Being relatively new to the PosAbility team, I am always keen to take on new and varied topics of discussion. For the forthcoming issue of the magazine I was charged with writing an article about adoption. Before writing the article I always try an do the utmost research I can. It was through this thorough process that I came across “Blessings of Verity“.
“Blessings of Verity” is a blog written by loving mother, Susanna, who gave birth to a beautiful little girl Verity. Verity has Down’s syndrome and the content of the blog is filled with insightful and inspirational stories from the lives of the family. However, the reason my search was directed to the blog was the story of Katie.
The family found a You Tube clip on an orphanage in Eastern Europe and how they treat children with disabilities. What they saw scarred them, seeing children with Down’s syndrome, just like Verity, being tied to their cribs and left, starving for sustenance and starving for love. All kept in a wing of the orphanage that was named “MALFORMATIONS”.
I needed to read more. The family made the decision to rescue a child from this hell and this child was Katie. When they met Katie she was severely malnourished and almost completely neglected with a host of health problems that could have avoided if she was properly looked after.
The family traveled to Bulgaria and that’s where they found Katie on a waiting list.
The blog reads: “Her file said that she was very small, still almost as small as a baby, and did not have any skills, although she was almost nine years old. We understood that this meant that she had been neglected and deprived of the opportunity to bond and interact with anyone, or to learn from them. We knew that she might have feeding issues, very common in children with Down syndrome, but without someone to work with her and teach her to eat properly, she might not be getting enough food. We saw that her hair was thin, another sign of malnutrition. We were told that her orphanage was in a poor area of Bulgaria. We were aware that she could possibly have a heart condition which was impacting her ability to grow. We knew it was possible her photos and the information in her file were outdated, and that she may have grown and progressed since then. We learned that internationally adopted children may have parasites which could cause a failure to thrive.
“When I held Katie in my arms for the first time, I knew the shock of holding a starving child. My baby was nine years old, but her body was tiny and frail, the size of a skeletal nine to twelve month old.
“The staff’s casual explanation was that they fed the children well, but that it was their disabilities that caused their condition. It was obvious to me that this was not true. I knew that Down syndrome and cerebral palsy do not cause ten and twelve year old children to be the size of babies and toddlers. I knew that what we were seeing was the result of criminal profound neglect and deliberate underfeeding.”
I was fortunate enough to speak to Susanna and she allowed me access to her photos. The photos are a tear-jerking story of a little girl’s unbelievable road to recovery with her “forever family”. I have never been so gripped when reading a blog in my life and the end of every paragraph left me hungry for more.
The photo that struck me more than anything was the photo of Verity and Katie together. In the picture Verity, who was 17 months old lay next to her new big sister Katie. The sweet moment was truly shocking, as Katie is eight years older than her baby sister and she was the same size and half her weight.
This photo is only emotionally matched with overwhelming happiness you feel when you see Katie today, at home with her family.
Please go and read all the posts and accounts that are featured on this truly beautiful blog at http://theblessingofverity.com/.
To find out more about Lisa, or the rest of the PosAbility team visit the Meet The Team section