Emelinda Eusebio glows with pride when she confirms that 2 ½-year-old Christian’s adoption was finalized last month and he is now an officially well-loved member of her family.
Christian came into her home when he was six months old through JCCA’s Specialized Family Foster Care: Medically Fragile program, which places children with serious medical conditions in the homes of specially trained foster parents. Ms. Eusebio, her husband Gabrielle and their three grown children adore the little boy. “God gave us a special gift when this child came into our home,” she says.
Christian’s biological mother was mentally unstable with substance abuse problems, and no longer able to care for him. When Christian came to the Eusebios, he had serious developmental delays and was extraordinarily weak. He suffered from febrile seizures, speech disturbances, hearing loss, developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder and gastrointestinal problems that required a feeding tube. “When Christian came to us, he couldn’t make eye contact or hold on to anything,”” explains Ms. Eusebio tearfully. Now, two years later, he is able to eat by mouth most of the time and walks around like a champ. He also understands many words in both English and Spanish, and is learning to speak little by little. Ms. Eusebio adds, “Now, Christian understands everything we say to him. He knows his colors and numbers, and lets us know in sign language or words when he needs something. He’s so energetic, and loves to play and run around the house.”
JCCA was instrumental in effecting this change. The agency’s highly qualified staff provided a wide range of support for Christian,, including visits from a registered nurse and social worker. Christian also received developmental services, such as occupational, physical, speech and language, and feeding therapies. Ms. Eusebio continues with warmth, “JCCA was wonderful. This was a new situation in my life and they explained everything to me like good teachers. They helped me every step of the way.”
While for some, taking care of a very ill child may be daunting, Ms. Eusebio modestly says, “I didn’t do anything special. It has been wonderful taking care of Christian, and my other children have helped me a lot. Christian has changed our life in every way and brought us all closer together—he’s magic.”
Their experience has been so meaningful that Ms. Eusebio and her husband want to adopt another medically fragile baby through JCCA. She says with conviction, “It’s not difficult at all and I want to help one more baby.”