Top 10 Photos
Every year we go through thousands of pictures taken in our programs over the last 12 months to come up with LWB’s Top Ten Photos. We hope you will enjoy these special images from 2019. As you look at the children’s beautiful faces, we hope you will realize our life-changing work is only possible because of your kindness and support. Together we’re making a real difference for countless children around the world, and we send our deepest thanks.
- Number 10
When we first met Mary Martha in Uganda, she was so frail from being born with a severe heart defect that she had no physical strength. At five years of age, she struggled to walk due to a lack of oxygen. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Mary Martha was able to be sent for surgery in Israel, where doctors told us she wouldn’t have survived much longer without intervention. As she began to recover, her nurses shared with us that Mary Martha needed to learn how to play, as she’d felt so weak her entire life that she sadly didn’t know how. Soon after, an LWB volunteer visited Mary Martha and brought her a gift to encourage imaginary play – her very first baby doll. Mary Martha took to the toy right away, combing the baby’s hair and gently rocking her. The photo taken that day is so dear to us, not only because Mary Martha looks so beautiful, but also because she finally had the energy needed to stand and walk around. Hooray for another precious life saved!
- Number 9
LWB held another successful cleft surgery trip in July this year, in the far western province of Gansu, China. Many of the families who traveled to see our team were from the Hui ethnic minority group and lived many hours away in the rural countryside. Nine-month-old Taylor was brought to the capital city to see our team by his devoted grandfather, as his mom and dad were unable to leave their small vegetable crop to travel. Taylor was such a sweet little boy during the entire week, smiling continually at our team before his operation. We love this photo of Taylor pre-surgery, being lifted up by his adoring grandpa. In a region where cleft is still often not accepted, it was an incredible week of meeting and helping families who would travel any distance to make sure their beloved children had the brightest future possible.
- Number 8
Coming in at number 8 for 2019 is this sweet image of Gavin and Ruth playing together at our Anhui Healing Home in China. Both 2 years old, from orphanages in separate provinces, this simple moment of childhood joy warmed our hearts immensely, especially since little Gavin had overcome so much in his short life. Born prematurely, Gavin developed severe blood poisoning and had to be hospitalized for several months. We’re just so grateful to everyone who supports our healing home program for orphaned children, as these wonderful transformations only take place with your help. Shortly after this cute photo was taken, with both children now strong and healthy, we received the wonderful news that little Gavin had been chosen for domestic adoption. We wish him every good blessing in his life and are all hoping that Ruth’s turn at a permanent family will soon come next.
- Number 7
We receive so many photos of the children enrolled in our rural education programs in Cambodia that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite for 2019, but we really love this picture of 9-year-old Sam during reading time. Sam is in 2nd grade at our Believe in Me school in Rangsei Village. He loves learning about math and science so much that he never misses a day, and he helps his teacher by tutoring his friends when they need extra support on new lessons. Maybe this bright and curious little boy will end up being a teacher himself someday! Whatever Sam’s dreams, we plan to stand with him to make sure he has every chance possible of a future free from poverty.
- Number 6
PALMER! That’s pretty much all the caption we need, as this sunny little guy has stolen the hearts of many of our supporters. Baby Palmer was born with Down syndrome and was malnourished and struggling to breathe when he first arrived to orphanage care. We arranged for him to be moved to a nearby children’s hospital, where he was diagnosed with a complex heart defect and had to undergo surgery. After Palmer’s heart operation, he was so frail that there were many moments we didn’t think he’d survive. He weighed just five pounds when he came to our healing home, and when we held him we could feel every tiny bone. Palmer continued to struggle, and he soon underwent another surgery to release the pressure his rib cage was putting on his tiny heart. Oh, the joy we felt when he finally turned the corner. Today in our healing home, Palmer is thriving and charms everyone he meets with his huge smiles and deep giggles. He has learned to roll and kick, and we know just where to tickle him to get that beautiful grin. This little guy has been through so much in his short time on this earth, but finally it’s his turn to just play, be held, and feel loved. This photo celebrates the life of Palmer, which is why it’s definitely included in our Top 10.
- Number 5
Sweet Kira is part of LWB’s foster care program in Cambodia. When she was 2 years old, her foster mom enrolled her at our Early Childhood Development Center in Sokhem Village. This program, designed specifically for babies and toddlers, helps ensure that no child in this rural village will ever face childhood malnutrition again. In addition, our innovative child center provides a safe location for younger children to explore and learn through play, music, and story time. All of the children in this program are supposed to take a daily nap, but adorable Kira has decided that books are way more interesting than sleeping! We had multiple photos this year of the rest of her little friends deep in the land of nod while she intently studied picture books. This candid image of her perusing musical instruments definitely deserved a Top 10 spot.
- Number 4
What can we say about this beautiful photo of little Gage at our Heartbridge Healing Home except LOVE TIMES TEN THOUSAND. Gage came into our care when he was just 3 months old, after being hospitalized repeatedly when at his orphanage for pneumonia. He was soon diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and underwent surgery shortly after his arrival into our hands. Following that life-saving operation, Gage began to thrive as our nannies loved snuggling him in their arms. Gage is firmly bonded to his Heartbridge “Mama,” and he loves sitting with her to play peek-a-boo and get extra cuddles. We know the world is a better place with Gage in it, and we’re all hoping 2020 will be the year he finds a permanent home through adoption.
- Number 3
This moment of pure joy is brought to you today by Eddie, Zachary, and Jax, leading the balloon brigade in Uganda. All three of these amazing boys currently live at the healing home which LWB helps support in Mukono. As with all the children in our care, our hope is that each of them can some day live outside an orphanage setting with a devoted family of their very own.In Uganda, when a child is abandoned or relinquished, our team works very hard to identify the birth family, with the hope that a safe and healthy reunification plan can be put into place.For all three of these little boys, however, returning to their birth families is not a possibility; so our goal has now turned to long-term foster care and adoption. While it can be difficult at times to recruit families open to fostering a child with developmental disabilities, we will never give up on finding them caring homes. We are so grateful for the hard work of our team in Uganda, who seek the best solution for every child in their care, even when there are no easy answers. They pour out love daily on the children living at the orphanage and continually spread the message in the local community that EVERY child counts.
- Number 2
One-year-old Timothy came into LWB’s foster care program in Cambodia when he was only four days old. He sadly had to be hospitalized right after birth from a neonatal infection, but after being discharged his foster mom carried him continually to comfort his cries. Over the next year Timothy truly bloomed, both physically and emotionally, growing into a healthy and charming little boy who is adored by his foster family and local community. In June of this year, Timothy experienced two new milestones. His smile got even cuter with the appearance of his first small baby teeth, and then he also got his very first pair of shoes. We love this photo, which captures his curiosity over what in the world was being put on his feet!
- Number 1
Seven-year-old Roberta first came into LWB's care in 2016. Born with Down syndrome, her orphanage worried that she wasn’t meeting her developmental milestones. LWB moved her into the care of a loving and experienced foster mother who had worked with our program for many years. Roberta thrived in foster care. She really enjoyed having a little brother to play with, and she loved that her foster parents frequently took them on adventures around town. Earlier this year, her orphanage made the decision to end all off-site fostering, but thankfully LWB was able to set up a family care program inside the institution. This new project allows us to stay actively involved in Roberta’s life, as we continue to advocate for this loving and generous little girl to find a permanent home. We adore this photo of Roberta taken this past spring, when she met with one of our visiting team members. Roberta claims the number 1 photo spot for 2019 with her sweet expression of joy in connecting with a new friend. If you know anyone interested in adopting a child with Down syndrome, please let them know that precious Roberta is waiting.