Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Orphan Among Orphans

From China Daily, the story of an orphanage caretaker who was orphaned herself:
Being an orphan who lost both legs hasn't stopped Xu Yuehua from having a room full of her own children.

The 55-year-old, who gets around by walking on a pair of stools, is "mother" to more than 100 children from an orphanage in Xiangtan, Hunan province.

"She's got a way with kids after all these years nursing and caring for the children, many of whom are disabled or mentally challenged," said Li Yilong, deputy director of Xiangtan City Social Welfare Home.

The home has around 80 children in its kindergarten.

"She is always cheerful playing with them and never gets upset with the mess she has to deal with," Li said.

An orphan herself, Xu has been taking care of the children in the welfare home for 38 years.

* * *

"She taught me to be open-minded and optimistic," said She Shengli, who was once an abandoned baby born with cleft lip and palate and abandoned as a baby.

Shengli was found on the street in March 1973 and became the first child Xu looked after at the welfare home.

It's not easy to feed a baby with such a defect as they usually have problems sucking and swallowing. But Xu managed to feed the infant drop by drop.

When Shengli underwent surgery at Xiangtan Center Hospital, Xu was by her side day and night nursing her.

In the eyes of Shengli, her "mother" is always spirited.

"She taught me to face life with a smile," said Shengli, who is already the mother of a 15-year-old boy.

Now Shengli takes her son to visit "grandma" regularly, like other children Xu has brought up.

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