New things are always happening in the world of orphans and foster care.
I am still getting caught up after being gone for nearly four months this summer, and the first month back getting acclimated, managing the household and schooling, and getting organized.
In addition, my schedule is changing significantly from the first two years here.
We spent 5 days a week in class nearly the entire first two years, plus tutoring in the afternoons, focusing on language study, and doing medical work about once a week.
My duties varied at different times, whether I went with our residents to the orphanage or a foster care type facility once a week, and the last several months I focused on the needs of foster families and how we can support them better. I also gave a pediatric lecture occasionally.
Now that we’re back, I will not be in language school anymore, but will continue my tutoring twice a week.
My days will be spent going to the orphanage every other week, to the other foster care facility every other week, spending two mornings in the medical charitable clinic at the hospital seeing pediatric patients (including foster children) and lecturing about once every 2 months. I will also continue to make foster home visits with our Chinese director, and we are hoping to find a person who can take on the role of case manager for our foster children (much like a social worker) and train him/her in that capacity.
I started my first official week last week after the October holiday ended, and am putting my medical cap back on again.
I went to the main city orphanage with the team, where we saw a couple babies who had recently arrived from their initial post-abandonment checkup at the hospital as well as some well checkups.
This little guy made us wonder if he has some sort of syndrome, because of some finger and toe abnnormalities and slightly irregular facial features. But so precious.
A couple days later I went to a foster type home where we see children as directed by the woman who runs the place.
I have not been there for about a year, and I renewed my friendship with QiQi, who is about 9 years old and due to spina bifida complications does not go to school. She is a huge help with the little ones, and has a nurturing heart despite her own difficulties.
At that time, according to the orphanage, she was the most difficult to feed of all the children and we assessed her as having a severe feeding aversion.
She would only drink milk from a bottle, and refused all solid foods.
She panicked and screamed whenever she saw a spoon.
Since then, she has graduated to eating a full, unrestricted diet with all textures and flavors, and feeds herself at mealtimes.
She has gone from barely sitting, to crawling and now walking despite a fixed ankle joint that will require orthopedic surgery in the future.
She is speaking, smiling and laughing, and attached to her foster family.
The hard part is that they are departing permanently in two weeks, and will be saying good bye to her very soon.
With her mom I discussed how to help both QianHong and the family with coping during this difficult season.
I reminded her of the huge gift, literally gift of life and love, that they have given this little girl.
She will be forever changed because of the past crucial 10 months.
Thank you for joining in lifting up these little ones.