Sunday, December 28, 2014

Aging out - Lera

The life of an orphan in Eastern Europe is harsh and damaging. I have friends who grew up in orphanages and eventually "aged out." This is a term used to describe an orphan who has lost their opportunity to be adopted. It's a tragic event, especially for the young adult who has seen many of their friends adopted. Selected. Chosen.

Aging out for a disabled orphan is tragic on a whole other level. While typically developing kids have opportunities to attend trade schools or university, a young adult orphan who has been labeled "invalid" will spend the rest of their lives behind walls. Imprisoned with no opportunites for self determination.

This includes individuals with physical disabilites who are cognitively normal. Take my girlfriend, Lera, for example. I've shared her photo before:

Isn't she adorable?

Here is a newer photo...look how she has grown!!

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this kid. After a few days, she took the opportunity to climb up into my lap. She desires physical closeness and tenderness. She simply cannot walk, but she has lived with other children with severe intellectual disabilites. She has had no educational opportunities, but she demonstrated to me that she can learn. I taught her several signs within just a few minutes time. She used those signs every time I visited her.

Lera is happy, but she doesn't know another life. Unfortunately, she will age out later this year and will be unavailable to adopt. Eventually she will be transferred to a "nursing home." It may be a facility for primarily men, or a women's facility...wherever space is available. She will be especially vulnerable since she cannot walk. These are not nice places to live. Do I need to be more specific?

Do you have room in your family for this girl? Can you give her the opportunity to learn and the chance to run her own life? Could you simply love her? Email for more information.

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