Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Our final day........

Our morning was started off as most mornings had, with discharging patients. It was a day filled with mixed emotions for our team members. Extreme happiness to see so many children smiling and feeling so much better before they left, and yet tears for all of us to see them go.

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 bubbly and adorable five year old girl left today with her family. Her hair had been put up in brightly colored pigtails and she was grinning from ear to ear today. It is hard to believe that only two days ago she had her palate repaired and she already has a smile on her face.

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.