Thursday, July 29, 2010

Foster care

When you imagine a child who is recovering from surgery, what do you see? For many people, we envision a child in a clean, safe environment, with one, or maybe two parents who stay no more than an arm’s length away, ready to spring into action at the first sign of discomfort or want. In my “day job” as mom to three young children, I’ve lovingly attended to my kids through a total of five surgeries, the most recent being my seven year-old’s tonsillectomy and ear tube placement two weeks ago. Each time, I’ve stocked our kitchen with tasty post-surgery foods and drinks, made plans for our other children to keep them happily busy at a friend or relative’s house, and had several consultations with the doctors regarding pre- and post-surgery care. I’ve made sure prescriptions are ready to go and follow-up appointments are scheduled. Most importantly, I’ve been here, ready to give one-on-one attention to my child for as long as he/she needs it. It is not always easy—spending these past two weeks of 95+ degree weather helping my son heal has not exactly lived up to our dreams for summer vacation around here. But, there is no way I wouldn’t do all of this, give all of this, for my kids.

In my “night job” as Orphanage Support Coordinator for Angel Covers, I know that the reality for most orphaned children recovering from surgeries is nothing like what my children and yours may have experienced. These sweet little boys and girls are often taken to a hospital for surgery, and then returned to their orphanages to recover. The caregivers are devoted and do their best to care for all of the children they work with, but there isn’t

enough time in a day to give each child the kind of undivided attention that we all wish they could receive. There aren't freezers full of every popsicle flavor invented, stacks of rented videos and doting moms at the ready. No one is counting ounces of fluids taken in, obsessively feeling foreheads for fevers, or spoon-feeding ice chips one at a time in the middle of the night. The recovery process can be much longer, riskier, and lonelier.

But now, for some kids, the vision and reality are coming much closer together thanks to some wonderful foster families. Through a partnership between Angel Covers and Love Without Boundaries, there are three very special and adorable little guys who are thriving and growing under the watchful eyes of their foster families in Huaibei, Anhui Province. All three of these boys received surgeries through Love Without Boundaries, and after a period of recovery, are now enjoying the attention of their foster parents. We introduced you to Anton and Harrison in a recent post and are happy to report that they are settled into their foster home where they are developing well, gaining weight, and showing their individual personalities. Our newest foster child, Emillio, joined his foster family last week and is making a smooth transition into their home.

We would love to see our program grow so that all children receiving surgery will be able to benefit from the care of foster families, but for now, our goal is more modest. We are in need of sponsors to help support Anton, Harrison, and Emillio so that they can continue to reap the benefits of living in a family setting. Sponsorship for each child costs $70/month, and sponsorships can be shared among family members, friends, church or civic groups—anyone willing to help these sweet boys. In return for your support, you’ll receive a monthly update, including pictures, on your child.

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