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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Conditions in VietNam

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. "
- Kristi Larson

Viet Nam is having a record breaking cold spell this winter, the worst winter in 50 years. One article reports "Record-setting cold weather has killed more than 8,000 cattle. Most of the cattle have died in northern mountainous provinces, where temperatures during the month-long cold spell have sometimes dropped to below zero Celsius, a rarity in Vietnam."
Of course the cold spell affects more than cattle and agriculture. Another article reports the rhino virus, the virus most common for causing the common cold, has been responsible for the deaths of "nine of 19 infected infants in northern Viet Nam during the past two months." A director of a pediatrics hospital says, "All of the cases were of babies less than five-months-old, all of whom had fallen ill due to the harsh weather conditions. The infants were not breast fed and lacked their mothers’ care, causing their overall health to plummet, in effect making them more vulnerable to the virus." Most of the infected children are reported to have been from orphanages and approximately 80 per cent of the children in some of these orphanages show symptoms of the virus. These orphanages are some of the orphanages our agency works with. The orphanages are asking for donations so that they can obtain heaters for the orphanages and old person's homes.

Children raised in orphanages lose approximately 1 month of linear growth for every 3 months in orphanage care. Growth failure after birth is highly correlated with lower intelligence and poor language abilities. We anticipate any child that we adopt to be over 12 months old. Additionally, more than one adoptive adoptive parent from our agency has reported when adopting their children, the caretakers reported that the babies were normally fed only 10 oz of formula a day. A mother says that when she first received her daughter from the orphanage, "her thumb was raw from sucking on it so hard. After we brought her home, some days she would drink 28-32 oz of formula a day."

Most report that donations rarely reach the orphanages or the children. And the best thing that can be done to help these children in the orphanages is to bring them home to their forever families... as soon as possible.

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