2020 MARCH Heartbeat
7Acres Welcomes Year of the Rat
Chinese New Year was a joyous celebration on our 7Acres Campus, as the Rat made its appearance. The older teens, Trudy and Sunny made a delectable feast of Chinese treats for the staff, volunteers and others who stayed on campus during the holiday. Earlier in the day, Maggie (Tian Xin Xin) and two of the nannies made jiaozi (handmade dumplings stuffed with meat and veggies) from scratch, one of the most traditional New Year’s foods there is. If you’ve ever tried to make them yourself, you know just how challenging it is to fold them correctly, so we’re super proud of Maggie for her ability to learn this traditional skill! Normally, Chinese children learn how to do this from their older family members during the holiday. At the meal, the kids received their traditional Chinese Hongbao, a lucky red envelope with money inside. They all giggled with glee as they opened the little ruby-colored treasure packets.
After the feast, we went outside to continue celebrating the Year of the Rat. Usually we shoot off fireworks, but this year – because of a ban on fireworks in our Development Zone – we weren’t able to do so. However, our neighbors in the surrounding villages illuminated the skies for us, with plenty of fireworks and sonic booms! The kids lit some sparklers and made beautiful displays by waving their arms in a variety of circular motions, while we all enjoyed the patterns they made. While the kids played, the adults gathered around the campfire and sipped our favorite beverages – talking, listening to music and enjoying each other’s company. Despite all the scary news about the coronavirus, we thoroughly enjoyed the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar. The Chinese say “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or “Xin Nian Kuai Le” during the holiday – but no matter how you say it, we wish you all a very Happy Chinese New Year!
Mystery Virus Scuttles Chinese New Year
Countless Chinese New Year festivities evaporated as a mysterious, previously unknown virus emerged in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province. The first location of what’s called the COVID-19 Coronavirus was reported at a seafood market that also sold exotic animals. The virus quickly became a national health emergency, as hundreds of millions of people across China embarked on annual pilgrimages to home provinces to celebrate the New Year with their families.
As the virus began to spread outside of Hubei, emergency measures were put into effect, causing tens of millions of people to be quarantined in Wuhan and its surrounding areas. Other cities, towns and villages also restricted people’s movement, and the government virtually locked down the entire nation in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Restaurants, malls, schools, offices and factories all closed. Only hospitals and a few grocery stores remained open, with limited amounts of inventory. Citizens are told daily to stay in their homes and wear a mask, to frequently wash their hands with soap and hot water, stay put, and if experiencing any symptoms, go to the hospital fever centers and be checked.
Health restrictions impact daily life
After the weeklong holiday ended, work and schools remained closed. No deliveries, no public transportation, and no large gatherings of people have been allowed. Fever checkpoints have been set up going in and out of just about everything imaginable, including cities, towns, villages, housing complexes and development zones. Anyone showing signs of a fever are taken to quarantine facilities to be further checked.
While we see and feel the effects of the coronavirus all around us – from closed restaurants, the inability to go out anywhere or the heavy presence of police and public health safety officers – we’re all very aware of what a gift the 7Acres Campus is to us. Though ready-made, take-out food is not accessible due to the restrictions for all restaurants to remain closed at this time, just across the street we have a fresh vegetable market that’s open, and two small grocery stores where we buy snack foods like chips and soda, as well as frozen chicken nuggets and ice cream. In villages around us, residents are only allowed to leave their homes once every other day to buy essential goods – but no such guideline has been given to us. Not only are we able to head down to the market whenever needed, a greater blessing has been the ability to be outside, weather permitting. Cabin fever sets in very quickly, but the chance to get some sunlight and air and walk around the campus has kept spirits up in these uncertain times.
Coping with restrictions
Humans are not the only ones to feel the weight of cabin fever and stress of the coronavirus restrictions. The dogs of 7Acres have also been forced to adjust, but have not had any outdoor restrictions. On days when the sun is out, the pups have all enjoyed running around in the grass and snow. However, a new, daily “puppy playtime” event has emerged in the long, downstairs hallway of our staff housing, and it tuckers out even the most playful dog (and human). Other ways we’re coping with the pressing health restrictions are weekly cornhole beanbag tournaments, as well as near-nightly card games and bonfires. Besides playing, the extended indoor time off work has given everyone a chance to do spring cleaning and decluttering.
While we remain safe, let’s not forget about those who are less fortunate. Our hearts go out to all those families affected by the coronavirus, as well as the doctors, nurses and technicians who have sacrificed so much to help those in need. Pray for China, especially the city of Wuhan and for all those who have been affected by the virus.
Luke Starts His New Life
Doctors at Huaxin Hospital have discharged Luke (Tian Yi), and he’s returned to his home orphanage. His surgeon, Doctor Wu told us that Luke’s surgery was a complete success, and that the boy’s future is now very bright – he’ll be able to live a normal life. This is a miraculous story! Back home, he’s eating well and getting stronger every day. Luke now spends his days with his housemates, and enjoys reading books, playing cards and just hanging out with his friends. His color, oxygen level and blood pressure are all excellent. (See last month’s related story for details.)
Unfortunately, Luke turns 13 years old this month, which gives him just one more year to find a Forever Family before he ages out of China’s adoption system. Let’s all help Luke find a family by sharing his story with our friends, families, coworkers, and across our social media platforms. With God’s help we can see his dreams become a reality. Contact us at: [email protected] to learn more.
Maggie Fights On!
Maggie (Tian Xin Xin) is a strong, smart and funny girl. This past year she’s absorbed every lesson from her teachers, and has really grown up and come out of her shell – she’s much more engaging and polite than her younger self. Maggie turns 14 this spring, and has happily put the life skills she’s learned into practice at home, while recuperating. Just six months after her kidney transplant, however, she showed elevated blood sugar levels, and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As a result, she began taking hypoglycemic drugs and eating a strictly controlled diet.
Maggie is now 15 months post-op from her kidney transplant, but must take anti-rejection drugs, liver protection medication, bilirubin drugs and a small quantity of hormones every day. Her blood sugar fluctuates significantly, which affects the concentration of the anti-rejection drugs on her body. Her liver function and bilirubin values are often abnormal, so she goes to the hospital every week to test her liver and kidney functions, as well as her blood, urine, electrolytes and anti-rejection drug levels. The ongoing cost of this treatment averages US$1,000 (¥7,029 RMB) each month.
Her weakened immune system leaves Maggie susceptible to colds and coughs, and she suffers from heart palpitations, fatigue and sweating due to abnormal heart function when she has a cold. Maggie has congenital heart disease, so her doctor closely monitors her heart function by regularly taking a sonogram. When you consider what Maggie’s been through in her short life, she too is a miracle. Any one of her medical issues could have ended her life, but she’s a fighter – and still going strong! To learn more about Maggie, or to offset her ongoing medical costs, go here.
Lydia Looking for Love Before May
Sweet-hearted Lydia (Yangxi Zinan) has been part of our big PHF family since she first came to live on our campus in early 2013. She has significant speech and learning disabilities, as well as recurrent ear infections with discharge. Her eyes are farther apart than typical (hypertelorism), and she was born with a coloboma, which is a gap or hole in or near the eye. In September 2009 she underwent successful coloboma surgery, which corrected this defect.
Lydia’s sweet and lively spirit is infectious. She loves to play games, especially tag – and is a pro at kicking the soccer ball. While Lydia has a limited vocabulary, she has learned to be an effective communicator. She uses some American Sign Language (ASL), picture cards and verbal cues. In spite of her learning challenges, Lydia is a quick learner and is eager to help others. We are hoping and praying that she’ll find her Forever Family before she ages out in May. To inquire about Lydia, please contact us.