Frank's Freedom

Meet Frank. He’s 13 years old, and is curious, busy, fun happy and bright. He has a mental delay, but that doesn’t stop him from being friendly, engaging and kind. He’s also an orphan in Eastern Europe. This means he is in an institution. If he is not adopted by age 16, he will be thrown out on the street with nothing but the clothes on his back and his “disabled orphan” status. Let me tell you more about Frank.

He’s little, about the size of a 7 year old. And he’s smart. He is in a group with teenage boys ages 16-24. He does puzzles and he does his chores diligently. He is very kind to the younger children. Frank is friendly and engaging. He likes being with the boys, but is happy being alone too. He plays appropriately with toys and is “all boy”. He could very easily function in a family. Frank is curious, smart, fun and sweet. He likes to play in the dirt and jump on the trampoline. Frank is independent, a good eater, is happy and content. Frank is physically healthy. He walks, runs, feeds himself, speaks, does puzzles and interacts with others well. He's a sweet boy who seems rather unaffected by his surroundings. He has no future where he's at, and without help, he's never getting out. Institutions are a one way ticket to nowhere. And this little boy deserves a future. This little boy will be a blessing to any family.

The Baker family has committed to adopt Frank and another boy, Emmitt. But international adoption is pretty expensive. The adoption would cost about $30,000. Reece’s Rainbow is an organization that helps with this cost. They set up grants for children in 25 countries around the world, and any money that is donated to these funds is given to the families to help with adoption fees. With Reece's Rainbow's help, the Baker family only needs about $10,000 to bring home both boys!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guardian Angel Project

This is the Guardian Angel Project on Reece's Rainbow.
"The Guardian Angel Project is a new effort to increase awareness and raise additional grant donations for our "Other Angels", those children with other special needs (not Down syndrome)who are also waiting for their forever families to find them.
There many “Other Angels” on our website in need of grant donations and adoptive families. They include such diagnoses as CP, spina bifida, blindness, hearing impaired, FAS, HIV+, craniofacial syndromes, arthrogryposis, dwarfism, and other genetic conditions.
Not only does your gift add to your child's adoption grant fund, 10% of your donation will also be shared with our Voice of Hope Fund, ensuring that Reece's Rainbow can continue advocating for all of these precious little ones for many years to come! Please share this special project with others you know in your family and special needs community!"
Why am I mentioning this?
Because I signed up. I'm now the official 'Guardian Angel' for Tyler.

From his Reece's Rainbow Page:
"Boy, Born October 1999
Tyler is one of our oldest waiting children. SO handsome!
From his medical records: organic impact of damage of spinal cord; (spina bifida) Damage of functions of pelvic organs; Lower paraplegia

From his caregivers: The boy is very friendly, communicative. He is very artistically talented. He likes to dance and sing. He takes a part in the concerts. He wants be taken to the family. Tyler normally wears glasses, and when he has his glasses on, his eye barely crosses at all. He took them off for the pictures, but he wears them all the time.

From an adoptive family who visited with him in February 2012: "We have really enjoyed getting to know Tyler. He is such an incredible kid! You just have no idea how impressed we are with him. He is very neat and organized, and takes good care of his things. I thought at first he was quite serious, because when I met him, he was posing for his photograph. Now, we've been able to chat with him using an interpreter. He LOVES to read- carries a book with him and uses the library here a lot. His favorite thing are fiction stories. Here, they have a lot of fairy tales, and he enjoys those, but I can so easily see him flying through any of the popular Christian fiction series for boys. He's very smart, and everyone here really likes him. We've seen him with the younger kids, they all treat him like a big brother and he is so kind and gentle with them. Like the others we've met here, he seems very emotionally healthy- it's just his legs that aren't working, not his heart, mind and soul. He would just thrive in a family! The hardest part about today came at the end. He asked how long it will be before his family comes to get him from America. I don't know what to say- he's been listed for nearly a year, and no one has asked about him. He's so hopeful and trusting that he has a family and he doesn't have much time left. I don't know why he has gotten passed over- he'd be an amazing son!"
More photos available, married couples only."
He has $259 available for his adoption.
From the family, adopting from that orphanage right now. Renee has so many good things to say about Tyler:
"It was the excitement and anticipation you see when someone believes they’ve found their family.
There was my facilitator, knelt down in the floor, taking picture after picture of boys lined up in wheelchairs, hoping that this would be their “passport foto” into the mysterious, miraculous world of “having a forever family”.
They weren’t excited over toys.
Or cookies.
Or anything money could buy.
They were thrilled because they understood- our Emma Grace had her photo taken by this same blond woman in the brown leather coat last spring. And today, she has a family.
The photo is the first step- in their minds, you take the photo, your family sees you and comes. And you leave on the train and a car and a plane and you go to your home in America. With. Your. Family......
"For the next 30 minutes, she went around, with the director, as the director singled out children that were available- kids whose parents are dead, unable or unwilling to care for them, or just gone. Kids who were so eager to be seen “just perfect” that they took off their glasses and tucked them away and put on their best smiles... When I returned, our facilitator was in the playroom, making the picture of another boy, one I had hoped to meet.
"And today, I met him. He’s tiny, by the way. He’s 13 and physically, he’s not much different in size than an 8 year old. He sat in his wheelchair, and I saw him laugh with the facilitator a bit. They chatted while she was photographing him. But when it was time to take the picture, he stiffened up, sitting up straight and tall in the wheelchair. He lifted his chin, in the universal manner of one trying to put forward their best face, and gave a hopeful, but not overly optimistic, smile. A conservative “I want this, but I’m scared to show how much because it will hurt more when my dreams don’t come true” smile. If I hadn’t been watching carefully, I wouldn’t have seen it. He looked nervous, but so hopeful.
"And then she brought him the camera, so he could review his pictures. Carefully, with the maturity and responsibility you only see in well-behaved young teens, he withdrew his glasses from his wheelchair bag, and put them on. He peered into the camera and before he could control it, a huge smile lit up his face. He quickly schooled his emotions (teen boys are so funny that way lol) and nodded his approval. He glanced over at Emma Grace, and she said something to him. He laughed- and gently, on his way out the door, reached over and took her frail, tiny little hand and gave it a squeeze. She clearly knew him- spoke his name and chattered away. He took the time to talk to her- the way good big brothers do- looking into her face, and responding so kindly. His legs may not work but his arms, mind, and heart clearly do. His gentleness with Emma Grace, respectful manner with the facilitator and overall attitude blew me away.
"And inside, I cried again. I cried because this tender hearted, smart, responsible young man, this amazing kid, is probably going to go his entire life without a family- maybe sent to a mental institution for adults in 3 short years all because he cannot walk. PLEASE GOD HEAR MY PRAYER- please send families to this orphanage!!! Please. If I could adopt them all, I would, but I cannot.
And as though Tyler knew- as though he could hear the weeping inside my soul, he looked up at me. With eyes somber and serious, he blinked at me through his glasses. He speaks Russian, I speak English- but at that moment- we spoke the same language. “I need a family, do you know them? Do you know how to find them? I cannot, I’m here, stuck in this chair, but you, you have the access. Please, tell them I’m here. Tell them how to find me. Please.”
"And he let go of my daughter’s hand and broke eye contact with me, and rolled out into the hall.
"Because see, that’s why “Tyler’s” eyes were different than the younger kids. I think he knows. I think he realizes that even though several kids got their photos taken last spring by the blonde haired lady, only one of those kids got chosen.
"But for Tyler, he knows the odds. He, and Alexis, have just a couple of years before the government decides where their future will be. Will they have a chance at living a normal life? Doubtful. What normalcy can a child with nonfunctioning legs (or hands and legs for Alexis) have in a country that doesn’t acknowledge the disabled? How can you climb the stairs to an apartment, or travel the ice-covered, broken concrete streets and sidewalks in a wheelchair? How can you work when the few existing jobs are taken by able-bodied workers? Tyler, like those on death row, is just trying to enjoy the little time he has left, before his transfer, which will be the end of “life”.
"He is a “Dead Man Walking”. And he knows it. And no 13 yr old boy, smart, funny, kind, compassionate- no “Tyler” should ever have to know what he knows. A 13 yr old boy should be looking forward to learning to drive, to prom, to graduation and college and a career and a family. Not wondering where he’ll be sent to spend out the rest of his days in isolation and misery.
"Tyler knows the odds. I’m asking you, readers of my blog, to please fight the evil in this world- fight it where we can fight it- please help me find these kids their families. They deserve it- but more than that- they NEED it. It’s life or death for these kids.
"We chatted for a few minutes and then the door opened again- and in he rolled. Tyler. Amazing Tyler. And he was such a happy guy today- laughing and smiling and very eager to “come make our acquaintance” as we were told. He shook my hand, so polite and respectful. He had his glasses on today and through the interpreter we chatted. He loves to read- loves it- and especially fiction books. They have a lot of very nice fairy tales there in the school library down the hall and he visits it often. He’s an artist, and as my hubby said, if anyone ever looked like and had the perfect personality to be a teacher, it’s this kid! He again spoke to Emma Grace, joking with her and making her laugh. He was very easy to chat with, eager for the translator to interpret for us. So there we sat, us, EG who’s 5, the older girl who’s almost 16, and Tyler. He didn’t monopolize the conversation- nope, he just chatted and listened to us chat. His eyes rarely left our faces- he is the type of young man who gives you his full attention when you’re speaking to him. See, Tyler thought that because his picture was taken last spring when EG’s picture was taken, and we were here for her, then his family must be coming soon.
"He asked her “Is my family on their way to get me?”
"What could she say? She had to tell the truth. So she said no, not yet. She said she didn’t want to give him false hope, so she just told him she’s working on it.
"But he didn’t let it get him down. He asked to meet us. Why? Because like the older girl, there is this assumption that all of us families in the USA must know each other. Of course he’s wanted, right? It just must be that his family doesn’t know he’s waiting yet. Right? Right?!?
"So they let him come talk to us. For a little bit, he got to feel what having a family is like, even if they weren’t his family. He got to see a mom and a dad talk to each other, got to see them cuddle their child and kiss her head. Had I known, I would have hugged him too. But I didn’t know. I thought he was just another kid, curious about the foreigners who can’t speak Russian worth a flip. I didn’t realize that he was like a child frozen from the snow, easing as close as he could to the fire to feel its warmth. I didn’t know he was “borrowing” us for a little bit.
"But I know it now.
"He asked us something at one point- in Russian- and began pointing. We think he was trying to negotiate for us to help get him adopted too. He pointed at Emma and then me and hubby. Then he leaned over to Emma and pointed back and forth to them and then to us, then a questioning shoulder shrug and point to the door. He did it over and over, while we searched through the Russian/English dictionary trying to find a clue. Only after he left for lunch a few minutes later did we realize what he was probably trying to tell us: Emma had us, he wanted a mama and papa too, and would we help? Either that or he was inviting us to lunch, but that’s highly unlikely because EG doesn’t go until 1 and it was only 12. He and the little girl rolled out around 12 and said “eat byebye”.
"Cute Tyler moment for today: Emma Grace wanted to wear her sunglasses. Again. So we did. But she bumped them off her nose. Before I could get them back on, Tyler was cooing to her, and reaching down and hooking it behind her ear and explaining something to her about it, pointing to his own glasses at the same time. She must have appreciated it because she smiled and said “Spaseeba” and his name. He’s so gentle with her. And when he brought his little friend in, the little girl from Emma’s groupa, he introduced her to me like such a gentleman.
"We were leaving, out in the hall, and suddenly Tyler’s wheelchair rounded the corner at breakneck speed. He rolled up to us, despite the fact that the facilitator wasn’t near us, and we had already determined the Russian/English dictionary wasn’t sufficient.
"He just smiled at us. He wanted to talk so badly- you could see it, but we’re just not fluent enough in the language to make it possible. So there he sat. Hopeful. With great anticipation. A big grin. We all kind of nodded (it’s impossible not to smile when you’re with Tyler!) and stood there. Finally, the facilitator reappeared and he rolled down to the hallway with her and had a conversation. He never lost his enthusiasm. But I watched her shoulders curve more and more to the ground. Her head drooped. Her entire posture was that of defeat.
But Tyler didn’t see it. With the faith of a child- that amazing God given faith- he continues to smile and said “goodbye!” in his delightful Russian accent as we walked out of the building.
Down our walk down the long driveway, covered in snow and ice, she explained what they had discussed. And we all cried.
He wanted to know when his family is coming. Not “if”, but WHEN.
Will it be long, he asked.
Because his picture was taken at the same time as Emma Grace’s and her family is here.
When, he asked.
Is it much longer, he asked.
And she couldn’t answer him.
"They aren’t just pictures on a website. They aren’t just made up biographies. They aren’t just intimidating medical diagnoses.
They’re kids. Flesh and blood, breathing, eating, sleeping, laughing, joking, reading, playing kids.
They aren’t just characters in an online drama, where you can just close the website and pretend they don’t exist.
Whether you click on the “other angels, 6 and older” categories or not, they’re still here. Sitting in their orphanage wheelchairs, waiting for the families they believe will come.
Will you come?
Please, will you come?"

Wow, I didn't realize how much she actually has on him. Pray for Tyler. See if you can find your own child to sponsor, they need them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Either positive or negative comments are good because it shows I am still relevant. -Justin Guarini