OUR ROCK STAR MATEO WOWS THEM, TOO! - Mateo just returned from a trip to Anhui, where he met with national and provincial officials and representatives of orphan and adoption advocacy groups. Everyone in attendance was quite impressed that a child who began with such a severe case of hydrocephalus could now sit up, crawl, feed himself, manage his own socks and shoes, and actively communicate. One representative who has had extensive experience with medical care for children commented that there is a night and day difference between simply getting a surgery and getting top quality surgery and top quality post-surgical care. She said Mateo's miraculous recovery and development is evidence of the phenomenal care that he has received within our network. This is affirmation of the excellent work of our local surgeons, our international medical advisors, our physical therapists, our staff and our volunteers, including Lis, Benedicte, Heike, Anna, Eva, Vanessa, Julia, Tamara, Dennis, Andrew, Jeannette, Eli, Mauro, Vasco, Amanda, Emily Minki, and Laini, who have helped Mateo through hundreds of hours or therapy. In Mateo's case, these tireless facilitators of his post-surgical therapy and care have had a particularly large impact on his recovery. 2015-4-16
ODE TO JOY - How many of us brighten up a room the minute we enter it? How many of us manage to find something fun and funny about every situation we encounter? How many of us act as a social hub, inspiring a diverse community of people to come together for a common cause? How many of us make those around us believe in miracles? How many of us say, “I may well have gotten dealt some less than ideal cards, but just watch me, I am gonna to turn them into a royal flush anyway!? How many of us say, I don’t know what lies ahead of me across the ocean, but I am ready and willing to go for it—bring it on!? We all have a thing or two to learn from Baby Joy, who at two-and-a-half years old is already rocking our world. We are excited for Joy as she joins her forever family this week. Thank you to Amy, Bantat, Sharon, Lisa, Daniel, Tim, Celma, Lincoln, Joy, Clayton, Mark, Chichi, Noelle, David, Xitong, Jill, Monique, and many others who have devotedly cheered Joy on! 2015-3-10
FASHION POLICE - What do you wear to one of the most important days of your life, the day you are united with your permanent adoption family? Adam took this question in stride, casually sporting a pair of mini Chuck Taylors, matching grey sweats and a hoodie. He was easily the best dressed boy in the room, sending the apt message, “I’m both hip and chill.” Of course Adam knows that clothes aren’t really the point, but they hint at a deeper reality underneath the surface, that though circumstances might have left him temporarily without a family, this is definitely no longer the case. He’s stepping out into the world with a huge family who has cared deeply for him and continues to care deeply for him. We wish him well in his new life in New York. Thank you to Karla, Carmen, Anita, Kimbra, Simon, Chiara, Rachel, Jennifer, Jeff, Kennedy, Cormick and all the others who have been a part of Adams family and have helped to make him the cool boy he is today. 2015-3-10
BABY OLIVIA ADOPTED - This week Baby Olivia joined her forever family, a lovely couple from the Netherlands. On the train ride on the way to the big day, we took some pictures of Olivia and showed them to her. She commented enthusiastically, "That's Olivia. She is so beautiful! Olivia is so beautiful. She is sooo adorable!" It is heartwarming to see Olivia exhibit understanding of her self-worth, a reflection of the immense investment of love our volunteers have made into her life. This understanding that she is very special and wonderful is something Olivia, and other children like her, will take with her all the days of her life. Thank you to Ruth, Gerie, Fianna, Benjamin, Shirley, Liz, Lydeke, Ari and the many others who have helped to nurture Olivia into the beautiful and adorable girl she is today! 2015-3-2
AMBASSADOR MARSHALL! - Marshall is doing extremely well. With his pneumonia and skin infection largely under control, Marshall is beginning antiretroviral therapy. He has quickly become the special darling of the staff and patients of the AIDS floor where he is receiving excellent care. In an environment where there are very few children, Marshall's presence, punctuated by his huge smile, has been a tremendous encouragement to the other patients and their families. He has brought the community together as the patients and families take turns entertaining him and lavishing him with gifts (including this Chinese New Year's outfit--yup, they discovered Marshall's penchant for snazzy clothes). With his quick recovery and charming personality, Marshall has become a very welcome symbol of hope in an environment which needs it. You can literally see patients' faces suddenly light up when they get around him. This is a small example of what we all know, that our Baobeis are tremendous gifts to our world! (Some of you may recognize, to the right of Marshall, Baobei Ana, who is now seven and starting to help take care of Baobeis herself! She adds, "Please ignore the curlers in my hair. I was getting ready for a night on the town after my volunteer work!") 2015-2-26
A MOTHER'S INTUITION - Although Baby Timothy had no fever and no overt signs of illness, Tianjuan, his volunteer caretaker, could sense that something wasn't quite right with him. He just wasn't his usual happy and gregarious self. Thank goodness for this experienced Shanghai mom's special sensitivity and quick response, because tests have now confirmed that Timothy is suffering from a digestive disorder, and he is getting treatment for it. Thanks to Tianjuan, Rob and Sera for moving so quickly to attend to Timothy's needs. 2015-2-26
MARSHALL'S MYSTERY SOLVED - After some persistent problem solving and numerous tests that led to dead ends, our Chinese medical team, working from an experienced hunch, suggested we retest Marshall for HIV even though he had previously tested negative in other hospitals. The day before Chinese New Year, Marshall's tests confirmed he is HIV positive, so we rushed to enter him into a specialized HIV program. The good news is the infectious disease specialist at the hospital says Marshall may have been diagnosed early enough to avoid lasting damage. Thank goodness for the skilled persistence of our team of Shanghai doctors, some of the best in the country, who solved a mystery physicians in other cities were unable to solve. We are especially glad they did it in time to get Marshall the help he needs! As many of us know, some public apprehension can remain about being around a patient with HIV or AIDS, so this is a special opportunity for us to stand with Marshall. Thank you to Dr. Summer, Scot and Louise for leading the way in this respect. Meanwhile, this smart little man has us all wrapped around his little finger, flashing a melt-your-heart countenance mixed with strategically timed whimpers to assure he gets held 24/7! 2015-2-20
THEN I SAW HER FACE, NOW I'M A BELIEVER! - Xi Tong and Joy, who both came in with severe cases of spina bifida, hydrocephalus and a host of other problems, were two of our most critical patients. Initially, some physicians advised us to give up on these babies because they didn't see the point of investing resources on children who were unlikely to live and were certainly not going to flourish. But the extraordinary surgeon in this picture never wavered in his hope for these children. Thank goodness for him, because these girls have indeed flourished! They are full of life, hilariously funny, and smart as whips! We'll be looking for them on the rosters of Harvard in a few years! Xi Tong has been adopted by a wonderful family living in Shanghai, and Joy will be adopted next month. One of the physicians who originally advised us to give up hope recently shared that Xi Tong has changed his mind about cases like these. He says, "I am now a believer in great possibilities for children like these!" 2015-2-15
SMILE! - What is harder than getting a baby to smile? Getting eight babies to smile on cue at the same time! At least cool Mateo remained chill while making sure Zach didn't slip off the sofa! In spite of the look on a couple of our cute Baobeis' faces, everyone had a great time at a recent playtime photo shoot. 2015-2-14
Concordia High School student Karis Tai shares in a TEDX presentation what happened when she crossed paths with a Baobei child.
You may have noticed we kicked off 2015 with a new website format. We offer a big thank you to Homa, Zheng, Nicholas, Mauricio, Bill, Abby, Tom, Thomas and Elijah for their excellent help and advice on the design and construction of our new site.
See what our Baobeis are up to all around the world now.