For such a little girl, Clara has always made a big impact on the people who care for her. Today, she is surprising everyone with her amazing strength and consistent progress. However, for most of her life, Clara has impressed people by how weak and fragile she was as she struggled to survive.
Clara entered the New Day North program in October of 2014. Only
about five months old at the time and recently abandoned, Clara was
seriously ill. She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and multiple
congenital heart defects. She was also very malnourished, only weighing
about 8 ½ lbs, and her heart defects caused her to turn blue when she
The next couple of months for Clara were quite difficult. While
she needed to gain strength before transferring to a Beijing hospital
for surgery, Clara was instead becoming even weaker. Continuously sick,
she had to be admitted to the hospital multiple times for treatment. On
one occasion, Clara’s condition became quite critical, and she was
rushed to the local hospital in heart failure.
As many prayed for her, Clara’s situation finally stabilized
enough for transfer to Beijing for evaluation by some of the top
hospitals for pediatric heart surgery in the country. One by one, the
doctors came back with the hard news. Even if Clara gained weight, heart
surgery was going to be dangerous, and her chance of a good recovery
was small. Clara had high pulmonary hypertension, so even if her heart
was completely repaired, her lungs and the rest of her body would
struggle to recover and support her little body.
Since heart surgery was her only hope, Clara was admitted on February 6,
2015 to one of the best Cardiology hospitals in Beijing, and had
open-heart surgery the next week. The surgery was a success! Clara
pulled through and surprised everyone with a good initial recovery from
surgery. However, though her heart had been repaired, Clara’s little
body was struggling. Within a few days after being discharged from the
hospital, she went into respiratory distress and had to be put on
oxygen, and readmitted into the hospital with severe complications.
The next two months were like a roller-coaster for Clara. As
doctors and nurses continued to care for her, and people all over the
world continued to pray, little Clara continued to fight to recover.
After a week in the hospital, she had stabilized and was released – only
to be back in the hospital again just ten days later. This time, Clara
had pneumonia, as well as pleural effusions, abnormal amounts of fluid
surrounding her lungs. Once again, Clara bounced back, and left the
hospital on strict fluid restrictions. These measures helped Clara stay
free of effusions and pneumonia, but also made it hard for her to gain
Finally, after staying in Beijing for another month and remaining stable, although still quite thin, Clara returned
to New Day North on May 12th. Clara weighed less than 11 lb on her
first birthday, but she was full of life, able to play and interact and
even roll around a bit.
Since her return, Clara’s nannies have cared carefully for her,
and she has remained healthy without any medical emergencies. She is
also finally gaining weight, despite still being on fluid restrictions.
Within the first two months after returning from Beijing, she gained 2 ½
pounds and became more active and capable every day.
Little Clara continues to make a big impact on the people around her,
surprising them both with her frailty, as well as her hope and
determination. Her life is a miracle, and a beautiful picture of grace
Although Clara's surgery has been successfully completed, it has not yet been fully funded. If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation towards her account in celebration of her life, you can do so by clicking this link.