- Jan 15th - Jan 20th - BREAKING NEWS !!! JIDE (OUR FIRST BOY AT BLUESKY) DOES NOT HAVE HEPETITIS B !!!! Everyone at BlueSky is overjoyed. It is confirmed now that the hospital where he had his first 2 surgeries, had made a mistake in his blood work. We had requested them to re-test when they had first told us he had Hep B, but all they gave us was verbal confirmation, and now we believe that they never re-tested. For his third surgery, we changed hospitals and are funding the surgery on our own. We informed the doctors that he had Hep B, and blood work was done to confirm. They came back and said that he does not have Hep B. So we took another sample of his blood to another outside hospital to re-confirm, (that's how paranoid we are), and we can now honestly believe that he is Hep B free !!! So now,he has had his third and final surgery to close the colostomy. Doctors said that surgery went well, and recovery should be smooth. We visited him yesterday (his favorite caretaker in tow), and he was a little grumpy, but didn't cry the whole time we were there. He will still be there for another week or so. JiDe is such a sweet boy, and now that he does not have Hep B, he will have a greater chance at being adopted.
- Jan 21st - Jan 31st: This week saw JIDe return home to BlueSky, 8 days post-surgery. His recovery has been amazing, and the doctors are very pleased with his progress. He is now sporting a mohawk hairstyle, as a result of having an IV drip inserting into the vein on his head. JiDe is all smiles and giggles now. * Jian Gong, our 7yr old with arthrogryposis, was the lucky recipient of a wheelchair donated by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. It is a little bit big for him, but he seems to be able to manuever his way around anyway. After more consultations with doctors in Beijing, Jian Gong will most likely have surgery on his feet and knee after chinese new year. In the meantime, he has been learning how to count (up to 10 now) and is starting to recognise a few characters. He is very willing to learn and is such a polite boy. He and Dang Qian have become good friends.
- Feb1st - Feb 6th: PICTURES * We had an early celebration for Chinese New Year, with take-away Peking Duck and other delicacies. Some of our staff will be returning to their hometowns to visit with relatives. Hong Baos (red packets with their yearly bonus) were distributed!
- Feb 7th - Feb 20th: This week saw a bout of coughs and colds with LuoFei having to be rushed to hospital with 40degree temperature at 11pm at night. He has since recovered and is back to his playful self again. * Chinese New Year celebrations also meant lots of firecrackers and fireworks being let off steps away from the fosterhome. As we are located just outside of the "no-fireworks" zone of Beijing, people are allowed to release fireworks for prosperity and good luck, which also means that Beijingers flock to our area to do this. In the beginning, the loud bangs and colourful skies are exciting to see, but after 3 days of non-stop bangs (even in daylight!), it's a little tiring, and this continues for 15 days.. Most of the kids were scared from all the noise, and our staff spent most of their time comforting them. The kids didn't sleep in their own beds for those first few nights ... (when i was told this by one of the staff, I was happy that the staff really treat the kids like family, which is obvious in any case, but nice to be reminded).
- Feb21st - Feb 27: Jian Gong, our 7yr old with arthrogryposis and clubbed feet, was admitted to hospital on Monday for surgery to correct his feet and knee. He is accompanied in hospital by his best friend Sarah Miller, an American volunteer who was living at BlueSky and who had been teaching him the basics of reading and writing. They are now inseparable. Jian Gong's surgery was performed on THursday, and he is doing well. The doctors have said that he will be in hospital for about a month. We have great plans for him during his recovery at Blue Sky - we are going to hire a private tutor for him to get him up to speed with regular school kids his age, with the hope that he will be accepted into a local school eventually. Since he is starting his education from scratch, this may take a while, but we have such belief in him as he has proven to be an extremely bright boy who is willing to learn. If you are interested in sponsoring his tutor's fee, please contact us. * This week we also welcomed 2 kids and their caretakers for 2 week physical therapy. Ye Jia Jia is 2.5 years old born with Arthrogryposis. She has no functional use of arms and is unable to walk. Molly is teaching her caretakers about the nature of her condition, exercises to prevent deformities and strengthening the legs, standing and balance to prepare her for walking someday. Until November they really hadn't been doing any exercise or activities for her so she is quite weak. Liu Sheng Hao is 16 months old born with Cerebral palsy. He can't roll, sit, stand or use hands. Teaching foster mom how to hold, carry and play with him to improve his body control and increase opportunities for stimulation. She wasn't really sure what CP was and didn't know that any thing could be don't to help him before coming here. Molly has also been working with Kai Rui- the little girl with clubfeet was born premature in Shanxi province and is staying at China Care's foster home in Beijing. We have been casting her since early December and she has made excellent progress.
- Feb28 - March 13: Lots has happened these past 2 weeks. *Jian Gong is doing very well recuperating in hospital. We hope to have him home soon. * LuoFei's (Intersexed child who is a boy) doctors paid him a visit at Blue Sky, and want us to continue giving him hormone injections. They now say that surgery will be in April. * Shen Li, our precious boy with heart problems, was checked into hospital on Monday 7th to prepare for heart surgery. Unfortunately, he has an unusually high level of ALT in his bloodwork, and surgeons are monitoring this before proceeding with surgery. We are grateful to the Magic Hospital group for sponsoring the bulk of his medical bill which will be approximately 80,000rmb. * XiaoEn, one of our cleft boys has been seen by doctors and they say that he is ready for surgery. He will go next week. Tian Xi, the other cleft boy, is still too weak for surgery, and will have to wait a while. * We bid a fond farewell to Sarah Miller, our first live-in volunteer. She took wonderful care of Jian Gong in hospital
- March 14- 17: We are currently undergoing some changes with our website and hence have not been able to update much. Hopefully this will sort out soon. * Jian Gong came back to BlueSky today, and is very happy. We may have also already found his private tutor, and are meeting this person soon. If you'd like to sponsor his tutor's fees, please email us. * XiaoEn, had his cleft repair surgery today, and is doing well. The next few days will be his most difficult.
- March 18- March 23: Xiao En is back from his cleft lip repair surgery and doing very well. We are getting used to his new "look", and mostly miss his big wide smile. * We have a new resident that has checked straight into the hospital after arriving in Beijing. She is 4.5 yr old Long Long, from Shanxi province, and she will possibly get surgery on her feet later this week or next. BlueSky will fund this surgery. * Shen Li is still in hospital waiting for surgery possibly later this week or early next week.
March 23 - APril 9 th : GOOD NEWS ! Shen Li, our heart baby boy, had major open-heart surgery on Monday March 28th. He was in ICU for only a week and then in general ward for another 5 days. He is now back home with us and doing very well. We have to carefully monitor his liquid intake. He has come a long way from being near death at 2 weeks old, when doctors gave him little hope to survive. Now the doctors are saying that he can lead a completely normal life as a healthy child. We want to thank all of you that have helped us with Shen Li's medical fees, and for all the support and love shown to him during his time with us. He will still be with us for many months recuperating.
April 10th - April 13 - NEW BABY ! Blue Sky received it's youngest baby ever at 5 days old ! On Monday we went straight from the train station after picking them up to the hospital, where the baby was admitted and now one of our staff is stationed with him. It appears that the baby was born with bladder exstrophy (bladder on the outside of the body), and it may also have an imperforate anus. We are waiting for the final diagnosis from the surgeons, and whether surgery can be performed. Baby is otherwise eating well, and seems to be surviving. This will probably be our most complicated case yet, and usually bladder exstrophy will require several surgeries over time. He may even need genital reconstruction at some point. * Qing Qing (15yr old with burns) has also returned to Beijing to have her second surgery on her hand. She checked straight into the hospital and will come to Blue Sky to recover. She is now our 12th kid at Blue SKy at this moment ! Our fullest yet !
- April 14 - April 24 - We bid a fond farewell to Molly Albers, who co-founded Blue Sky. After 4 years in China, she is returning to the States with XuanXuan, her adopted daughter. We wish them health, happiness and a wonderful future together. See our group picture here. * Tian You (new baby) has been moved to another hospital for his upcoming surgery. He has been eating well and putting on a little weight. Ultrasound tests also show that he only has 1 kidney (like he doesn't have enough problems as it is!). * Tian Long Long is back at Blue SKy after foot repair surgery. He is a bubbly 4 year old boy, who was born with spina bifida and has no control over his bowels or bladder. He is pictured with BaoBao.
- April 25 - May 8 - We paid a visit to Jiaozuo orphanage in Henan province which is 8 hours away by car. Aside from a flat tyre along the way, we had a good time visiting with the orphanage officials and the children. We were also taken to see triplets at the local army hospital, that were first abandoned at the orphanage in a box, and whose parents (& grandparents) later came forward to claim responsibility. They could not afford the hospital bills at the time, but are now raising funds with the help of the orphanage. The babies weigh approximately 1.4kg at 1 month old. We also re-visited with Ya Tian and Ya Mei, who had spent about a month at Blue SKy while waiting for surgery last year. THey are both looking very well taken care of as you can see. * Tian You, our bladder exstrophy baby, is still waiting for surgery in the hospital. With the May holidays in China, no surgery is performed until after May 8th, but he seems to be doing well. * Qing Qing, the 15 year old burn victim, has had her hand repair surgery on April 25th. This is the second stage of surgery to seperate her fingers. She is still in hospital recuperating. * FuKang is still waiting for his passport to be processed following which we can arrange for his surgery in Singapore. * Luo Fei is scheduled to see the doctors this week for evaluation for surgery. * We have now hired a full-time pre-school teacher to be on staff at Blue Sky. She was formerly teaching migrant workers children (a free school organised by the local catholic church). FInally, Jian Gong (our 7 year old who has not had any education) will get proper tutoring to get him on track for a regular school. THe teacher will also teach our toddlers. If you are interested in sponsoring the teacher's salary, please do drop us an email.
- May 10th - Baby Tian You underwent 6 hours of surgery today. He is currently in the ICU recovering, and the next few days are his most crucial. * We celebrated Gao JiDe's 1st birthday today !
- May 11th - May 21st - Baby Tian You has been doing well since his surgery. He may even return home next week ! His surgery did not, however, go as planned it was explained to us, and he now has 2 colostomies (opening in the abdomen) =- one is for his urine, and one is for his stools. His bladder was successfully replaced, but the doctors are concerned that his bladder is extremely small. 2nd stage surgery is planned for 3 months time, according to the surgeons. * APRIL- MAY PHOTOS here. We went on an outing over the May 1st holiday to Jin Hai Lake - which was basically a large lake with nothing much to do, but go on a half hour boat ride. Still it was a nice day out, and a nice change from our regular days. Our little babies were left at Blue Sky and were well looked after by Bessie and some volunteers.
- July 4th - July 16th - FuKang has recovered very well after surgery, and will be returning to Beijing on Sunday. We wish to thank Dr Shankar, Kumari, Joyce and Deirdre for helping us to arrange his surgery in Singapore through the foundation. * Baby Tian You turned 100 days old on today (Sat). He is pictured on the left.
- May 22nd to July 3rd - Dear Friends, my apologies for not having updated the site with news over the last month. Here is a brief recap of what's been happening with the kids. * Baby Tian You has returned to BlueSky since 1st week of June. Part of his bladder ruptured through the stitching about 5 days post-surgery, while still in hospital. The doctors have assured us that he will be fine for now (despite the rupture), and can be cared for at home. Further surgery will be considered 3 months from now. Despite the partly exposed bladder, his condition is good. He's round and chubby, and eats well. He simply needs constant care of his wounds to avoid infection. * BAOBAO's birthday party ! Giulia BaoBao turned 2 years old, so with grandparents in tow (their first visit to BlueSky), we had a seven dwarfs birthday cake enjoyed by all the kids. * The older kids at BlueSky (Jian Gong, Long Long & Luo Fei) have started lessons at Blue Sky 2, with our new temporary staff that has primary school teaching experience. So far she's doing a great job, and the kids love her. She will be with us only until September, and we'll have to hunt for another teacher at that time. * Lili's skin condition has been acting up with the extreme heat in Beijing (up to 38 degrees some days !), but it is currently under control. Despite still having no teeth at 8 months old, she has been eating solids since 6 months old and has put on the weight to prove it. She is such a happy bundle of roundness, and is still our only girl in the gang of eleven. * Shen Li, our heart boy, has been doing very well. He turned 1 year old on July 1st. * Tian Xi has been slowly putting on weight and is turning out to be a very tall boy. We are still waiting to see when he can have surgery on his lip. * Xiao En is ready soon for his second surgery to repair his palate. He is almost walking ! * Ji De, our first baby ever, is now 1yr 2 months, and walking confidently. He is a very happy boy and a joy to all my staff. * iN SINGAPORE ! FuKang and Dr Maria He are currently in Singapore where FuKang has just undergone open heart surgery. He was accepted in to the KK Hospital's foundation for needy kids and his surgery is fully funded. Surgery has gone well, and he is in the ICU now. They will most likely be in Singapore for another week before returning to Beijing. If anyone would like to contribute towards their airfare, please email me !
- July 17th - July 24 - We have added another 2 new babies to our home putting us at absolute capacity now. They are 9 day old Zhijing (finally another girl !), and 1yr4mths Xiao Dai (boy). Zhijing has bilateral cleft lip and palate, and Xiao Dai is missing some ribs and may have a spinal problem. We do not have much information from the orphanage, so we will have to seek medical advice on his condition.
- July 25th - Aug 8th - The kids have had an exciting past 2 weeks. Our regular volunteers are coming back to Beijing after the summer holidays and are bringing lots of goodies. Mostly, the kids are happy to see familiar faces. The older ones (LuoFei, Long Long and Jian Gong) were taken out by Leslie and family for a day of swimming ! Their first experience ever. Needless to say, they loved it. JianGong (pictured left) has been working so hard on his rehab and exercises, that he can now walk a few paces on his own with the walker. So a nice reward came from Leslie who took him to see Disney on Ice ! * On Monday, 8 Aug, our two cleft boys (Xiao En and Tian Xi) underwent surgery for palate repair (Xiao En), and lip repair (Tian XI). They are in recovery, and hopefully not in too much pain. We hope to have them back in a week's time. * Xrays of Xiao Dai (pictured on the right) reveal that he is missing the 3 lower ribs on his left side, and also has possible compression of his verterbrae. We are trying to find an orthopaedic doctor to consult with on his case, as we are quite worried that the location of missing ribs is so near his heart. Please email us if you have a surgeon interested to look at his xrays and offer an opinion. From our research on the internet, his condition seems to be very rare.
- Aug 9th - Aug 28 -Our 2 cleft palate babies are back at Blue SKy after surgery. They are doing extremely well, and we are very happy with this new hospital and doctors. Tian Xi had a difficult bilateral cleft, and they managed to make him look gorgeous ! We are grateful to Operation Blessing for assisting us in the arrangement of the surgeries and for sharing part of the cost. * Throughout the summer, our older kids were having lessons by one of our staff with a little experience in teaching, since we could not find a teacher. Starting mid-August, an experienced teacher is being sponsored for 3 months by Neighborhood Chinese School and teaches the kids 3 hours a day. They are being taught all the basics of chinese, english, math and science. Our most important student is Jian Gong, our 7 year old from a really poor orphanage. We have high hopes for him to be an academic, since he is limited physically. He will also be with us for a while, since his orphanage holds little future for him. He is so eager to learn and has already picked up some english skills just by spending time with our english speaking volunteers. * Blue Sky threw Xiao En, one of our cleft boys, a cake party to celebrate his 1st birthday ! * Blue SKy is also helping a poor family from Inner Mongolia. The mother is a school teacher in a rural area, and her 5 year old son has a complicated heart condition. They have been told by a heart hospital in Beijing that nothing can be done to help her son. We decided to let them come back to Beijing for another consultation at the heart hospital that we have been very happy with. They travelled a full day by train to get to Beijing, without sleeping berths, just regular seats. After consultations with the doctors, they have told us that he needs a special man-made valve to be surgically implanted, and that the valve can only be obtained in the States. The valve can be brought to Beijing by visiting surgeons frm the States, and surgery can be performed. The cost will be extremely high, but we have said to proceed. Further tests will be done on the child to confirm the procedure.
- Aug 29th - Sept 14th - Zhao Meng, the Inner Mongolian child with pulmonary atresia (a complicated heart condition) is currently in hospital waiting for surgeons to decide on whether he is able to undergo surgery. We hope to find out by the end of the week. * Jian Gong will travel to Tianjin (1.5hrs away from Beijing) to be part of a group of orphans that will be assessed by visiting pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, and will possibly undergo surgery for his hip dislocation, or 2nd stage surgery for his clubbed feet. One of our staff will accompany him on this trip. * For the past 2 weeks, Blue Sky has enjoyed the presence of one of our hardest working volunteers, Sandra from Holland. Almost every day, Sandra would come and spend the whole day at Blue Sky, taking care of the kids, scrubbing floors and furniture, and doing a beautiful job repairing our worn out guestbook ! The staff took an immedicate liking to her, even though she didn't speak a word of chinese ! We are sad that she has returned to Holland, but hope she will visit again soon. Thanks Sandra ! * Baby Zhi Jing, pictured left, our youngest at the moment, turned 2 months old today (the 14th). She has quite an appetite and has no problems drinking milk formula, despite her cleft lip. She is now 5.16kg, and looking nice and chubby ! * We had a little bit of a scare with Baby Tian You, our bladder exstrophy baby. He has 2 inguinal hernias that decided to descend rather dangerously, and were causing him pain. This was late at night, and we called the surgeon who gave us a quick tip to have the hernias subside- basically hang him upside down. Luckily, the hernias did subside and he is alright. He needs surgery to repair this defect (one of the many surgeries he needs).
- Sept 15th - Oct 7th : Unfortunately, Zhao Meng, the Inner Mongolian child with the heart condition, has AGAIN been told that surgery is not possible at this moment. His case is too complicated and dangerous to operate on, and he may not survive the surgery. They have decided to go home and make the most of his time in the world. We are sad that we could not help this child, but are confident that the doctors have done the best that they can. * Tian Xi, one of our cleft boys, underwent a hearing test and is partially deaf. We have been told that there is a surgery that can correct this middle ear condition. His partial deafness could be the reason for his slower mental development. * Long Long, our 4 year old with spina bifida and clubbed feet, has returned home to his orphanage in Shanxi. He has recovered well after his foot surgery, and we will miss him very much ! * Wen Jie (sumo wrestler!) has turned 2 years old. We have noticed that h e is naturally inclined to singing and dancing.
- Oct 7th - Oct 11th - Jian Gong, our 7 year old with a muscle and joint disorder (arthrogryposis), clubbed feet and a disjointed hip, went to Tianjin (2 hours from Beijing) to be seen by Stanford University Pediatric Orthopedic surgeons, who come to China every year to perform surgeries on orphans. Jian Gong will stay in hospital undergoing tests, and if all goes well, the surgeons will decide to proceed with surgery for him, either on his feet (2nd stage), or on his hip. Stayed tuned !
- Oct 12th - Oct19th- Jian Gong returned on Tuesday from the hospital. He is fitted with a very restrictive cast from his waist down, and has to lie flat all the time. He seems to be in good spirits, and is very proud of himself that he did not cry once in hospital. He truly is a brave little boy. He will have to endure the cast for 6 weeks.
- Oct 20th - Nov 15th - The past month has been busy. * Our cleft baby girl, Zhi Jing, had her first surgery on 1st Nov to repair her bilateral lip. She is back home now, but her lip has started to split apart slightly from her crying. The doctor has advised that it be repaired again in about 3 months time. * We have a new baby girl - she was in the hospital the same time as ZhiJing, and is from a poor orphanage. She had a cleft lip repaired as well, but for a 5 month old, is very thin and weak. Our Zhi JIng at 3 months old is bigger than her ! The orphanage asked if we would take her home from the hospital and fatten her up before her next palate surgery in 3 months time. So Xiao Hui has joined our family at Blue Sky. * We celebrated 2 birthdays this month - Lili's and Tian Xi's. Both turned 1 year old, and there was plenty of cupcakes for all ! * Jian Gong is still in his cast. He is doing well, and enjoying his many visitors, who read books, colour and draw with him. * Baby Tian You, our 7 month old with Bladder Exstrophy, is most likely heading to Singapore for repair surgery. We have been desperately raising funds to support his medical fees and expenses, which will be high due to the severity of his condition. He will need several surgeries in any case, and we will constantly be raising funds for him. If you'd like to contribute to his medical fund, please do not hesitate to contact me. We are hoping that he will be in Singapore sometime in December. * We are lucky that 2 of our staff were invited to attend a training course for conducting music classes for babys and children. Thanks very much to Piper Tseng (www.piedpiper.com.cn), who runs the training course, and who has also been volunteering every Monday with a special class for the kids at Blue Sky. The children love the singing and hand actions.
- Nov 16th - Jan 25th 2006. = the past 2 months have seen us mostly worrying about our baby Tian You who is in Singapore for major surgery. He left on December 10th, and arrived in Singapore with a hernia that would not subside, and then he developed pneumonia. He was admiited into the hospital for emergency surgery, and released a week later. He was checked in again on Jan 2nd for the planned bladder exstrophy surgery. You can read more about him by clicking here, and here, for his blog site. * Other news: Jian Gong, who turned 8 years old on january 19th 2006, had his hip cast removed and is mobile once again. He's been very brave at all hospital visits, and is proud of himself for not shedding a tear at all. He's doing therapy daily, and is back to private tutoring with one of our staff. We are still looking to find an education solution for him, but have been told that local schools do not accept children with handicaps. He should not be deprived of an education just because of his physical disability. He will also most likely have another surgery to straighten his feet one more time, as the surgeons still believe it will help him be more balanced. * LuoFei, our almost 4 year old from Fujian province, and born intersexed, will have surgery after chinese new year. This corrective surgery will be to bring out his testicles. * Tian Xi, one of our cleft boys, will be having middle ear and palate repair surgery after chinese new year as well. The doctors believe that correcting his hearing problem may help in his mental development, which appears to be delayed at the moment. * Our 2 cleft girls, will have their second stage surgeries planned in March 2006. * Shen Li, our baby who had major heart repair surgery, was requested to return to his orphanage for Chinese New Year. He will not be coming back to us, and we are saddened to see him go ! Luckily we have volunteers that pay frequent visits to his orphanage, and we will be getting updates on how he is doing. * Ji De, our first baby ever at Blue Sky, has his adoption papers filed at CCAA (China Centre of Adoption Affairs). He is registered with an adoption agency in the States as a special needs child, and propective families can view his picture and consider adopting him. We hope that a family decides to adopt him soon. The rest of our kids are waiting to have tiheir paperwork processed by the orphanages. This is a lengthy process, and we can only sit and wait. * Christmas was great fun - the staff and kids were treated to quite a few little parties, and even received presents! Thanks to all the volunteers for making them all so happy. * Thanks also to the many individuals and groups that have helped us raise funds over the past few months. The majority of our fundraising this season will go towards paying for Baby Tian You's surgery costs in Singapore. His total bill as of today already stands at SGD 40,000.00 +, and he is still not checked out yet ! His condition is an extremely complicated one, and he's had a few relapses that required a 2nd and 3rd surgery, as well as more than 10 days in the ICU. We're also thankful to the foster family, the Marshalls, who have been taking care of Tian You and our staff Lucy by providing housing and meals, and well as the many other visitors that Tian You has been getting at the hospital. Thank you all for your kind support. He's a lovely boy.