Story of Anjing
In southern China, a baby girl came into the world. Instead of being curled in the fetal position, the baby’s legs were horribly out of place, one on each side of her body, and her feet and hands were twisted as well. The girl’s parents quickly vanished. She was brought to the local orphanage where she was given the name Anjing (“quiet”).
At the orphanage, Anjing was placed in a crib in a room with other forgotten children. For the first seven months of her life, she lay in that crib, looking at the ceiling all day long. No one thought she could survive. But fortunately, Chunhui Care Home (CCH) arranged for Anjing to see the best orthopedic surgeon in Beijing. Though the doctor said there was only a small chance that Anjing would ever walk, he devised a treatment plan that would give her the best chance possible.
Anjing’s CCH nanny, Liu Xiali, was by her side for every doctor visit and every adjustment of the physical restraints that were moving her feet and legs into position. The experienced Liu, who cares for orphaned children who come to CCH from all over China to receive life- saving medical treatment, comforted Anjing with hugs, soothing words, and gentle massage when she was in pain.
Story of Anjing as the restraints slowly forced her frozen joints to move. Liu sensed that Anjing understood that the treatment was worth the pain. Though she was just one, Anjing shed only a few tears.
In Beijing, Anjing continued mastering tasks that once seemed impossible for a child with her disabilities. Despite twisted joints, Liu patiently helped Anjing learn how to use her hands to hold on to a spoon. Now Anjing could eat her meals without any help, which gave her such a feeling of accomplishment that she erupted with her now signature giggles. After four months of treatment, Anjing was taken back to the orphanage.
When Anjing was 27 months old, she was brought back to Beijing for surgery and post-op recuperation. Happily, Anjing’s nanny in Beijing, Liu Xiali, was waiting to greet her at the Chunhui Care Home (CCH). Liu escorted Anjing to the hospital for a checkup, the first of many visits where she was fitted with cast after cast so her feet would be best positioned for surgery. Eight weeks later, with Liu by her side, Anjing finally had surgery. Over the course of several hours, the doctor inserted steel rods into Anjing’s feet to straighten them. When it was over, Liu sat by Anjing’s bedside, trying to give her strength to bear the pain.
After Anjing was released from the hospital, Liu made sure she had a chance to play like other children. Every day she took her outside to the yard so she could drive the toy car that had become her favorite activity.
When Anjing turned three years old, the CCH staff threw a party for her and the other children with June birthdays. Anjing kept staring at the cake decorated with multicolored flowers and repeating “cake” (a new word for her) over and over. Then the candles were lit and the lights turned off while everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” After that party, Anjing entered the CCH preschool. At first, she was shy and a little fearful, but after a few days, she started joining in group activities. Now she is so eager to go to school that she grabs Liu’s sleeve to remind her to escort her on time. Now Anjing is obsessed with books about animals. When Liu picks her up from preschool, Anjing babbles about rabbits, dogs or cats — it’s as if she is eager to teach Liu everything she learned that day about animals.
After a year of recuperation f rom surgery, it was time for Anjing to leave our medical care home and go back to the institution where she had lived since she was a newborn. The day before she left, Anjing seemed to realize that she was about to experience another painful goodbye—uncharacteristically, she would start sobbing for no apparent reason. Still, as her CCH Nanny Liu Xiali packed, Anjing gamely played along with their favorite word game. “Do you love me, Anjing?” Nanny Liu asked over and over and Anjing replied over and over with a smile, “Love you!”
Anjing has been adopted by a loving family and is now living happily with her parents in a permanent family.