As a pediatric physical therapist I have the honor and privilege of witnessing milestones in the lives of children. Sometimes we celebrate what seems like little things to other people but, for a parent, these milestones are a big deal—like a child who is three years old sitting independently for the first time or a five-year-old who takes his first independent steps. These are moments I love celebrating with families and that make my job incredibly rewarding. These exciting moments also happen when I travel abroad with (un)adopted and get to serve alongside some amazing nannies and caregivers. The following is a story about one of those exciting moments:
When I was in China in April of this year I had the honor of witnessing a first for a six-year-old boy.
First, let me tell you a little about this sweet boy. His name is Scout, and I met him when he was around three years old. He had a lot to say, and even though we didn’t understand each other, we connected and laughed together. Leaving him at the orphanage was hard but I was thrilled when he was able to move into the Lifeline Foster Center when it opened in July 2014.
Sweet Scout has thrived at the foster center. He continues to talk and laugh with his caregivers and the sparkle in his eyes makes me wish I knew exactly what he is saying.
Even though Scout has grown and learned so much at the foster center there was still one thing that he could not do: walk. As I sat with him last August in the courtyard of the foster center, he was confined to a stroller watching his friends run around; it broke my heart. He is such a smart little boy, and you could tell he yearned for some independence. I knew we needed to help but I honestly did not know exactly how that would be possible.
Thankfully, I was able to connect with an adoptive mom who said she could contact someone about providing a wheelchair for him. I really thought this was too good to be true as wheelchairs are not cheap or easy to come by. This sweet momma came through for us, and in April 2016 my team and I were able to give Scout his “legs”—his freedom, his independence!
As you watch the video below know that this was the first moments of this little boy being placed in his chair. He knew exactly what to do, and we were all able to celebrate this huge milestone with him: a little boy given the gift of mobility.