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/.
Portrait and Profile provided by Northwest Adoption Exchange.
With his wide, electric smile and expressive brown eyes, DeaQuan will win your heart in an instant. An easy-going child with a perpetually cheery disposition, he has a zest for life that is contagious. DeaQuan is bonded with his current foster family and loves to hold their hands and snuggle with them. While this warm and affectionate little boy loves to be around people, he has no anxiety with unfamiliar people or places. This is likely due, at least in part, to his global delays which impact his cognitive, social, and speech and language development; overall, DeaQuan presents much like a two or three year old who needs highly attentive supervision to keep him safe.
DeaQuan is an on-the-move little guy who hops from activity to activity all day and can always find something interesting to captivate his attention. He loves to be outside and is especially fond of kickball and anything that keeps him running, jumping, and climbing. Frequent long walks with his foster parents help him expend any extra energy and seem to be soothing for him.
After having lived in several different foster homes, DeaQuan was placed in his current foster home in December 2009, where he is flourishing under the care of a foster mom who is certified to care for children who have developmental delays.
The reason that DeaQuan has made tremendous progress in his new foster home is due in no small part to his foster mom's parenting style. Although he has lived with her just a short time, he has developed a genuinely trusting bond with his foster mom due to her patience, consistency, and warm demeanor. She is very physically affectionate with DeaQuan, which is hugely reassuring and grounding for him. She frames almost everything she says to him in a calm, positive, encouraging light, but the rules and expectations in her home are very clear and firmly upheld. The routine in her home is very predictable and rarely changes, and the rewards and consequences for behaviors are consistent every single day. She also strikes a perfect balance between challenging DeaQuan to learn and do more things for himself and accepting him exactly for who he is.
DeaQuan is the youngest child in the home. He has two adolescent foster sisters who dote on him and are just as patient and nurturing with him as his foster mom. Since being under his foster mom's care, DeaQuan's tantrums which had been of such concern in the past have completely disappeared at home and at school. His foster mom's parenting style seems a perfect fit for DeaQuan's emotional needs, and he has made tremendous progress in her home.
Various assessments have been consistent in recognizing that DeaQuan's global developmental delays are most likely due to prenatal exposure to alcohol and pervasive neglect during his early years. DeaQuan has abnormally formed feet as a result of much neglect in the long past when he did not receive prompt and adequate medical care. DeaQuan's delays impact his ability to learn and absorb information, his receptive and expressive communication, his gross and fine motor skills, and his social skills. He can get easily frustrated because of his difficulty in expressing his needs and getting his needs met. While DeaQuan loves to play with other children, he doesn't readily grasp social cues which make it difficult for him to be successful with peers. He does much better playing with younger children and, of course, caring adults.
His current treatment program includes weekly Physical/Occupational/Speech therapies. In the past he has benefited, too, from doing individual work with a counselor to help increase his emotional regulation and develop some ability in reading social cues. He has also attended a social-skills group. All of these interventions have proved to be quite effective for DeaQuan. His various therapists make his sessions fun for him, and he has shown marked improvement in the last several months. He also takes medication daily as part of his therapeutic intervention, and taking this medication at the same time every day for the last several months has added to DeaQuan's overall stabilization.
DeaQuan's school program is a self-contained, life-skills classroom at an elementary school. He attends full-time Monday through Friday, and he is one of about nine students in his class. His teachers report that he is calm and easily redirected nearly all the time and he seems to be genuinely excited about learning. He is learning at his pace according to his individual abilities and needs. School provides a normalizing environment for him because he rides the bus and attends class just like all of the other neighborhood kids but spends his time with children who function at a similar developmental level as himself.
DeaQuan's social worker wants to hear from adoptive folks who have a similar parenting style to his current foster parent. Being an only child would be ideal for DeaQuan, but having older siblings, such as the young teens in his current foster home, could also be a good fit. Very likely, DeaQuan will require on-going therapeutic and educational services throughout his childhood and adolescence and possibly into his adulthood as well. His adoptive family will need to work cooperatively with a team of varied professionals and be proactive, creative, and perhaps occasionally tenacious in advocating for his needs.
Like any other child, DeaQuan deserves to belong to a family. The folks chosen to adopt DeaQuan need to make a life-long commit to him. A disrupted adoption could be catastrophic with respect to DeaQuan's ability to trust adults and bond with them in the future.
While DeaQuan does not have a close relationship with any of his six siblings, DHS wants to provide these children with an opportunity to know each other and have an on-going relationship. His worker wants to hear from folks who understand the importance of maintaining some birth connections and are open to letters, phone calls, visits, etc. with his siblings, and perhaps with his birth parents as well.
DeaQuan may be eligible for an adoption subsidy.
Photo by Amy West
To find out more about DeaQuan, adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine or call 1-800-926-2588. In Idaho you can dial 2-1-1. DeaQuan is available for adoption through the state of Oregon.
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