Project #3180

Special Care Nursery for Orphaned Babies

by OneSky
Feb 10, 2010

Mr. Congeniality

Two-year-old YanCun (nickname CunCun), a handsome little boy with dark black, curly hair, is a real delight at the Family Housing Unit in our China Care Home in Beijing. Most toddlers draw back and hide behind their nannies when there are visitors. But CunCun welcomes visitors, allowing anyone to give him a hug or kiss, and he loves to pose when they take pictures. Effortlessly verbal, CunCun will also answer all the visitors' questions: "How old are you?" "Which is your crib?" "What's the name of that child?" "Have you had your breakfast?" When the visitors leave, he blows them a kiss and waves his hand.

Because CunCun has urethral stenosis, he has a catheter and has to carry around a urine bag, but they don't affect his activity level at all. CunCun is agile, walks fast, climbs on the slide in the outdoor playground easily, and never cries when he falls.

However, it is painful for such a small child to get his catheter replaced by a new one every two weeks. Whenever his foster mom, Zhao CaiYin, takes him to the nurse's room, CunCun knows what is waiting for him and wants to run away. CaiYin always stays beside him, holds his hands tightly, encourages him, and tells him to be brave. Seeing CunCun in pain when CunCun goes through the procedure, CaiYin's eyes fill with tears. After the catheter is replaced, CunCun stops crying, holds his mama's hand, and goes back to his room. Because he has spent so much time with his mama day and night for several months, CunCun has established a deep emotional attachment with her, which is crucial for his growth and CaiYun has bonded deeply with him as well. CaiYun, who was unaware that there are so many young children struggling with so many medical conditions before she starting working at the China Care home says she treats the three children in her care "like my own" and is gratified by every tiny developmental milestones she sees; "I have resolved to help these children live a better life."

CunCun is developing by leaps and bounds both physically and emotionally. CunCun likes to help CaiYun do some housework. For example, when the care supervisor stands at the door and distributes daily necessities to the moms, CunCun takes small things like a roll of toilet paper or a bag of formula and puts them away in the correct part of the supply closet.

CunCun can now also feed himself, using a spoon, though sometimes, he gets distracted and begins to play before he finishes. CaiYun patiently reminds him to eat, and if the food turns cold, she reheats it in the microwave. After his meal, when CunCun sees CaiYun squatting to feed another child, he fetches a stool for her. CaiYun praises him explaining: "I am so moved that with all the medical care CunCun has to deal with that he is also so sensitive to my needs."

CaiYun has become a boasting mom, often telling others how smart and funny CunCun is. When CaiYun asks him to recite the simple, ancient poems she has taught him, CunCun has no performance anxiety: he speaks fluently and always gets a lot of applause from his audience of other nannies, children, or guests. CaiYun knows that CunCun may have to have a catheter for the rest of his life, but she also knows that he will grow up to be a "smart and kind person": "Our CunCun will definitely be knowledgeable when he grows up. I believe he can make some contribution to society and have a bright future."


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Organization Information


Location: Berkeley, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Patricia King
Berkeley, CA United States

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