Archive for May, 2012

May 30, 2012

Part 3 – New Faces of Int’l Adoption – Finances

Most families I know are shocked when they first hear what it costs to adopt a child.  It isn’t cheap.  In case you didn’t know, it can cost anywhere from $15,000 – $50,000 to adopt a child.  Domestic adoptions can run higher if PAPs are paying for the birthmother’s expenses.  (Exception: adopting through the US foster care system is almost always free.)

I would guess that many families considering adoption see those numbers and initially abandon the idea. The amounts seem overwhelming. They certainly did to us. But don’t let the fear of financing an adoption stand in the way of providing a family for a child in need.

Funding an adoption isn’t easy, but it is possible –even for middle class, pay-check to pay-check families (like ours). When my husband and I first started the process to adopt we had almost no savings to pay for an adoption. I heard people who had done it say, “Just move forward, the money will come.” That sounded good, but I was pretty nervous about putting it to the test.  I’m not proud to admit that even though we’re Christians, and deep-down believed the funds would come, I still tended to worry and fret about finances during our first adoption.  Every time a payment was coming up I would lay awake at night freaking out because we didn’t have the money in the bank.

It took me a while (a long while!) but finally I started to see what was happening – we were praying and asking God to provide the funds for this adoption, and each step of the way, He was providing it!  I learned that He wasn’t always just going to drop the money into our laps (though sometimes He did).  He wanted us to do our part to work for it.  But what we couldn’t come up with, He sent.  Sometimes it didn’t come in until the very last second, and it often came in ways we weren’t expecting, but by the time every deadline arrived, so did the money.

We knew God wanted effort and sacrifice from us to come up with the extra money, so there were no extras purchased during that time period.  We saved as much as possible from each paycheck.  No movies, fewer dinners out, no extra shopping, etc.  I took on a second part-time job.  It didn’t pay a lot, but the money went straight into our adoption fund.  My husband started doing some extra projects at work.  We borrowed money from a family member which we later repaid on a monthly basis after we got home with our son.  We found and were given a small adoption grant.  We started selling t-shirts I designed (that part was fun!), friends and family handed us checks at church and in the grocery store and we found money in our mailbox.  We got two no-interest adoption loans, one we paid back with our tax refund and one we’re still paying on monthly.

Some people wouldn’t blink an eye at going into debt for a house or vehicle, but refuse to consider an adoption loan.  For us, getting our child home was so much more important than a new house or car.

In a one-year period we were able to come up with about $20,000 to adopt our first son. At the end, when we were home and looked back on it all, we could hardly believe how miraculously it all came together, just like people assured us it would!

Our next two adoptions were mostly paid for out of our adoption tax refund (see the link on that below), fee reductions due to SN, and a large grant that was given because of the kids’ SN.   Though I still had some occasional bouts with worry about funding, I was more relaxed throughout the process because I had learned that that God would provide.  As someone said to encourage us during our time of fundraising – God funds what he favors. And He certainly did fund our adoptions.

There are so many resources and ideas for funding an adoption.  Don’t think because you don’t have $20,000 sitting in the bank that you can’t do it.  You can!  Look for resources listed at the end of the post.

Ongoing costs of parenting our special needs children:

We’re parenting two SN children.  Thankfully, we have fairly good insurance.  Our daughter has a significant physical disability and while she hasn’t had a lot of medical costs (doctors visits, hospitalizations, etc) we have the cost of PT/OT, adaptive equipment and modifications of our home/cars, etc to accommodate her.  These things haven’t been much of a burden thanks to some creativity and amazingly generous people.  Her wheelchair (specially designed & outrageously expensive) was paid for mostly by insurance.  We were faced with a $3,000 co-pay that the mobility store graciously waived because “they heard her story and know that adoption is expensive.”  Amazing!  PT/OT is covered by insurance, ramp modifications to our house are being done by family and friends so we don’t have to pay anyone to do them, and we’re regularly given gas cards to help with the cost of getting to appointments.  I know people find it surprising but we’ve really had very little extra out of pocket costs due to Jovia’s special needs.

Our little boy has different SN that require many doctors’ appointments and other services.  His care costs more right now simply because his primary nutrition source is Pediasure and wow, is that stuff expensive!  Thankfully, insurance has been paying for it.  There are programs that would pay for his food if we couldn’t afford it and were willing to accept their assistance.  His therapies and doctor visits are almost completely paid for by insurance.  His medical needs have not been a financial burden for our family.

There are many services and help available for families parenting SN children.  Advocacy and networking are key to tapping into these resources.  Birth-to-three programs are wonderful (and free) for those with little ones.  Early Intervention is free here.  Our local EI has been great to work with and has loaned our family equipment so that we don’t have to purchase several very expensive items (SN stroller, standing frame, walker, etc).  For families that can’t afford co-pays there are, in most states, assistance programs to help those with SN children afford medical care (for example, BCMH in Ohio).  There is the Ryan White program for HIV+ children and prescription cards for medicines.  PT/OT/Speech is provided in many (all?) public schools to children once they hit school age.  There are many programs and resources available to help families with the financial aspect of caring for their special needs child.   Examples of these resources are listed below.

Some families I know would like to share how they afford and parent their special needs children. I hope they’re an encouragement to you:

I was in line for a domestic adoption and SPECIFICALLY told my agency I couldn’t (wouldn’t) do special needs. (My son) was born perfect appearing and came home at 2 days old. But at two months old, I knew something wasn’t right. To cut a longer story short, he has Septo Optic Dysplasia. He had to see four medical specialists (above and beyond his pediatrician) for his first three years. We started Early Intervention when he was just 18 months old and he had four therapies a week until he was three. I also see two separate alternative medicine docs who are not covered by insurance. Then there is (my daughter). She has HIV but no other real services at this point. She has four appts a year at the PID and then her usual pediatrician appts. All of that is pretty covered by insurance, other than the copays (normal) or out of pocket maximums. The good news is that (early intervention) (for the kids) is severely reduced thru the state. It is a sliding scale based on income, the MAX of which is $200 a month, even if you’re a millionaire. So some people pay nothing and the most is $200 for TONS of services. As you know, people have to ADVOCATE for their children to get into these things. (My son) wasn’t so far behind when I started screaming, but my mama’s intuition told me he wasn’t right. I pushed until they said yes and then I pushed some more. Those first three years are critical — particularly because it’s free but also because their brain is developing so fast.”

we are moving forward with our special needs adoption with faith that God will provide. It’s more a concern for the actual adoption process than anything else. We feel confident that our insurance will cover his needed surgeries…then Shriner’s hospital where we will go frequently has a habit of writing off the excess so there is no burden to families. Still there will be the cost of flights and such, but we trust God for all things, why not this too? he is calling us to this child, we believe He will provide!!”

I will share briefly…about our experience with the financial aspect of SN adoptions. We have been blessed in this area. Our first two adoptions, were domestic, and they both had medical cards (through their birthmother) until our adoption was finalized. They have prenatal drug/alcohol Exposure, but nothing long term. Our 3rd adoption was also domestic, and had a medical Card until finalized, but he has sickle cell disease, which can be expensive, when he has pain crisis. We have decent insurance, but still the co-pays and deductibles can add up quickly. We did not know he had sickle cell when we adopted him. Our goal is prevention, and so far it is working well. He has only about 1 hospitalization per year. It is fairly financially manageable. Our 4th adoption, was a domestic with limb differences. We did apply, and were granted, a non-ward IL state adoption subsidy for his medical expenses. He had several surgeries and therapies the first few years of his life, but there is nothing more that can be done for him at this point.
Our 5th adoption was our daughter from China, with Beta Thalassemia. We thought we knew all about this disease, but were shocked when she came home to us in heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, and unable to walk more than a few feet. She spent 3 days in the ICU on her homecoming, and was transfused every 5-7 days for months after coming home. This was a HUGE financial burden, but God totally took care of it. We applied for assistance, through the hospital, and it was granted. Shortly afterward, we found out about a Research project thought St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and our daughter qualified. So, for now, St. Jude provides all of her Beta Thal related medical expenses, and settles for what our insurance pays. This has truly been a gift from God! What a blessing!
Our 6th adoption is our most challenging. She was a domestic disruption, at 4 months. She has hydrocephaly, cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment, severe cognitive delays, epilepsy, and so on! She is basically about a 2-3 month old in a 3 year old’s body. Our atty insisted that if we pursued her adoption, we had to apply for the non-ward IL state subsidy for her care as well, which we did. We were approved for this subsidy,and it therefore provides for her medical Care. Our 7, 8, & 9th adoptions are a sibling group, that we took legal guardianship of in Feb. They have medical cards at this point, until our adoption is final, which should be in December. The 2 oldest are fine, no SN, the youngest has MR, Autism, ADHD, and PTSD. Still trying to decide if we should apply for the subsidy for him or not. He does require some meds, but nothing to crazy.
So……bottom line for us…..we would not have been able to afford to continue to add to our family without some assistance. Many people are against any form of assistance. We were at the beginning. But, several of our children would have ended up in life-long residential programs, had we declined their adoptions for financial reasons.
We feel God has put these children in our lives, and we feel he has provided a way to help with their care, through the various programs mentioned above. We are a one-income family, and there are months that we are VERY stretched, but He has always provided. All of our adoptions were between $5000-32,000, and we have never had to borrow money to pay for them. He provides, sometimes in very miraculous ways!”

…We’ve done 7 international adoptions, so you can imagine the amount of “ransom” money, as we like to call it, that has been paid out to bring our children home. If you were to look at a ledger of our finances, our income and amount spent on adoption does work out in an accounting sense. But that is because that is not how God works. We have learned to trust him more and more with each adoption as we have experienced his faithfulness to us. We have seen and know that when He calls you to serve Him, He provides the means….There have been many times when we were in the middle of an adoption and had no idea where we’d get the money to finish paying for it. Every time, God has provided through things like unexpected work bonuses or anonymous donations.”

Finances have always been a concern when it comes to adopting, but we have never allowed money to stand in the way of adopting a child. It is no secret to those that know us that our faith in God has moved mountains when it comes to financing an adoption. We have began each of our adoptions with very little money but by the time our fees are due the money comes together. Through much prayer and faith God provides….We have never ask for help from others until this adoption, we were first only adopting one little girl but we lost her referral. (The agency) called us about 2 little boys needing a family quickly, although we didn’t have the money for two we felt they were our boys. That was our first leap of faith, the money was provided. Then God put it upon our hearts strongly that we were to adopt (another special needs little girl), we had not a penny and owed 5000 on the boys but we said yes. Praise God families have stepped forward and we now only need another 2500 to have our country fees all paid. Our hearts are with special needs, and older children, ones that might be looked over by others, it has been for many years. Our first adoption we wanted a healthy girl from Korea, we received our referral of a healthy beautiful little girl only to learn a few months later she had CP. The agency tried to get us to not move forward but to accept another referral, how very sad of this agency that they felt she was not worthy of a family. That beautiful little girl is now a healthy 22 year old whom graduated with honors from Mount Vernon Nazarene this past week-end and now headed to grad school to be a physicans assistant where God has called her to practice medicine in Africa. Had we given up on her who knows where she would have spent her life, 22 years ago special needs adoptions were unheard of.”

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Resources:

Abba Fund
Lifesong for Orphans
A Child Waits
Gift of Adoption
Katelyns Fund
Lydia Fund
Pathways for Little Feet 
Room for One More Child
Help Us Adopt
Show Hope
Ava’s Hope
Golden Dawn
National Adoption Foundation
Orphans Impact
Orphans Ransom
Sea of Faces
OATH Fair Hope
Eliya’s Heart
Sophie’s Foundation
Grace Hands of Hope
MICAH Fund (African American infants only)
JSC Foundation
Salvation International 

2012 Adoption Tax Credit Explained

Blogs are a wonderful resource for ideas on fundraising for an adoption.   Google Blog Search 

Reece’s Rainbow  (grants on special needs children)
Project Hopeful (photolisting, grants on some children)
The Morgan Project (grants & equipment swap)
By State Listing of Early Interventional/Birth to Three Programs
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (State resource sheets to help you find programs in your State.)
The Special Parent (resource blog from a mom of special needs children)

What questions do you still have about financing your adoption?  
Do you have any resources to add to our list above? 

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May 28, 2012

Never say never.

Six months ago we were told by several specialists that we should never expect Jovia to stand independently.
“Impossible” they said, as they stared at her x-rays.

Week before last we were given hope and encouragement by world renowned prosthetist Kevin Carroll.  He assured us that Jovia will not only stand, but may someday walk.  “Never say never.” he told us several times.

That same week we watched a video of a sweet little boy with the same disabilities as Jovia.  He was standing.
Jovia could hardly take her eyes off the screen.

This past week we’ve been practicing every day.

Today, Jovia stood, on her own with no assistance, for 30 minutes while watching a Baby Einstein video!

I can’t wait to take her back and show all the doctors who told us “never” just what this girl can do.
We are so proud of our sweet Jovia!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  -Philippians 4:13

May 25, 2012

Waiting Children in Liberia

After Tuesday’s post, I was contacted by a volunteer for special needs orphans in Liberia.  She asked for help with advocating for some very special little ones who are in need of forever families.

Last night as I was looking at these sweet children and reading through their listings, I admit the first thing that popped into my mind was “There won’t be many families interested in these kids.”   I hate automatically negative thoughts like that, but it’s just reality: their special needs sound scary, there isn’t much information available on them personally, and this isn’t one of the “popular” adoption countries.

I sat there awhile and re-read their profiles.  I was thinking about how we could best advocate for them when a thought came to me: This could have been Benjamin.  This could have been my son’s photolisting.  

I started to imagine what it would have said: ”Two year old boy with multiple special needs.  Microcephaly, Pierre Robin Sequence, cleft palate, cerebral palsy, heart condition, hard of hearing, does not eat by mouth – completely tube fed.  Doesn’t walk, non-verbal.  Then the obligatory, “he is a very sweet and loving little boy who needs a family.”

Then the thought, Who would have looked at his profile twice?  Would I?

If I had not met and fallen in love with my son two years ago would I have dismissed his photolisting?  I’ve looked at many descriptions over the years of kids with far fewer special needs listed and thought they sounded too overwhelming.
I’ve seen those same kids wait for years, being passed over by families time and again. Kids with fewer special needs then my own beloved son.

I sit writing this in tears.  The very thought that we could have missed out on our amazing little boy is overwhelming.  I can’t even begin to explain how much we love and admire him.  His special needs sound scary, I know.  But I hope you can hear this cry that wells up within me, spilling out as a plea to be understood that he is not his special needs!  That isn’t who he IS, but what affects him.  He is an absolute joy to us and to our family and friends. He’s our beautiful, amazingly strong little boy who is chewing up and spitting out developmental milestones that his doctors never dreamed possible.   In less than a year of being with us, he’s progressed further than some doctors thought he would in his entire life.  He will walk, he will talk.  He does and will have a fulfilling life.

These kids are just like my Benjamin. Their special needs sound scary and maybe overwhelming.  But who knows what they’ll be capable of in the right environment?  The pictures below show children who have never been in a modern medical system. They’ve never had the love of a determined and committed family to provide them with what they need to thrive.  These children have so much potential.

Would you please consider them, pray for them, and pass along their information to everyone you know who might be potential parents for special little ones?

The fine print:  These adoptions will be completed by Angels Haven agency in CA.  Fee is $8,500 which does not include homestudy, USCIS, or travel (one parent must spend approximately 2 weeks in-country). No family size requirement.  If you’re thinking that Liberia’s adoption program is closed, you’re right.  But the country is making exceptions for children with special needs and these children are ready for adoptive families to bring them home!  

(I do not work for, nor do I receive compensation from Angels Haven.  Frankly, I know nothing about them, and you should do your own research into this agency before proceeding.)

May 25, 2012

Part 2 – The New Faces of Int’l Adoption – continued.

Wow, I had hoped this topic would touch a lot of hearts, but I’m amazed at how many people are reading the post.  Over 5,000 views in less than 36 hours is really encouraging! It affirms to me that lots of people care deeply about helping the children most in need – but maybe they don’t know where to begin, or how to get past their fears.

If you didn’t get to read the comments in Part 1 yet, I really think you’ll want to. There are some thought-provoking, insightful and challenging comments and I learned a lot from them. I’ve gotten several comments on Facebook, too, and I’m trying to get people to move them over to join our conversation. The comments section is more than feedback- it’s where the blog post really becomes a discussion and not just my opinion. I’m certainly no expert, but I do believe we all have little bits of “expertise” in our experiences that we can share.

** Several related topics people brought up are really close to my heart.  Someday soon I want to talk about the tragic phenomenon of international baby trade and other hard topics, such as when adoption is the answer and when it isn’t. We in the international adoption community have to talk — and do — more to promote family preservation within the countries and communities from which we adopt. We have to acknowledge that international adoption is not going to solve the orphan crisis and we MUST come together to figure out ways to ensure the next generation of children has far fewer orphans than this one.  
For now, though, this series has been defined as a discussion specifically about waiting children whose time is running out.  I really feel the need to proceed all the way through our targeted issues before tackling some of these others.  **

To continue the discussion, we’ll address some of the reasons people give for not being able or willing to adopt – specifically the reasons people give for not being able to adopt an older or special needs child.

I recently asked my Facebook friends: What are the top reasons you or people you know give for not being willing/able to adopt a child with special needs or adopt older (5+) children?

This question led to a long list of really interesting replies. I’m not going to post them all here but I wanted to share the most common reasons given.

1. Financial concerns (the cost of adopting and possible ongoing costs for a child with SN.)

2. Older children may have been abused and in turn might abuse other children in the home.

3. SN children will hinder your current lifestyle/life.

4. Could be detrimental or not fair to current children.

5. Reactive Attachment Disorder

6. Not having the time or energy to properly care for a SN child.

7. No experience with SN or raising older children.

8. Fear of the child never being independent as an adult.

9. Keeping birth order.

10. Family members not accepting an older or SN child.

 

What reasons/fears/obstacles can you add to this list?

Are or were these concerns of yours? What was your biggest concern?

If you have adopted, how did you overcome these obstacles?

In the next post, we’ll talk about what most people listed as their primary concern with adoption: finances.

Thanks so much for your input and consideration.  Let’s keep the dialogue going and continue to educate ourselves and each other.  I really believe that by working together we can help many precious children find forever families.

May 22, 2012

The New Faces of International Adoption?

For several months, I’ve been thinking about a blog series on unrealistic adoption expectations. Off & on, I’d draft rough notes on the topic. But in the last week or so, I’ve really gotten motivated to move forward with the series. One of those motivators was seeing the new movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.  I knew that one of the couples in the movie adopted a child and I was eager to see how that was portrayed in the movie.

Wow. What a disappointing, unrealistic portrayal of international adoption. I know it’s Hollywood, and we shouldn’t expect much, but still, this kind of thing only serves to increase the unrealistic expectations of first -timers thinking about adopting internationally.

(Slight spoiler here for anyone concerned.) The desperate-for-a-baby mother and the freaked-out father choose Ethiopia.  Just a few days or weeks (!) later they get a referral for and a picture of an adorable, six week old, perfectly healthy baby boy. There’s an “awwww,” from the audience, of course.  Months later they travel to Africa and arrive at the care center with a large group of other adoptive families (each and every family carrying an infant baby carrier!). There is a short ceremony where they all stand in a line and repeat an oath about caring for the child and keeping them in touch with their Ethiopian heritage. They then exchange a lit candle for their baby and are pronounced to be a family. More awww’s from the audience.

Easy enough right? Apparently many people assume so.

Here’s a (paraphrased) conversation I had with a prospective adoptive family not too long ago. This is a conversation I seem to have over and over again:

Excited Family: We are really interested in providing a family for a baby girl from Uganda!

Me:  Well, baby girls aren’t usually available for international adoption in Uganda unless you are open to fairly significant special needs. Are you open to adopting a child with special needs?

Somewhat Less Excited Family: Ummm…no….I don’t think we’re equipped to care for a special needs child. We’re really hoping to adopt a healthy baby.

Me:  OK, well, that isn’t possible from the Uganda program. Most orphaned baby girls in Uganda are now able to be adopted in-country.

Deflated but Insistent Family: Umm, ok. But you know, we really feel called to provide a family to a child in need, and we feel like we are supposed to adopt a baby who is sitting in an orphanage waiting for a family. Cause, you know, there are 147 million orphans in the world. We want to make a difference. What country should we be looking at…? 

You see where this is going?

I have absolutely nothing against this family or other families who start out their adoption journey the same way. We shouldn’t be mad at them. Most of the time, they are sweet, concerned families who truly don’t understand that these aren’t the children that are waiting to be adopted.

Many of these well-intentioned families have seen their friends bring home healthy infants for the past 10 years from China, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Vietnam, etc. They’ve heard the statistics that there are 147 million orphans in the world. Perhaps they went to a Christian conference where leaders were shouting from the rooftop that it’s a Christian’s duty to rescue one of the millions of children waiting in orphanages. Certainly they’ve watched the popular “gotcha day” videos where teary-eyed moms hold their babies for the first time and read the popular blogs. Understandably, they dream of similar videos and blogs of their own. It’s no wonder these families are fired up and ready to rescue a baby. Except that in reality, these waiting, adoptable “healthy” babies just don’t exist.

Friends, it is time to paint a more realistic picture of what international adoption looks like today.

I am not aware of any adoption program, anywhere in the world where healthy, adoptable infants are sitting in orphanages waiting for families.

The fact is that there are far more families wanting to adopt healthy babies than there are adoptable healthy infants. In the U.S. I have heard that right now, for every healthy, adoptable infant, there are 20 – 40 families waiting.  That’s right, families waiting for babies, not the other way around.  I’m assuming this statistic is for white infants. I have recently heard that the wait is less for African American infants.  I don’t have numbers on internationally adopting families, but I know typically they are waiting several years for the “popular” countries.

I suppose there are always going to be families lining up for years to adopt babies, and I’m not going to tell someone that it’s necessarily wrong to do so. I tell the families who contact me that if they are completely set on wanting to adopt a healthy baby, and only a healthy baby, they need to get on a waiting list with a reputable, ethical agency and be prepared to wait a long time.

Or, they can shift their mental expectations from a “perfect” baby  to one who might not make Hollywood’s casting call.

I don’t feel that it’s ever right to try and guilt-trip someone into adopting, but it is good to offer people different perspectives and to challenge preconceived ideas. Not every family can or should adopt a special needs or an older child, but I would ask those families who say they “really want to make a difference” to think about ways in which they can make the biggest impact on one of the thousands of desperate, adoptable children who are waiting, waiting, waiting, right now.

Some of the conditions in which these sweet children wait are unimaginable, and it’s not difficult to find their heartbreaking stories online if we really want to know what life is like for the less than perfect. These are the children with the lists of diagnoses you didn’t check off on your home study checklists. They’re the kids with the not-so-cute referral photos, but who are often old enough and bright enough to understand that they aren’t wanted because of their age or special needs.

Many of them live a tortured existence in adult mental institutions. Some of them are diapered and tied to their beds for the rest of their shortened lives. Can you imagine any child tied to a bed for years? No love or caresses, no kind words, no intellectual stimulation of any kind. And all because they are considered “retarded,” untreatable or sometimes even cursed in those countries.

These children are waiting right now. While people are lining up to adopt babies who won’t even be born for three more years, these children are growing up without a family and some of them are dying because no one will consider them.

Why? Why aren’t more families saying yes to these children?  Without passing judgment, without blaming anyone, I’m just really feeling that it’s time we in the international adoption community begin to bring this issue to the forefront of our discussions.

I’m interested in what kind of ideas and discussions a series on special needs adoption will stimulate. I’m thinking that a follow-up post might be on the most common reasons people give for not being willing or able to adopt older/special needs children and how regular families, just like yours (and mine), have gotten past these obstacles and are providing families for waiting children. I’m really interested in hearing from all of you.

Thanks so much for reading –and considering.

(Please take a look at this beautiful video recently released by Rainbow Kids! )

May 19, 2012

Benja’s EEG/MRI update

We got notice that Benja’s EEG and MRI show a NORMAL (though still small) brain!  YAY!!

No signs of seizure activity so we’re assuming at this point that his previous seizures were febrile seizures.

This is such a relief!

We have an appointment with genetics on Monday to find out the results of his genetic testing. Then in June we go back to the craniofacial surgeon to talk to him about his plans for Benja’s mandibular distraction and cleft palate repair. We are also waiting for a call back from audiology about a more thorough hearing test and possible hearing aids.

Benja got AFO’s and a standing frame and is currently working on putting weight on his legs with hopes that he’ll show interest in standing and eventually walking.   We’ve been joking that he’s going to be a hurricane once he is walking.  He is already such a handful!

We’re having so much fun watching this sweet boy grow and develop!

 

 

 

May 1, 2012

Saving Beth

Update:  BETH HAS A FAMILY!

Friends, please look at this beautiful child and spread the word about her need for an adoptive family.

Baby Beth is almost two years old. She has unrepaired spina bifida and will likely DIE if she doesn’t receive medical treatment and a forever family ASAP. It is truly a miracle that she is still alive now.

In case you aren’t aware of what spina bifida is, she has a hole in her back exposing her spinal cord. Spina bifida is usually correctly shortly after birth. Children with un-repaired spina bifida are at great risk for infection and usually don’t survive. Beth also has hydrocephalus (build up of fluid in her head) for which she has received a shunt. My friend Sarah is parenting amazing two children with spina bifida. I have cared for and transported internationally two children with un-repaired spina bifida and there will be many people happy to talk to anyone interested in learning more about what caring for children with spina bifida looks like.

I’ve been told that they don’t think Beth will be able to walk because of damage already done due to her unrepaired spina bifida. Miracles do happen though!!

Each of the children with spina bifida I have had the privelege of knowing have been the most amazingly smart, beautiful children who have touched my heart in such a special way. (Read about one of the babies I transported HERE. It’s the only one on this blog or I’d share the other.) Spina bifida has always been on our “of course!” list of medical conditions when we have adopted. We’d love to adopt a child with spina bifida someday. If we weren’t so newly home with our babies I’d be figuring out how we can adopt this beautiful little girl. PLEASE spread the word and help us find her forever family before it is too late.

Interested families should contact Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org