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/.
Profile provided by Boys and Girls Aid.
Leah is a delightful, busy girl who is a challenging toddler to parent. She wants to play and be showered with attention. Leah likes to help out and play outside (one of her favorite activities is sweeping the floor). She loves music and can use music to soothe; music also makes her environment feel safer to her. She is in need of a very special home, but her team is confident that Leah will make significant improvements once in the right home.
Legally free, Leah came into foster care in mid 2009. Considered failure to thrive when she entered care, Leah has made great physical developmental gains since then. In her first foster home she was with several other kids and her needs could not be met. She is now in a foster home with two other children. Because there continue to be some safety concerns for other kids when around Leah, her foster parent has to monitor Leah very closely.
Please note that Leah's worker is looking for prospective adoptive families who can demonstrate the means, ability and firm commitment to make trips to Idaho to maintain a connection with Leah's birth siblings who reside there. It was determined by professional staffing that Leah and her three siblings would function in healthier ways if raised in separate homes. Her baby brother has already been adopted by relatives, and her oldest siblings were adopted together by a recruited family.
While Leah is a child with significant attachment needs, as she develops socially, her needs are becoming more predictable. As she attends preschool and is able to experience more typical social settings, she will be able to communicate more clearly to caregivers and others about how she sees the world and what she needs. Leah is most successful in interactions where adults can maintain a calm tone and affect (including facial expression and body movements). Leah needs help finding the words to use to share her plans and feelings. For example, what may look like Leah being oppositional could be Leah having an idea and wanting to show her caregiver what she is thinking. Leah would benefit from parenting that facilitates her being able to increase her awareness of her environment in a developmentally appropriate, exploratory manner, while supporting her in increasing her vocabulary about the activities she engages in.
Leah does not easily accept adult-initiated physical contact, and at times presents as if she finds it threatening or triggering. A good parenting fit for Leah would be a family who can follow her lead with providing physical nurturance. Leah is often soothed by sensory experiences, like playing in water or with play dough. Leah develops relationships in a complicated manner, and ongoing family therapy is likely to be necessary as she integrates into and builds relationship with a new family.
Leah continues to work on impulse control and judgment, which leads her to use ways of getting her needs met that can cross boundaries or challenge others. Her family should have the ability to see moments of impulsivity as opportunities to teach Leah appropriate ways to explore. Leah is beginning to understand the ways in which her actions make others unhappy or uncomfortable, and it is important for her to receive unconditional acceptance from a caregiver so that she does not develop a sense of shame or insecurity even though she may make a lot of mistakes. Leah is very attentive to the emotional state of those around her, and even though she may not have the words to talk about it, her stress level and anxiety will match that of the household.
Leah presents with limited communication skills both for developmental and relational reasons. Leah is in a developmental period where she learns by observation how to meet expectations and uses imitation to practice new skills. She needs creative parenting that can model for her ways to solve problems that are within her capabilities (and may not be totally reliant on verbal communication) and that can teach her new skills (like appropriate language or nonverbal cues to get her needs met).Leah currently participates in Early Intervention pre-school services, individual in-home/community therapy, and mental health services.
Leah needs and deserves highly skilled parents who are comfortable with feeling confused sometimes. If her parents need to utilize daycare, the daycare provider should be specialized and open to consultation with Leah's treatment team. Leah needs adoptive parents who will ask for help and who already have a strong support network. Leah needs parents who are successful in managing their own emotions and stress alongside hers. For her own safety, and those of others, Leah really needs a home without other children. If there are other siblings in the home, they should be older adolescents or teenagers and not have any special needs.
Photos by Brenna Lonergan
To find out more about Leah, adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine (Please include your zip code and city.) or call 1-800-926-2588.
|Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544