Adopting a child with hemophilia

Let’s Bring Kyle Home!

There can be no image sadder to a mother perhaps than to think of a child left in an orphanage. When she tucks her own children into bed at night, giving them a kiss and turning out the lights, available all night long if her little one has a bad dream or is scared or lonely, she may think of another one like her son, alone, without a mother to call his own, to tend to his unique needs.

This is what haunted Danielle Stermer for months, especially wondering what living in an orphange must be like when a child has hemophilia. Her own son Max, only 18 months, who has hemophilia A, is doing well, but what about other boys in developing countries? Danielle lost her brother to hemophilia when he had a brain bleed 16 years ago, and thoughts of him and little boys overseas with hemophilia and no home or family truly haunted her. She knew she had to find a child and help him.

After a dedicated search she has found her little boy—Kyle, who has hemophilia A and lives in China. Danielle is desperate to bring him “home,” to America. She writes, “He was abandoned at 8 months old in a hospital in Shanghai, with a brain bleed due to a fall from a bed, and intramuscular bleed due to an injection, as well as respiratory infection and anemia. He has had many bleeds so far, including GI and shoulder bleeds. Every report I have read from the hospital shows him as malnourished and with respiratory infections.”

And perhaps most upsetting, “He is not allowed to go outside to play because of his hemophilia.”

For the past year, Danielle has filed paperwork, raised money, invested her life’s saving. She was recenty approved to adopt Kyle!

The only thing now preventing her from bringing him home is the cost. At a whopping $26,000, a foreign adoption is prohibitively expensive. Danielle expects to spend about $15,000 of her own money, and is seeking an additional $10,000 from the US hemophilia community.

Last fall we succeeded in raising $17,000 in only 48 hours when this community poured out its heart to bring “Luke”, also from China, home. He is now growing up in Michigan. In the past, we’ve helped bring a boy from Bulgaria and Vietnam to the US, all who have hemophilia.

Let’s do it again! Let’s bring Kyle home!

I will put in the first $250. Who will join us? How soon will we be able to bring this little guy to the land of milk and honey—and factor? We will be tracking the donations and seeing how quickly we can do this. If we all chip in, this shouldn’t take long at all. Think of what your contribution can do—completely change the life of a little one with hemophilia, in a land where factor is scarce to nonexistent, and where there are no parents to love him each day, or tuck him in each night. He is four years old—there is not a minute to lose!

To donate: Please mail a check directly to
Wasatch Adoptions
11430 36th street, #204
Ogden UT 84403

Put “Stermer/Kyle adoption” in the memo field. Wasatch Adoptions is a non-profit 501(c)3, and will immediately send you a receipt and letter for tax-deduction purposes, and will notify Danielle so she can thank you!

You can also go to
http://www.active.com/donate/kyleshope

Please visit Watsatch Agency at http://www.wiaa.org/ if you have any questions about the adoption. And visit Danielle’s blog at http://www.kyleshope.blogspot.com/

A “Luckey” Boy

Imagine your little boy with hemophilia abandoned, left in an orphanage, with no factor. It seems impossible, inhuman. You can only imagine the depths of despair or fear that cause parents to abandon their child.

Lu Feng, age 8, was abandoned when his parents learned he had hemophilia. In China, families are permitted only one child. This doesn’t stop parents from abandoning one if it is not desirable. Girls get abandoned, and so do physically defective children, especially when there is no treatment for him. Lu Feng has been in an orphanage most of his young life.

We were contacted by the adoption agency: would anyone in the hemophilia community be interested? We sent out an email in March, and within one week we had serious replies. Eventually, one family was selected … the Luckeys of Michigan. Their son Jay has hemophilia and an inhibitor. I met Dave and Shari a few years ago at a consumer meeting. Nice people: intelligent, warm, educated and informed.

I was thrilled to hear they had been selected! But big barriers remained. Step 1, we had to get factor to Lu Feng, to keep him healthy until he made it “home,” to America. That was easily done. We have excellent contacts in China from our humanitarian work there. Delin Kong, person with hemophilia and one of the founders of the Hemophilia Home of China, immediately got in touch with the orphanages and doctors, and we had the shipment approved.

Step 2: raise money. The Luckeys used every bit of their life savings, $13,000, to put towards the adoption. But the expenses required at least $10,000 more dollars, a fortune for them. The adoption agency created an Active.com page, and we offered to alert the entire community from our database, over 3,000 US families with hemophilia. Within five minutes we had money coming in. Within hours, thousands. Within 30 hours, we had raised over $15,000.

Clearly, there is something about saving the life of one child that is compelling. And the US hemophilia community cares deeply about children with hemophilia in developing countries.

Lu Feng has a family, at long last. His new brother and sisters are waiting to meet him in Michigan. The Luckeys were overwhelmed by the outpouring they experienced. Dave says, “I can truly say that I am humbled by the generosity. We had been worried about how we would finance the remainder and were going to have to use our home equity line of credit. Obviously that was making us fairly nervous. I wish I had words to express our gratitude but I can honestly say there are none that would justly convey the emotion.”

Thanks to everyone who donated! You have helped to completely change the life of one little boy, who, left parentless in China, faced certain early death. He now has a shot at life, and in America! But above all, thanks to Dave and Shari for opening their hearts and home and lives to welcome Lu Feng.

Maybe Madonna Had it Right

You all may have heard the hullaballoo when Madonna tried to adopt a second child from Malawai. Some of the news articles got nasty and personal about this. (Never heard a peep when Brangelina adopted again, and again, and again…)

Well, I’m happy to report that the little boy from China with hemophilia, living in an orphangae with no factor, has an adoption underway! We were able to find him a family in about a week, using our connections in the community. So, maybe we can do it again?

Here are two children looking for homes:

From Holt International:

“This sweet boy, born January 7, 2001, is described as playful, social, and always having a smile on his face. He has a wheat complexion with big, dark, expressive eyes. He attends an informal school and knows his body parts, numbers up to 20, days of the week and months of the year. He reportedly likes to color and put together puzzles. He understands simple instructions given in English. It’s noted that he can write his name and copy a few letters in both English and his native language, but doesn’t recognize it. He helps the staff and his peers whenever needed. This little guy has hemophilia, also known as factor VIII deficiency. He is very compliant with precautions needed to protect himself such as wearing knee and elbow pads and taking his medication. This charming boy needs a forever family who has parented past his age and has access to the resources he needs.

“To adopt this child, there must be no more than 45 years age difference between older parent and child, and there is a maximum of 85 years difference between combined age of parents and child. Single applicants are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Up to 4 children in the home* See country criteria for complete requirements.
http://www.holtintl.org/cgi/photolisting/3.cgi
ID: B08-50

And from Partners for Adoption:

“Alina” is a lovely 10 year old girl who is warm and friendly, and extremely outgoing. She also has hemophilia, and as such, requires parents who are able to help her manage this condition. She is in Eastern Europe and waits eagerly for her forever family. For more information about how to adopt her please contact Partners for Adoption, jen@partnersforadoption.org, 925-946-9658. http://www.partnersforadoption.org/waiting_children.shtml

If you know a family that is looking to adopt a child with hemophilia (and about 10 contacted us), please contact the adoption agencies above directly. Maybe you’ll have more success than Madonna did this week.

Weird Book I Just Read
The Politics of Stupid by Susan Powter
Susan Powter–you know, the shaved-head, frantic fitness lady who practically invented the infomercial in the 1980s. I happen to like her style, and so picked up her book on diet and health. Why am I not surprised. It’s actually not a bad message: she has excellent things to say about how we are mislead by the media about diet and exercise; about how we need to get moving and eat better food, but mostly get moving; and how being age 50 can actually be the best time of your life. Great message; entertaining messenger. The book is hardly a book; it truly reads like someone transcribed one of her one hour infomercials and made a book out of it. It’s okay if you want an entertaining and pretty raucaus pep talk and motivation. But don’t expect too much infomation. The facts are thin; the rhetoric laid on like slabs of butter. One star. You can have my copy.

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