We are the parents of three adopted children from the California foster care system. All of our children are considered "special needs" due to the unique challenges they have faced throughout their lives. When our youngest daughter, Becca, blessed our family she weighed only 9 pounds at 6 months of age. She was born with drugs in her system that contributed to her failure to thrive. She was unable to sit up, roll over or make any eye contact at all. Her body could not handle normal food and she struggled to get the nutrition she needed. Night time was very hard for her and she still does not have regular sleep patterns despite numerous interventions. In addition to her failure to thrive, she has Sensory Integration Dysfunction which changes the way that the brain processes environmental stimuli and makes normal experiences extremely stressful. Becca went through hundreds of hours of physical therapy and occupational therapy.
The doctors told us that Becca may never walk --
THEY WERE WRONG!
In addition to the therapy, Becca started skating at age 3. With the help of a wonderful skating coach, Becca became a talented competitive figure skater.
The doctors told us that Becca might never talk --
THEY WERE WRONG!
Check out this video!https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202792127940937&l=4715572497001056594
Becca went through many hours of speech and language processing therapies. Becca has stunned us all with her musical talent. She is an accomplished singer and participates in a local theater company. She recently won a singing contest and was recorded in a professional studio on a music CD. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a very silly kid who loves to make people laugh.
The doctors told us that Becca may never be cognitively "normal" --
THEY WERE WRONG!
Becca is a strong student and aspires to be a forensic paleontologist. She loves art, writing, science and history.
Through all of the challenges she has faced, Becca has become a fiercely independent and capable young woman.
Now, she needs more help.
At age 5, Becca was the victim of a serious traumatic event. This, combined with her already taxed neurologic system, has led to the development of post traumatic stress disorder. She has worked very hard to lead a normal life, but the trauma has taken its toll and she is in a constant state of anxiety. Simple trips to the store or a restaurant turn into very difficult events. Not a day goes by without significant reactions to crowds, loud noises and other environmental stimuli. Her condition is getting worse despite therapies and medication.
There is hope!
Throughout Becca's life, she has had an amazing affinity for animals -- horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens and any other type of creature.
Programs exist for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder to provide them with a service dog who can detect an increase in stress and interrupt the cycle of anxiety that leads to panic attacks and emotional reactions. This is not an emotional support animal, but a specially trained dog who can perform specific functions designed to help with this disorder. Her doctors feel that this is essential for her.
Foster children are diagosed with PTSD at twice the rate as combat veterans, but only 25% of these children get the help that they need. We have searched for 1 1/2 years for a service dog for our daughter. The average cost of a trained service dog through most agencies is in excess of $20,000. We have applied to several programs that offer dogs at no cost, but the wait would be at least 2 more years.
BECCA CAN NO LONGER WAIT.
We are fortunate to have found a local organization called AlphaK9 in Sacramento that is a non-profit agency dedicated to the principle of providing highly skilled and effective Service Dogs and Working Dogs to those whose lives depend on them. Their primary clients are veterans, but AlphaK9 has agreed to work with Becca to locate and train a dog at a greatly reduced cost. Their website is www.alphak9.org. Donations can be made directly to them on Becca's behalf or via this campaign.
We are hoping that we can raise enough money to fund the cost of a service dog for our daughter. All funds raised will go directly to the 501c3 non-profit and are tax deductible. Any funds raised in excess of what is needed would be donated to the organization to help fund dogs for veterans. No money will be used for any other purpose.
We appreciate your support! Together, we can make a differerence for Becca!