Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sweet Little Mei

Like the rest of the children who come into our care, little Mei was abandoned by her parents.   We don't know anything about her family or the circumstances that led to their decision.  Perhaps they were very excited about having a baby, but then she was born with health problems they felt they could not handle.  Maybe they wanted to keep her, but family members did not support them in the long road they faced to raise her as their daughter.  Perhaps cultural pressures weighed heavily on them as they contemplated how a disabled person might fit in to their community.  It's possible they just didn't have the finances to provide the medical care she would need.  Surely they were shocked and surprised (as any parent is) to find that she was not born perfectly healthy as they had expected.  We can only imagine.

Whatever the reasons, little Mei was left by her parents. Unwanted, she was taken to an orphanage.  Unwanted?

We at Little Flower value every life, every abandoned and unwanted person.  It does not matter how small, how sick, how hopeless.  Our purpose is to reach out to those who have been rejected and give them dignity and hope for the future.  Even if we cannot change the disabilities they were born with, cannot always cure their illnesses and make their bodies whole and perfect we can still make sure they know they are loved and valued.

There are countless abandoned and rejected children in the world.  We know we cannot help them all.  But we do our best with the resources that we have.  We can give each child in our care the knowledge that they are precious, valued, wanted.  And just as important, we can show those around us that each one of these little ones is truly a treasure worth keeping.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Meet the Staff: Li Nai Ru

Our next "Meet the Staff" post features Li Nai Ru. We went to the hospital with her to learn more about what she does for Little Flower.

1. What is your job at Little Flower, and what do you do for your job?
 I am a medical liaison. My job is to bring children to the hospital when they need medical treatment or surgery. I basically play the role of the parent - asking questions and gathering as much information as possible.  In some cases the diagnosis is simple and the treatment is straightforward - like for a baby with cleft lip or palate.  Other times we are faced with a rare birth defect or complicated medical problem with several possibilities for treatment.    At those times I'll need to find out what the options are so the entire Little Flower medical team can discuss and make the best decisions.  If a child needs hospitalization, I am responsible for communicating with the doctors during the child's hospital stay, and also for reporting back to the Little Flower medical team and individual project managers with any updates about the child.

2. What is a typical work day like for you?
In the morning, I go to the train station to pick up children that have been sent from their orphanages, often taking them directly to the hospital. Babies in need of emergency surgery will be hospitalized that day.  Some days I'll go into the city with children already in our projects who need to see a doctor or be admitted.  Each baby is accompanied during their hospital stay by a Little Flower nanny, so I am also responsible for making sure each nanny has the supplies she needs (formula, clothing, diapers) to care for the baby in the hospital.

If a nanny needs a break from her hospital duty shift (hospital nannies work 24/7) then I will bring a replacement to cover for her so she can rest.

Because I am responsible for many babies admitted to different hospitals across this large city, I cannot visit each one every day.  So if there is a change to a baby's condition the doctors will call me to give an update.  When the sending orphanages want an update on a child's medical situation they will call me, so I also act as liaison between Little Flower and our cooperating orphanages.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Through our help, a child's condition is helped or completely cured. If we can help children in a timely manner after surgery, they can grow to live a nearly normal life can or can take care of themselves.

4. What is one of the difficult parts of your job?
Sometimes a baby needs emergency hospitalization, but there are no available hospital beds.  This often happens in the summer, when the pediatric wards are especially busy due to the school holiday.  If a hospital has no beds I might have to try another hospital, delay the surgery, or see if there is a doctor who might try to make an exception for us.

5. Who was the baby we visited in the hospital today?

6. Why was she in the hospital?
Earlier this year, we found that she had started to enter puberty. We took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with hypothalamic hamartoma . She was admitted for surgery to remove this tumor in her brain.

7. You spoke a bit with the doctors and nurses; what did you talk about?
I asked the doctor about Fen; is a slight fever a normal reaction after surgery, and will her symptoms really go away after the surgery? I also asked when they think she could be discharged from the hospital.

We have another child in the ICU, Meng Yi; I asked about her condition. Would they do her hydrocephalus shunt surgery that day?

Also, I asked how the nannies who were caring for our children in the hospital were doing in terms of their care-giving. The nurses could give the nannies some directions on how to further care for our children and save us some hospital fees as a result. Then I asked about getting a bed in the hospital for another one of our babies, Xuan, who also needed surgery.


Little Flower is grateful to Li Nai Ru for accepting this difficult and exhausting job.  Because of her hard work and dedication many little lives have been changed

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Look out world, here she comes!

Little You is tired of being on the floor.  She is ready to be part of the action!

So what to do about it?  Well, time to stand up and make some changes:


"Look at ME!  I can do it all by myself!"

You has been practicing and practicing:

  Practicing things like walking around obstacles - toys and other babies, without losing her balance:


She knows there's always a big hug waiting when she gets there:

And what could be better motivation than that?


 Have you ever seen such a beautiful combination of pure joy and determination?

Sweet little You has faced many challenges in her short life.  She was born with Down Syndrome and has already had major heart surgery.  She is still waiting for a mom and dad of her own.  But she'll go far - we are sure of that.  Look our world, here she comes!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hua - A Beautiful Flower

 Hua arrived just two days ago,a tiny frail little girl with a serious heart defect.  Her name means "flower" and she certainly is a beautiful little blossom!

Her orphanage told us she was 4 months old, but based on our observations and her development we estimate she's a bit older than that.  Despite her age, she barely weighs as much as a newborn - just 8.5 lbs (3.8 kg).  We were able to take her for a heart echo yesterday and her diagnosis was confirmed as Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV). 


We hadn't had time to map out a surgery plan or find funding yet (doctors were still planning additional tests next week), but this morning she took a turn for the worse. Her already low oxygen levels plummeted and she struggled to breathe.  Our staff worked hard to stabilize her and make her comfortable, while at the same time trying to make arrangements to get her to the hospital. 


She improved a bit, but then shortly after crashed again.  The second time it didn't seem we would get her back.  Her oxygen levels were only at 30-40%.  We knew she would never make it to the hospital alive.

But this little fighter surprised us all.  She slowly fought back.  Her oxygen levels came up a bit and her heart rate stabilized.

 And a little while later, she showed even more improvement. 

Through it all, we struggled to make sure she was comforted and that she was loved.  We measure our success on that basis alone.  We can not guarantee that our babies will be healed, that their medical treatments will work, whether their surgeries will be be successful, or whether their lives will be saved.  Those things are out of our control.  What IS in our control is that these abandoned babies will know love.

 As her condition stabilized, once again we made plans to take her to the hospital. 

Hua's surgeon had been traveling, but returned to Beijing today.  He rushed back to the hospital to see her.  His team will consider her situation and make a surgery plan.  A complete repair would be ideal, but she is so small and so frail she may not be ready for that.  The surgeons may first attempt a shunt that will buy her some time to get bigger and stronger for a full repair of her heart.

We don't have funds yet for Hua's surgery. In fact, Hua is just one of three of our babies (two with heart defects) who were diagnosed today with serious problems and need emergency surgery.  We trust that God will provide.

Please pray for little Hua, that her surgery can be done without delay, and that we will be successful in raising the funds to pay for it.