What’s New at A Helping Hand
AHH launches the Hong Kong program
AHH has begun a new partnership with Po Leung Kuk (which is Hong Kong’s leading social service organization and provides a variety of social services in Hong Kong) to place waiting or abandoned children into loving homes. We work directly with the Po Leung Kuk and are approved by the Central Authority of Hong Kong to conduct inter-country adoption. Hong Kong is a party to the Hague convention as well. Po Leung Kuk is a leading social services organization that provides comprehensive care for children of various ages. The Hong Kong program is unique because prospective adoptive families receive a great deal of information about the child
Affirm the Sacred: Life
WATCH the moving video now.
Team Mission Trip to Uganda in May 2013
Each year A Helping Hand takes a mission team to Uganda. This year our trip is scheduled for May 18th through May 27th. We have 19 team members and many of those team members have experience in construction. Our number one goal on this trip will be to build a new baby’s home on our land in Uganda. In addition, we will hold vacation bible school at Kidron Valley and also minister to the community members in and around Mokono. Visit their mission support page.
Watch this video to learn more about Uganda and the Tender Hearts program
In His Image: Spotlight on Thalassemia
Bella is 4 years old and has been home with her family since April 2012.
We had no idea what Thalassemia was when we first received the call asking if we would consider adopting Long Luoyue. After talking with a doctor at the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, and consulting with our health insurance provider, we prayed. Our hearts were connected with our new daughter Bella Catherine Long Luoyue Pearson and we immediately began to pursue adopting her.
We continued to read and learn about Thalassemia as we prepared for Bella. For two healthy parents with a healthy teenager, the thought of regular blood transfusions was a bit daunting. However, we’ve had Bella home since April 7, 2012 and after having a few transfusions under our belt, we have now set aside all fears.
Initially diagnosed as beta-Thalassemia major, we prepared for regular, life-sustaining transfusions. Today, her diagnosis has been changed to beta-Thalassemia intermediate which means her body does produce some good blood. Although she is still having regular transfusions at this point, those may decrease over time. Bella is one of only three children in our state with Thalassemia.
Thalassemia is certainly treatable and can be kept in check through blood transfusions. Transfusion days are simply a minor inconvenience in an otherwise normal and healthy child’s life.
Bella is full of life. She giggles, plays, sings and dances incessantly. She loves life and no one would ever question if she is healthy by her appearance or energy level. Our friends in the adoption community are amazed that she is even considered a “special needs” child when they first meet her. Our family is beyond blessed because we said “Yes!” to matching with Bella. We pray that through this focus and through Bella’s story, more and more children with Thalassemia will be adopted into forever families.
If you would like to know more about adopting a child with Thalassemia, please call to speak with our experts at 859-263-9964. If you would like to see waiting children diagnosed with this disorder, click here. If you would like to speak with a parent who has adopted a child with this special need, please call our office.
This disease is really a group of disorders in which there is a lack of production of hemoglobin; hemoglobin is the protein that allows RBCs to carry oxygen throughout the body. When a child has a Thalassemia, the red blood cells do not form properly and cannot carry enough oxygen in the RBCs.
Thalassemia occurs in 3-8% of the Chinese population. Both sexes are equally affected.
There are two types of hemoglobin proteins: alpha and beta. If the alpha protein is missing, this is alpha Thalassemia. If the beta protein is missing, this is beta Thalassemia.
Because treatment usually involves a monthly blood transfusion, iron overload occurs. Excess iron accumulates leading to liver, heart and pituitary damage and possible failure of these organs. Other complications of iron overload include diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypoparathyroidism.
Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms of Thalassemia tend to show up in the first year of life. The child develops pale skin, irritability, and growth retardation. Also the liver and spleen can become enlarged causes the abdomen to swell and the child to become “yellow” with jaundice. When a child inherits the condition from one parent, usually the symptoms are non-existent or very minor. If the child has alpha Thalassemia, the child will have either no symptoms or mild anemia because another gene from the other parent is still able to make alpha chains.
If a child in utero inherits alpha Thalassemia from both parents, it is lethal and the preborn child will die because alpha Thalassemia is needed to make fetal hemoglobin.
If a child inherits beta Thalassemia from one parent, the amount of beta-globin in the cell is halved. This condition is called Thalassemia minor and is the most common form of Thalassemia. Generally, there are no health problems except mild anemia.
If the child inherits beta Thalassemia from both parents, no beta-globin protein is produced; this is called Thalassemia major or Cooley’s anemia.
An infant who has inherited this condition can be symptomatic as early as three months of age. In the first year or two of life if the child has no blood transfusions, the child can demonstrate severe anemia and extra growth of the facial and other bones. These children may be pale or jaundiced, have a poor appetite, fail to grow normally, and have an enlarged spleen, liver, or heart.
There is also an in-between state called Thalassemia intermedia, in which there is enough beta protein lacking to cause moderately severe anemia and significant health problems, such as bone deformities and an enlarged spleen.
Those with Thalassemia intermedia fluctuate between having no symptoms and the symptoms that are associated with Thalassemia major. The decision to transfuse is not always easy, as there are complications associated with regular blood transfusions.
Complete blood count (CBC) – a measurement of size, number, and maturity of different blood cells in a specific volume of blood.
Hemoglobin electrophoresis with A2 and F quantitation – a test that looks at the different types of hemoglobin present.
FEP (free-erythrocyte protoporphyrin) and ferritin – Done to make sure child does have iron-deficiency anemia.
All of these lab tests can be done from a single blood sample
Treatment often involves regular blood transfusions and folate supplements. Persons who receive significant numbers of blood transfusions need a treatment called chelation therapy to remove excess iron from the body.
Bone marrow transplant may help treat the disease in some patients, especially children.
Another form of Thalassemia
E beta Thalassemia – In this condition, abnormal hemoglobin E combines with beta Thalassemia. The symptoms are similar to beta Thalassemia intermedia.
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Here is a video of parents presenting their children’s stories: