In China, and many countries around the world, having a cleft lip and palate means being ostracized by society. Being an orphan with a cleft lip and palate is even harder. If Maggie would have stayed in China, she most likely would never get proper schooling or a good job. Orphans are thought to have bad luck and so no one wants to hire them or treat them as equals. She probably would not have received all the surgeries and therapies needed to fully treat her condition.
We know that she is loved and wanted. She is special and important. She is worth it.
If all goes as planned, 2 weeks from today she'll receive her first of several surgeries. This one will be the most life changing, though. The one that will forever change the way she looks, views herself, how she eats and speaks.
They are going to pull the exposed tooth, repair the tear in her lip that resulted from her first lip surgery in China, fix her cleft palate and put in ear tubes.
She will be in the hands of one of the very best. She has gone from being just a number in an orphanage to being treated by a top surgeon at one of the highest ranking hospitals in the world.
She has no idea what is to come. She will have to stay in the hospital anywhere from 1-5 nights depending on how well she takes in fluids after. She will be in arm braces for 3 weeks that won't allow her to bend her arms and touch her mouth. She will have to be diligently supervised to make sure she doesn't get the braces off (as we've heard they do). She won't be able to suck, so no bottle, which is her comfort. No spoon, no straw. She'll be on a basically liquid/mushy foods diet that will have to get into her mouth via regular cup or syringe. She will be in terrible pain in and outside her mouth.
I feel like a warrior preparing for battle. We've been warned that this is one of the most difficult surgeries for kids to recover from. I'm so scared for her and all she'll go through, nervous for how I'll handle it.
But ready. So ready for her redemption to come. This is what we signed up for. So many people tell us how lucky she is. But it's not lucky that she was born into a culture in which she could not remain with her birth family. It's not lucky that she was born into a country where she wouldn't be treated equally because of her condition. We feel honored to be the ones to give her the opportunity to be physically able to speak and eat normally and to live a full life. She deserves it. We are the lucky ones.
But all children deserve it. ALL. As her surgery approaches, I can't help but feel broken for all the children who will remain stuck in orphanages, never to receive the love and treatment they deserve.
Please join us in prayer for Maggie Fei.
And join us in prayer for all the orphans who are waiting to find their way home.