day two

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.



  1. Just tearing up thinking about you loving on precious Olivia! What a blessing!!!!!! You are exactly where God wants you to be this week! I know your light is shining bright my friend!

    I hope you can sneak that D90 in!


  2. How WONDERFUL!!! Your heart must be so full right now…and forever changed.

    I’m praying for you sweet friend!!

  3. Katherine says:

    thinking about this place brings tears to my eyes! i can’t wait to have our kiddos down there!

  4. Sally- That Girl! says:

    I want to be there doing just what you are doing!!!!

    How exciting about the clubfoot unit!!!

    Let me know if you find our next sweetie while you are there!!!!

  5. Colleen says:

    Ok you have me in tears : ) I am so excited that you are in China doing exactly what God wants you to do. You are perfect for this mission. And you chose the name Olivia : ) I must say I am partial to the name Olivia…
    I can’t wait for pictures. I’m sending hugs your way {{{{hug}}}}

  6. Patricia/NYC says:

    Wow…you are truly doing God’s work!! I had tears in my eyes as I read the latest. How exciting with the start of the Club Foot unit!! This is truly a life changing experience for everyone involved!! LOVE IT!! And boy do I wish I were there too!!

    Prayers continue, my friend!!

  7. living4him5 says:

    What a wonderful day you had!!! Couldn’t get through the post without tears just thinking about all those kiddos. God bless you Stef! Lifting you in prayer everyday!

    Hugs and love,

  8. Wow. You got to choose the name for a sweet little one..what an honor! I understand why certain officials might be nervous about cameras…they sure don’t want any bad publicity.
    Still praying for the rest of the week.
    Would you have EVER believed 10 years ago that you would be standing where you’re at right now…with all the kiddos you have at home tucked into their beds and one still waiting to come home to her little bed?
    What an amazing God!
    Thanks for tuning in to Him!

  9. I am amazed at the wonderful place “An Orphans wish” has created! Such a blessing to the sweet children! I wish I were there with you hugging the precious little ones!
    Blessings to you on this journey,

    (We are hoping to adopt a little girl from Guilin SWI- she is in foster care)

  10. HeatherMN says:

    I get all teared up just thinking about these little ones — while I am so thankful that our own daughter was casted here in the U.S. by Dr’s Ponestti and Morcuende, I cannot begin to imagine what a gift this organization brings to (all) those wonderful little children. God bless you and the work you are doing in His name. I will be following your every post…I would love to have the chance to be in your shoes one day!!

  11. The Ferrill's says:

    Oh the details! I felt like I was right there, giving Olivia her bottle, looking at the future club casting unit, watching the kiddos play outside…what a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Christ, Stefanie. You’ve done an incredible job of making us “see” what this experience is like without any pictures to actually “see”. THANK YOU!
    And thank you, Lord, for Stefanie’s obedient heart to your call. May we all be “doers” of Your Word!
    Continuing to pray pray pray…

  12. I’m so excited for you..what a blessing! And what a blessing to the children. Tears. You are being His hands and feet.

  13. TanyaLea says:

    Stef,this post is so precious. How special that you were chosen to give "Olivia" her name. God has you there at this very moment, for such a time as this! Will continue to lift you up in prayer everyday! Your hands are a vessel that He is working through!! <><

    …can't wait to see photos. We'll pray that the tension calms soon!!

  14. I was so excited to get out of bed, unable to sleep, and come down to my computer to find your day 2 post! Wow! So beautiful and amazing. Im so glad you are there to name that precious girl. Keep your light bright and shiny! You are making a difference!

  15. Michelle says:

    Oh Stefanie – I can’t even imagine the feelings you must have had when you were allowed to cuddle with the new bundle – and then be able to name her. I am thinking of you often and praying for a safe journey. I can’t wait to hear more.

  16. Good morning, Stef! I keep thinking about you and wondering how today went for you. :) Very excited! And Lily and I are reading all about how the previous days have been….so glad that God is giving you such an amazing experience. Soak it up, woman! We love you and are praying for you.

  17. Don’t worry about the pics, Stefanie! Just do what you are there to do….love those babies and children! Your words paint a wonderful picture for all of us.

    Praying for you and LeeAnn and the work you are there to do.

    Love y’all!

  18. I feel like I’m right there with you! What a blessing for little Olivia to have someone like you there to give her that little extra love! Anxiously awaiting your updates… Love them!
    Blessings to you,

  19. The Gang's Momma says:

    Thank you for doing this. On behalf of those of us who love the children to whom you are ministering, thank you. I may not be able to be there myself, but I can pray for you and hopefully someday support you in these ventures and ministry trips. Kiss sweet little Olivia for the Gang and we’re praying for you now.

  20. a Tonggu Momma says:

    Tearing up still.. love that you chose a name.

  21. WOW! Stephanie.. what a honor.. to be able to feed that sweet baby girl her first bottle. Just Precious!!!!! Love the name!
    Hugs to you & thank you for sharing your amazing journey. Oh.. how I hope they let you get some pics!
    Have a Great Day!

  22. You are doing God’s work for him and he is smiling down on you right now.

    Love, Kristy

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