Special Care Nursery for Orphaned Babies

Apr 2, 2014

Strong HaiXia Endures Casts and Finds a New Family

HaiXia was 7 years old when she was admitted to the China Care Home in June 2013. She was shorter than her peers due to dislocation of her hip joint on the right side. She looked like a three-year-old girl as her height was only 92 cm. But her intellectual development was quite good. She could talk and communicate with others well, sing songs, write numbers and characters, read, and draw pictures.

A few days after HaiXia’s arrival, we took her to see an orthopedic doctor in Beijing’s Jishuitan Hospital. After the X-rays were reviewed, the doctor said her case was complex and that we should take her to see more doctors. In the following three months, we took HaiXia to several different hospitals in Beijing and looked for the best doctors for her. They consulted to see if an operation was feasible. They agreed the surgery should have been done before the age of seven to ensure a better prognosis. HaiXia was seven years and four months old then so she needed the surgery soon.

While waiting for her surgery at the China Care Home, HaiXia got along well with the nannies and other children. She was polite and said “thanks” often. She liked to read and write. She is a quick learner. She would learn to write a number or simple character after her nanny taught her only a few times. We told HaiXia about the upcoming surgery. She was very cautious after knowing that. She often said to her nanny: “I won’t walk fast. I must be very careful and not fall over. I’m going to have the surgery.”  

In November, HaiXia was admitted to the hospital and the surgery was done successfully. One week later, HaiXia was discharged with casts on both legs. She had to lie in bed for five weeks and then the casts would be removed. Though it hurt, HaiXia didn’t cry. She believed that she would walk much better after she recovered. To help her pass the time, her nanny read her stories and taught her to sing new songs. HaiXia remained in good spirits. In December, we got news from the institution that she had an adoptive family. The parents had intended to adopt HaiXia before Christmas, but HaiXia still had casts on. Therefore, they postponed the adoption date and sent a lovely letter and photos to HaiXia. She was thrilled to hear the news and see their photos. She showed her parents’ photo to everyone in her room and said, “Look! They are my father and mother.”

At the end of December, the casts on HaiXia’s legs were removed and she began to wear leg orthoses. She needed to wear them for six months. She was picked up by the institution on January 1st and would meet her parents one week later. She is such a sweet and outgoing girl and we know she will thrive in her new family.

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.

Mar 8, 2013

YuXia - A Crafty and Energetic Girl

YuXia was 16 months old when she traveled to Beijing to be admitted to the China Care Home.  She is an active girl with big, bright eyes, who was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate. When she arrived, YuXia needed someone to hold her hands to help her walk. After she was taken to the floor mat, she would crawl around and look for toys to play with. If she felt bored, she would throw the toys away and move to her nanny. She would then pull on her nanny’s clothes and climb onto her nanny’s legs until her nanny swept her up in her arms.

 Because YuXia’s age and health condition met the medical criteria, she was sent to the hospital one week after her arrival for the first of two surgeries. YuXia’s nanny also went to hospital to take care of her. After YuXia was released from the hospital, she came back to the China Care Home to recuperate. Most children return their institutions between surgeries, but because YuXia had to travel so far, she stayed and waited for the next surgery at the China Care Home.

 During those six months, YuXia recovered well and soon could walk by herself. Whenever she heard her nickname, “DaXia,” she would turn and look around. When she saw her nanny, she would walk towards her, throw herself into her nanny’s arms or when her nanny squatted down, put her hands on her shoulders. Though she did not speak, her eyes and her actions smiled and talked. If she didn’t know the nanny, she would hide behind her nanny and look shy. Sometimes she could follow her nanny’s instructions to wave goodbye to others.

 YuXia walked faster and more steadily as time went by. She was also enrolled in the China Care Home’s preschool program and had regular classes with the teacher and other toddlers. When the teacher took the children out to the playground, YuXia would run outside happily and play on the swing or the slide. She always had a good time and was always reluctant to go back to the nursery room when it was time to go back inside. Sometimes when she was in the room, she would sneak off to the corridor when she realized her nanny wasn’t paying attention to her. Then her nanny would discover her and chase after her. YuXia would continue to run in the corridor, giggle and look back until she was caught by her nanny. Afterwards, they would go back into the room for activities like playing with jigsaw puzzles, ball games and reading picture books.

 YuXia had her second cleft palate surgery at the end of last year. She spent another month at the China Care Home for post-op care until she was fully recovered. Though YuXia was almost two years old, she could only say a few words like “mama,” “auntie,” “ok,” and “bye.” Her nannies and teacher instructed her to talk every day. If the word was complicated for her to pronounce, she would just look at them and keep silent. But we could read from her facial expressions that she understood a lot. What she had in her mind was much more than what she could express in words. YuXia also helped her nanny do things she was capable of, such as dumping trash, fetching diapers, sorting out toys, etc.  

 During her time here, YuXia got used to the life and people at the China Care Home and our staff here got to know her well.  YuXia was sent back to the institution at the beginning of this year.  YuXia is such a happy and sweet little girl and we all look forward to the day when she can have a forever family.

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Half the Sky Foundation

Berkeley, California, United States

Project Leader

Patricia King

Berkeley, CA United States

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