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More Than Just a Passport

November 19, 2015 — 2 Comments

To you this picture may seem like just a photo of a Chinese passport, but to a few people, it means so much more than that.  You see,this passport belongs to a young friend of mine passportfrom the special needs orphanage Global Partners in Life supports.  She has so many medical problems that it is hard to list them all, but I will try.  She has scoliosis so severely that she sometimes only eats one meal a day, because her spine is curved so far that her stomach pushes against her spine causing discomfort when her belly is full.  My friend also has dwarfism, metal rods in her leg, hips that are out of joint, and she has had foot and knee surgeries.

There are a few organizations I want to thank for their assistance bringing my friend to the States for some medical attention.  Delta Airlines graciously flew my friend and a caregiver from China to Atlanta, GA. Once they arrived, Shriners International took over.  They, along with Delta, arranged a special meeting at the airport with the Secretarpassport1y of State of Georgia. At that meeting, they made my friends honorary citizens!

In the next phase of the trip, Delta flew my friends to Philadelphia, where the Shriners Hospital gave my friend wonderful medical advice.  My friend saw two back specialists, one pain specialist, and a hip specialist. On top of this, the Shriners paid for all her expenses!  They also agreed to provide lodging for any length of time for recovery. The doctors agreed that since she could walk now, the surgery needed was too risky for her. No operations were performed at that time.                                                                              

It was wonderful for me to see that fantastic organizations like Delta Airlines and the Shriners were willing to help an orphan from China.  I feel eternally indebted to them!  

When China implemented a one child policy, it brought about some situations that we westerners didn’t think about.  I haven’t researched the subject in depth, so I have no statistics to support my hypothesis, so this is my opinion only.  Since a Chinese couple could only have one child, they obviously would want a normal healthy child.  If they had a child with an imperfection, sometimes the child would be abandoned.  This situation could come about with something that some of us may consider a very minor and solvable health issue, cleft pallet.

It has been my experience that children in China are abandoned for a cleft pallet, which we know is correctable.  I like to tell myself that when a child with a condition like this is abandoned, it isn’t because the parents don’t love their child; rather it is because they know they can’t afford the medical attention to resolve their child’s problem.  Therefore, the parents believe they are giving their child the best opportunity to receive the medical attention needed by abandoning the child.  I can’t imagine how heart wrenching that decision must be for a young couple to make.

As you can see in the picture below, this child has cleft pallet.  What I have learned since Global Partners in Life (GPiL) has started assisting special needs orphans with their medical requirements is that usually a cleft pallet requires three operations.  The first surgery closes the lip, the second closes the gum, and the third closes the roof of the mouth.

cleftpallet2_before

Before

cleftpallet2_after

After

 

As you can tell, this child also had some problems with their nose being blocked.  The second picture is of the child soon after the first operation.  The device in their nose was to help hold the nasal passage open while the healing took place.

Here is another child for whom we recently provided the funding for their cleft pallet surgery.  As you can see, their situation was a little different from the child in the first picture.

Before

Before

After

After

The before and after pictures of the cleft pallet surgeries can reveal a dramatic change.  We are very thankful for our donors who contribute to GPiL, so we can continue to have a positive impact on the health and lives of the special needs orphans in China!

op_edAs I wrote about in Global Partners in Life’s (GPiL) book, Unseen Tears, there have been multiple children for whom GPiL has provided funding to meet the expenses for an operation to correct a hole in a child’s heart.  The character in the book was named Xiao Ting, and I actually used two children from the special needs orphanage GPiL supports to make her story.  These two little girls were similar in many op2_edways, including the surgery they desperately needed.  Both of them had blue lips, blue fingernails, and they couldn’t play as actively as they wanted.  Also, they both had extremely strong personalities, when they felt well.  

These pictures are of the older of the two girls before her operation.  I am thankful to say that she had a good recovery from her surgery, and she has been adopted by a family in the States.  

The next picture is of the younger of the two girls.  She is so funny, because she was so much smaller than the other children, but she always tried to boss them around.  The children have a long table they use when they are working on crafts, and this little girl would climb on the table, stand up on it, and start giving orders to the other children.  Her surgery was a success as well, but unfortunately, she was one of the children removed from the special needs orphanage GPiL supports, so I haven’t heard much news about her.  op1_ed

These young girls are only two of the many success stories about the work GPiL is doing in China. I am thankful to have found this special needs orphanage and hopefully our impact with the children will increase!