In December 2011, another bundle of joy joined us on this earth, a baby girl named Xin Xin. A moment that should have brought great wonder, brought a dim future for this little one—she was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid inside the skull, leading to brain swelling. The name literally means "water on the brain." This buildup of fluid puts pressure on the brain, pushing the brain up against the skull and damaging or destroying brain tissues. Hydrocephalus may start while the baby is growing in the womb. It is commonly present with myelomeningocele (aka spina bifida), a birth defect involving incomplete closure of the spinal column.*
Thankfully, our partners in China are turning Xin Xin's once dim future into a bright one. We learned that she recently received her initial surgery, a great blessing. Her road to recovery is long—it holds numerous post operative medical appointments as well as a follow-up CT scan—but we have great hope for this little one. Thanks to Swallows Nest, she will be in the arms of people who love her and are trained in the care of children with such conditions.
The Red Thread Promise will be supporting Baby Xin Xin’s post surgery care until her adoption. It is estimated that she may be in foster care for two or more years due to the severity of her special needs.
Baby Xin Xin is still very young so we don’t know what other complications she may have. Please keep Xin Xin and her caregivers in your thoughts and prayers and consider helping The Red Thread Promise show this little one how much we care.
* Excerpts from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
With winter just around the corner, we are ramping up our fundraising efforts so we are ready to support our next special needs child in China as soon as he or she "walks" through that proverbial door.
Why is winter such a concern? Hand-in-hand with the harsh temperatures often comes pneumonia, one of the greatest health concerns for these already at-risk infants. The little ones that we serve already have severly compromised health when they are brought to our attention and become "Red Thread kids".
Babies with serious birth defects such as myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida when the spinal cord is exposed through an opening in the spine) and other critical conditions need surgery within days of birth. These procedures leave their tiny bodies weakened and extremely susceptible to pneumonia and other secondary complications that are often as life-threatening as the original abnormality.
We take winters in China seriously and make every effort to have the funds available so that when a child needs swift intervention, they can get the treatment necessary and are in an environment that keeps them warm and safe, thus reducing their risk of complications. When even one baby dies from a birth defect or complications from surgery, it is one too many.
With your help, we can and will be ready to tackle winter head-on and make a difference in as many children's lives as possible. Thank you for your support.
It is with heavy hearts that we have learned first hand about the importance of early medical intervention in treating serious medical conditions like spina bifida, a birth defect where part of the spinal cord is outside the body in a sac. (This condition ranges from little or no disability to full paralysis and inability to use the legs.)
At a mere 2 weeks old, we were introduced to a little boy named Yin Xi (pronounced yin shi). He was brought to Swallows Nest Children's Home in Henan, China, weighing 4 kg (8.8 lbs) and appeared strong. He was a bit fussy and loud, indicating that he was a fighter, a desirable trait in a child with this serious condition.
Yin Xi needed surgery quickly due to the fact that his sac was open and a source of possible infection. As soon as we heard about his condition, The Red Thread Promise partnered with Swallow's Nest to provide this life-changing procedure. We knew that being in a better state of health would be a gift that he would have for the rest of his life and would greatly increase his chances of being adopted.
It was our hope to schedule his surgery about 3 weeks later during which time together we would raise the $5,000 needed for all pre- and post-operative care as well as his hospitalization. Sadly, during this time, the harsh winter took its toll on his tiny fragile body: Yin Xi developed pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. Following treatment, he was released into the care of Swallows Nest where, under the doctor's direction, they administered his medications and gave him the love and affection needed for his full recovery, necessary before surgery could be performed.
Swallow's Nest reported that he began eating well again but cried a lot and appeared uncomfortable. As we waited for his health to stabilize and continued to raise money for his surgery, he was re-admitted to the ICU and diagnosed with meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Eventually, even with the aid of the hospital's treatment, his little body was unable to fight anymore.
At only 2 months of age, Yin Xi passed away while waiting for his life-changing surgery.
His short life has taught us how imperative it is to have the funds available BEFORE a child is identified as a surgical candidate so surgery can be performed immediately. Precious time was lost raising funds that might, just might have saved this boy's life.
We think of Yin Xi every time someone donates toward this project. We honor his memory with every surgery we are able to provide, like Lu Yuan, one of our success stories. Born with the same birth defect, Little ZLY received his surgery early and was able to make a full recovery. He is growing up quickly and is a delight to us all as he waits to be matched with his forever family.
We hope that you will join us in providing medical intervention for the weakest of the weak. Please consider supporting these exceptional children.
Gong Li, for whom we bought a walker last year, has found her forever family and has just arrived in the States with them. And look at Hua, so big and strong now! Hua is a testament to the power of early surgical intervention in spina bifida. More children need surgery - there are few more direct ways to intervene in the life of a child than to provide for these surgries.
Lu Yuan, now right over a year old, had his successful surgery for spina bifida with the donation sent by The Red Thread Promise. His papers have been sent to CCAA in order to make him available for adoption, and he has moved to the Big Kid house and, crawls easily, and walks with assistance. What a powerful demonstration of the importance of the spina bifida surgery. Lu Yuan will go on to lead a normal life!
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