NEW CLEFT BLOG IS UP!!!
Our 2006 cleft mission is underway! Please visit our new blog at http://lwbchinablog.blogspot.com/ and share in the happy stories of children receiving the gift of a new smile.
NEW CLEFT BLOG IS UP!!!
We are deeply grateful to many people who made this trip possible. First of all we want to thank Director Pei of Luoyang Social Welfare Institute in Henan, China. He has done wonders for the children under his watchful care. Thank you for letting us come to your orphanage and help the children. We also want to thank Henan Civil Affairs for their assistance in bringing cleft children in Henan to our attention. We knew as soon as we saw their photos that they are truly spectacular children. Thank you.
We all wondered, how many times you can fall in love with a child? We saw it happen so many times this week. There were just so many wonderful children we met. We discharged 16 children today and all of them went home with their families or with their caretakers. The teenage girl who had been burned was so incredibly warm and kind to her nurses. A true friendship had been formed and they have all vowed to stay in touch. We translated a small note she had wrote to them, telling them how much she loved them and how thankful she was.
Our tiniest patients also were released. Our teenage girls on our team have been so taken with these young babies and held and rocked them until the last minute. They just couldn't stop smiling whenever they were holding them. We know these children felt the love from these girls.
One single mother was so gratful for her four year old son's palate repair, that her tears never stopped flowing this morning. She must have thanked all of our team members a hundred times. Even our younger children were waving and grinning as they left the orphanage. One by one we saw them all leave, onto their new lives.
After the last child was released, we quickly finished the task of tearing down the ward. Within just a few hours, it was complete. As the remaining team members walked from the orphanage, we all left with very full hearts. We realized how exhausting this week had been, but how INCREDIBLY rewarding it was.
In the afternoon, our entire team spent the day touring the beautiful city of Louyang. We all needed this time to relax and process all that we had seen and experienced this week. We visited the Longmen Grotto Caves along a beautiful river and saw a beautiful old temple and all did some shopping. We realized how important this time was for our team to reconnect as a group before we leave tomorrow.
Of course, then there are the exceptions to that with the children who make friends everywhere they go. Our little Due from Xinjiang is such an example. We all had such a hard time today saying goodbye to her. She has won all of our hearts. She made her rounds to say goodbye to everyone and gave many hugs and kisses along the way. We all wish we could bring her home.
It was goodbye day for Cui also, and everyone on staff made the effort to come out to hug her and say goodbye. She is now a beautiful girl with a beautiful smile and a chance for a future. This one child is worth it all. She will do something wonderful. You just know that when you are in her presence. She has something great to accomplish in her lifetime. We are so lucky to have been such a small part of her future.
Our orphanage kids are really warming up to the staff and making friends along the way. One little boy from the older kids floor has taken over the recovery room and has the nurses in stitches all the time. Today Nancy gave him her surgical hat and stethoscope and he was definitely one happy camper. The look on his face said "HEY, I AM IN CHARGE HERE!!!" We were all cracking up and rolling on the floor. This is what is making memories for us all. These little moments of intimate contact with another world that opens its doors for the good of the children.
Tomorrow is our last day of surgery. We have been incredibly busy so we are looking forward to slowing down, but we have also been so intensely involved in this venture that we know it will leave a huge hole in our hearts to break our unit down. We know it cannot go on forever, but in many ways we wish it were not the end. We all talk about beginnings rather than endings. That is the gift that this mission has given to us all.
Children who will soon leave and begin a new step in their life. In the same room, we have 10 children who received surgery the day before and are being comforted by their parents and caregivers. And standing at the doorway are eager eyes of the children who wait for today’s surgeries. Ten new children. The nurses and "essentials" (as we now call our non medical people) quickly go to their assigned area. Our wonderful night shift is ready to leave, as a new group is coming on to help. Our doctors begin making rounds and evaluating the patients. Our surgical team and PACU nurses quickly prepare for the days upcoming surgeries.
A few special team members start out their day by shopping for a new outfit for Cui Cui to wear home tomorrow when she is discharged? All our loving moms wanted to see her dressed in something new and wonderful to start her new life.
We stand back and look at this process and are in awe. In only two days, a total group of strangers has come together from all over the United States, giving of their time and money to help these children. This week has shown us all what the power of love has and what miracles love can accomplish.
Team 2 9/20/05
Day three for team 2 has brought many wonderful surprises. Our team is well oiled today and working like clockwork. Drs. Argenta, David and Sanger have done work today that has made much magic. Today was surgery day for our little girl from Xinjiang who has a facial deformity which has misshapen her beautiful little face and caused an ear deformity that is quite severe. She is absolutely beautiful and has the personality that would melt huge icebergs! Dr. Argenta did a side cleft repair on her mouth which none of us had ever seen. Her cleft was to the side of her jaw rather than the top and it had caused a lot of pulling and misshaping of her face. She came out of surgery with a smile on her face and a perfect relaxed lip and cheek for the first time in her life. We gave her a mirror when she came into the recovery room and she just glowed. Even though she was in some big pain she was one happy little girl!! We all had to leave the room and shed tears to see that kind of pure happiness.