Sunday, September 25, 2005

We appreciate your patience in waiting for Team 2’s blog reports. We had so many computer problems in China, but we can now update everyone on the remaining days of our trip.

Today, (Thursday) is our last day of surgeries and we have a light schedule. All of our children are lip patients and we have four tiny babies from the Louyang orphanage. These four little ones have stolen the hearts of many of our team members. We are continually hearing, “I want this one” and “No, that is my baby”. These children sure are loved by all of us.

Our second burn patient, a beautiful teenage girl, has also found a special place in our hearts. She has encountered such tragedy in her life, yet her spirit is still so strong and her smile warms your heart when you meet her. She is making fast friends with all of us and it will be hard to see her leave tomorrow. We all wish we could do so much more and follow so many of these children and help enrich their lives.

As our surgical staff and PACU nurses finished the last surgeries, there was great satisfaction among us all. Between both Team 1 and Team 2, we have changed the lives of over 100 children. How amazing is that! Our medical staff left the orphanage for some much needed down time. They have all worked so incredibly hard this week and have given so much to all of the children they have met.

There were many, many tears today, as we discharged our patients from yesterday’s surgeries. The majority of our patients were rural families. We have several single fathers who had found abandoned boys who were cleft affected. One father found a small boy in a knee deep field of grass. Another father found an older disabled boy wandering the streets and has taken him home. These amazing men have taken these children in and loved them like their own sons. The stories they have shared about their love for these children has touched us all. The long journeys they have made to bring their children so they can receive surgery shows what commitment they have. They are so caring and nurturing to these children. Truly, truly incredible men!!

Our “essentials” team quickly went into action to begin to break our surgical ward down. Supplies had to be boxed, medical equipment was put into bags for team members to return this to the US, and the ward was cleaned and prepared for future teams who may use the unit. We were amazed at how quickly this process went.

We received a wonderful treat from the Director of the orphanage tonight. We all enjoyed a wonderful Chinese dinner and then were brought back to the orphanage, where a huge stage had been set up in from of the orphanage. We were entertained for several hours with cultural dances and singing. The children’s choir from the orphanage performed, along with several special needs children. A beautiful swan dance was performed by a young man with only one leg……it was amazing. The young children made us all smile with their animal sound songs and dance. It was a wonderful way to end a long week of surgeries.

We have one more day in Louyang and then the team will be returning home. We know it will be hard to say good bye to so many wonderful people and children we have met.