Orphans with Arthrogryposis

There are kids with Arthrogryposis all over the world who wait for a family to call their own. Every child should have a Mama and Papa to love them. Sadly many kids will never know the love of a family as they will live out their shortened lives in institutions. The children posted here are from Reecesrainbow.com If you can't adopt, you can donate to their grants on reecesrainbow.com Don't leave them to die in institutions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Drake has a family!

Drake has a family!

Prologue by Bring Hope:

Last year we advocated for a little girl with arthrogryposis named Rita. Since we could not raise funds for Rita at the time because of her situation, we instead started a sharing campaign. Hundreds of "shares" happened across Facebook and blogs. Rita was famous in a matter of days! (In fact Rita caught the eye of one mommy who later went on to adopt our other AMCer, Victoria!)

When Kelly contacted Bring Hope to say she had been planning on adopting Rita, we were overjoyed as it marked the first time we could celebrate one of "our kids" finding a family in the same month we were spotlighting that child! That was very encouraging to us. (That was the first time it happened, but not the last!)

But our friend Kelly was not content to merely stop with changing the life of one girl. We watched her champion the cause of many orphans. (In fact I see Kelly sharing Sadie's file just about every day!) When Kelly saw that Melissa wanted our little Drake (as Melissa very subtlety commented "I WANT HIM" on that post, heh) she immediately sent Melissa encouragement and resources. We are privileged to be one of those resources.

A lot of the following story happened behind the scenes as the family prepared to commit to Drake and we attempted to help them raise the necessary commitment fees without spilling the beans on who they were commiting to! But now we are happy to announce how it worked out! Below is the whole story told by Drake's new mommy, Melissa.

Arthrogr...what? A few short weeks ago I had no idea how to pronounce arthrogryposis, much less know what it was. Another unfamiliar diagnosis listed below a waiting child's name.

Enter Drake...

Someone on facebook posted Drake's link from Reece's Rainbow and I said I WANT HIM! Of course, I didn't really know what I was saying....I had seen his little bitty figure transform into a smiling little boy waving at the camera and was amazed! Fast forward and now there are even more videos and this little boy astounded me!

That one comment "I WANT HIM" (and yes, I did comment with all capital letters) led another mom to message me and let me know that she would answer any questions I had about arthrogryposis (there's that word again) and that there was a terrific support group for families who have adopted children with this diagnosis. We visited and I contacted another mom, Alexis, to ask her a few questions...

I was hooked! My husband and I, and our 3 children, were just about to submit our dossier for Lance, a 2 year old with severe CP in Drake's country and I just could not get rid of that tugging that Drake was special...I had butterflies for him, just like I did for Lance. I talked to my husband, who wonderful man that he is, told me his concerns but didn't say "no" (That's almost a "yes", right???) So we talked about it a lot, did a little bit of math, and realized that to add Drake to our current adoption without stalling the process for Lance would cost an additional $7000.00 and have to be less than 2 weeks since we were almost ready to submit our dossier.

$7000.00- that's nothing to save a life/ a soul! Right?

Well, here's the thing: My terrific, wonderful husband said "$3500.00 in 2 weeks and we will move forward confident that God wants us to adopt Drake."

Oh my goodness!!!! THAT'S A YES!!! RIGHT? Ok...wait, what was that "little" part about $3500? How on earth are we going to raise that in less than 2 weeks?

Well, God is faithful and with some help from Bring Hope and SEVERAL other people we have never met in real life, we had raised $3520.00 in LESS than 1 week.

God provided not for the adoption of another child... but for our adoption of "Drake"! To see God's love poured forth for this little boy half a world away, who has no idea any of us exist, is more powerful than any words can express. My God, who knows the number of hairs on little "Drake's" head, has seen fit to bring him into our family. We are so grateful for the friends we have met in a few short weeks who have taught us about arthrogryposis and encouraged us in our journey. Thank you for your willingness to reach out and provide hope and help for children with arthrogryposis....thank you for your willingness to provide hope for Drake!

So, where are we now? We are officially committed to Drake, we are waiting for our apostilled docs to come back, and we are hoping to send our dossier for translation in about 2 weeks.
We estimate that our adoption of our 2 precious sons will cost a total of $30,000.00. So far God has provided for our adoption so abundantly and we are only about $9600.00 short of being fully funded!!! We can't wait to see how He chooses to provide for the rest ;)

To donate to Drake and Lance's adoption please go here. To find out how you can obtain help with your adoption of a child with arthrogryposis please leave a comment on this blog and we will be happy to assist you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meet our February Child: Drake!

We still have a matching grant going on until February 15th for Anthony. (His 14th birthday is on the 15th.) All donations are doubled until then. Our February child (featured below) cannot receive funds at this time so please direct your monthly giving to Anthony if your heart leads you. He still needs over $1,000+ to deplete this grant. To donate go here. Thank you.

Meet Drake!

Drake is an almost-five year old boy living in Eastern Europe. We often can't mention the specific country name, even though that is not against any rules. It is just an extra precaution so that someone cannot Google the country name, find the child and possibly be offended that their country is not represented well. (We don't dress our orphans like THAT!!) We'll just say his birth country rhymes with Dulgaria. And we have friends who have adopted from this country who have good things to say.

It's rare to see a description of a child to be so thorough. But to quote his listing: "[Drake is] now sitting up independently, pulling up onto his knees in the bed and is working hard to learn to get himself to a complete stand position. When placed against support, he can stand and hold on to something. He can get around independently in a walker and wheelchair. He is working with a physical therapist and learning to crawl. He drinks from a cup independently and eats from a spoon. He plays appropriately with toys and will mimic any action that he’s shown. He still prefers to use his left hand, but he is beginning to manipulate objects with his right hand as well. He enjoys playing board games with other children. He differentiates between familiar adults and strangers. He responds appropriately to praise and to correction. He repeats words that are said to him and is beginning to spontaneously talk. He understands what is said to him and follows verbal directions." His complete listing is found here.

Keep in mind that Drake had a rough start in life and is delayed a bit. "Catching up" developmentally is expected as time goes by. 

From some insider information we've received Drake is one loved, happy little boy. People want to see this little man in a family! And when an orphanage provides physical therapy and works one-on-one with a child, let's just say we all feel a little more hope for humanity. 

So let's talk Drake. From an AMC prospective he's doing well. Before very recently we did not have an update on him and this post was more guess after guess on what we estimated he might be able to do. There are more pictures and videos that we received as recently as last month so some of our guesses were spot on, while others of our expectations were exceeded!  

First off let us just point out that his diagnosis is listed as Freeman-Sholden syndrome (by which they mean Freeman-Shelden syndrome), which is a specific type of AMC discovered after genetic testing. Most of us at Bring Hope have met and spoken with Dr. Judith Hall, the top geneticist who specializes in arthrogryposis and all 400+ types. For one thing the dignosis of this type is hard to do as Freeman-Shelden is the most rare of the distal (mostly affects hands and feet) forms of AMC. Second of all, if the orphanage doctor in "Dulgaria" was able to correctly type this we would be very impressed. (We'd bake him/her a cake.) But to be on the safe side we would encourage a second opinion. His AMC may not be as severe, and after learning more about him... we all doubt it is.

Secondly everything Drake is doing physically is right on target for a very independent, highly functional AMCer. We don't doubt he'll be walking one day. We don't doubt he'll be an independent adult one day. Heck we don't doubt he'll be president! But maybe there's a rule against that if you're not born here. Well he'll vote for the president one day at least. But only if he's adopted! And if you adopt him he may even vote for the party you like! 

I really wanted to do this post on Drake because where he is located makes for easier travel and an easier process than the typical process that we just experienced adopting our son. Easy travel and a shortened process is just feeding my jealous flame over here. :) Adoption is hard. Travel is hard. Leaving other kids at home is hard. This would be less hard. Starting physical therapy from scratch is hard. Starting medical stuff on an adopted kid who has never had medical stuff done is hard. Drake would be less hard. Also he is available to just about anyone. You have a million kids? No problem! You are single? Sure! You are grandparents? Give those grandkids a tiny uncle! Seriously he just needs a family. No home manipulation, wheelchair ramp, special needs experience required. None. He just needs love. We'll hold your hand through the rest. Us AMC family members will take you in and make a place by the fire and help you do this. We'll tell stories and listen to yours. You can do this. 

Since Drake cannot receive funds until he has a family in place, we will just continue to advocate for him. Want to join us? Just share this post (or his RR profile) on Facebook, in your blogs or on any social media site. Print it out and pass out flyers to people in your church (who are required to care about orphans and stuff), your family, neighbors and coworkers. Random people on the subway! Put up billboards! Produce a commercial!! Sky writing!!! 

I'll just be sharing on Facebook because I'm way less motivated than you people.