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In Memory Of Angelina... Saving Our Home Fund
$100 Raised
0% of $260k goal
1 contributor
2 Years running
Our little Angelina went to heaven on May 25, 2013 who was a specialized child. In honor of her memory, my wife and I became licensed foster parents for specialized kids on December of 2013, and began fostering children with medical disabilities ... More ...

Our little Angelina who was a specialized child went to heaven on May 25, 2013. To honor her memory, my wife and I became licensed foster parents for specialized kids on December of 2013, and began fostering children with medical disabilities in January 2014. The funds is to be use to buy off our home from the estate who currently owns the property and is due to be put on sale to cover for my daughters medical expenses. We are foster parents and we cannot afford to take out a mortgage. Please help us keep our angel's memory alive, by making a small contribution and helping us spread our fundraiser to your family and friends.

Our Story...

For those who knew Angelina, she was a miracle baby. To us she was an angel sent from heaven. For sure, she was an inspiration to all of us. Angelina lived with many medical complexities, and doctors assured she would not live long. However, Angelina always overcame all obstacles; to the point that her doctors were amazed on how determined she was to live. We learned to be patient, to have faith, to approach each obstacle with serenity, to never give up faith. Angelina fought for her life and gave us 9 wonderful years, but left us the knowledge, understanding and the love to care for those with medical needs.

Angelina was born at 32 weeks gestation period on March 29th, 2004 at 15:00 hours. She was born with hydrocephalus, respiratory distress, a single kidney, a left abdominal hernia and Gastro Esophageal Reflux Decease (GERD). She was immediately intubated and taken to Children's Memorial Hospital. Consequent to her diagnosis of hydrocephalus, on April 4th, 2004, a Ventricular Peritoneal (VP) shunt was placed in her head to relieve the intracranial pressure caused from the cerebral spinal fluid not draining from her brain to the spinal cord. After a long stay in the hospital, Angelina was sent home in August 2004 with oxygen, a pulse oxy-meter to measure her blood oxygen, a feeding tube that went through her nose going down to her tummy, and a feeding pump machine.

During her 1st year of life, Angelina grew strong and overcame many obstacles. She began taking little amount of pureed food by mouth without chocking or aspirating it. She was able to hold her head up, say a few words, recognize people and interact with her sister. The next step was to repair her left abdominal hernia to help her develop and meet her milestone of walking, crawling and sitting without any support.

In June of 2005 her hernia was repaired, and a few days later Angelina suffered a massive brain injury due to the malfunction of her VP shunt. Massive amount of fluid accumulated in her small head, depriving her brain from oxygen and becoming swollen. A part of her brain stem also suffered damage which caused Angelina to stop breathing on her own. She was placed in a life support portable ventilator to do the breathing for her; therefore, Angelina’s heart was kept beating strong on its own.

After several month of being in the hospital, we went through an intensive training to learn how to take care of her at home. We learned how to troubleshoot her ventilator for any problems since it was Angelina’s source of life support. We also learned how to suction her, how to give her manual breath in the event the ventilator failed, how to assess her breathing, determine what type of intervention to use if she was congested, how to prepare her pump feeding, how to monitor her fluid output to save the only kidney she had left, and how to regulate her body temperature.

Angelina went home after Thanksgiving Day of 2005 with a portable ventilator, and her state of mind was in a semi vegetated state. My wife, our children and I had to learn to live our lives in a different way, always on guard with the question of “what if?” I changed my work schedule and my wife stopped working to take care of our daughter Angelina. My wife was working a few hours a day as a baby sitter just to help with the financial needs of the home. Angelina received home nursing care for us to be able to sleep at night and be able to work in the morning. We got her homebound therapy to get her strong and with hopes that she could someday be able to communicate with us.

The medical expenses were quickly getting very high. In order to continue providing the medical, home nursing care and medical equipment in our home, in 2010 an OBRA 93 estate was created for Angelina.  Soon after, a home was purchased and modified to accommodate Angelina’s special needs; the front room was set up for her therapies. We obtained the equipment for her occupational and physical therapies to be provided at home during the cold days. Our new home helped us give Angelina the space she needed for her therapies and a better quality of life.

Angelina gained strength and was able to do little things that might have seemed insignificant to others, but to us, it was the world, it was a huge stepping stone for her. She was not able to talk or make a sound, but with her eyes and facial expressions, we learned how to communicate with her and able to assist with her needs.

Doctors told us that she was not going to live more than 1 year after her brain injury, but she gave us 9 wonderful years of her life. On May 25th, 2013 at 9:25 am without a notice Angelina went to heaven. Her mission was complete… A couple of months before Angelina’s death my wife and I were discussing and contemplating the idea to foster children. I told my wife that it was a great idea and that we needed to find out more about the process, since Angelina needed to be cared for. The idea stayed in the back burner and it did not materialize.

In September of 2013 I was viewing Angelina’s pictures and reading some poems from her funeral service.  I came across a verse of a poem that struck me, “ Now that I’m gone, remember me by giving to others what you want to give to me”. The verse made me think back of what my wife and I had discussed months ago regarding fostering children. At that point we both decided to foster children; therefore, began taking the classes necessary to become licensed foster parents. This was accomplished In December of 2013; however, we were not sure if we wanted to take medically involved children.

Maybe it was fate, maybe it wasn’t, but we received a call about a 4 year old girl who had been in the system since November of 2013. She was failing to thrive and had a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, a history of seizures, GERD, essentially non-verbal and delays in fine and gross motor skills. My wife and I looked at each other and commented to the social worker that we were hoping for a child that was not medically involved since we had just lost our daughter. However, my wife and I thought about it and realized that we have experience taking care children with disabilities and if we didn't do it, then who would? We told the social worker that we would visit the little girl and see if we were prepared to take care of her.

When we visited we saw a restless little girl with involuntary out of control movements of her limbs. When she noticed us, she went to a peaceful resting state, did not move a muscle, and gave us a beautiful smile, it felt like she was expecting us. My wife and I approached her and held her in our arms. She stared at us and smiled, then put her arms around our neck and fell asleep.  Needless to say, she stole our hearts.

We completed the required 30 hours of training to learn to take care of her. At the end of January of 2014 we took her home. Since our home is equipped for children with special needs, our foster child is benefiting from it and has made great gains. She has better muscle tone, better control, she is thriving, gaining weight, she is always smiling, and most important she is receiving lots of TLC. On February 14, 2014 we took in her 2 year old sister. She has adjusted very well and is enjoying her sister's company.

Now, because the house was purchased under the OBRA 93 estate funds, Our home will be put for sale to cover for Angelina’s nursing care and medical equipment that the state’s medical insurance had covered. My wife and I work modified schedules and short hours to be able to take care of our children and foster children. We are not able afford to buy the house from the OBRA 93 estate. We are now asking for your support and generosity to save our home, so we can continue providing the special quality care in Angelina’s home for our current and future special needs foster children.  We want to give them what they deserve "LOVE" and "CARE". Without your help it will not be possible. In this home is where many memories were created and our wish is to continue giving hope for those in need.

Foster Parents who are trained in caring for special needs children are hard to find; consequently, many DCFS special needs children end up in transitional care home-like settings where there are many children with different conditions being cared for in a 1:3 nurse to patient ratio.  This type of setting is acceptable for an immediate emergency placement; however, every child deserves to be cared for in a loving home with a loving family where children feel accepted, loved and nurtured.

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