le’s face on our medical sponsorship page and you will see the same type of face I saw at Vanderbilt crying out). We received even more phone calls from orphanages yesterday regarding children who are critically ill. There is no worse feeling in the world than to say no to an orphanage calling about a child who is dying, especially when they ‘only’ need $5000 to save their life. Especially when I read that someone paid $10,000 recently to eat a gold encrusted pizza in New York. You all know what I thought when I heard that one….that two babies could have lived instead.
I have always been so grateful to everyone who is a friend to LWB and who is part of our LWB family through either volunteering or donating to the children in need. I am asking for your help now, to brainstorm with us on ideas on how we can continue to provide life changing surgeries to the ever growing number of children we are asked to heal, despite the current economy. If you have any suggestions on companies, family foundations, civic groups, churches, or individuals we can approach about partnering with us to help save lives, please let us know. I know there are groups out there who are passionate about medical care. We would love to meet them and explain what an impact they could make with orphaned children in China.
As I held the tiny fingers of the baby girl in Nashville, I prayed for all the children who are hurting around the world. And I also prayed for wisdom and guidance on how to spread the news to even more people that it really is possible to change the life of a child forever. We just have to continue stepping out in faith. Thank you for working with us to do just that. Every child born deserves a chance to LIVE. Every child we save changes the world forever.