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!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Wonder of Boys: Marcus

"[This] Monday Miracle post [was] part of a blog blitz for Marcus. Many bloggers are working together to bring attention to Marcus in hopes of finding him a family as quickly as possible. Every child needs and deserves a family, but Marcus' story is particularly compelling.

Carter's family found him!

You may remember this boy, Carter, from my Motherless Day post. As you can see from the left sidebar, Carter's forever family has found him! This is great news for Carter! Unfortunately for Marcus, it's simply more confirmation that no one wants him. You see, Marcus lives in an orphanage with three friends, Carter, Pryce, and Tyler. All three of those boys now have families. But Marcus doesn't. Marcus still waits. Marcus will watch all his friends leave, and he will be left behind.

And Marcus knows why. Marcus "knows" that the reason no one wants him is because he has spina bifida and his legs don't work. Marcus "knows" that families don't want kids in wheelchairs. Marcus "knows" that if people know he has a disability, they will not want him. That is why Marcus covered his legs when a facilitator took his picture to post on the waiting child list.

Marcus is ashamed of his legs.

But you see, Marcus is still a very little boy. Marcus is only nine. He doesn't yet know that there are people out there who will love him regardless. He doesn't yet know that there are people who will advocate for him because of his disability. And most important, Marcus doesn't yet know that there is a wide, wide world out there for him to explore and that he has the potential to make all his dreams come true. Marcus doesn't know this because he is still very young, and his world right now is that of an orphanage, where again and again he is passed over in favor of kids whose legs work.

Marcus is described as smart, communicative, and friendly. He wants to be adopted. An adoptive mother who recently met Marcus had this to say about him:

"He just turned 9 and he looks about 7 at best. He’s a small guy and pretty serious natured from what we’ve seen. He’s friendly but focused, if that makes sense. He’s the kind of kid that sits back and observes, taking everything in. He goes to classes, so he must be smart enough, but we haven’t talked to him as much as we’ve seen him. He plays around with the other boys, but is very quick to obey the teacher when she gives instructions. He too has spina bifida and is very modest about it. It is obvious he does not want to be judged by his disability but just wants to be a normal little boy. I cannot imagine how horrific it would be for him to be transferred to a mental institution. He seems well liked by the other boys, but is more quiet and less boisterous.

When I look in his face, I see a kid who wants to be accepted and encouraged, and who has a fighter’s spirit- refusing to let life, or EE [Eastern Europe], get him down. He has a lot of determination to reach his goals whether they are getting to a certain place in the building or following instructions- that same determination is what will propel him to success in the real world, IF someone adopts him and gives him a chance. And I have to say, he is a cutie pie. He has no idea of it, but he is adorable. There’s something just intriguing about his cute little face- the face of a young boy- and his serious focus- like the intensity of an adult. You can see he thinks things through and doesn’t miss much!"

Another adoptive parent noted that Marcus does well in school and is in the "smart" classes for kids his age.

This is Marcus in school. The parent who took this picture noted that his notebook was on the desk in front of him, and he was taking notes just prior to this picture being snapped. He had paused in his note-taking to look over at someone who was speaking.

Marcus' future, should he remain in the orphanage, is not bright. He will either be transferred to an adult mental institution, where he will remain forever bedridden because his legs don't work, or he will be dismissed from the orphanage at age 16, a child with a disability alone in the world, secure in his "knowledge" that because his legs don't work, he is unwanted and undesirable. 

But ...

Marcus' desire for a family burns so bright that even though he "knows" he is unwanted because his legs don't work, he mustered the courage to pose for this photograph, knowing it would be seen by potential adoptive parents. Knowing that his disability would be seen.

Remember the picture at the top of the page? This is the full version of it. This is the picture that Marcus bravely posed for after witnessing another family come to his orphanage and adopt a little girl whose legs don't work. This is how courageous Marcus is. This is how much he yearns for a family to love him.

Marcus currently has approximately [$3,226.43] in his adoption grant. Please join in this Monday Miracle Marcus blitz and share Marcus' picture, and his story, with everyone you can. Marcus' family is out there. They want him and they love him. They just haven't found him yet. But they will! And you can help make that happen. Please donate to Marcus' adoption grant. Every penny counts. Please share Marcus on your Facebook page, your blog, your Twitter account, and with all your friends and acquaintances. Please don't let this nine year old boy continue to "know" that he is unworthy because his legs don't work. Marcus deserves better than that!"

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