Friday, January 22, 2010

Johnny Needs Us

I met with Social Services today about a young man I would like to have join our family. John (not his real name) is 15 years old, totally deaf and has spina bifida. He has a background that includes abuse and neglect, and he has not always had the sign language support that he needs.

Because we are a signing family, it seems to be a match made in heaven. Social Services believes our family would be a good placement. I believe it would be a good placement, and that we have a lot to offer John both now and for the future. But there are two large obstacles to making it a reality.

Obstacle one is that our bathroom is not set up to accommodate his wheelchair. Although we had a bathroom remodel done about a year and a half ago, and many accessibility features were put in place, those features were specifically designed to meet Ashley’s needs. Because the remodel was the result of a lawsuit against my state’s Medicaid office, we had to confine the changes to the specific features Ashley would need to practice and complete her ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Wide doorways were not a part of that remodel.

So, the bathroom needs further tweaking, and some of the tweaking is pretty major construction. Social Services has tentatively agreed to fund those changes which is a good thing. If that tentative agreement becomes concrete, obstacle one will be removed.

The second, and even bigger, obstacle is that I need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, but I have a four door family sedan. When my older van was gasping its last breaths last summer, I held off as long as I could, hoping to find a child and know specifically what kind of vehicle I would need. But, when no child was identified at that time, I chose a vehicle based on cost and suiting the needs of my family at that time. So changing vehicles at this point in time is not an option for me.

Social Services has said they absolutely cannot provide a wheelchair van, and I understand that. But it’s a real shame that John may miss out on finding the perfect (OK , that’s my opinion) family. Social Services is going to explore finding a charitable organization that might be willing to donate a van, but I feel like that is a long shot.

Please keep John and our family in your thoughts and prayers, and let’s all hope for a positive outcome to this situation. I have a bedroom all ready for him, and my children and I have our hearts and arms open just waiting to welcome him home.


Corrie Howe said...

I'm praying for you. It seems to me that some organization is willing and able to help you is just a matter of knowing where to find them.

Have you looked into government grants? I don't know much about them but hear there is unclaimed money available.

Deana said...

We just had to buy Max a van. We have yet to get it outfitted, with a lift and special seats for diapering.

We bought it with a loan, and will contact organizations to help with outfitting it.

It is just amazing to me that there aren't organizations that pay for these incredibly expensive vehicles!

Ashley's Mom said...

Deana, I am a single parent. I already have a car loan and just can't afford to take on another, or to trade my relatively inexpensive vehicle in for one that costs in the neighborhood of 50k.

I hate that this is what will keep this placement from happening, but that's the reality of the situation.

Deana said...

Totally understand, we had an amazing couple of friends who came together with the loan for us, and we're paying them back. Humbling to say the least.

If you just have to provide transportation, could you use some of the agencies that offer transportation for disabled residents of VA?

Also, check out, I've seen older minivans for very cheap before. And we got the suggestion to talk to the ALS foundation about van donations. Often those vans are paid for by the families or ALS Foundation. and are used for very short amounts of time, and they will sometimes get them back.

The Lions Clubs, and Rotary clubs might also help.
Here is a list of grants and funds in VA too:

I do hope it works out. It's heartbreaking to know that a child couldn't get into the right home because of such an incredible cost to the family. Best of luck.

Sue said...

You are amazing!

Queenbuv3 said...

Good luck! Please keep us posted on any progress : )

Azaera said...

My fingers are crossed, and I'm sending you positive energy. I hope something comes through so that you can welcome this young man into your home.

Marla said...

Wow. Those are two big obstacles indeed. I want Johnny to be with you as well! I will be sending prayers your way.

Janet said...

I put your situation (no names) on my church's prayer list.

Ashley's Mom said...

Thank you all!