Editor's Note: Window on the Clearwater has joined the Wednesday's Child network to help spread the word about children that are waiting for families to give them the loving care that they need. Each Wednesday we will profile a different child. For more information about Wednesday's Child and how you can be involved check the web site at: http://www.idahowednesdayschild.org/.
Meet Niko! This exuberant teen has a mile-wide grin and loves to talk, especially to any trusted adult who is willing to listen! He's also a jokester with a good sense of humor and an easy going charm that attracts all those he encounters.
"Hi, I'm Niko. I love to draw and listen to music on my MP3 player. I like animals, especially dogs. I'd like to train dogs when I get older. I've even thought about getting a dog one day--a dog from a shelter, not a pet store. I want a dog that was abandoned, so I can take care of it."
Niko is currently living on a ranch and has decided he likes the country. "I'm kind of country. I've been getting in the groove of that lately. I like the horses, and soon, they're going to be getting cows on the ranch. There's a river that's not too far; we go fishing, and there's a pond, too. I like all that stuff, it's pretty cool."
Niko recently earned a cowboy hat and he is very proud of his accomplishment. He earned his hat by obeying the house rules. Niko states, "I listened, did the right thing, didn't talk back, wasn't mean, and obeyed the rules. It felt really good." Niko is still facing challenges, but he responds well to short-term rewards. Give him a goal, and with some help and motivation, he will stay focused and complete the goal.
Niko needs a rich environment with boundaries and a family who is willing to show him how to behave. Niko needs parents who will give him lots of opportunities to practice his new skills and who will give respectful input. Built-in natural consequences, as well as rewards and praise for good choices, help him learn from experience. He needs parents who are patient enough to let him learn from mistakes, all the while confirming that they will love him no matter what.
Niko's insight into what makes him successful or what gets him off-course is impressive. For example, at a buffet restaurant filled with pizza and cinnamon twists, drizzled with frosting, he voluntarily limited his sugar intake. Niko told us, "sugar makes me hyper, and I need to watch how much I eat." Niko has learned that nutrition plays a big part in his behavior. When he eats good food, it helps him make good choices. He's also working on self-control and how to think things through before making choices. As you can see, he's making great progress.
Niko's adoption team is looking for a family that will access services within the community, such as counseling as needed, and any other supports that will help him be successful. Niko has had many disappointments. He needs a family who can show empathy and honor his love for his family. He still has a special blanket his mother gave to him. It's very special to him. Recognizing and honoring his love for his family is an important way of showing Niko that adoption does not mean forsaking his family or identity. He has siblings and a grandmother he would like to stay in touch with. Niko needs an adoptive family who can support his desire to stay in contact with family members via phone, letters, or other appropriate means.
Niko would do well as an only child or with older children. He expressed an interest in having both a mom and dad, preferably someone from the LDS religion or folks who would be okay with his involvement with the faith of his choice.
Niko longs to be a part of a family that will accept him. He responds well to adults who give him attention and encouragement. Could you be the stable couple this amazing young man has waited for?
Portrait by Matt Green Photography
To find out more about Niko, adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine (Please include your zip code and city.) or call 1-800-926-2588. You may be asked to provide this reference number: 30520.
|Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544