Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Sweet Josiah

Update:  DONE!!!!  The Jobes family is now FULLY FUNDED, and Josiah will be coming home, SOON!!!!  I can't personaly thank all of you enough for helping to make this happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only $720 $713 $613 $555 left to raise, and then the matching grant will make this family fully funded!!!!  Please help however you can!

Do you see this boy?  His name is Josiah, well not really but for Internet purposes it is.  Josiah & Krystina go way back. They were together at their baby house for YEARS, and then transferred together last October to the children's house where they were placed in the same groupa.   Well, I'd like to tell you a little about his story.  This post is long, but please bear with me, read all the way to the bottom.  He deserves a little bit of your time, I promise.

I do not know when, why or how he came to live at the baby house where he once lived.  The best, and most accurate guess would be the same reason that most children in his country who are born with the same diagnosis end up in orphanages or other state run facilities.  The parent often give up their parental rights as soon as they hear that their child has been born with a disability.  Please don't judge them too harshly.  In this country, at that time, there was NO support for families who choose to keep their disabled children.  Their was no accurate information about their child's future, their child's potential at a happy and fulfilling life.  Luckily though, he was born in a city with an wonderful baby house, and an excellent director who really does care about all of the children in her care.  A baby house where he was well cared for, well feed, and had many different therapies available to him.  No, not North American standards, but still good, and EXCELLENT compared to many facilities in this country.

In the special needs groupa where he lived, and where my K lived as well, most of the children were not mobile.  Considering that the groupa room was on the upper floor of the facility, accessed by a killer and insanely narrow spiral staircase, and that most of the children spend much of their day receiving various therapies, they did NOT have scheduled outside time.  There was one woman though.  One wonderful woman who I sadly never did get to meet, who loved my K very much.  She made sure that if she had time, that K would get to go outside.  I have no idea how she felt about Josiah, but I do know that when she took K out, she'd take J out too.  Oh, the HUGE difference that one single person can make in a persons life......  There was a nice play area at the baby house.  Clean, newer, working toys.  K and J would run and play together.  Go on the swings and the slide.....

Then in October of 2010 Josiah and Krystina were transferred from their baby house.  From everything and everyone that they knew and sent to a children's facility in a small village about 45 mins outside of the city where they were born.  This is where we meet them.  For the first few days we would catch little peaks of him.  I kept telling Mike that I was sure that it was J, but he looked SO different!  He had lost SO much weight, and he was always just sitting there.  I thought that J was active and happy and a little....robust.  Our facilitator finally confirmed for us, that is was in fact him, and I went back to our little house on the hill and cried.  Seeing the difference in Krystina from the photos that I had of her, and all of the accounts of her personality and her abilities, she had lost so much in those 6 months of being there.  And then seeing the J had lost so much too, which means that K wasn't sick or just not adapting.  What it meant was that the children's facility was NOT a good place for them to be!  Yes, the kids got feed.  I wouldn't think that they were ever starving.  That said, I wouldn't go so far as to say that they weren't hungry though.

As we visited more and more, I became braver and braver.  I would walk up to the groupa to get K instead of waiting for someone to bring her.  After our visits had started and the girls were eating their snack, I would go back to the groupa to take the snack that we had brought for the other children, we would all take her back to her groupa at the end of our visits.  This allowed us to see the room and the way it was run when we weren't really expected, it allowed us to get to see and interact with the other children daily, and it allowed us to spend some time seeing all of the kids interact with each other.  On our third visit, before I was sure who J was, I had been able to make eye contact with him.  He was sitting in the middle of the room, alone, with no toys, picking at his fingers and rocking.  He just happened to look up and see me, and then he saw that I SAW him.  I smiled and winked at him, and in return I got the biggest smile.  It lit up his whole face, it made him look like a completely different child.  After that, it didn't matter what was happening in the room, if he saw or heard me come in he at the very least made eye contact with me.  If he was up and wandering around when I came in he would BEE LINE for me.  Latching on to any part of me he could grab.  Once he knew that I could/would pick him up, the latching became climbing.  I would hold him, hug him tight, kiss his little cheeks, lug him around on my hip as I made sure that K's outside clothes were put away properly.  He loved it!  If he wasn't allowed to get up, then he would smile and peek at me from between his fingers in his own little version of a peek a boo, which often resulted at some point with him sticking his tongue out at me and giggling.  All this changed if Mike was with me though.  Well then I was as good as not even there.  If he could get up into Mike's arms there was a death grip that would take 3 or 4 of us to break and a smile so big the rest of his face would disappear......  So badly just wanting a Daddy of his own.  The caregivers would always apologize, and we would try SO hard to let them know that we didn't mind at all.  I didn't want to give this poor child false hope that he would be able to come home with us, but we were not about to deny his love, affection, and kind human touch when he so desperately craved it and obviously needed it.  He LOVED it, and would soak up each and every last drop of attention and love that we could give him, no matter how small.  A few times one of the caregivers hinted to me that we should adopt him as well, which was never an option for us to even consider, so I would always put on my sad face, shrug my shoulder, and shake my head, hoping to convey the many feelings of not being able to do just that.

When the children went outside at the play, J was usually with them.  BUT, he wasn't allowed to play.  He had to stand or sit quietly and still beside a caregiver, who would always have a death grip on his arm to keep him from getting any ideas about running anywhere.  Most of the time he would stand or sit there very still, starring up into the sky, blank look on his face, doing NOTHING.  Just starring.  Once the children were all running around doing something together, and it caught his attention.  He shifted just the slightest with his legs, and brought his head down to look at them.  For a second there was a glint of interest in his eyes.  But, when his caregiver felt him move, she stopped her conversation, firmly pulled back on his arm to let him know that he wasn't to go anywhere and told him simply "NO".  His face fell, the glint left his eyes, and he stood there, now starring at the ground crying silently.  At that moment, a piece of my heart permanently broke for him.

All of that said, and ignoring that fact that it is fun to just run and be silly, the grounds at the children's house couldn't have been more different then the baby house.  Having seen and walked through both personally I feel that I am equipped to comment on this.  MY daughter went from the one place to the other in the horrid rite of passage called TRANSFER.  What must a child think and feel when this happens.  Well, leaving THAT baby house, to pull up to this new facility, they would think that they had just landed in Hell.  That is in NO way exaggeration as to how a small child would see this shift in their world.  Sure there is SO much land to run in, and tons of beautiful trees.  But that bright full fun play yard to this.

Play equipment that looks like this

Now, to be fair 2 days after I took these that broken bench did get nailed back together, but it's so rotten, the fix isn't going to last very long.  That swing seat is NOT attached and both girls feel off it more then once.  The rust spots at the bottom of the slide have actually eaten through and there are holes there.  Holes that interestingly enough open up, so that they are sharp and can cut clothes and skin.  We would NOT let Emily go on the slides at all while we were there, and tried our hardest to stop K from using them for fear of getting hurt and then sick.  K did get a sliver from one of the play houses that are completely falling apart as well.  But this is it.  This is what the children's facility had to offer, not much in comparison.  And then considering that J wasn't even allowed to use these broken down rusted out items, you can see that he wasn't offered anything.

Walking away and leaving him behind was literally one of the hardest things I ever had to do.  We left knowing that he was NOT our son, and that we would NOT be the best place for him, but wondering how long we would be able to wait for a family to step forward before we would go back for him, because we couldn't just leave him there forever........  I cried for him many nights after we left, and we talked about him often.

Then in October of 2011 news spread across facebook like wildfire.  He had been transferred.  Josiah.  My sweet, sweet little boy.  He had been transferred.  My heart stopped.  I started pacing the house, silent tears streaming down my face.  Waiting, trying to get in contact with the only person who I could think of who would actually be able to know this information for sure.  Then, she confirmed it.  He had arrived at the institution that morning.  He had cried and tried to get back into the car as the director of the children's facility drove away from him.  I couldn't even finish reading the note, I was absolutely hysterical.  Why, how....  He had just been transferred, not even a full year before that.  Seriously.  Transferred.  WHY????  It still makes me shutter and cry to think of that day, and what he must have been feeling and going through.  What little hearts and minds can go through and still live, and still smile some days......  I didn't know what to do.  I felt SO helpless.  There was NO way that we could even start the process to being him home yet.  I was trying to figure out if I could go to his country and do something, which of course there is nothing that I could do, but I felt so helpless.  My only saving grace was that I knew the woman who had witnessed this.  She was at the facility adopting her son at the time.  She was able to keep an eye on him, spend some time with him, let me know that he was adjusting to some degree....  And then, a family committed to him.  They had long loved him and had been considering if he would be a good fit in their family, and it they would be a good fit for him.  A family who I had started to get to know while we were going through our process.  A family who I could totally see him being a part of.  And my heart soared.

Evan and  Faith Jobes, are ready and eager to make this little guy a part of their family.  Yes, you read that right.  He will get a chance to be home.  To be a son and a brother....just like K is now loving being a sister.  The Jobes have been working VERY hard these past many months to make this adoption happen.  All of their paperwork is now complete and ready to be sent off to J's country.  They are still a little short on the funds that they need to complete this adoption though.  They have just received the most wonderful gift to help them out though.  An anonymous donor has offered to grant match any and all donations received until Sunday, May  6, 2012 up to $2500.  Well, when that started they were just $5000 short of what they needed, and now they are about $3700 short.  With the grant that means that all they need to collect still is $1850.  That's it, not even a full $2000!!!  Come on everyone, we can defiantly help to make that happen!!!  This little boy is 7 yrs old.  7!  And he will be 8 next month.  Don't make him wait for a family any longer.  He so badly wants a family of his own.  He so very much deserves to have a family of his own.  YOU can be a part of that for him.  YOU can help make that happen.

This link, right here....  CLICK it and make your contribution now.
(this link is now closed - thank you to all who donated)

Thank you!!!!!!!