Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Long Long's Visit

You may remember Long Long, a little boy with a cleft lip and palate and severe respiratory issues who was sent to us for palliative care in September, 2010. You can read more about him here. Take a minute to read that post, so you can see his photos before surgery.

Little Long Long has been in the US since May of last year for the surgeries needed to repair his cleft lip and palate. He returned to China just for a week so that his paperwork could be completed for his adoption file - there is a family working to adopt him.

We had not seen him since his surgeries. Wow! What an amazing transformation! Thank you to Dr. Hobar and his team at the LEAP Foundation in Dallas, TX - once again, you have performed a miracle! Long Long is scheduled for his third surgery (to repair his hard palate) next week.

Long Long traveled back to China with both of his host moms. It is easy to see how much they love and treasure him; we can never repay them for opening their homes to this sweet little boy. It is their care and nurturing that has helped him to grow strong and healthy and recover from his surgeries. We wondered if he would ever "catch up" developmentally, but these families provided just what he needed to do that. To see him now you can hardly imagine how frail, weak and delayed he once was.

It is hard to convey with words the incredible changes in this little guy. When he was here in China, he was severely delayed and had no energy. Some days he didn't even have the energy to sit up. Now he walks and runs everywhere. Actually, he bounces. He's just like a little Tigger, bouncing along, arms swinging - following everywhere his curiosity leads.

And his curiosity does indeed lead him! Now that he has the strength and energy to explore his environment, he checks everything out.

He loves to climb and slide.

Long Long was happy to help unpack the Snapware and blankets that traveled over with him:

His little face is just gorgeous. Of course he was beautiful before, but now he'll be able to eat and speak more normally, and he won't have other children laughing, pointing and whispering about his cleft. The repair was so expertly done you would never know what a severe cleft he was born with.

We were happy to see he still has his lovely curly hair.

Long Long, we are so glad we had a chance to see you last week. We hope it's not too long till you come back to complete your adoption!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mei Mei's Baby

Mei Mei's family sent a package for her. She didn't seem very excited about opening it up.

In fact, we had to encourage her to stick around and see what was inside.

The first thing we lifted out was a baby doll. Mei Mei loves babies, real and pretend, so we thought she would be excited. But after a brief glance she set it aside.

She did take a few minutes to examine the rest of the package, including a new sleeper:

And some stacking cups:

The stacking cups were the only thing she really seemed to want. She spent a long time playing with them that morning.

We set her gifts aside, and a few days later presented the baby again. This time she was very excited and cuddled her baby tight, patting softly:

She carried her baby around all morning:

And then she saw the baby seat wasn't occupied. A perfect place to set her baby!

But how to fasten that safety belt? Challenging indeed!

She'd seen the nannies do it, but they made it look so easy!


There! Applause for such a great accomplishment.

Mei Mei treasures her little baby, just the way she has seen her nannies care for the other little ones in the home.

Mei Mei, you really are a big girl now!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meet the nannies

It is easy to see that our caregivers are the backbone of our program - without these dedicated women we could not do what we do. They spend countless hours feeding, bathing, changing diapers, administering medications, and most of all, comforting little people who have no one else to love them.

Although we cannot offer a high salary or other attractive benefits, we like to give them each something special at Chinese New Year. This year we will give each nanny a small bottle of hand lotion, a bag of candy, and two photos. Each nanny will receive a picture of herself working, and one of her special baby. It's not much, but we hope this small gift will tell them how much we appreciate the work they do.

The photos below are the some of the ones we will be printing and presenting to our caregivers in the next few days. If you cannot visit us in person, here is a chance to see some of the beautiful faces of Little Flower.

By now you are probably wondering how many nannies there are, and why we need so many? We have three shifts of caregivers each day, and each shift is caring for approximately 30 special need and medically fragile infants. We need 10-15 nannies working each shift to provide the special care that these babies require.

Morning shift nannies:

Afternoon shift nannies:

Night shift nannies:

Nannies, managers and volunteers: