Red Scarf Project

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Let's Get Going

I will start this post with a warning -- I was very sad when I wrote part of this entry. Earlier this week, I read an update on Hope Foster Home's website (www.hopefosterhome.com) and wrote to my friend, the nurse volunteer that I spent a few weeks with this summer. She is an amazing woman who has been volunteering in China for the past 11 years. She and her husband will be moving to Jiaozuo in about a year to run the Special Care Unit (aka Palliative Care Unit -PCU) for HFH and hopefully help develop another one like it in Luoyang. They are heading over to China next week for a 3 week visit. What follows is my email to Lyn and then a summary of her reply.

My message: It is with sadness that I am writing to you. I just read HFH's latest newsletter and I am quite upset. I guess I just need to express a few things to someone who can relate -- you've been in my place many, many times. I hope I don't get you down.
The first heartbreaking part of the newsletter for me was reading that Lucy Fu Zhi Wen died. She was a little girl (5 weeks old) who came in during my last weeks in August. She was such a sweet little thing, she was quiet and smiled softly. It is comforting to know that she was in the PCU during her last month, that she was cared for, cuddled, and loved. But it's so difficult knowing that she was a baby that may not have died in other circumstances. I wanted to take her home with me.
The next part that was very distressing for me was the PCU update. Peter and Amanda (I wanted to take them home with me too) were sent back to the orphanage to make room for sicker babies. The possibility had been raised of sending a couple of the healthier babes back to the orphanage, but I didn't think it would actually happen. Apparently it came to that and now Peter and Amanda are regressing rapidly. My heart broke when I read that. I feel so helpless. What can I do? There must be something. Send money? Adopt more children? Go back to China? And then I get overwhelmed thinking about the vastness of the situation. So many children. I am so concerned about these just because I had a chance to know them. There are thousands of others whom I'm sure I would be attached to if I'd met them. Amanda and Peter were fortunate to spend months in PCU and regain their strength to a point of relative healthiness. But will they eventually be back at PCU due to neglect and declining health? Would they have been better off never to know that such a clean, caring, comfortable world exists? Would they be eligible for HFH's new long-term unit if it was up and running? If they were at one time, will they be again?
I must say there were many uplifting notes in the newsletter. It is encouraging to hear about life-saving surgeries, life-changing cleft repairs, Fu Si Yu (another infant who came in during my last weeks in August) being healthy and moving to HFH Beijing, and comforting of babies during their last hours. There is a lot of amazing work being done for these babies, but it still hurts so much to think about individual babies (and the thousands of babies like them) who don't have such positive outcomes. It helps to know that even when things don't go perfectly, there is someone there to care and help (e.g., David rushed back to Singapore).
Thank you for listening. I thank you for going back to China. People like you give me hope.

My friend replied with words of comfort. That's not to say that this is easy for her; I'm sure she has gone through many ups and downs through the years of helping these children. Although she is aware that Amanda and Peter will regress a bit, she is optimistic because there is another team going to the orphanage and maybe 2 full time workers from an assistance team type organization. She will check on Amanda and Peter during her 3 week visit. She also imagines Peter will be a candidate for HFH's long-term unit as soon as it is completed.

So why am I sharing all of this in the RSP blog? I want all of the RSP supporters to know what's going on. Although as I said in my email I am overwhelmed by the vastness of the situation, I will continue contributing via the RSP. I got a message from Abby, a RSP reader, asking if the RSP is continuing. I've decided that since the market for red scarves is pretty much saturated around here, I think I will move online to eBay charity auctions and send 100% of sales to Love Without Boundaries (LWB) , which is partnering with Hope Foster Home to build a new special care unit (http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/hopefosterhome.cfm).

I'm still in the brainstorming phase so I'm not sure of the logistics. Next week, I will bring out the remaining RSP inventory and start posting the items under charity auctions for LWB. One idea that I have is to cut myself out as a middleman -- maybe some knitters and crocheters who are eBay savvy will post their own items and ship them directly to the buyer. I am definitely open to ideas.

The way I see it, there is one more thing I can do -- help educate about the precious children's need for forever families. With that said, I will direct you to a video clip I saw on a couple's adoption announcement page. It's a short video that has an uplifting message about Chinese children joining their forever families. Check it out at http://www.bringmehope.org/index.html. I will ask Jacob and the BMH organization if there is a way to embed the clip on this page.

Thank you for reading!
Lisa