Archive for June, 2013

June 21, 2013

Jovia feeding Benjamin

Jovia is such a good big sister!  She’s so motherly with Benjamin – comforting him when he cries, scolding him when he’s doing something he isn’t supposed to, yelling for help when he’s fallen down or needs something, trying to help dress him and now…. feeding him.  :)

(It’s melting ice cream cake, in case you wonder what kind of green goo we feed our children!) 

Jovia feeding Benjamin from sister haiti on Vimeo.

June 19, 2013

Benja loves his “Signing Time”

As many of you know, Benjamin has hearing loss.  He is deaf in one ear (the ear with microtia) and has moderately severe hearing loss in his other ear.  He wears a Cochlear Baha hearing aid with headband.  When he’s about 5 or so they will surgically insert a cochlear implant.

In addition to having hearing loss, Benjamin has a craniofacial condition that essentially “locks” his jaw shut.  He can open his jaw a few centimeters.  He also has a large un-repaired cleft palate.  These things combined means that Benjamin is mostly non-verbal. He attempts to speak (makes sounds) but no words actually come out.

We began introducing ASL to Benja in the form on baby signs shortly after he came home.   We did this through the book and DVD system “Signing Time”.   I can’t recommend this program enough.  The videos are so informative while at the same time very entertaining.  Benjamin happily sits and signs along during his daily Signing Time.  He loves it!   He now has a vocabulary of about 10 signs he does regularly on his own and a handful more he does when prompted.  Believe me, the difference between no language and being able to “say” 10 different things is huge!  We have seen such a decrease in his frustration level now that he’s able to tell us what he wants.  And the best part is, he really WANTS to sign!  He makes up signs constantly (babbling in sign, so cute!)  and seems eager to participate when we try learning new words.

I wanted to share our success so far with Signing Time and recommend it to anyone who is looking for an easy and fun way to introduce ASL to your young child.  We couldn’t be happier with it.

Benja signing time from sister haiti on Vimeo.

June 5, 2013

Waiting Child Alert!

This adorable young man is Barry. 

April 2013 Haven Children.Trip 098

Barry is 8 years old and has cerebral palsy.  He is described as very, very sweet and very cognitively aware.  He seems to understand most things when you are talking to him, can answer questions with “yes” and shake his head for no.  He will move his limbs when asked but because of his cerebral palsy is not able to do much else without help.  He isn’t yet sitting independently.  Barry has a few more words and can let his foster mom know when he wants to walk, when he wants to eat, and when he wants a drink.

A volunteer who knows Barry says this: 

“I consider myself very blessed to have a bond with him that I can’t explain. His foster mom will let him know I’m coming, and he starts smiling and laughing and want’s his “ma.” He and I both light up when we see each other! This little boy has so much love to give, he is always smiling! He loves to play and interact, but most especially practice walking. He is still so small for his age, still easy to carry and transfer into his wheelchair. His foster home is doing a lot of things to try and get him stronger and moving more on his own. Barry has so much potential in his movements, his verbal skills, and his communication! He needs a family now!  He does really well with relaxing massage and being stretched, and can move so much more after these exercises. We all want to see Barry get a family of his own that is committed to his care. Barry is one of the sweetest, happiest children I have known. I care deeply for this little boy and want to see him adopted as soon as possible. He is going to bless a family tremendously!!”

Barry lives in West Africa.  His country program has flexible requirements for families adopting children with special needs.  Families interested in Barry or with further questions should contact me using the form below and I will email you contact information for the agency/program.

PLEASE help us spread the word about Barry!

This sweet boy has so much potential.

I can’t wait to hear how he flourishes under the love of family.

June 1, 2013

Three Years Ago {Mayer’s Homecoming}

Three years ago, after months in Uganda, I posted this picture and announced to the world that I was finally bringing our beautiful son home.   (How cute is my baby?!) 

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I will never forget picking up that visa and realizing that I was really, truly going to be able to take him home, to OUR home, to see his daddy for the first time in 3 months and meet the rest of his family for the first time ever!

 He fit in perfectly, like his spot in our family had always just been there, waiting for him to fill it. Image

Mayer has brought such joy to our family.  He is the funniest, most creative little boy.
He loves his family fiercely and we love him more than we can begin to explain.

We are so, so thankful and blessed to have him in our family.  We love you Mayer!

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Read about Mayer’s homecoming:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3