HuiJun came to the Special Care Nursery at the China Care Home in Beijing last year as a 1-year-old little girl who was born with a cleft lip and palate, a deformation in her left hand, and no right arm. In just 10 months, HuiJun underwent three surgeries.
Her first surgery was to repair her cleft lip. After HuiJun was discharged from the hospital, she recuperated quickly under the loving eye of her foster mom.
HuiJun didn’t let her disabilities hold her back. Because of her hand deformity, she practiced using her toes a lot. When her foster mom put a toy in front of her, she moved her body towards it and then used her foot to reach for the toy. Her foster mom encouraged her to keep trying until she could pick the toy up with her toes.
HuiJun would use her left arm to support herself and became very adept at crawling on her left side, which soon led to walking. Though balancing was difficult at the beginning, with persistent practice she learned to walk a few steps on her own.
Six months after her first surgery, HuiJun had surgery on her hand so that she could finally move her thumb and little finger separately. After she healed, her foster mom helped her practice lifting or pinching small objects. We were all so proud of the progress she made. HuiJun’s final surgery in April was to repair her cleft palate.
Every time HuiJin would return to the Special Care Nursery from the hospital she would be thrilled to see her foster mom, holding on to her tightly and crying when other people held her.
Now, nearly a year after she arrived, HuiJun can use her fingers to reach for the cookies in her foster mom’s hand and eat them. Sometimes she uses both her hands and feet to accomplish tasks.She can say and understand a few words, such as “come here,” “eye,”“ear” and “kiss.” We are all so happy that HuiJin has become such a healthy, happy little girl.
At the end of last year, when she was 6 months old, tiny YeWen arrived at the Special Care Nursery from the Chuzhou Welfare Institution struggling for every breath she took. She had complex congenital heart defects: Tetralogy of Fallor (four heart defects that affect the heart's structure), a hole between the upper two chambers of her heart, and lung complications as well. These conditions left her with a heart murmur and a blue pallor from lack of oxygen-- when she arrived, her doctors discovered that her body oxygen concentration was only 34 percent.
YeWen was immediately placed on oxygen. Our nannies were told to keep her warm and to feed her small amounts of food frequently to ensure that she received enough nutrition. YeWen's poor lung functions meant that the nurse had to use a suction catheter to suck out phlegm when she coughed. She also suffered from edema and labored breathing.
Our nannies worked extra hard to care for YeWen, holding her constantly and feeding her patiently. Despite the extra care, YeWen contracted chicken pox two weeks after she arrived. She became extremely weak, and we even prepared ourselves mentally to lose her. But no one gave up, and YeWen, our tiny fighter, pulled through. A few months ago, we took YeWen to see a famous cardiologist.
After a series of checkups, the cardiologist expressed confidence that YeWen could get better after heart surgery. The surgery was a success! After a week in the ICU, YeWen was discharged from the hospital. We were all thrilled to welcome her back and see her pink lips, a sign that her oxygen levels were finally normal.
Happily, YeWen's condition has remained stable since her surgery. She takes heart medication every day and eats and sleeps well--her improved health is obvious. She gets excited when she sees the bottle in the nanny’s hands and begins to wave her arms. When lying on her back, she also kicks her legs or plays with her hands.
We will continue taking good care of YeWen so her heart can make a full recovery and she can live a long and healthy life.
With the help of Global Giving donors and other generous supporters, we have been able to establish and operate a Special Care Nursery at The China Care Home in Beijing. We are so grateful to our generous Global Giving donors for helping make this dream for the children come true.
Over the last year, your donations have helped improve the lives of many children, including YiNa, a 10-month-old baby girl fully recovered from heart surgery; ZhuangWei, a now happy toddler who endured grueling chemotherapy for retinoblastoma with his loving nanny by his side; and NiNi, a happy infant girl expected to fully recover from spina bifida, Chiari malformation, and hydrocephalus surgeries.
To continue our work, we are asking for donations to help defray the cost for the Special Care’s Nursery for the next two years. We are confident that with your help we will be able to continue to provide specialized and often lifesaving medical treatment and nurturing for fragile infants like SiYu.
When SiYu first came to The China Care Home, she was less than one month old and weighed only 2.5 kg. Tiny SiYu was carefully nurtured at our Special Care Nursery until she was big enough to have surgery to repair her cleft lip. After recuperating for a month at the Special Care Nursery, SiYu went back to the Baotou Social Welfare Institution where she was enrolled in Half the Sky’s Infant Nurture Program. With the patient care of her trained Half the Sky nanny, SiYu became stronger. When her doctors said she was ready, she returned to The China Care Home for surgery to repair her cleft palate.
SiYu is at The China Care Home and recovering well for her second surgery. She has grown up to be a beautiful girl. She can walk slowly by herself and speak some simple words. She has curly hair and looks like a doll. What she likes most is looking into the mirror. She shakes her head or makes faces in front of the mirror and observes her reflection carefully.
When SiYu hears music, she can’t help making some dancing movements like stretching her arms, waving her hands, or shaking her head. All the nannies in the room love to watch her dancing and listen to her happy laughter, but when she notices others paying attention she gets embarrassed and covers her face with her hands.
Thanks to the love and medical care she received, SiYu is now a healthy and happy girl!
YiNa was a 7-month-old, tiny, listless baby when she was admitted to The China Care Home. She was immediately taken to the hospital for tests where she was diagnosed with (ventricular septal defect: a 4.4mm hole in her heart). Two days later, she was hospitalized for heart surgery.
The surgery was grueling, but it went well, and YiNa began the long road to recovery. She spent five days in the ICU and another week in the hospital before she returned to The China Care Home.
Under the doting care of The China Care Home's nannies and medical team, YiNa continues her recuperation. Every day, the staff at The China Care Home makes sure that YiNa receives the three kinds of heart medications prescribed by her doctors.
In addition, her nannies play with her and talk to her every day. Slowly YiNa has become stronger. First she started moving her body around on the mat. Then she started grabbing the toys near her, especially the ones that make sounds. Now when YiNa sees the toys on the baby gym, she fiddles with them right away to make sure they make sounds!
Now 8 months old, YiNa's is a smiling, babbling, merry baby, who periodically bursts into joyous laughter. Recently everyone at The China Care Home cheered when YiNa sat up on her own for the first time!
In two months, YiNa will have a full medical checkup, We hope it will confirm what the doctors expect—that YiNa has made a full recovery and has a normally functioning heart!
ZhuangWei is a boy from Jiangsu Province who had retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer that takes a long time to cure and needs several rounds of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is grueling for adults never mind little ZhuangWei, who started treatment when he was only 16 months old.
During one round of chemotherapy, ZhuangWei began to cough, his face turned blue, and red spots appeared on his skin. I recognized the danger and informed the nurse, who came immediately, and stopped chemotherapy. ZhuangWei’s doctor then gave him emergency treatment; after a few minutes, he calmed down. But when he was on the drip again, the same symptoms occurred. This time I stopped the chemotherapy drip right away and informed the nurse and the doctor prescribed an oral dose of anti-allergic medicine, which allowed ZhuangWei to sleep. Later, when he was on the drip for the third time, he had no immediate reaction. I was relieved and watched over ZhuangWei until midnight when his treatment was completely finished.
During ZhuangWei’s second hospitalization, he had surgery to remove his right eyeball. After the surgery, the first moment I saw him crying and with his right eye wrapped in a gauze patch, I just couldn’t control my emotions -- my tears kept falling and I held him in my arms tightly. When ZhuangWei saw me crying, he wiped his tears away and told me with his expression, “I am brave. I won’t cry.”
After the anesthesia wore off, ZhuangWei was in a lot of pain. I held him in my arms, cuddled him, and tried every means to ease his pain and stop his crying. I started thinking how much bad luck he had had and how fortunate it would be if he had a mom to call his own. So I sang his favorite nursery rhyme, “Mama is the best person in the world.” When he heard me singing, he stopped crying and stared at my face. I kept singing it again and again and felt I was truly his mom. ZhuangWei listened carefully and soon he hummed along with me.
ZhuangWei was quite popular in the hospital ward. When his doctors came, he would give them a big smile and greet them. When his nurses came to give him the intravenous injections he hated, he would not smile. But when his nurses dropped by just to say “hi,” he would smile because he knew they weren’t going to give him a shot, and would wave goodbye when they left.
One morning, I took ZhuangWei to buy breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. There were many people lining up for breakfast, but ZhuangWei didn’t understand we had to wait in line. He saw his favorite steamed egg custard and shouted at the waitress, “Mama, mama…” In addition, he pushed people in front of us as if he were telling them, “Let me get the food first. I’m hungry. I want to eat.” The people around him said, “How cute this child is! Don’t let him go hungry. You first, please.” When the waitress gave food to me, ZhuangWei smiled happily at her and others to express his gratitude.
ZhuangWei finished his sixth round of chemotherapy in January and an examination showed that his is cancer-free! ZhuangWei, who turns 2 at the end of April, will need regular examinations to make sure there are no cancer cells, but he is expected to make a full recovery and grow up healthy.
As I got to know ZhuangWei better I was happy to be able to support him better during his treatments. His favorite fruit is banana and I prepared a lot of bananas whenever we went to the hospital--I loved to see him eat bananas. After eating bananas, he felt quite satisfied and kissed me on my cheek. I also was satisfied seeing ZhuangWei eating heartily! For me there is no job more gratifying than providing some comfort for brave, little ZhuangWei.
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