Sunday, September 11, 2005


AMAZING. There is no better word to describe the miraculous transformations that I was able to observe today. Absolutely, positively....amazing. I'll buy a pack of gum for the first person who can identify the baby to the left!!

I can tell you how good the repairs have been....after one baby from Guilin came out of surgery, I walked by her crib and thought to myself, "I didn't know we were doing three palates today..." and then I leaned down and realized that she had been a LIP patient. She looked so perfect that you couldn't even see her stitches, and her nose had been repaired so evenly that I thought she had her lip surgery months ago and was in for a palate. I just stood there in awe looking at her before photo and then looking down on this child whose cleft had been healed.

There were so many memorable moments today. I'll just list a few off the top of my head as time in precious, but how about the little toddler from Shangrao who was just toddling everywhere in the orphanage and we were all thinking "oh how cute", and then one of the nurses came up to tell me that little squirt had been toddling around pulling all of the patient namecards off the cribs. He had a whole stack by the time he was caught! :-)

Or the foster mom from Guilin who is so in love with the little boy in her care that when it was time for him to go back to surgery, she was crying and kissing him over and over again, and then she cried and cried when he came OUT of surgery because he looked so very different than the little boy with cleft she had fallen in love with. I was so thankful that Kerry Dixon was on our team, who has a child who went through cleft surgery. Kerry told the mom that she understood completely how you fall in love with the way a baby with cleft looks, and how difficult it CAN be to suddenly be handed a child whose appearance has changed. Kerry spent such a long time reassuring this mother, but everytime I looked over at this child, the foster mom was still crying.

Or the foster mom who was so concerned about her baby....and one of our team members, Todd Taylor, went over to see the baby and put his hand on the baby for a moment. A few minutes later the baby coughed, and immediately the aunty told our translator that she didn't want "that man" to touch her baby again because he made her baby sick. I don't know if that is funny or not when you read it, but it was funny to us who are going on little sleep! :-)

Or the moment when a water main broke in Luoyang and we lost all running water in the orphanage. We started using bottled water for the surgeons to scrub before their cases. Thankfully it is back on!

Or learning of a new child to the orphanage who was very blue and being able to arrange immediate heart surgery for him in the morning.

Or Ling Guang Jie's foster dad, among ALL of the female aunties, rocking and holding and caring for his foster son. That little boy wants NO ONE but his daddy and there is something so touching watching this elderly daddy care for this child.

Or evaluating orphan after orphan, who were all more on the small side, and then having our first poor, rural family arrive with Mr. Buddha himself. Photo enclosed. :-)

Or one of our facilitators meeting a child on a train to Sichuan who truly needed cleft surgery and then arranging for that child to travel to Luoyang to have surgery with our team.

We are finding our rhythm, and the team has become very good friends. We have laughed, we have cried, we have put our heads together to solve any problems that have come up. What do you do when there are no IV poles? Our team figured it out in minutes. Up went the ropes secured to the walls, and hangers were cut up to become hooks, and within an hour we had enough support for 40 IV bags. This is TEAMWORK in every sense of the word. I cannot wait for tomorrow. (please know that is figurative since it is already tomorrow). :-) Shangrao and Luoyang children are next up. I'll keep you posted!