Our Hope for Yong
Let me tell you the story of a little boy who is dear to my heart, two-year old Yong.
In March of 2008, he was in foster care in Hunan and had been seen by LWB’s Melissa Widenhofer, who was then our Loudi Physical Therapy coordinator. She had instructed Yong’s foster mom in exercises to help his low muscle tone. As the summer of 2008 went on, we were alerted to his weight loss and checked on his diet. The SWI physical therapists (who trained in Anhui Children’s Hospital, aided by LWB) were doing a weekly visit, but he needed more.
We suspected that Yong had a special need more complicated than “rapid eye movement,” and a friend helped to arrange his move to Blue Sky healing home in Beijing for better evaluation and diagnosis. Arranging this move did not come lightly. We knew that once evaluated, his medical needs may be found to be more serious. However, this was his chance at evaluation in a top hospital and possible treatment at a new home with an in-house physical therapy program. We felt this was his chance for HOPE.
In March, our colleague Arlene visited Yong and videotaped him, and our joy at seeing him was palpable. He was improving by leaps and bounds! However, Yong was diagnosed with Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease (PMD), a central nervous system disorder. Blue Sky’s Healing home placed him on a special high nutritive diet and a physical therapy regime tailored to his needs. In just four months, he has made more motor, cognitive and verbal progress than we had witnessed in the previous year, all due to this attentive care and love. He has just blossomed! His smile is pure magic and food for our soul!
The incredible news now is that Yong’s file is with Families Through International Adoption (FTIA) and they have made him their “Featured Child”! To see him on their site, go to: http://www.ftia.org/waitingchildren/featuredchild.asp.
FTIA has waived their fees and asked for our help in facilitating Yong’s adoption by providing him with a LWB Tuan Yuan Adoption Assistance Grant. Just before this happened last week, LWB awarded the grant to another deserving child and sadly there are no more funds available …. unless …. unless we can come together to find those funds.
I have done a little backstage work to see where we could find enough money for a grant and can tell you that one fantastic anonymous supporter of Yong has agreed to MATCH every dollar that comes in, which means double the funds!
I put together a little photoshow of Yong in Blue Sky at http://www.photoshow.com/watch/bZ4fC5ZS. Watch his bright smile and his interaction with my friend. Look at his birthday party celebrations just months later, and tell me how we could not jump to do what we can to assist him in finding a forever family?
Now I ask you all to please help by advocating for his adoption on any lists you are on and keep him in your thoughts and prayers. This will not be an easy decision for that family to make as his special need is something that will take a great and special dedication and love. However, I have been privileged to see many parents adopt special children, and I believe Yong’s parents are out there and are living to be his parents and cherish his love. Let us all join together to weave his red-thread blanket of destiny.
Julie Flynn Coleman is the Henan Cleft Healing Home Coordinator. She has been with LWB since 2004 in a variety of positions, the latest of which was coordinating Loudi Foster Care.