Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Chase (+ the brains of institutionalized children)

Welcome back to TWOB! Things are going to get kinda crazy around TWOB Central today; the weather forecast is calling for a derecho (land hurricane) with winds up to 80 miles an hour as well as a heat index over 100 degrees! Don't worry, though ... we'll weather the storm and continue advocating on behalf of the boys who need us the most!

Today I'd like to direct your attention to this article, recently published in the Chicago Tribune, about the effects of institutionalization on children's brains. As you'd expect, the news is not good. In brief, the brains of children raised in orphanages (and even in foster care) have significant structural differences from those of children raised in their families. Those differences are noticeable even if the children are removed from orphanages between the ages of 6 and 31 months. Although that news may be daunting, don't let it scare you; I have two children who are living proof that even when adopted at an older age, these kids are able to thrive, love, and accomplish great things!

And on the theme of accomplishing great things (and along the line of brain development), today, on this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful that my son was rescued from an orphanage and able to live a love-filled and rewarding life. Two examples will illustrate this.

This handsome young man, adopted from an orphanage at age 2, is, in this photo, holding his award for Most Valuable Player of his age group at the season-ending tournament for the youth hockey league he plays in. My son was chosen by vote of the coaches of all the teams (12) that participated. My son was a second-year player, and he is the team's goalie. As if that isn't enough accomplishment, my son was not even in the age group for this team. In hockey lingo, my son was Mite (8 and under) aged, but he was asked to play for the Squirt (10 and under) team because of his outstanding skill as a goalie. Congratulations, son!

Additionally, although my son still struggles with some cognitive, learning, and behavioral challenges related to institutionalization/neglect and malnourishment, he has worked extremely hard in the academic realm (we homeschool) and has made amazing progress in many areas. I just got his standardized test scores back for this past academic year and he made gains in all areas. He is aware that he struggles more in school than his sister (who is his virtual twin, age-wise) and it frustrates him, but he continues to plow ahead, undaunted, eager to learn all he can and pursue his goal of becoming a firefighter. Or a pirate. And I must say that although his sister is quicker to memorize poems in our daily memory work sessions, my son is better at retaining them once he has committed them to memory. And he is the sweetest, most smiley, most accepting kid you will ever meet. Everyone is his friend, and he is quick to defend the underdog.

It chills me to consider the life he would have faced had he been left to languish in an orphanage. (My son just skipped by chanting "Say yes to chess!" as he went to sit on the couch and play chess on my Nook.)

This little guy is Chase. Chase turns 8 in August. I believe he has Treacher-Collins Syndrome. Children with Treacher-Collins often have hearing loss but are usually of normal intelligence. There is little information available about Chase, but you can tell by his smile that he's a happy little guy who's just waiting for a family to spring him from the institution and allow him to do all the things that 8 year old boys love to do!

Chase lives in a region that requires 3 trips and has total program fees of approximately $35,000. Unrelated children can be adopted together. Married couples and single mothers may apply to adopt Chase.

Chase currently has $148.80 in his adoption grant fund. You can help Chase by sharing his information, donating to increase his grant fund, and considering whether he has a place in your family. This little boy deserves to find his own areas of excellence, surrounded by the love, support, and encouragement of a family. (My son just walked by and said, "That's a cute little boy!")

Please also visit my post about Daniel and Colin, two sweet little boys who still wait for their shot at a family! 


  1. I'm so glad you posted about Chase! His grin just shines out of the picture.


    An article about a physician who has Treacher-Collins. She leads an amazing life, Chase deserves that too.