Things here are going really well. Crazy busy, but really good. The unit here at An Orphan’s Wish is amazing, the kids are so well loved, the nanny to baby ratio is about 2 to 1. The eye contact and smiles on the kids’ faces are evidence of all the love and attention they receive.
The first floor is dedicated to children with lifelong disabilities, cerebral palsy mostly. The children have free rein in the afternoon and as we sat out in the courtyard in the late afternoon sun, it seemed as if I was sitting out, enjoying an afternoon anywhere in the US. The kids were riding bikes and trikes or going up and down ramps in their specialized wheelchairs. There was singing, laughing, even some little ones jumping on a trampoline. And while not close to what life in a family would be like, amazingly wonderful compared to what a typical day must be like for a child in a typical orphanage.
Half of the second floor is dedicated to the smaller kiddos. There are some heart babies, some with anal atresia, brain injury, hernias, brittle bone disease, respiratory illness, and some who have special needs that are just, for now, unknown. An Orphan’s Wish takes the children that are too sick or too difficult for the orphanage, so many children here have mulitple special needs, or needs that are so unusual, a diagnosis is difficult to reach.
The other half of the second floor is the future clubfoot casting unit. They have been successfully casting and treating children with clubfoot for several years, but have had difficulty getting proper foster care for the children undergoing casting. Evidently there is a cultural bias against children who are clearly ‘disabled’ and many foster parents either don’t want to foster a child undergoing treatment, or don’t follow the proper bracing protocol to keep the feet corrected. So a unit within An Orphan’s Wish, housing initially 10 babies, is going to open at the beginning of June. Children will come from orphanages all over China to be treated, and will return to carefully chosen foster families once the casting has been complete. A typical stay will be about 6 months to give the children time to become acclimated to the unit, treated and then accustomed to wearing the necessary bracewear. What a blessing this will be in so many orphan’s lives, because of witessing the transformation in Jude and Shepherd’s feet, this is a need that is so close to our hearts… I can’t wait to sponsor one of the little ones that comes in for treatment
Yesteday a new child was brought into the unit. She is probably about 6 months old and came in with the sunniest, sweetest dispostion, despite a raging yeast infection that encrusted the chubby creases on her sweet legs. Her special need is uncertain, possibly a tumor on her back, or spina bifida. Clearly, someone had a go at her back, evidenced by a huge scar. There is significant swelling under the scarred area, but until they are able to test further, a diagnosis is not possible. She also has clubfoot and excessive mongolian spots. But what a face. What a smile. I was chosen to help bathe her, weigh and measure her, and then dress and feed her her first bottle. It was amazing. I was even asked to choose a name for her, as all the kids in the unit have a Chinese name and an American name. Her name is Olivia. And you can bet she has a special place in my heart.
I haven’t been able to get pictures so far. Although our trip here was cleared with the local officials, for some reason our visit is causing a lot of anxiety with the orphanage. Because An Orphan’s Wish depends upon a working relationship with the orphanage, we cannot do anything to jeopordize that. So, in an effort to avoid upsetting anyone, pictures have been, for now, not allowed. I’m hopeful that things will be a bit more settled today and I can pull out my camera and capture just a glimpse of the sweetness that abounds at this place.