Bree is a young lady in Ch!na who turned 13 this month. If she were in a family this might be an exciting time, in the US it would be. She’d have a group of friends from school over, talking and laughing, maybe they’d have a favorite game to share or something that had made them giggle about yesterday to retell and live over. That reality is far from what is soon to come to Bree, should no adoptive family come forward. In just one year Bree, “ages out” of orphan care. She will be turned lose from the controlled environment where she has been since age 1 when her family signed her care away legally and wrote in their free will that their daughter should be available for international adoption. On the day that Bree turns 14 she will, at best, go to live with an elderly person with the expectation that she will run errands and perform household chores. Displaced orphans sometimes are forced into a life of prostitution, and having always depended on adults for care they have no option but to follow what they’re told. If Bree is no adopted, she joins a terrifying cycle of helplessness. This is such a gorgeous picture of Bree. It’s fundraising season for orphans of special needs who are available for international adoption, and Bree’s running short in fund.
The mission was to raise upwards from $1,000. The amount raised is $141.46 I have not been in touch with what fundraising efforts have or have not happened for Bree aside from a matching grant that happened a couple weeks back that prompted me to donate $40 to her fund. My motivation for doing that was to boost the amount of money in the child’s fund that I was spending the last few weeks advocating for who has met and exceeded the expectation. So many children are not yet to the hoped for $1,000 increase personal funds. This is money that does not help them sleep warmer at night, or replenish the art center in their playroom. The money stays and grows with further donations waiting for that child’s future parents to use through the adoption journey. If the child ages out while their waiting for a family, the money goes to another available child either in full or divided between two children if it is a large sum of money. Bree has one year to be found by an adoptive family, and while we’re counting down, she has less than a week to gain the rest of that $1,000 for this year’s Angel Tree goal. The idea of meeting $1,000 seems teeny, and as unbelievable is the idea that she’s been waiting for a family so many years. At age 10 when an update was last written for Bree, she was not speaking very audibly. What does her future hold?
Bree has normal limb development. Upon admission, she was 1 year old. After growing accustomed to life in the social welfare center, she began to understand how things worked, She was polite and could get along well with people. At the age of 10 years, she could go up and down stairs, could put on clothes and shoes independently, and could help adults. Now she cannot speak, but she can make sounds of “yiyiyaya”. She can count 1-10, can recognize big and small, but cannot concentrate in the special education class. Bree is open, can get along well with others, likes playing with kids in the playground, and likes playing on the slide and swing. Everyone likes staying with her and sharing joy with her. Bree has been waiting for a long time for her family to find her.
Today’s the day that people traditionally have a tree in their home, hang beautiful memories on it and open gifts early in the morning around with their loved ones. This is the day that the Angel Tree ornaments are marketed for, but I keep mine around all year. It’s not too late to order one with Bree’s face on it, keep it around all year like I do. Remember, this is a big year for Bree. Not because she’s an eighth grader going to junior high and has a crush on one of the basketball players (that’s far from her reality) but because it’s her last year to be adopted. I’m going to keep her ornament on my kitchen window sill all year, perhaps beyond if she doesn’t find a family and then it will be to remind me to continue to advocate so that children do not slip away unseen.
I want to thank everyone who did donate. The money raised is money that was not there before. And for that, if not for Bree, it’s a chance for someone else to be closer to home. Bree has Down Syndrome, and is an orphan who can barely speak even her native language, that does not go in her favor living life outside of an orphanage without a family.
Requirements to adopt from Bree’s country:
(Typically one trip of 10-14 days, only one parent needs to travel)
- Married couples and single mothers may apply
- One parent must be US citizen
- Both parents must be between 30-54 years old (a waiver is possible for up to age 65)
- Married at least 2 years
- Previous experience with Down syndrome preferred, if adopting a child with DS
- Minimum of $10,000 of annual income per family member, including the new child you hope to adopt
- A minimum of $80,000 net worth (a waiver is possible)
- Health good, no history of cancer. No medication for depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) must be under 40 (a waiver is possible)
- No criminal record or alcohol within the past 10 years
- Total estimated costs approximately $25-30K depending on agency and location