Please enjoy our Top Ten photos from 2016! We sincerely thank each of you for helping make a real difference to not only these children, but thousands more like them around the world.
- Number Ten: Newly Found
LWB partners with many orphanages who call us the moment they receive newly abandoned babies with medical conditions. Such was the case with little Walter, who had a heart condition and severe jaundice when he was found. This is the first known photo of his life story, and the gentle innocence on his face touched us greatly. Each time we get an intake photo of a child who has just become orphaned, our hearts are saddened thinking of the deep loss, not only for the tiny baby but for the birthparents as well. For those of us who are adoptive parents, we look at these photos and try to catch glimpses of our own children at that age, since few adoptive parents from China have any type of newborn pictures. And we, of course, store them away with the hope that someday a permanent family will be found, to whom we can pass on these treasured images of new life.
- Number Nine: Phillip
This candid photo made us laugh out loud. Little Phillip was a former resident of our Heartbridge Healing Home before graduating to our foster care program in Anhui. He is absolutely adored by his foster family, who report he loves to laugh and go to the market. We sure hope he isn’t saying, “Seriously? The LWB manager is here again?” because we sure have loved seeing him every month. We are so happy to share that Phillip has been chosen for adoption now, and we know his new family is going to be so blessed by having him as their son.
- Number Eight: Dynamic Duo
Isn’t this a joyful photo of Joseph and Luke Daniel, two wonderful little guys who are part of our education program in Anhui Province? They both started out in our Believe in Me orphanage school in Huainan but last year were able to make the transition to public school, which is always one of our goals. Luke Daniel (on the right) loves doing any sort of art project and is very focused and persistent. Joseph (on the left) works very hard to do well in class and loves music and dancing.
- Number Seven: Sweet Sierra
LWB held another successful cleft exchange in April of this year, with children from many provinces in China coming to see our team for surgery. We all fell in love with little Sierra, from the rural countryside of Henan, who was born with unilateral cleft lip. This special need carries an enormous stigma in China, and having surgery can change everything about a child’s future life. Her young parents were so nervous when she went into the OR but overjoyed when they were able to see their baby girl’s beautiful repair.
- Number Six: Baby Brent
Whenever an orphaned child comes into our care in one of our healing homes, making them feel safe and secure is one of our top priorities. So many have come from difficult situations, either being newly abandoned or suffering from complex medical issues. Bonding and attachment are so important to us, as we want each child to know how very much they are loved. We thought this was such a beautiful photo of baby Brent, who came into our hands weighing just 2 kg, as he is making such wonderful eye contact and experiencing that human connection every baby deserves.
- Number Five: Danielle
Five-year-old Danielle is part of our new school initiative in Kabale, Uganda. LWB is building a new school for the children in an impoverished village here, because we know that only through education will they be able to rise above their current circumstances. This beautiful little girl is always one of the very first students to the classroom each morning, as she wants to learn everything she possibly can. We loved this photo of her displaying her artwork as you can clearly see both the hope and unlimited potential in her eyes.
- Number Four: Elizabeth
We've been blessed over the years to have amazing volunteers in Shanghai visit children in the hospital there before and after their operations to offer special treats and lots of hugs. We loved this photo of baby Elizabeth, who was in the hospital to have her complex congenital heart defect repaired, being gently comforted before surgery. The image also makes us feel a deep sadness, however, as nine months after it was taken, we learned the heartbreaking news that little Elizabeth had passed away in her orphanage, before she had the chance to find a permanent home through adoption. We will never forget you baby girl. You touched us all with your gentle spirit.
- Number Three: School Smiles
LWB began working with the children of Sokhem Village, Cambodia earlier this fall. This rural village is extremely impoverished, with no access to electricity or clean water, and many of the children are left on their own each day when their parents travel into Thailand looking for work. LWB made the commitment to start a new Believe in Me school in this village, and the children are very excited! Every day they run to the construction site to see the progress and to, of course, play on the enormous dirt piles. We loved this photo of some of our wonderful new students stopping to share their beautiful smiles.
- Number Two: Double Blessings
People around the world followed along earlier this year when LWB helped conjoined twins Harley and James. These beautiful babies were born joined together at the pelvis, and their parents had been turned away from several hospitals due to their poverty. LWB supporters rallied around this young family and raised all the funds needed for the boys to finally receive separation surgery. We heard from donors about how touched they were by the deep love shown to the boys by their 20-year-old father. We couldn’t think of a better photo to illustrate this tenderness, and we are happy to report that while the operation was extremely complex, the boys are now thriving.
- Number One: The Joy of Gerri
We all agree that three-year-old Gerri is one of the most photogenic children we’ve ever had in foster care. Every single month her pictures would warm our hearts as she simply radiated JOY, such as the moment captured here in our favorite image of the year. Gerri was born with Down Syndrome and truly thrived when placed with an LWB foster family. Her favorite activities were going to the park with her foster grandpa and looking for butterflies. We’re thrilled to let you know that Gerri was permanently adopted in October, and we wish her and her new family a lifetime of happiness and love.