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!

Friday, April 26, 2013

But He's Got A Trampoline

I've had some people make some comments about Frank's need for a family. And I think those common misconceptions are why he so overlooked. But he is just as deserving of a family. He needs a family too!
He's 12, so he isn't super close to aging out. He's got a little over three years still. But let me point something out to you. He's almost 13. I'm not sure how long he has been in an orphanage, but he's probably spent almost his entire life in orphanages. He's waited 13 YEARS for a family. No, he's not "aging out" yet, but why wait until the last minute! He needed someone to come get him, like yesterday. Just because he isn't "aging out" doesn't mean he doesn't need out. He needs out of that mental institution.
I have shared the picture of Frank on the trampoline before. The reaction is usually, "Hey, he has fun there!" He's having fun at the mental institution, so he doesn't need a family, right? I mean, he's got a trampoline, that's all a kid ever needs, right? Right? Look a little closer at that picture. Do you see the ripped, high water jeans? Do you see how skinny he is? But of course, he has a trampoline, so he's fine! Right? My heart hurts when people just see that and think he's fine, because they have a trampoline. What about those jeans? They're ripped and way too short on him, yet they are falling off because he is so skinny. Sure, he gets fed at the institution, but with 70 residents, there's probably not "seconds". There's no choice of what you're going to eat. You sit down and eat what is given to you, or you don't eat.
Frank doesn't have a life- threatening illness. He just has a mental delay, and possibly FAS. So there isn't that "urgency" to save him. But there needs to be an urgency! Everyday he's there, he's getting older, and he's becoming more delayed. He doesn't have anyone to teach him, to help him grow. With no stimulation, his delay will only increase. He does nothing all day. He just walks around. He needs a family who will be able to teach him, to help him experience the world.
He's got food, clothes, and a place to sleep. So he's well off right? I've already talked about the food issue. Yes, he has food, but they never get enough. No one has time to make sure all the residents are "full". He has clothes, but they aren't his own. They come from a community closet, and they wear whatever they can find. Most often, the clothes are too big or too small, and never new. And his "place to sleep"? It's a cruddy old mattress, in a room full of other residents. The mattresses are all falling apart, with patches and holes. The residents do the best they can to fix them and clean them. They really do need new ones, but it is very expensive and they cannot afford it. Whenever his mattress gets dirty, he'll drag it outside and try to wash it, then lean it against the fence, and hope it dries before he goes to bed. When I say 'mattress', I'm not talking about your super comfy, Sleep Country USA, heated, TEMPUR- Pedic. I'm not even talking your average, bunk bed twin mattress. No, I'm talking about a few large pieces of cloth, sewn together, and stuffed with anything soft. Not the best thing in the world to sleep on. He needs someone who can answer all his questions. Little kids always have lots of questions. "Why is the sky blue? Why is grass green? Why do I have brown eyes?" And while caretakers can answer some of those, he will always have more questions. Let me tell you a little story that happened a few weeks ago.
The institution had just put a new decoration on the wall in the dining room- a figurine of Jesus on the cross. During the next meal, Frank noticed it on the wall. He went over and observed it, then began asking the caretakers who that was, and why he was crucified. The caretakers told him it was Jesus, and he was crucified because people sinned. He kept calling people over and telling them, "That's Jesus! That's Jesus!" He needs a family who can help him learn more about Jesus, and his love for us, so he can tell the world, "That's Jesus!"
He's a smart, kind, bright little boy. His story may not stand out as much, but he has just as urgent a need to adopted! Please share about him!

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