My name is John Williams. As all parents know, raising children is the most daunting responsibility that we humans have. It is also the most rewarding experience that we could ever experience.
My wife Amy, and I adopted two boys from foster care thirteen years ago (2004). They were three and barely turning one when we picked them up from their very last foster home. Both boys suffer from exposure to drugs and violence before being placed for adoption. Other issues that they are dealing with are Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Depression and Anxiety.
We have had our share of ups and downs. Our oldest boy Rick(16)has recently found a more mature outlook on life and is progressing nicely. His main goal right now is to succeed in school and earn his black belt in Karate from the Bobby Lawrence Karate studio in Spanish Fork.
Our youngest, Gabriel (14)has had more than his share of dissapointments in life. By the time he turned fourteen he had spent a good three years at the State hospital trying to get over some of the baggage he brought along from his birth home environment.
Since he was in 2nd grade he has been in a behavior unit at school. At different times of his life since his adoption, very close friends and some relatives have either moved away or have passed away leaving him with huge feelings of being abandoned all over again.
He is also dealing with some medical issues with his foot and ankle. He damaged his foot and ankle back at the beginning of August 2017. We've seen seven different professionals that have all refered us to other medical professionals. We have taken him to physical therapy. He's worn a boot. He's had x-rays, a MRI and lastly a CT scan. None of this has helped. Since August, his foot and ankle have fused together incorrectly making him walk with a limp and very severe pain. We have one more professional to see before we surrender to the fact that he will limp permanently, yet focus on pain management.
I think that his inability to walk without pain has really affected his attitude and depression. It has hurt him educationally as well. He has no drive to progress out of the behavior unit, and his level of aniety is so high, he sometimes resorts to minor self-harm.
Now to explain what we're trying to do here. This week Amy and I had a meeting with Gabriel's teacher and assistant principal. They voiced their concerns about his attitude, his anxiety, depression and behavior. We totally agreed with them, but walked out of that meeting feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and scared for our little boy's future.
Gabriel had an appointment with his therapist after the school meeting so Amy took him to the appointment. While they were en route, Amy said a quiet, but heart-felt prayer, that somehow we would be able to connect with Gabriel and break down all the walls he has built up around him since he came to us.
Amy also urged Gabriel to ask Heavenly Father to help him overcome the stumbling blocks that he felt were in front of him. Both prayers were answered. As they walked into the building, a nice lady (Dawn)handed Gabriel a sleeping shihpooter (a mix of ShihTzu, Poodle and Terrier) puppy.
As he cradled the little dog, it opened its eyes and began to lick him on the nose. There was an instant bonding
between them. Unintentional tears welled up in Gabriel's eyes. He couldn't stop for the next two hours.
Dawn said that she usually never took the dogs anywhere that they did not need to go, but something prompted her to bring them to the office that day. She also commented that she had completed the business that she needed to take care of, but felt the need to wait a few minutes longer.
When she saw Gabriel, she knew why she had been prompted to bring the dogs and to wait patiently while the spirit told her to stay.
He had the best therapy session that he has ever had (that's what his therapist said). Amy witnessed some of the walls tumbling down as he talked with his therapist.
Gabriel was still crying as he walked in the house after his appointment. He told me what had happened and That he had decided name the dog "Reginald Hope" Williams.
I too, felt that this was an answer to a long awaited petition. We called Dawn and set up a time to meet with her and the puppy to discuss monetary arragements. Gabriel had a great time. We met the puppy's parents and found out that they are both service dogs.
Dawn said that the cost of the adoption would be $450. To get the training that Reggie needs to become a service dog is about $1,500. That is why we're trying to raise $2,000.
Gabriel has already pledged his own savings of $100. to go towards getting his own dog. Anyone that knows Gabriel has to realize what a big sacrifice he is making to get this dog.
The earliest we can pick up Reggie is on the 15th of January. We would like to get as much money as we can by that time so that we can get him into the service dog program as a puppy.
Having a service dog for Gabriel would be a mighty big game changer for him. We can already see his attitude changing. We've aready had better reports from his teacher. She too, is excited for the better behavior that he is demonstrating.
Yes, we are asking for donations. Those donations will go directly into a savings account for the service dog training Reggie will need.
I recently lost my job of 28 years so money is tight for us right now. I am currently seeking new employment, if you know of any place that is hiring for customer service or data entry, or have questions about the puppy, please let me know.
A huge thanks to all of you in advance,
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