Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives of orphaned children in China. We provide model programs and caregiver training designed to offer loving, family-like care to children of all ages and abilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future..
Dec 5, 2013

Exit Report for an Optimistic and Energetic Girl

FeiEr was born with anal atresia, which is a fatal disease if colostomy surgery isn’t done in time, especially for boys. The institution arranged the surgery in a local hospital, but FeiEr still needed several more surgeries. She was sent to the China Care Home for medical assistance in March this year. She was 10 months old and had normal development physically and mentally. Right after her arrival, we took her to a hospital to have medical checkups. Afterwards, the doctor gave a surgical plan that including anoplasty, urethroplasty, and vaginoplasty and then, after a period of recovery, final closing colostomy surgery.

A few days later, FeiEr was hospitalized and prepared for the surgery. It took 8 hours and she had three artificial organs made: an anus, a urethra and a vagina. FeiEr made it through the long surgical procedures. She stayed in the ICU for five days and a regular ward for a month. In late April, FeiEr was discharged from the hospital and came back to the China Care Home. The nurses here followed the doctor’s advice for follow up care that includes sometimes painful anal stretching three times a day.

During her recovery, it became clear that FeiEr is quite an active girl. After she wakes up, she becomes energetic and waves her arms, legs or shouts. She likes to sit in front of the baby gym, grab the toys—she has so much fun. When she smiles, her three front teeth are exposed, and that is so lovely that we can’t help but kiss her cheeks. Sometimes, she tried to crawl forward, but it turns out she moves backward even if she stretches. Then her nanny helps her and she says “ah, ah” excitedly to express her thanks.

After two-months at the China Care Home, FeiEr was hospitalized for the final surgery of closing colostomy. But one week later, FeiEr developed a fever and rash. The doctor found that she is allergic to cow’s milk and changed her formula to Neocate. After two weeks, the symptoms disappeared. But considering her allergy, the doctor was worried she might not stand the strain of a surgery. Therefore, FeiEr needed to recuperate for one month at the China Care Home. In August, she went back to the hospital where the surgery was done a few days later. FeiEr recovered well in the hospital and was soon discharged back to the China Care Home.

During her final recuperation at the China Care Home our staff delighted in the fact that FeiEr is an optimistic and easygoing girl. When she hears someone call her name, she turns her head and smiles no matter whether she knows the person or not. Sometimes she crawls to the mirror and sees her image. She touches the mirror on her face and nose and even kisses it. She likes to listen to her nanny sing nursery rhymes and can point out her facial features according to the lyrics. She can also understand when her nanny says “Welcome”, “Bye”, “Do you want it?” etc.

In September, FeiEr had a callback at the hospital where the doctor said she had made a good recovery. Nothing is more gratifying than to hear a child at the China Care Home receive a clean bill of health. FeiEr recently went returned to her institution. We miss her so much and hope she will grow up happily no matter where she is.

Sep 6, 2013

Energetic Jue is Full of Smiles

Jue is a three years old girl who was admitted to the China Care Home in late April because of a heart defect. Two days after her arrival, she was hospitalized for surgery, which was quite successful. One week after surgery, she was discharged from the hospital and came back to the China Care Home for post-operative care. She took heart medication every day after the surgery.

Jue has fair skin and slightly curly hair. Most people are taken with her immediately and say she looks like a Korean child. She also has a distinctive personality. She likes to run around. No matter what interesting things she saw, she would touch them and try to figure out what they are. Sometimes, she would squabble with other children over a toy. She was not afraid of the boys who were older and stronger than her. Her nannies said, “She is so fearless and acts like a boy.” Jue often sat on the scooter and went around in the corridor or chased after others.

Jue is smart and can understand a lot of words. There was no problem at all when she communicated with others, but she didn’t actively talk much and mostly used body language. When she was taught to speak a certain word, she would repeat it. She could remember how she should address different people. When she saw the children she often played with, she would run to them, hold their hands and smile at them. She posed immediately when she saw a camera no matter whether the photographer was taking pictures of others or her. She could also narrow her eyes and fake smiles for the camera.  Once in the office, when she saw staff talking on the phone, she grabbed a calculator on the desk and used it as a phone. She kept saying “hello” and made others laugh. Then she also laughed.

Jue was enrolled in the China Care Home preschool class. She was so excited that she could get out of her nursery room and was so curious about the outside world. In addition to playing games and singing together with other children, she also played the role of a little helper to her teacher and nannies. She liked to do anything she could to help. When the teacher and volunteers decorated the wall of the corridor, Jue sat on her stool and waited
for the teacher to give her the materials, and then she imitated others to paste them on the wall. The teacher put a sticker on her forehead and took her to the mirror. When she saw her image in the mirror, she was quite happy and showed it off to the nannies and children.  When the teacher told her nanny that Jue was quite a good helper with the wall decoration, Jue understood and felt proud of herself.

In early June, Jue had a checkup at the hospital where the doctor said she had made a good recovery and her condition was stable. We were happy for her, but at the same time, we knew she would soon leave the China Care Home. In late June, she was sent back to the institution.

She has brought so much fun to others. We trust she will grow up healthily and happily.

Jun 6, 2013

ManNi Fights for Her Ability to Walk

ManNi was less than one month old when she was sent to the China Care Home for medical assistance for her club feet. She was chubby and looked healthy, except for her feet which looked as if they had been rotated internally at the ankle. We were happy that ManNi came for treatment at such a young age because without early treatment children with club feet often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

Last summer, the day after her arrival, ManNi was sent to Jishuitan Hospital. After her medical checkups, the doctor made casts for her legs. Usually children require four casts, each one in use for one week. But the number of casts varies depending on an individual child’s special need and because ManNi’s Achilles tendon was particularly tight, she had nine casts. Though it hurts to have casts removed, every time ManNi’s old casts were removed, she didn’t cry. She would lie quietly and cooperate with the nurse who kept praising her by saying, “Good girl.” What a little fighter!

At the China Care Home, ManNi has a regular routine: she eats and sleeps well. She likes small stuffed animals and stares at them. When a toy makes sounds, she listens carefully and stares curiously. She is happy if her nanny is around and talking to her. She babble “en, en” or speaks her own words as if she is chatting with her nanny. When she lies on her back, she can lift her legs and rock them up and down. Even when her legs had casts, she could lift them.

ManNi finished serial casting at the end of last year and then had tenotomy surgery to release her Achilles tendon. After a checkup, the doctor said the outcome of the surgery was quite good andbraces that would help hold her feet in the desired position could be made for her. ManNi started to wear braces in the middle of December and her nanny massaged her feet three times every day according to the doctor’s instructions. She seldom cried. When she was tickled, she kept giggling and two dimples showed on her cheeks.

ManNi is now ten months old. She can hold toys in her hands and shake them. It seems that she is using toys to attract other children, “It’s funny! Come to play with me.” When she feels bored, she looks around and watches what other children are doing. She can make a response when one calls her name. Her sweet smiles can make adults forget all their unhappiness.

The condition of ManNi’s feet has improved greatly with all the treatment and care. Everyone who cares for her feels grateful for her progress. She will have another checkup at the hospital this spring. We all hope that when she grow up, she will be able to walk just like other children.

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