Archive for ‘Waiting Kids’

August 2, 2013

Uganda/Zambia Trip – Part 3

Our time in Uganda was a flurry of activity so instead of sharing day-by-day I’ll just share some stories, highlights and pictures.

One of the highlights, for me personally, was the chance to see a family that is very special to me.  I won’t go into details here how we are connected to this beautiful family, but we are.   We were in the neighborhood anyway (as close as you can get to being in the neighborhood!) so we decided to swing by and see how they were doing.  They were very excited to hear that we were coming.

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The red dirt of Uganda.

We were told it wasn’t far.  I’m not sure what standards these folks are going by, because it was far!  To get to their home we took a small, dirt road.  We bumped and bounced down that road past tiny little villages until we reached smaller dirt roads where we bounced and bumped some more.  Finally we got to the end of the road where we stopped and started walking on a path through some coffee beans into the middle of a field.  There was a clearing in front of us and then, the most darling little home.  This is where the mother of this family and her three children (and one nephew) live.

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The home.

The home is one room.  There is a  bed with a mosquito net over top.  The children sleep on mats on the floor.  All cooking/bathing/socializing is done outside.   There are few other small homes like this scattered around the clearing.  This is their community.  While we were talking the girls came back from fetching water at the well.  This is how they get all of their water.  There are no sinks or bathtubs, there is no electricity.  But their little home is beautiful and they clearly take pride in it.

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The children who live in this small community.

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Carrying water from the well.

It was such a blessing to see their family and home.

One of my favorite parts of these trips is checking on the kids who wait for families and trying to find ways to show all of YOU just how amazing they are.  I had the privilege of visiting with some absolutely adorable kids – of all ages and abilities – who are waiting for families.   One of them was this little guy.  He just couldn’t stop giggling!  He has the most infectious and beautiful smile.  Can you imagine how much a family would have with him?  He really needs to be adopted!

Collin from sister haiti on Vimeo.

Collin

June 5, 2013

Waiting Child Alert!

This adorable young man is Barry. 

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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.

May 23, 2013

Baby Girl Waiting for a Family!

UPDATE:  Baby Cooper has a family!  Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word! 

This beautiful baby girl is in Liberia and looking for her family.

She is only about six weeks old.   

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Look at those cheeks!

This sweet girl is a congenital quad amputee like our little Jovia.  I would love to talk to families about what parenting a child without limbs looks like.   This little girl is going to be such a blessing to someone’s family!

Interested families please contact me using the form below and I will put you in touch with the agency involved.

April 26, 2013

Eichhorn Family Follow-Up

This is a follow up post to “Special Needs Adoption {Eichhorn Family}” .

Several of you submitted your questions for the Eichhorn family and I was happy to get these answers for you.   While what works for the Eichhorn family may not be possible or work for all of us, one thing they prove to us is that with determination and creativity typical families just like yours and mine can provide homes for waiting children with special needs.

Question:  How do you afford the medical costs that come with children with special needs?

Answer:  “Our first 5 adoptions were USA adoptions from Ohio. With Ohio adoptions Medicaid insurance is part of the deal when you adopt through the county foster care/adoption system. Your children have most medical needs paid for until they are 18.”

Question:  What has been the hardest part of being a parent of special needs children?

Answer:  “Our hardest part of parenting special needs children is getting time away together. Date nights or date days are few and far between, typical babysitters aren’t trained to watch medical needs children and paying for or even finding someone is not easy. Trained family is a good option for time away together. For us as individuals we help each other out by one of us watching the kids so the other can get out of the house for a while.”

Question: Do you plan to adopt more children?

Answer:  “Eventually we probably will adopt more children. For the time being our family is enjoying the children we have and are taking a break from the constant flow of social workers and paperwork. Also with recruiting efforts hopefully there will be no more special needs children around to adopt.”

Question: How do you transport your family?

Answer:  “For our family’s transportation we have purchased a giant ford van with two sets of wheelchair tie downs and a wheelchair lift. If or when we add more children we will then have to take two vehicles when we all go together as a family.”

Question: What is your day to day schedule like?  Do you have a lot of appointments outside the home?

Answer:  “Our day to day schedule includes katie working overnight as elijah’s nurse 5 nights a week. Everybody is up at 6 and we both work together to get all six kids up and fed by seven when I take them to school. Katie stays home and finishes getting the other three ready for the day including starting elijah’s daily therapy routines. I am home by 8 and either hang out with the kids, run errands, do handyman projects around our home or other people’s homes. Elijah has a nurse who comes for 5 hours three days a week which gives katie a break from his medical and therapy needs. I pick kids up at 2 and then do homework and playtime until dinner at 5. Five of six are in bed by 7 and elijah is finished with his procedures by 8 which gives us two hours to unwind before bedtime. Though plans often change, such as when one of the kids has an emergency and ends up needing to stay in the hospital for a couple weeks in which case katie usually stays at the hospital and I take on full charge of everybody else!”

Question: “I’m a mom of three biological children.  We are hoping to adopt and have been thinking about adopting a child with special needs but I’m already so busy and I’m afraid I won’t have time to care for the child the way they need.”

Answer:  “Appointments are crazy when you first get a child. They have to have so many initial specialist visits and tons of therapy to start in. Elijah now gets all of his weekly therapy in the home since he is immunocompromised. Manny and Gideon both graduated from therapy in December so we only have medical appointments no therapy outside the home (until we get it set up for Zahara!) But even at that we still have three or so appointments a week in which case one of us takes the child/children to the doctor and the other stays home with whoever is not going. It makes it really nice to be able to have two parents at home in these situations.”

Question: “Were you scared when you adopted your first child with special needs?  I dont have any experience with special needs and am afraid I wouldn’t know what to do!”

Answer:  “I was definitely scared with my first adoption, but I feel it was a healthy fear. Uncertainty was assured with that whole process. At that point we had no children it was just deciding that life would be different forever. You give up free time as a married couple, certain outings, retirement… I don’t regret it one bit and would make the same choice many times over. With God guiding us into that process we knew He could come up with better life plans than we could anyway. Special needs children do take special time and attention. You can always learn special needs as you go, how much time you have could be difficult depending on your support system and the severity of needs of the child.”

Question:  How old are your children now?

Answer:  “Our most recent child is 15 nearly 16 her adoption will be final in july, she is from Uganda. The rest in order received are: Elijah 5, Kimora 5, Aidric 3, Manny 4, Gideon 3.”

Question: Did you have to modify your house to make it wheelchair accessible?

Answer:  “So that we could afford a modified handicapped house when elijah (our wheelchair bound son) was 2, we purchased a $20,000 multifamily home. And with my carpentry home remodeling skills I built a handicap accessible single family home with 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, elevator, and therapy room. So after two years of work we had an affordable custom made castle.”

Thank you to the Eichhorn family for being willing to be so open about their family and adoptions!  If you have additional questions about special needs adoption leave a comment on this blog post or send me a message and I’ll do my best to get them answered!

Zahara

March 13, 2013

Special Needs Adoption {Eichhorn Family}

I want to introduce you to the Eichhorn family.

I first started talking to this family last year when they contacted me for information on adoption from Uganda.   They had met and fallen in love with an older child with significant special needs they had met in an orphanage during a missions trip.  They were interested in adopting her.  I was overjoyed to help.  Happily, a few months ago they came home with their new daughter Jennifer and sent me this beautiful family photo.  Jennifer not only now has a family but is a big sister to five younger siblings!

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The Eichhorn family is now parenting six children with special needs!  I can’t help but marvel at what a beautiful family they have.

I asked the Eichhorn family if they might be interested in answering some questions about special needs adoption for my friends and readers.   Many of you are interested in special needs adoption but have questions about what life looks like parenting children (or multiple children) with special needs.

The Eichhorn family has graciously agreed to answer YOUR questions about special needs adoption.

What do you want to know about special needs adoption?   I want to get your questions answered!  Send them in and I will try my best to get them answered.

This family is living out such a beautiful example of stepping out of your comfort zone and providing a loving family for children desperately in need.

Please watch their video.   Share it.   And send in your questions!  This is a great opportunity to learn from someone who has “been there” and who has a lot of experience.

January 28, 2013

Waiting Children

I want to take a few minutes to share with you two precious boys who have been on my heart lately.

These adorable little guys are in the same country in Eastern Europe (not Russia).
They both need families ASAP, but one little guys situation is especially urgent – he will age out next year and no longer be eligible for adoption!

First – meet Emmitt.

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Emmitt is 15 years old.  He was born with Spina Bifida and his legs are deformed.   I’m told that Emmitt is typical mentally (though I’m sure he has orphanage related delays) but because he has a physical disability he was placed in a mental institution and has been there for many years.  Yes, you read that right….a mental institution.  Only because he’s physically disabled.

Just think about that for a few minutes….

Do you want to know what life is like inside many mental institutions in Eastern Europe?

Watch this video.  It is powerful and heartbreaking but this life is very real for many, many orphans in the world today.

(The boys I’m sharing with you are not from the country protrayed in this video but places just like this exist in many countries around the world)

Some adoptive families have met Emmitt while at the institution and have wonderful things to say about him.

His adoption description reads in part:  “He is living in one of the mental institutions, and has been for many years, yet he remains sweet, intelligent, and kind.  Ttwo of our adopting families met him while they were there, and are pleading for a family to save him…” Emmitt has a severe deformity of his legs.  He cannot walk at all.  He is very friendly, funny, and talkative. He desperately seeks out attention.  He was talking to my husband, and holding Zack’s hand, which he then put on top of his head for Zack to rub his hair.  He is extremely intelligent, and just precious!  I brought him paper and crayons, and he drew me a flower….He is clever. He keeps some books and toys in his bed, and talks about his life to volunteers. I think he desperately needs parents and better life, if it is any hope for him.”

Emmitt needs rescued NOW.    Could you be his family?

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The second little guy I want to share with you is Bowen.

Oh my goodness, just look at that little face!

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From his picture it looks like Bowen has one arm with an elbow (he will be able to do SO MUCH with this!!) and possibly one full leg?  If so, he should be able to do so much with those two limbs! It looks to me like the residual limb on his other side might be long enough for a prosthetic too.

This little guy has SO much potential!  He’s so young and just ready for a family!  I can’t believe he’s still waiting…I’ve been watching him for a few weeks and can’t wait to see him moved to the section of the website for children with forever families.

If you are interested in either of these boys (or any of the other hundreds of precious children on the Reece’s Rainbow website) you can send an email to Andrea  – andrea@reecesrainbow.org – for more information.

Feel free to share this link with anyone who might be interested in these little guys!

January 7, 2013

and still he waits….

Two years ago I walked into an orphanage in Africa and met a precious baby boy.

Elias* was about a year old.  I was told he had seizures and low muscle tone.  He had reflux and was considered “failure to thrive”.  His caregivers asked me if I might be able to find a family for this precious baby boy.

Of course, I answered.  Of course this precious, adorable baby boy would find a forever family.

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Two years later…Elias is still waiting.

His chances in Africa aren’t good.  If he survives he will spend the rest of his life in an institution.  He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and they have a hard time controlling his seizures with the limited medical care available to him.   He is being fed through an NG tube (in his nose) because he aspirates his food.  While the orphanage he is in is a great one, it is still an orphanage and Elias NEEDS a family.  There is nothing that can replace a loving family.

Last time I was at his orphanage I went looking for him.  I had been warned that he looked a lot different.  “Like a holocaust victim” is how a friend who works at the orphanage described him.  Apparently he had been sent to the hospital and came back to the orphanage is worse shape than he was in before.  I was heartbroken.  He had changed so much.  He smiled at me as I held him and I smiled back with tears in my eyes knowing how much harder it would be for him to find a family now.  Now that he was older, gaunt, stiff and spastic.  I was heartbroken that this little boy with SO much potential is wasting away without a family or the medical attention he so desperately needs.  Wasting away because no one will step out and say YES that they will rescue this precious child.

Elias is a beautiful, innocent 3 year old boy who needs and DESERVES a forever family.

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I know it’s scary.  I know.  Elias needs someone willing to take a leap of faith.  Someone who see’s what I see:  a sweet little boy who longs to connect with you but who is stuck in a body that is working against him.

Parenting Elias isn’t going to easy.  Especially at first.  There is no doubt about that.   But I can tell you, this little boy is WORTH IT.  He will make the most amazing son for someone willing to step out of their comfort zone and bring him home.

Please friends, won’t you consider if you are this sweet boy’s family?  

Elias has waited far too long.

*name changed to protect privacy

Little E from sister haiti on Vimeo.

September 20, 2012

He’s waiting….

I want to share with you an amazing little boy in Africa who is waiting for a family.  

This amazing kid is about 11 years old and is described as a very special boy.  He is very loving and REALLY wants a forever family.  His orphanage director says he is always working to try and help people.  They report that he is fantastic with the smaller kids in the home and never acts jealous of them.   He is a double orphan and has been living in a children’s home for many years.

HE NEEDS A FAMILY.

He has a lot working against him finding a family. He’s a boy. He’s older. He’s HIV+ and he’s in a country with long travel requirements.

Despite all of that, I just know there is someone out there who would love another little boy in their family!

By the way – If you are still scared of HIV, if you think it’s a risk bringing an HIV+ child into your family, if you still think it’s a death sentence…let me help you educate yourself on HIV!  SO many families are now adopting HIV+ children because they are realizing that it is a very manageable special need and their are so many kids who need families!   Your other children/family members/friends are not at risk of contracting it in a normal household environment.   With medicine he will be able to live a long, healthy life. Check this out:  http://www.projecthopeful.org/truth-pandemic

From an adoptive family who recently met him:

“He has the sweetest most tender little heart you have ever seen. Just before I snapped his picture, a younger child came up to the lunch table and there were no chairs left. Without saying a word he got up and gave the younger boy his chair and then went and found himself another one.”

What a sweet little guy!

Do you know anyone looking to adopt a beautiful little boy?  Please feel free to share this post with them.   Interested in adopting him or want more information on requirements, country info, etc?   Leave me a message here and I’ll contact you!

 

September 4, 2012

World CP Day!

Today, September 4, 2012 is the first ever World CP (Cerebral Palsy) day!

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for children, especially orphans, with cerebral palsy.   I remember the first time I spent time with an orphaned child with CP.   He was in Haiti and it was one of my first experiences in a developing country.  This sweet boy spent most of his time tied up.  He would be tied to the railings of stairs/porches or his feet would be hobbled so he couldn’t walk.  He was so desperate for attention he clung to whoever would show any interest in him.   I watched as visitors and volunteers spent hours loving on the cute, chubby babies but averted their eyes whenever they were in the same room with this little boy.  My heart broke for him.  Since that time I have found myself seeking out children with CP whenever I’m in orphanages or children’s homes.  Giving them extra love and cuddles that I know they are likely missing in their daily lives.

My precious son was diagnosed with CP after we brought him home from Africa.  He is only mildly affected, it causes weakness in his lower limbs.   He is now 2.5 years old and is learning to walk with braces and a walker.   While he is challenged with many special needs and medical conditions, he has made more progress in the past year than we would have ever dreamed possible.   He is a delightful, sweet and beautiful child.  We can’t imagine life without him.

There are many beautiful children with cerebral palsy waiting for families all over the world.   AAI‘s Uganda program is advocating for two children with CP on their waiting child list and we’ll have more children listed soon.   I’m know other agencies have children with CP on their waiting lists as well.   Reece’s Rainbow has a beautiful video of children with CP that they are advocating for.  Please consider providing a family to one of these precious children.

If you have any questions about what parenting a child with CP looks like, I’d love to talk to you and connect you with other families!

Happy World CP Day!!

Some of the many silly faces of our sweet Benja.  He loves to sit in his new big boy chair!

 

 

August 26, 2012

…a family for me?

“Do you think you can find a family for me?” She asked quietly while staring at the dirt she was poking with her big toe.

I want a family too!”  a young man exclaimed while tugging on my arm.

“Does she want me?” another young man asked his caregiver nervously.

YES, I wanted to cry out to each of them!  Yes, there are families for every single one of you!  Yes, you are wanted and loved and treasured and won’t have to spend another day as an orphan!

But obviously, I couldn’t say those things.   Because there aren’t families waiting for them.  And no one wants to adopt 14 years olds.  And maybe those boys will never find families because school age boys are simply too scary.   So instead, I had to smile and hold back tears.

I’ll try.” I told them.  “I promise I’ll try really hard to find you families.”

AAI is looking for adoptive families for many older and special needs children in multiple countries.  There are children waiting right now.   There are many children who will be waiting soon.  Please help us spread the word that we’re looking for families for these hopeful, “hard to place” children.