Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NDNorth: A New Arrival

A little baby arrived at the orphanage as we were leaving one day. The tiny little baby, bundled in blankets, slept as we peeked through the layers of fabric. His fuzzy head of soft hair signaled his newness into this world.

Meeting a new baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, filled with family and congratulations. We don't know what happened when little Leon was born. Were there tears of joy? Was the family informed? Did anyone take a family picture?

All that we know is that not too long after this little life entered the world and took his first deep breath, he had arrived at the orphanage. A new orphan, sleeping soundly, oblivious to those who surrounded him and looked down in sadness.

In an orphanage, there is no joy at the arrival of a child.

Two weeks later we were back, and tiny little Leon wasn't doing too well. As a weak newborn, weighing just a tad over 5lbs, the challenge to take in enough nutrients to strengthen his little body was more than he could manage. Feeding required a serious time commitment from someone experienced in feeding a baby with needs like his. The orphanage asked if we would help - if we would take Leon and help him grow big and strong so that he could have surgery on his ENT defects. 

We said "yes." On Wednesday, August 27th, Leon was transferred to Beijing for some intensive TLC. We at New Day North are thrilled to begin working with our partners down in Beijing to provide additional medical care for children. We are so glad that we could bring Leon in right away.

In an orphanage, there is no joy in the arrival of a child... but at New Day? At New Day there is excitement, because with each new arrival the first chapter in a story of hope is being written. When a child arrives at New Day he has been promised to be fought for; he has been given the chance to thrive.

Leon is currently living with one of New Day's retired nannies, Penny. Penny has lots of experience caring for babies like Leon , as she spent most of her career at New Day working with the infants and in the critical care unit. She also has a track-record of spoiling children and convincing them that they are special and adored.

This shouldn't be a problem. 

When Leon first arrived in Beijing, we took him to the hospital to have an NG-tube inserted (we didn't have any small enough). However, he pulled it out the first night - we don't blame him. Penny asked us to not put it back in, because "It's uncomfortable, he doesn't like it." She was willing to spend the time feeding him that he needed. It takes little Leon over an hour to take each feed, and Penny happily sacrifices that time, even during the night, to make sure that he is comfortable and fed.

Leon is already three weeks old, but his story has just begun.

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