Tina was one of the 9 babies that arrived on February 5th. She was so small, 2.65 kg which is 5 and a 1/2 pounds. She looked so extremely fragile and few people wanted to even touch her. She drank 1/4 oz in the beginning and it took a long time before she put on weight. We were feeding her every hour and it was hard work because she was not drinking well at all. As with all things when you are consistent she started to do much better and soon she was ready for her orthodontic mold. That is a brace like device that helps to align they gums. The second job is to close the actual cleft so there is not such a huge gap and then lastly it provides a fake palate which helps the babies to drink and have something to push against until the palate can get fixed. This also helps in speech development.
Tina was lucky because there were some volunteers that took a great interest in her. Elsie from Holland was one of those volunteers and after being in China she went home and started a foundation called Care4Tina. She and her partner Tineke started fund raising. They had a benefit evening and did all sort of activities in order to get a medical team from Holland to China in April 2010.
In the meantime, Tina was putting on weight but was never a big baby. She was determined as every one else to do things and watched the older babies and then tried to copy them. I loved her petite frame trying to walk. She was one determined cookie. In November 2009 we flew to Beijing and had surgery with some of the other children. Elsie and Tineke flew from Holland to help take care of Tina and River. Dr Lisa Buckmiller and her medical team where there and was able to fix her double cleft palate and eight other Starfish babies. We are so grateful to them and the wonderful work that they do.
By April everything was in place and the Dutch medical team arrived with Dr Johan Vehof and his team and Elsie and Tineke. They did eight surgeries, with only one cleft palate surgery. Tina was one of them. In another interesting side note. One of the babies was just recently adopted and you want to know where she was adopted to? The Netherlands would be the right answer.
Soon after her cleft lip surgery Tina had her adoption medical and her papers went off to Beijing. We started to hear that she was matched with a family. When the news was finally confirmed we knew that she was going to a single mom who lived in Colorado and had no idea where her daughter was. You can imagine the surprise she got on adoption day. I think it must have been overwhelming to get so much information. The idea if I remember correctly was to name Tina Anna. I thought the mom did a great job of melding the name and coming up with Tiana. It was a great idea.
Life, love and laughter,
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916
At Starfish, we have taken care of 118 children to date, arranged more than 100 surgeries and had 45 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and in China. Our latest 5 adoptions took place recently and now we have a second baby in Sweden and in Spain. We also have three more babies in the US. We currently have 45 babies under the age of 3 and three foster homes our count is dropping as we prepare to move to a new facility.