Chinese Adoption

Thanks to All for Luke’s New Life!

You may recall that last fall we received notice about an orphan with hemophilia in China. A quick email to our readers, and within one week–which is completely amazing–we had a family to adopt him. Within 48 hours my readers had raised $17,000 on line to help pay his fees and travel for his new family to get him. And within just a few months, Lu Feng was enrolled in a new American school! I’ve been told that Chinese adoptions can take up to two years. This adoption was almost miraculous; thanks to Homeland Adoption agency for facilitating this, and to all of you who helped. Here’s an update on “Luke”:

“We wanted to say thank you for your generous donation for our adoption of Lu Feng. Our family can never thank you enough for your kind support. It means so much to us that the hemophilia community showed so much compassion and concern for a small boy living with hemophilia, in a Chinese orphanage. The success of the fundraiser was overwhelming to us. We raised enough funds to pay the rest of our adoption fees. We also had enough to cover a good portion of the costs of travel and living expenses in China.

“Here is a brief update of our recent trip. We left for China on January 20 and we met and received custody of Lu Feng on January 25. Two days after we received Lu Feng, he had a knee bleed. We were unable to get factor concentrate, so we treated his pain and iced. We borrowed a wheelchair for the rest of our time in China. Lu Feng had never been in a wheelchair before and loved the new sense of freedom he had. Previously, he was confined to bed when he had a bleed. We stayed in China for another two weeks, for paperwork and legal processing of all the documentation. Two days prior to leaving China, Lu Feng had had enough of the terrible job we did pronouncing his name. We thought and thought and finally asked him what he thought of the name Luke. He loved it, and we have called him Luke ever since.

“We arrived home on February 7 and were so happy to be reunited with our 3 children we had left behind. Luke is settling in nicely to family life. He started school the week after he arrived home and is in the third grade. He loves school and looks forward to it every day. He’s learning the English language very quickly and has learned many words and phrases adding to his English mastery each day. We are making an effort to continue exposing him to Mandarin speakers, whenever we have the chance, to keep his native language abilities intact.

“We have already had several doctors appointments and Luke has started physical therapy to increase overall strength and range of motion of his right knee. He is in the process of getting up to date on all his immunizations. He’s already gained 5 pounds, which is great, since he is quite underweight.

“We are so happy that Luke is here in the United States of America. Here, he is a son, a little brother, a grandson, a nephew, and a cousin. Here, he will get the best medical care available for his bleeding disorder. Here, he will never feel hungry. Here, he will be able to continue to be a part of the Chinese culture. He has already introduced his new family, to so many new foods and he teaches us new Mandarin words each day. We are excited to blend the Chinese and American cultures together in our home. Thanks to you all!”

The Luckey Family

Great Book I Just Read
The Great Influenza by John M. Barry
This book provides an exhaustive history of the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish flu, which is described as the most deadly known pandemic in history. I had always heard of this flu, but had no idea the story behind it, why it was so deadly. It was a perfect storm: an outbreak of a particularly virulent flu happening at war time. With troops packed into tents and barracks, and traveling cross continents en masse, the flu virus laid waste to countries around the world, to the troops, closed down major cities, left behind tens of thousands of orphans and overwhelmed the nation’s healthcare system. This book is also a detailed study of the history of US medicine: as little as one hundred years ago you didn’t even need a college degree to go to medical school! William Welch is the founder of the US medical system, which modeled itself after Europe’s. The book provides in-depth history into the research institutes, the key players, and their research to race for a vaccine for the 1918 pandemic. Over 500 pages, you will gain huge respect for our physicians, researchers, nurses, and even the virus itself. This is an amazing piece of research and asks probing questions. Four stars.

Everyday Heroes: The Luckeys Adopt Lu Feng

In a heartbreaking week, watching the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, at least we have some good news: Lu Feng, a Chinese orphan with hemophilia, will be coming to his new home in America. And so many of you helped bring him here!

We learned about Lu Feng through an adoption agency and decided to send an email to our readers. Within one week a family had stepped forward and was approved! The Luckey family of Michigan includes Jay, who has hemophilia and an inhibitor. They invested $10,000 of their own money, but fell short of the up to $25,000 needed to adopt. We offered to help and reached out to everyone on our email list. Within 48 hours we had raised $17,000!

Shari and Dave are in China right now, preparing to bring Lu Feng home. What a lucky child indeed!

Shari writes:

“Laurie, we want to thank you and the hemophilia community so much for helping us to realize this wonderful opportunity to enrich the life of our new son, while he enriches our lives and completes our family. We are so anxious to finally meet him. We know things will not be easy for a while, but we have faith, that this is what God has planned for our family and with His help, we will get through the hard times and come out even stronger on the other side. Lu Feng comes home February 7!

“Thank you again…this wouldn’t be happening, without the part you all played in the plan!”

I just read Shari’s blog about the trip, and today she went shopping for a backpack and some clothes for Lu Feng. Tomorrow she gets to meet him for the first time!

Shari and Dave, like so many who adopt, are true heroes to me. Thanks for giving us such joyous news during such a sad week internationally. I’ll write next week about how the meeting with Lu Feng went!

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. – Richard Bach

Great Book I Just Read
The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin
On January 12, 1888 a horrific blizzard hit the Midwest that slashed temperatures 40 degrees within minutes. Caught in the blizzard, with lashing winds and temperatures about 40 below, were scores of children who were attending school. Without realizing the plummeting temperatures, most teachers sent the children home, and most never made it. This mesmerizing and heartbreaking tale delves into the reasons why so many pioneers ventured to the harsh prairies of the west, especially the Mennonites and Nordic immigrants, how they suffered so many losses simply trying to farm and raise children. Life was already especially difficult, and then came the blizzard. Laskin analyzes the US Signal Corp and what role they played in not being able to predict the sudden drop, and allows us to get to know many of the families personally. This makes it all the harder to read it to the end. How some of the children survived, and how they risked their lives to protect siblings and friends is amazing. Three stars.

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