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 provided by Oregon Heart Gallery. Profile provided by NWAE.
Asher is a delightful young boy with a zest for life and an infectious smile. His twin, Cole, and older sister, Nevaeh, are also needing adoptive homes (please see NWAE). The siblings have strong bonds. Due to Asher's special needs, the plan is to look for an adoptive home for him separately. However, it would be wonderful if there were a family capable of adopting all three children. His social worker wants to hear from adoptive folks who are experienced in working successfully with children who have had significant medical special needs and are in recovery, and who have attention difficulties and high energy, and significant speech difficulties, especially in expressive language. The most successful parents for Asher will be those who also thrive on a quiet routine and lots of structure in life.
After developing symptoms of aplastic anemia in 2008, Asher required medical foster care to help him through many medical procedures including a bone marrow transplant in early 2009. His twin brother was his donor. Asher spent a good deal of time in the hospital, missing many of the typical educational and social experiences of kids his age. Today, he no longer takes the anti-rejection drugs he needed after the procedure and his body is free of the condition. He does continue to see an oncologist every six months to ensure he is in good health.
Asher, who needs to wear corrective lenses, loves to learn new things and have fun. He is especially proud this day for learning to play chess! Music is very special to Asher; he loves to sing and dance and takes in every sweet sound as if it were a part of him. He is currently learning how to play the autoharp. Asher likes the arts as a whole and has talent for drawing. Like most boys his age, he needs ample opportunities for physical activities inside and outside. He enjoys playing soccer and basketball but also loves to just run in the park or go to activity centers where they have active things like a 'bouncy castle.'
Asher has a great sense of humor and knows he is pretty funny. He is always ready to tell the latest joke and play center stage as long as he has an audience. Among his most favorite activities are creating with Legos and putting puzzles together. When involved in such pastimes, he gets so engrossed that his attention span is very long. (This is a boy, by the way, who has medication therapy to help him manage symptoms of attention difficulties and high energy. Go figure.)
Asher entered care in late 2006 with Cole and Nevaeh. Because he's not yet free, interested parents need to be licensed for foster care and have a current, approved adoption homestudy. Since October 2008 when his medical intervention began, Asher has lived in three medical care homes geared to meet his special needs at different times. He has been living with his third medical foster family since September 2010.
In the fall of 2011, Asher will be in third grade. He is expected to graduate from his therapeutic day treatment program this summer. While he will continue to need special education services, a plan is being developed for him to attend a less restrictive setting. Presently, his educational program provides Asher with a structured learning environment with therapy and academics. He is behind in most subjects due to having missed kindergarten and part of first grade due to his medical interventions. He also has significant expressive language difficulties and some receptive language issues, which further complicate his efforts to catch up to peers. While he has made progress in his speech, his words slur together and it is very difficult for new people to understand. Asher also takes medication to help manage his symptoms of attention difficulties and high energy.
Not surprisingly, Asher thrives on routine and consistency. The smallest change in his day can cause an emotional response. He depends on those parenting and teaching him to provide him with comforting boundaries and a high level of predictability so that he knows he is safe.
While Asher seems to connect easiest with men, he has established a very positive, supportive relationship with his current foster mom. One-on-one time is very important for maintaining his self confidence, positive attitude and feelings of security. For children who have experienced medical trauma, social immaturity is common, and Asher needs supports at home and school to increase his social skills and problem-solving abilities. He puts in an amazing effort into making friends, playing nicely and being empathetic. Sometimes, though, he misinterprets the behavior of others, wrongly thinking they are picking on him or do not like him.
While his speech therapy continues, the good news is that Asher does listen attentively and intently, and as a result he understands much more than expected. As he can get frustrated when he can't make himself readily understood, Asher needs adoptive parent(s) and teachers who will take the time to learn the nuances of his language, while at the same time are helping him find and implement creative alternative communication methods. Asher's special education program is truly wonderful for him; there is low teacher-student ratio, accommodation for his special needs, and ready acceptance of the wonderfully unique child that he is.
Asher needs daily reminders that he is loved, accepted and that he has a solidly committed adoptive family behind him. He will need extra support around the loss of his biological relatives. A family with a commitment to maintaining connections between Asher and his siblings, Cole and Nevaeh, is very important to Asher's sense of identity and psychological well being. He also needs adoptive parents who are dedicated and proactive in accessing professional and medical services to meet present and future needs. For just the right adoptive family, Asher will prove to be a sweet son who loves his new folks unconditionally and with abandon.
To find out more about adoption or becoming a foster parent, email the Idaho CareLine or call 1-800-926-2588. Asher is available for adoption through the State of Oregon.
|Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544