Maria's Big House of Hope

Two Chinese orphans treated by Cedars-Sinai team find their 'forever homes'

Just months after a Cedars-Sinai team traveled to China as part of an international mission to help orphans considered unadoptable because of their medical conditions, two of the team's tiny patients have found new homes.

In November, pediatric surgeon Philip K. Frykman, MD, PhD, led a team to Maria's Big House of Hope, a medical foster home in Louyang that is home to 140 orphans, some with anorectal malformations.Team members included: Janet Kimble, RN, Keith Kimble, MD, pediatric anesthesiologist, Scott Short, MD, surgery resident, Jennifer Ross, RN, pediatric intensive care unit nurse, and Claire Esguerra, LVN, surgical technician.

Children with such malformations are far less likely to find adoptive families in China than other orphans. But after receiving care from the Cedars-Sinai team, which traveled in conjunction with Mending Kids International, two boys from Maria's Big House of Hope have been adopted by families in the U.S.

"One of the babies is being adopted by a family in Colorado and the other is being adopted by a family in New York," said Kimble, one of the nurses who traveled with the team.

The baby in New York now lives with a Chinese family there, Kimble said.

The other adoptee, a little boy the team called Alvin, will join a Colorado family who had hoped to adopt twins. Adopting Alvin has brought the family a happy surprise.

"After we left, we learned from one of the nannies at the orphanage that Alvin has a twin brother," Kimble said. The twin has a cleft lip that already has been repaired and his cleft palate will be operated on after the boys join their new family in May, Kimble said.

"They had been told that finding twins was unlikely," Kimble said. "But now they've got their set of twins."

As for the Cedars-Sinai team, Kimble said they are thrilled to learn about the results of their work.

"That was the whole idea, to give these kids a better chance to find forever homes," she said. "The fact that it happened even faster than we thought is really great. Everyone is so happy."