In April of this year we accepted a tiny abandoned baby girl for care, just three days old. Little Ying weighed only 2 lbs 8 oz (1150g) when she arrived.
Ying was very small, but once settled into our preemie unit she began to grow and thrive.
In the early days she needed help from the Embrace warmer to maintain a stable body temperature:
And then she was big enough to stay warm by herself:
Her little face started to fill out:
And we even started to see some smiles:
It wasn't long before she started to look like any healthy, chubby little girl.
And soon she was big enough to graduate from our preemie unit:
A month after Ying arrived, the leaders from her orphanage contacted us about another child in need of help. In this case the baby was not an orphan, but the daughter of an employee. Mr. Zhang was working as a kitchen helper in the dining hall of the social welfare center, which not only cares for abandoned children, but also mentally disabled and elderly as well. His daughter Jun was a beautiful 7 month old baby, but the orphanage doctor had noticed the baby’s lips and fingers were unusually blue and suggested tests at a local hospital. It was soon confirmed that Jun was born with complicated heart defect and would need surgery as soon as possible.
Shortly after they family received this diagnosis her condition became very severe; that was when the orphanage staff asked if Little Flower could help. The family was living on very limited income and did not have any money saved to pay for her surgery.
We agreed to accept Jun as one of our "special causes" and were able to raise the funds needed so that she could come to Beijing. Her surgery was difficult because her diagnosis was so delayed and she arrived in critical condition. Despite those hurdles, the heart surgery was successful and she began to recover. Then, two weeks after surgery she suffered a stroke. Another surgery was done to relieve the pressure in her head but the doctors told her parents that if she survived she could have significant brain damage. Little Jun fought bravely for an another ten days and then passed away. Her parents were heartbroken.
Over the next few months Jun’s parents talked about how they would like to adopt a child, and finally they approached the orphanage staff to ask if this would be possible. The orphanage leaders agreed to process the paperwork, and little Ying was chosen to join the Zhang family. Her adoption will be completed after a preliminary foster care period.
It was a very emotional day this week when Ying went home with her new mom and dad. Her mom cried tears of both joy and sadness.
For little Ying is not only a reminder of their great loss but also part of their journey of healing and hope for the future.
What started out as a double tragedy (the abandonment of tiny, helpless Ying and the loss of little Jun) has become a double blessing - both a family for Ying and a daughter for the Zhang family to love and cherish.