2011 ADOPTED FAMILIES – UPDATED FEBRUARY 2012
*Please note that ages are at time of adoption.
Alicia, a 25 year old single Mom, has twin children with special needs. Her son, Demondrae (age 2), has a tracheotomy, is on a ventilator, has a G-tube for feeding, and has some seizures. Her daughter, Cameron (age 2), is significantly developmentally delayed, has eczema and reflux. Both children were born at 24 weeks gestation and lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five months. At birth, Demondrae and Cameron each weighed less than a pound and a half. Both children have had eye and heart surgeries.
Alicia would like to work outside of the home, but because she is a single parent and her children require such substantial care, she cannot work at this time. After significant water damage to their belongings in a rented home, Alicia and the children moved with Alicia’s Mom, Kim (Grandma), to a new house. Grandma is emotionally supportive, but she is on a fixed income and can only help so much. They have no other family in the area.
This family was very thankful for our help! On their second birthday Demondrae ate table food and loved banana cream pie! He has been on a feeding tube since shortly after birth, but is eating more orally and may soon begin to be weaned from his vent. Dad has also begun to visit and has become more involved in interacting with and caring for his children.
Alketa and her husband, Ardian, have three daughters named Amber (age 10), Alsia (age 8) and Aly (age 1). Aly was very premature and was born at 4 months gestation. She also suffered a Brachial Plexus injury during birth which is the severing of some nerves in the underarm at birth. This has caused her to develop Erb’s Palsy which is a partial paralysis of the upper arm. She has about 50 percent use of her right upper extremity. She also suffered intraventricular hemorrhage at or around the time of her birth. According to Wikipedia, “This type of hemorrhage is particularly common in infants, especially premature infants or those of very low birth weight. The cause of IVH in premature infants, unlike that in older infants, children or adults, is rarely due to trauma. Instead it is thought to result from changes in perfusion of the delicate cellular structures that are present in the growing brain, augmented by the immaturity of the cerebral circulatory system, which is especially vulnerable to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The lack of blood flow results in cell death and subsequent breakdown of the blood vessel walls, leading to bleeding. While this bleeding can result in further injury, it is itself a marker for injury that has already occurred. Most intraventricular hemorrhages occur in the first 72 hours after birth….” Wikipedia goes on to say that IVH has a high mortality rate associated with it.
Aly is very small for her age and suffers from failure to thrive. Mom spends much of every day trying to get Aly to eat. Aly is developmentally delayed in her gross motor skills.
This family was originally from Albania and moved to the United States about five years ago. Dad works at McDonalds. He is a very hard worker and takes as many shifts as he is allowed. His hours vary weekly and on slow days he gets sent home. Dad attends night classes to improve his English and his prospects for better employment. Mom stays at home to take care of her three daughters and is studying to take her citizenship exam. The family lives in an apartment and lives very frugally, but works hard to keep their home neat and their finances in order. Dad has expressed sadness over not being able to better provide for his family, but everything goes to living expenses and they will not live beyond their means.
The family was very thankful for their gifts and gift cards. They have used the food cards to buy a specialized formula to help Aly gain weight. Aly was hospitalized over Christmas due to her failure to thrive and dehydration. Since that time, her appetite has improved and she has begun to gain some weight.
Sherri and her husband, Daniel Sr., have one son named Daniel, Jr. (age 18 months). Daniel, Jr.’s nickname is “Danno” and he was born as a breech birth after a very quick labor (45 minutes) with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. After birth he was hospitalized for three weeks with sever jaundice and asthma. Danno is developmentally delayed and continues to have feeding problems including difficulty swallowing and chocking on his food. He also has difficulty in controlling his arms and head or in holding himself steady. Mom cannot work until he can do more for himself and his asthma stabilizes.
This family is living in an apartment. Dad works in the building industry and at home repair services, but his hours are inconsistent which makes financial planning very difficult. The family lives very frugally and takes the bus since they do not own a car, but cannot make ends meet and have had difficulty in paying their heating bills. The family was very appreciative of the gifts and food cards. The family is still experiencing significant financial hardship. As a result, transportation and housing issues have prevented Danno from getting in to school, but the parents are keeping in touch with the Therapists and want to keep him enrolled in the Macomb Infant Preschool Program. They asked the Therapists to thank us for all of our help!
OTHERS WE HELPED
Elliana’s family received gift cards from Jamie’s Smiles’ 2011 Christmas adoption. Mom and Dad have two children Haven (age 3) and Elliana (6 months old). They sent us the following email excerpts: “Our family would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts!! This year has been a true test, mentally, physically, emotionally spiritually and financially for our family and your donation of gift cards to Kroger has truly helped!"
"….March 22, 2011 was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, unfortunately it took a turn for the worse when we went in for our usual ultrasound and found out our daughter Elliana had Spina Bifida (open neural tube defect) and categorized as Myelomeningocele, the worst case of Spina Bifida . As traumatic as this was we searched for other options other than abortion in which other parents normally turn to. We were told about an in utero surgery that is performed in only three hospitals worldwide, Philadelphia being the leading hospital for this research. We were told that the hospital would accept us under one condition, we have the surgery within two weeks. Being two young parents 23 and 26 from Michigan this was a very difficult decision but we knew we would stop at nothing to save our daughters life. We had to ask ourselves. What would we say when our daughter asks me ‘Daddy, why didn't I have this surgery?’ Instead we can proudly say ‘We did everything we could to save you!’ ….we headed to Philadelphia and within a week the surgery was performed and was said to be a success.”
Two weeks later they were told that the baby in the womb was missing her cerebellum and pons and she would have no quality of life, if she lived to term. They were told that there was nothing to be done for their daughter and that their concern had to shift to the health of the mother, Sara. Not wanting to give up on their baby, they got a second opinion. After a second MRI they were told that the baby had her cerebellum and her pons and was growing just as she should be. In July 2011, Elliana was born, only one month premature. Elliana did require shunts put in her brain to drain water that built up, and has required three brain surgeries, but she is now doing well. Elliana struggles with bowel issues, one of the possible side effects of Spina Bifida. The family went on to reiterate their thanks for our help and to state how pleased they were to have Elliana in their lives.
Thank you for helping these families! Every penny counts when life throws you tough times! We hope you will help us give others a hand up in the future! We adopt families every fall!
Jamie’s Smiles is a charitable fund held & administered by the Shelby Community Foundation PO Box 183181, Shelby Township, MI 48318 - 586/909-5305
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