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FICC: Collaboratively Serving Young Children and Their Families
     
 

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  •  Clifford
  •  Steven
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  •  Damion
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Todd's Story

Young Todd, his father and Todd's friend playing in the grass.

An Addition to Our Family?

Young Todd in his father's arms with his aunt and grandfather.A little over eleven years ago, my family and I were confronted with a difficult decision. We had been involved in foster care for several years and had taken care of a number of children; some lived with us for years. In some ways, this was a challenging experience but it had also been very rewarding. As a result of this, we had decided we wanted a larger family. My wife had two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage and our opportunities were limited as we explored adopting a child. Eventually the question came: were we interested in a child with special needs? After many discussions, a few prayers, and a lot of waiting, we decided as a family that the answer was yes. Within a month, we learned of a baby boy with Down Syndrome who needed a home. Two more months later, he was on an airplane to our home.

Prior Experience

Part of our decision to adopt Todd had been my own family's experience in raising my baby sister, who was born developmentally delayed. Also, my wife and I had originally met while we both worked for a local program supporting individuals with disabilities. While these experiences certainly helped with some aspects of raising our new son, some serious challenges awaited us.

Significant Health Problems in the Early Years

Todd was a beautiful and happy little boy. He, immediately, and continues to enrich our lives. In addition, we had nearly immediate support through our local school district's early intervention program. His teacher visited the day after he arrived! Within a few months of his arrival, however, Todd developed some health problems. Todd had contracted pneumonia and couldn't seem to shake it. The first episode took over a month to get through sleepless nights, trips to the ER, fighting to get food and fluids into our little boy - it was a very long month.

Over time and several subsequent bouts of pneumonia, we learned that he had asthma. We quickly became familiar with trips to the ENT, a myriad of medications, nebulizers, and so on. This continues to plague Todd to this day; he currently is getting over a case of bronchitis. At the same time, we were confronted with concerns about Todd's behavior. As he got older, his sleep patterns deteriorated. He rarely slept through the night for weeks at a time. As well, he was doing increasingly poorly in child care. Loud, crowded situations seemed to upset him. We eventually learned that Todd was hyperactive and had "autistic tendencies." These issues have also continued to be things we have to deal with every day.

Todd in his baseball uniform holding a bat. School Days Todd school picture from '98/'99.

The good news is Todd's health and behavior have gradually improved over the years. He has benefited from excellent teachers. He loves school and would rather be there than stay home! A psychologist from the local university program has helped us with his behavior. His service coordinator identified a child care provider trained in working with children with special needs, and he has done well there. So, there's progress.

Preadolescence

Todd is eleven now and is really growing. He likes race cars and adores his big sisters. He also has a niece who he can't stop bragging about. There's still plenty to do - lots of doctor appointments, school visits, planning meetings, etc. While his mother and I are no longer together, we co-parent effectively. We stay busy, but that should be no surprise. As I said earlier, there's plenty left to do. I'm looking forward to it.

All photos are the property of the families that donated them. The photos are used on the FICC website with the permission of the family who donated them, and may not be downloaded, reproduced or used in any manner without the prior written permission of the family. For more information, please review the copyright notice.

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This page last modified on 11-13-2002 (gkp)