We are very happy to announce that as of 2015, our sister organization in China, Chunhui Children will be taking over the funding and operations of the China Care Home. It has long been our goal at Half the Sky to turn funding and operations of our programs over to the Chinese and the China Care Home is the first to achieve this impressive milestone. We are grateful that funds are now in place to ensure the continued care of children admitted to the center.
We are also grateful that in October 2014, our team was able to celebrate the relocation of the China Care Home to a newer and more modern facility, further benefitting the children. The new facilities, located in Beijing's quiet Yizhuang Economic Development Zone neighborhood, include a new administrative area, 9 rooms for the children, a professional nursing station, a large activity room and ample space for the more than 60 caring and loving Chunhui caregivers to dote on their little charges during their recovery periods.
Now that we have turned over operations of this center to our Chinese counterparts, we are able to turn our attention to raising funds for work that is near and dear to our hearts. Over half of children in today's Chinese social welfare institutions are living with a special need and our goal is to raise funds to further train our caregivers so they have the tools and knowledge necessary to best help children with special needs who are in their care reach their full potential.
Again, many thanks for your support of the China Care Home. Please find attached the last issue of our China Care Home newsletter that features some of the children who have received care at the center and some children who are still receiving care through Chunhui Children. We cannot thank you enough for your support, which has helped so many children receive high quality medical care and nurturing.
YuBing first came to the China Care Home at the end of 2010 when she was four months old. She had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma in her right eye, and she also had three lesions in her left eye.
To save her, doctors opted to remove her right eye. Then YuBing endured two cycles of chemotherapy followed by another seven cycles to kill the tumors in her left eye. The doctors declared YuBing cancer free and she returned to her home institution.
But in 2013, we received news from YuBing’s institution that unfortunately, the cancer had returned in her left eye. So once again, she travelled to Beijing for treatment. Her doctors removed her left eye and little YuBing once again underwent many cycles of chemotherapy.
Her nanny took care of her night and day while she was in the hospital. She was very tired, lost her appetite, and lost all her hair. Her nanny held her in her arms, gave her constant love and cuddles, and made sure she knew that she was not alone. By the spring of 2014, YuBing was finally strong enough to leave the hospital to recuperate at the China Care Home.
Despite all that YuBing had suffered physically, she is one of the happiest and strong-minded little girls we have ever met! She could not see, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to explore the center. She was very cautious, hodling onto the walls for guidance, and took little steps. When she came across an obstacle, she would kick it away and keep moving forward. In no time at all, she could go to the bathroom, the activity room and the bedroom by herself, although she always preferred when her nanny stayed close and talked to her while she walked.
One of YuBing's favorite activities is dancing in circles. She laughes and giggles so much when she does this. In June, YuBing had a checkup and we were thrilled to learn that there were no signs of recurrence of the cancer. YuBing could now return to her home institution and join her friends in her Little Sisters Preschool classroom.
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.
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.
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.
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