Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September's Hope

Henry is doing great and has had a good September.  First he successfully started kindergarten. Having watched his sisters go to the same school, he knew the drill and, as it turns out, was really looking forward to going there himself.  Next, he easily weathered Hurricane Isaac, completely unbothered by the lengthy storm. For Henry the entire event was a minor inconvenience; he had his Thomas the Tank Engine wooden toy trains with which to stay busy and using lanterns and candles at night was just plain fun.

And he celebrated his 6th birthday, beaming throughout the day with his singular brand of 100 watt exuberance. At these kinds of events it is interesting to watch him among the other children; how well he fits in and also how much he stands apart, in a good way. He is the sum of his extraordinary experience and at least for now its young master. He is an unusually happy child, and we couldn’t be more proud of him.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
(- Thich Nhat Hanh)  

Meanwhile, Love Without Boundaries (LWB) has begun a new support program at the Pingliang Children’s Welfare Institute (CWI), the orphanage in Gansu Province in northwestern China where Henry got his start. We have noted here before that almost all of the 145 children at the orphanage have special needs. For some children at the Pingliang CWI hope lays first in medical assistance, before they can hope for adoption.

Indeed this year the orphanage staff hasn't submitted files to the government for any children to be considered for adoption because it feels so few would be adopted.  There are about ten children still there whose files were submitted last year, some matched to families and the others not.  Others with more severe issues have little chance of ever joining a family.  The orphanage's director reported recently that as the children grow older their needs seem to be increasing in severity.

The new program is called the Pingliang Special Medical Projects Program and its purpose is to gather funds for projects like child surgeries, staff medical or therapeutic training, or equipment or travel associated with priority medical needs. It is supported by one-time donations of any amount or through monthly sponsorships. For more information contact LWB’s orphanage assistance staff at orphanageassistance@lwbmail.com. 

This past Spring, LWB began to retool and in some cases phase out its infant nutrition sponsorship programs because its costs in distribution and monitoring were increasing while orphanages such as the Pingliang CWI were saying they could afford formula and cereal bought locally and could better use the help in other areas. The organization is continuing its aunties sponsorship program that provides children with more caregivers. But we were looking to switch our monthly nutrition sponsorship toward something the orphanage was more clearly unable to provide on its own. So we contacted LWB’s executive director and orphanage assistance team to come up with a program that seemed to best fit what was happening in Pingliang, which resulted in the new Special Medical Projects Program there. Its funds are already being used to transport a little girl who LWB is calling “Trish” to a hospital for cleft palate surgery. She had earlier received a lip repair through a NGO charitable program, but without palate surgery she would be unable to learn to speak. Two more Pingliang children needing palate surgeries are next in line. Child surgery costs include those for both the surgery itself and travel, since the modern hospitals with capable surgical staff and facilities are a long distance away. One hospital the orphanage has used for cleft surgeries is in Xi’an (Shaanxi Province). Another in Kunming (Yunnan Province) is recommended by LWB and offers free surgeries supported through Smile Train. While a trip to this hospital would have higher travel costs, it would be cheaper overall. LWB will allow Mrs. Yang, the orphanage’s director, and her staff to make the choice, since one of them will need to accompany each child on these long but important journeys.


Leslie said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. Our agency recently established an orphanage partnership in Pingliang and they are waiting to receive files of children who need families. Do you if "Trish" (the little girl in you Sept 11, 2012 post) is still waiting for a family? Do you know how old she is?

The Corrigan | Del Nero Family said...

As far as we know, little "Trish" is still waiting for a family. She is about three years old and appears to be recovering well from her palate surgery, as are two other children from Pingliang that traveled all the way to Kunming and back for surgeries with her. Good news that your agency will be working with the Pingliang orphanage.

Leslie said...

Thank you for your reply! Our agency put a slideshow together of some of the children them met on their recent visit... I thought I recognized her when I found your blog. We're working to update our homestudy and gather our dossier paperwork currently. Hoping to adopt a daughter younger than our son (adopted from Ethiopia) who will turn 5 in September. We are open to cleft lip &/or cleft palate... we live in St. Louis, MO so have access to good medical care and therapy. Again, thank you for replying to my comment!

KrisL said...

I believe we are adopting one of the children you mentioned had surgery in Kunming in January. She will be coming home to a new brother and sister, and we are very excited!