Meet The Children….

I would like to introduce you to Leo.

Leo’s Story Leo was born a normal, healthy child on December 31st 2013. Unfortunately, we don’t know what took place exactly but according to police reports, at 3 months old , Leo was taken to the ER. He presented with bruising to his face and scalp, along with a large scratch to the scalp. He had a full stroke, and was actively seizing while being assessed. After given medication to sedate him, he was taken to have a CT scan and X-rays. There they found one old Subdural Hematoma and 2 new Subdural Hematomas along with pooling blood behind his eyes (Retinal Hemorrhaging) He was then taken to PICU where they placed him on a ventilator, pulled blood and fluid from his brain through his fontanel which was swollen and protruding. His forehead swelled out as well due to blood and fluid buildup behind his skull. He remained in PICU until he eventually came off the ventilator. Upon discharge he was placed with family to whom we still have relationship with 💜. Unfortunately his injuries were too great and his care was too overwhelming for family due to his sibling who also needed special care and support during that time. We were called with a placement in mid May 2013 for our sweet Leo, I said yes immediately and the caseworker brought him that evening. His worker advised us that he had cried for almost 2 weeks and nothing consoles him for long. She placed him in my arms , I immediately felt a bond and I knew I’d fight for him for the rest of my life. He snuggled into my arms and fell asleep. Idk how long I sat and softly traced his face with my finger, wondering what he had been through and what the outcome would be. His first neurologist appointment was the following week and there we got to meet his family and established a relationship. They are amazing people, they made the hardest decision of their life placing him in God’s hands and trusting he would be placed with a Family that would continue to allow them in his life. He even got to stay with them for a little bit while we got some things together for our daughter. His appointment went as bad as I expected. The neurosurgeon looked at us and said, “ he has no prognosis, he was shaken violently, what do you expect from him?” Obviously that was NOT an appropriate answer and we asked to change Drs.During the next few months we scheduled eye surgery to remove the blood behind his eyes. At his pre-op appointment he began having small jerking motions and the Dr noticed immediately and referred us back to neurology to be cleared for surgery. It was then that Leo was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, a form of epilepsy that causes regression and damages the brain further. We were devastated, they would not move forward with eye surgery it was too dangerous with his new diagnosis. We assumed he would be blind for the rest of his life and accepted it. Little did we know, we had a warrior on our hands! Throughout the next months Leo was wracked with seizures, his little body gave out twice and he had to be taken by ambulance and put on more and more medicine. We began noticing that he was in fact NOT blind, he was tracking, laughing, talking, and then his personality came out and we were floored! This boy….. let me just say Miracle is an understatement! He began to learn to sign, he rolled all over the house and although he was still being hit with multiple seizures a day he didn’t let anything stop him! He knew his Mama and every time she would come to see him , he would show her everything he’d learned. As he got older we hit tons of hard times, times we didn’t think he would pull through. Nights I spent on my knees by his hospital bed begging God to let him stay. His story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but fast forward 7 yrs….. he is thriving! He hits points of regression, he has intractable epilepsy but he’s a fighter! He has a warrior spirit and he never gives up! He has so far surpassed that first drs expectations and continues to ! At 7 yrs old now, Leo sits independently, feeds himself by hand, has amazing upper body strength & gives really great hugs! He goes to school, loves his friends, teacher and therapists (especially if they are blonde 🤣) he is a bit of a flirt 😳lol. He is our hero! He still gets to see his family, we keep his culture and traditions strong through his family. He is 100% Native and proud! There are always the negatives that we don’t like to talk about but they do affect us daily. Leo is not able to walk or use his legs. He doesn’t have full use of his right side due to the stroke. He is 100% full care, non verbal, blind in his right eye, God saved his left eye 🙌🏻 and he CAN see!!! He is on 6 anti seizure meds with awful side effects. He still has seizures just not as frequent and he’s outgrown the infantile spams thank God. His seizure do regress him, he no longer holds a cup or bottle and drinks. We give him fluids through medicine syringes. We have our days, we have scares. There are nights that I wake up and run to his bed praying he didn’t pass from SUDEP . Nights spent in the ER, Covid, Medivacs, Ambulance trips, blood tests, sleepless nights, behavioral issues, separation anxiety, speech apraxia, meltdowns, pain, but we have God ! He has brought Leo this far and he will see him through. Every night I pray for a long, happy, healthy life for each of my babies. God knew exactly what he was doing when he combined two families out of tragedy. He formed a bond that can’t be broken. Leo has an army behind him and he’s leading the pack because he is a Warrior! #Leostrong

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Shaken at 4 months old, Leo now lives with Cerebral Palsy, Intractable Epilepsy, Cortical Vision Impairment, Global Delays, Non Verbal, Non Ambula

♬ a thousand years (lullaby) – Christina Perri

I would like to introduce you to Bryan.

At 23 years old I was a wife and a new mom. Things were going good in my life at the time I was enjoying my daily life and being a new mom to a handsome little boy who was growing like a weed. The time came when my son was 4 months old and I had to return to work, while I was working he was left in the hands of a babysitter, someone I thought I could trust to keep him safe and watch over him while I was working. Boy was I wrong about that. I’ll never forget the day and although it’s been a very long time now it is as fresh as ever in my mind the events of the day. One day I thought it was going to be my normal routine, take the baby to the babysitter, go to work, do my job, and go back to pick up by pride and joy from the babysitter. That isn’t what happened at all. While I was at work the babysitter called 9-1-1 and told them my son was purple and crying a lot. The paramedics came to find him unresponsive and needed to resuscitate him in order to transport him to the hospital. Once he was at the hospital the police were informed of his conditions and called me. I was frantic and rushed to the hospital to be by my baby’s side but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. My precious handsome little boy was crying blood and his little body was purple. The doctors said he had 4 hematomas and was a victim of shaken baby syndrome. I was only 23 year I didn’t know what these words meant or what was going on. It was all so much to take in and process. As if this wasn’t bad enough my husband and I were being accused of causing the injuries. My little boy fought for his life inside a hospital for 45 days. During those 45 days he fought for his life, we didn’t know if he was going to live or die. The day we left the hospitals the entire medical staff called him a MIRACLE. It finally came out that the babysitter had been the one who abused my son. She had him in her care for 4 weeks. Once each of those 4 weeks she had him she shook him. It wasn’t until the last time she called for medical attention. She never told us there was anything wrong or she had any concerns. We spent 2 years in and out of court. Myself and his father had to hire an attorney to prove ourselves innocent. She was charged and served 11 years in jail and upon release was deported to her native country. When Bryan was 4 years old I adopt a kitten for him and that’s when things drastically changed. Bryan struggled for so long with many things including his ability to speak. In fact Bryan’s very first word wasn’t mom or dad it was “CAT”. Since that day he has really excelled with his speech and talking in general. I named his cat Bella because she’s a girl but he calls the cat “WILLBUR”. No matter how much I try to tell him that the name “Willbur” is for a male and the cat is a female, Bryan still insists that her name is Willbur. He loves her beyond measure and she has definitely changed his life for the better. Life has not been easy, we have been through a lot. Many doctors appointments, many therapies and so much more. It has taken a very long time to get to where we are with my son but he’s doing so much more than was ever thought. We still have many lifelong issues as a result. He is higher functioning but requires constant supervision and is unable to live alone. He has seizure, CVI (blind), learning difficulties cannot handle more than one task at a time and other issues that we have learned to adapt to. However, today Bryan is a 23 year old man who is very polite, handsome, and a pleasure to be around. Every day we continue to work on his life skills like we have for so many years. Bryan is in college now which the state pays for and covers transportation and all his needs while he still resides at home with me.

I would like to introduce you to Mya.

On April 25th I got the worst call any grand parents could ever get. It was regarding Lil Midd Mya had got hurt and they didn’t know if she was going to make it. When we finally got to SSM Cardinal Glennon children’s hospital I ST Louis I said by my precious granddaughters side. After all the testing and hours and hours of waiting we got the news that the bay had been shaken brutally. My daughter was in denial stating no her dad would never so that he said she fell off a bed. I tried and tires to explain to her. Needless to say I have has her, her twin, her 7yr old sister ad 11yr old brother ever since. At a little over 1yrs old she had to have a tube put in her bran to release build off her brain. Also come I find out she had a old brain bread that was healing when she got the new one. My baby is completely blind, can’t walk, can’t talk and she 100% tube feed because she is a choking hazard. She she has been in our care I is thriving so much and is trying so hard to talk and walk. I would trade any off the for nothing. She loves to snuggle now don’t get me wrong we have our bad days because she he between 10-30 seizures on 5 different meds. Was told if the dad never admits no one will ever be charged.

I would like to introduce you to Sailas.

December 29,2019…. Sailas is 5 months old and the nightmare began when I received a call from my daughter that lived in Kentucky at the time. She’s rushed Sailas to the hospital! He was sleeping then let out a blood curdling scream picked him up and he went limp. I’m 3.5 hours away in Ohio! I stayed close to the phone for updates and ready to go if needed. Several hours later and test he’s got blood behind his eyes and on his brain. My heart sunk!! I asked was he shaken?!? No!! Fast forward 1.5 days… get a call from my youngest daughter… Mom you need to come now it’s not good! He’s having convolutions and not sure what’s going to happen. New Years Eve I’m sitting watching him laying still and. I’m trying to get answers trying to figure out why no nurses no one coming in no updates?! I’m losing my mind and Mom mood kicks in … now we are getting somewhere. He’s now moved to PICU 2 drain tubes in place and the words… SHAKEN BABY … he was shaken twice this time it did him in. Moved now to NICU. My daughter her boyfriend at the time and a roommate was named as possible to have done it. Investigators, questions , CPS! What a mess , a whirlwind of emotions. They don’t believe my daughter did but definitely one of the other 2. Day 4… he’s suffered a stroke as well. Not sure if he’s going to pull through. My world just crashed I didn’t give up Sailas didn’t give up!! Day 8 he’s awake!!! Day 9 he’s with out tubes!! Doctors are floored!! They cannot explain how but by all points and purposes he shouldn’t have survived it, but he did!! Day 11 he’s out of the hospital and taken to a foster home. We lost him …. 5 months later we got him back!! He’s healthy he’s happy!! We still have the criminal side which is who knows where that stands And no one on my daughters fathers side wants to tell…. protecting the wrong person I say!! My daughter and I well we have a strained relationship now as she’s less than responsible and lack in the Mother department. But we are lucky to have a happier ending is some aspects. He’s my world ! He will be 2 this July.

I would like to introduce you to CJ.

My son CJ who was shaking by his mom when he was 3 months old in 2015 after church !!! I left and went to the grocery store and was gone for twenty minutes when I got home she was holding him like everything was ok but I noticed he was limp !!!! So I called 911 and started CPR !!! He had three fractures and bleeding behind the eyes !! The next day filed divorce and full custody and she was arrested !!! It’s been hard not seeing my son enjoy a child hood like other kids do but he is so happy !!! He has Cerebral palsy CVI not walking crawling or rolling we have to take care of him like a one year old !!! And here it is 2021 and she has not been charged yet.

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