This entry is excerpted from an email that Dr. Beshar sent to his family and staff while in China heading the dental team on a mission performing cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for free to local children:

Today was another amazing day and at dinner everyone was discussing the event of the day. While Alliance for Smiles is here, the word gets out and people come from afar to have their babies treated. A 50 year old woman brought in a 3 month old baby with a cleft lip and palate that she had just found in the garbage, covered in blood with the umbilical cord still attached.

The adoptive parents are very poor. They grew up in a farming area but the soil is now too poor so they moved to Wenzhou. They are not allowed to work here, they are treated as foreigners. In order to survive, they go through the garbage. That is where they found a baby and they named her Feng Mei, which translates to “Ordinary Girl”. They live in a shack made from found materials. They have a grown son so their neighbors told them to give the baby up because they are too poor. But the parents believe the baby was an act of fate and they want to raise her so they brought her here for the surgery they could never afford. The mother feels blessed because she always wanted a little girl and now God brought her one. The AFS team collected money for milk for her but the mother refused saying she was already so grateful to have the surgery.

Cleft palate repair in China 1 - Before
Cleft palate repair in China 2 - Before Closeup

Ordinary Girl was in for lip surgery first thing this morning. In a year she will have her palate done. It is hard to imagine that there could be an aesthetic outcome in one of these surgeries at the start. The anesthetic process alone blows me away. The mask goes over the nose, a needle goes in the veins, a tube goes in the throat but in just a short time the baby is calm and still and the anesthesiologist is relaxed while a large monitor informs of the child’s life signs. The babies eyes are taped shut to protect them and the area is cleaned and draped. The surgery is beautiful to watch as the Plastic Surgeon repairs the defect.

Cleft palate repair in China 3 - After
Cleft palate repair in China 4 - After Closeup

After the surgery, I went to visit Ordinary Girl’s mother. She was a lovely woman exuding the excitement of a relieved mother holding her healthy new-born baby and Ordinary Girl cried like an ordinary baby girl.

When she calmed down I got a better look at her wounds after surgery and once again, I felt like a grain of sand in an ocean of ENDLESS POSSIBILITY. Another tear came to my eye and deep in my heart I whispered, “Thank you God, I have no complaints whatsoever!”