Timmy is a 12-year-old boy who was born in August 2003 in Hunan Province. He was abandoned shortly after he was born and has lived at a welfare center called Spring Service Center Sunbird Home in HengYang City (湖南省衡阳市春天服务中心太阳鸟之家ICC) his entire life.
We were connected with Timmy by Evelin Tai at Baobei Foundation and Laura Lofy, Psychology Lead, LIH Olivia’s Place Beijing. Timmy came to Baobei Foundation in January 2015 due to dizziness, vomiting, and limited mobility. It turned out he had a large brain tumor and severe hydrocephalus. When he first came to the hospital in Shanghai, the neurosurgeon took one look at his scans and declared Timmy lucky to be alive. During the first surgery, the surgical team inserted a shunt in Timmy’s skull to relive the life-threatening build-up of pressure on his brain. His life was saved now. In February he had his second surgery to remove the brain tumor. After four painstaking hours, the tumor was successfully removed. Timmy endured a lot during this time, but he showed everyone that is extraordinarily brave, optimistic, and well-mannered. After two surgeries, Timmy started his long journey towards recovery. He has been re-learning how to walk and talk, functions which were damaged by the tumor. With a lot of encouragement and help, Timmy has regained many of his gross and fine motor skills; now he can feed himself, speak in complete sentences, and read and write Chinese well.
When asked if he would like to find a permanent family, he replied: “I would love to, but one hasn’t showed up yet.” In China, a child must be adopted before they reach the age of 14. Laura Lofy and Evelin Tai began working with me and Fanelli, LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai, in November 2015 to increase Timmy’s chances of finding a family. Timmy would be visiting Shanghai for medical check-ups and we hoped to take some videos and complete some assessments to help him to prepare advocacy posts. Jamie Fanelli, Lead Learning & Behavior Support Specialist, and I went to visit Timmy, who was staying with an Amerian family in Jinqiao, Shanghai, on Dec 10. We were so excited to meet Timmy. To be honest, both of us were so surprised when we first met Timmy – He is so lovely, extremely smart, talented, and nice. He talked to us, joked with us all the time, and showed us pictures he drew – he is a real artist.
During the visit, we took a lot videos, had really great interaction with him, and we also did a nonverbal IQ test to get as much information as we could that would be helpful to advocate for him. During the formal IQ assessment, Timmy showed us how patient he is; he always tried hard before he reached out to us for help. Timmy’s learning abilities were damaged by the brain tumor, but we were so surprised and touched by seeing how great he did during the assessment and how hard he tried.
Our mission of providing therapy and pediatric services for all children in China means that LIH Olivia’s Place is dedicated to helping children regain their life and learning abilities to the greatest extent possible, to help them reach their full potential, to help them to have a better life. We were touched and learned a lot from this good-natured, brave, cooperative, lovely, and positive boy during this short time we spent with him.
To learn more about Timmy, please contact Laura Lofy.