Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Graduates and New Arrivals

Four of our little ones were fortunate enough to "graduate" into foster care this month. Each one joined a family that will provide loving foster care until a permanent placement is arranged by the orphanage. See Fu, Ying, Yang and Li all bundled up and ready to meet their new moms:

What is so incredible is that Fu and Li (in matching yellow jackets above) were tiny, fragile 1500 gram (3 1/2 lb) preemies when they arrived in July of last year. How they have changed!

And now that we have 4 open beds, we have accepted four new arrivals just today. Babies Yin and Yu are both low birth weight newborn girls. Both weigh about 5 lbs and we are unsure what other medical problems they may have. Little Jun is a 1500 g (3 1/2 lb) premature baby boy. His condition is not stable and we are really hoping he'll make it. And our fourth new arrival is Min, a healthy newborn boy who needs treatment for club foot. We'll tell you more about these little ones once we get to know them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ups and Downs

Baby Fan, who arrived earlier this week died today. We were really hoping he'd improve and pull through, but it wasn't meant to be. And hard as it is, we are OK with that. Because we tried, and we gave him the best chance we could. When we do that there are no regrets, even when little one doesn't make it. Sadness, yes, but no regrets.

We also got the results from the cardiologist for the other two babies, Qing and Long. Apparently, both do have heart defects. Qing's heart problems are not serious, so what we have been seeing is more likely a result of his prematurity than anything else. But Long's heart defects are very serious, and the doctor's opinion is that he is inoperable. It's too early now to know the whole story; he'll go back in a month for follow-up. But sometimes (too many times) we are told that a baby is "inoperable" when the baby also happens to have Down Syndrome - like baby Long does. It's hard to know how much bias there is against "wasting resources" on these babies, and how much is real medicine. One thing's for sure... this work is never easy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thank you!

Spring Festival may be just around the corner, but it's still pretty chilly here in north China! We've been blessed to receive donations of many items of warm clothing for the children, including some lovely sweaters from a group in Australia, and a bag of adorable, tiny hats from a very generous (and productive!) young lady in the US. We selected 6 beautiful models to show you the sweaters, but not all of them were happy to be included. Guess not everyone is cut out for a career in modelling!
And you have to see these little hats in person to get some idea of how tiny they are. The babies wearing the hats are from our preemie room - on the left is Bao, about 3 lbs 10 oz, and to the right is Ci, who is over 5 lbs now!

We are very grateful for those who shared their time and talents with our babies. Although we don't know your names, we want you to know how much we appreciate your gifts!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Newest Arrival

This is Fan, our newest arrival. He's just a few days old and comes from a remote area where good pediatric medical care is hard to get. We can tell that he has Down Syndrome and has been hospitalized with numerous IV treatments , but we don't have much of a diagnosis except what his orphanage reports about very poor feeding. He was not in good shape when he arrived late yesterday and we thought he might not live through the night. But today he seems slightly better. If he is still stable in another day or so we will consider transferring him to our main baby home in Beijing, where the staff has more experience and access to expert medical opinions. Keep the little guy in your prayers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Butterfly Baby

Babies with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) are often called "butterfly babies" because their skin is as fragile as butterfly wings. Our little Bo arrived in September with what looked like a severe burn on one of his legs. Knowing that such a burn was not typical of tiny babies, and having experience with EB in the past, we immediately suspected he might have that diagnosis. Specialists at a the international hospital confirmed our suspicions and we began treatment at our Beijing Home. Baby Bo is fortunate that his type of EB is a rare, less severe form of the disease and is generally confined to just one leg. He does blister easily on other areas of his body, but not nearly as severely as this disease often manifests with other children. It is not curable or treatable, except for dressing the wounds as they occur and preventing infection while they heal.

He was a very tiny 5 lb infant when he arrived, but he certainly doesn't look like a "butterfly baby" anymore... actually, he's starting to resemble a little sumo wrestler! He has the most beautiful little face, don't you think?