Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Babies Have Surgery

Our first babies have gone to Anhui Children’s Hospital to have their lip repair surgery! These two little faces may not look familiar to you, because they aren’t actually “residents” of our home, but have been “houseguests” for about two weeks. They arrived in Hefei for surgery sponsored through LWB, only to find that ACH had no beds for them. So they have been waiting for space to become available and enjoying their time at our Cleft Healing Home. I was just thrilled to get this email from our Home Manager, you can tell what wonderful nannies we have in our home, that they would get so attached in two short weeks.

Zhang Ming writes: “Baby one and Baby two were moved to Anhui Children’s Hospital for surgery yesterday (Mar 25). Cleft home nannies were all feeling bad to have to part with the two little ones for a couple weeks for the surgery. They all hugged the little ones and kissed goodbye to them. They prayed in their heart for the smooth operations on the babies.

Baby one is going to get surgery tomorrow. Baby two has asthma and possible lung infection according to the surgeon, so he needs to get medication for the asthma first before operation”

We will all be praying along with the nannies that everything goes smoothly for this little one!

Sandi Glass
Cleft Healing Home Coordinator
Love Without Boundaries
"Every Child Counts"

All Those Smiles!

I apologize for the lack of entries since my return from China. It has taken awhile to get adjusted to life at home and reconnect with my family. I have a list of stories I’d like to share from our visit and I promise I’ll share them. But I just received these photos from our Home Manager and had to share them first! I just love seeing the sparkle in the babies eyes. They are clearly adjusting well to their new home. They were all “so good” when we were there, but imagine the changes they have been through. New home, new environment, new caregivers. I can tell they are coming out of their shells now, just look at their smiles. Their whole faces are smiling!

Sandi Glass
Cleft Healing Home Coordinator
Love Without Boundaries
"Every Child Counts"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hi Babies!

What have you been up to?

Nothing much! Just playing with our new toys!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


We arrived early at the home today to be able to see the morning routine. The babies get their baths and their vitamins in the morning. You've already seen bath time which they love. They aren't so fond of vitamins!

Next we went to Anhui Children's Hospital for a tour of the facility that is being so gracious to help us care for the children in our home. We enjoyed a LONG traditional Chinese lunch with the Vice President of ACH, Dr. Huang He. Then we returned to the home for a bittersweet farewell to the babies and the nannies.

I felt like I was leaving my first child at college again. I know they are ready to run the home on their own, we've seen first hand how accomplished they are. But at the same time we were very sad to leave the children we have grown to love in a short time.

We were unable to hold back our tears as we left. One nanny helped us carry our bags to the van (did I mention down 6 flights of stairs??). Before we closed the door of the van she said "Put down your heart, we'll do our very best." I know they will.

Off to sleep before the long trip home. Sweet dreams!

Sandi Glass
ACHH Coordinator

Friday, March 7, 2008

Music to Dance To

Music and Dancing!

Today was a day for music and dancing - for the babies that is! The nannies had music playing all over the house on the cd players we bought yesterday. we have two short videos that we will load once we figure out how of the nannies dancing with the babies and all the babies playing with the gyms that were donated. Some of them are starting to swing out their hands to touch the toys, a big step.

We completed developmental checklists for all the babies today. As expected they are behind developmentally, but the nannies are working hard to catch them up.

My daughter and I re-organized the clothes today and made sure every baby has enough clothes in their drawers. We made tags for the dressers and the clip boards containing the babies charts. They each have a basket for their vitamins and any other medicine they may need.

Oh and when we arrived at the house, new light fixtures were being installed all over the house (we had dangling light bulbs before). It is really starting to look and SOUND like a home! The babies are getting noisier and more demanding which is great.

Tomorrow is our last day and it will be so hard to leave these babies. Please know that you are making a big difference in their lives! It's an early morning for us tomorrow, we're going for bath time so we can weigh all the babies!

More later,

The First Couch Photo!

One more morning of shopping today, this time in a store that was somewhat like super walmart. By the time we left we had three carts full of supplies for the home. The highlight of the shopping expedition was watching Zhang Ming clear the shelves of the type of baby formula we need. He has found it difficult to find in quantity and when he found it, he bought it! Unfortunately we didn't have our camera.

We returned to the home to unpack, have a training session and play with the babies. I must say we really have some wonderful nannies. They clearly love the children and are very attentive. Because all of the nannies were there for training, there were enough arms to hold every baby. I can already tell a difference in some of the babies' ability to hold their heads up since they've been with us, even the nannies noticed.

We had a little photo shoot with the nannies and the babies. Then we lined the babies up on the couch for a picture. I really didn't think it was going to work because these babies are still so floppy. But as you can see, they stayed upright. It was really funny because none of them moved and no one made a peep for a LONG time. All of the adults were in stitches watching them. I guarantee you that if we try this again in a month, they will not be sitting still!

Everyone is beginning to settle in and feel more at home. I cannot tell you how great it is to hear the sound of laughter, cooing and singing as the babies are carried all over the house. The nannies seem to enjoy each other's company and were having fun together by the end of the day. One little fellow didn't want to be put down and his nanny came up with a solution that let her arms have a rest and kept him cozy!

I will hate to leave these little people, they are so endearing. Thank you so much for your support.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The First Full Day With Our Full House

It's hard to believe it's only my second day here in Hefei, we've done so much with so much left to do! This morning we went shopping for a rug so the babies can have some tummy time and the all important scale to make sure they are gaining weight.

We chose two rugs we thought we'd like and the store brought them the same day so we could see which went best. It looks like an ad, doesn't it? Don't worry, it wasn't long before we had toys strewn on the carpet to trip over.

The babies are settling in nicely to their new home and their little personalities are starting to emerge. We have several very serious babies, several very ticklish babies and several that love to "talk". At one point today I said to my daughter, Caitlin, that I had the best job in the world. Getting to cuddle all these babies is wonderful.

Stay tuned for more news, we are going to attempt nanny training tomorrow during naptime! we'll see how that goes. I was never successful at getting two children to nap at the same time!

Sandi Glass

ACHH Coordinator

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Full House

Eight Is Enough

The rest of our 6 babies arrived today along with the LWB Cleft Home Coordinator, Sandi Glass and her daughter Caitlin. We are now have a house full of babies with 8 children in residence. I spoke on the phone with Sandi briefly this morning from China after she had been in Hefei only a few hours to get her first impressions. She said the home was beautiful, the Cleft Home Staff were very kind and attententive, and the children were gorgeous. This project has been a labor of love for dozens and dozens of people around the world for many years. With all sincerity, we cannot thank you enough for your support and belief that we can make this dream a reality.

When I first looked at this photo I said to myself, I wonder how long Sandi was able to resist taking one of the children into her arms and hugging them? We have seen photos of the children for a good month now. It is not until I see Sandi actually holding a child in her arms does it really sink in how tiny, fragile, and vulnerable these little ones are and how totally dependent they are for us to help them reach their full potential.

I asked our Cleft Home Manager how things were going today and he said all was well. The nanny's were thoroughly enjoying taking care of the children under their watch and making sure that they are warm, fed, and well. We have 6 nanny's at the home right now taking care of the 8 babies during this stage of transition. So far, so good. Notice the couch full of clothes that Sandi brought with her. If you have been following the blog, you remember Sandi warned she has been shopping...

We had our first visitors today too. A few of the staff come by the home to meet Sandi and see the home in operation. The ACH doctors said that Cleft Home is a wonderful project! They explained that this partnership will allow them to choose the best suitable date to do the cleft repair and also give them the chance to see how well the cleft babies are healing after they are discharged from hospital to the cleft home. They talked with Sandi how ACH will perform a routine check on the babies once a week to make sure the children are growing and thriving. We are so grateful for our partnership with this hospital yet again to provide the best possible care for the children. The doctors from ACH (from Left to Right) are cleft surgeon Doctor Wang, heart surgeon Doctor Ding, Anhui Regional Director & LWB Cleft Home Manager Zhang Ming, Director Zhai, LWB Cleft Home Coordinator Sandi Glass, Sheri Glass, and Vice Director Zhang. Both Director Zhai and Zhang are in charge of doing the coordination between ACH departments with LWB.
After a good night's sleep, Sandi will hopefully be able to post some first hand accounts tomorrow. Thank you.
Heidi Reitz
Foster Care Director

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Babies are HERE!


While we were sleeping last night, the first two babies, Jenna and Shanon arrived at the Anhui Cleft Healing Home. First they were taken to Anhui Children's Hospital for a check up before they came back to the home. Jenna had a little bit of a cough. After the pediatricians conducted their exams, they perscribed some medicine for her cough. She is not eating that well yet but hopefully she will be feeling better soon.

We had 6 Cleft home staff memebers here receiving the 2 babies on the day shift. 3 nannies to one child - that is a good ratio but we won't be able to keep this up for long. The nannies were busy making sure the room was ready. You could feel the excitement in the air as there were all talking at the same time about our first babies from Dingyuan.

The two children from Dingyuan were accompanied to Hefei by Director Xi's wife along with other two staff. Here is a photo of the Director's wife feeding Jenna, with our head nanny, Shao Mei looking on. She looks so kind and loving.

This is the night shift nanny whose name is Liu Xiao Li. She is gentlly making sure our littles ones are tucked into bed.

It has been a full day for these children with an exciting new chapter of their lives begining today. It is an honor and a priviledge to be able to follow these children so closely as they come to the home, grow & develop, and then eventually have their surgery. Our Anhui Cleft Home Manager is Zhang Ming. He is such a dedicated man to make sure that everything is always done right for the children. He was sending me these photos at 2AM in China because he wanted to make sure all was well with the babies on their first night

Tomorrow, 2 babies from Fuyang and 4 babies from Huainan will come to our cleft home

We are all so very excited to finally be able to care for these precious children.

I am so pleased to introduce you to Shannon. She is pretty in pink.

And Jenna. who looks like she already is having sweet dreams. I wonder what she is dreaming of?

Both of these children are still available for sponsorship.

Our Cleft Home Coordinator, Sandi Glass is on her way to the Cleft Home and will arrive in Hefei Tuesday at Noon. Until then we will have to wait for more news.