Last summer Leo came to the United States for one month with GWCA’s China Orphan Hosting program. This program is designed to give children like Leo the opportunity to be seen as more than just a medical file. It gives children the chance to know the love of a family, to experience life outside of the orphanage and to meet advocates within the community who can help them find a loving and permanent family. For Leo, this opportunity was incredibly important as he is currently 13 years old and will “Age Out” in April of 2018.
During his time in the US last summer, Leo stayed with a “Host-to-Advocate” family. This family fell in love with Leo and cherished every moment that they had with him, however, they knew going into the program that they were unable to proceed with adoption. Knowing that Leo is so deserving of the love and stability of a Forever Family, his host family has been working with countless other orphan warriors to advocate on his behalf and raise money to put towards an adoption grant in his name.
At this point, Leo now has a significant adoption grant, totaling $18,000+! A large portion of this grant ($12,000) was raised through a private grant and the fundraising efforts of one of our advocate families. The additional $6,000+ that Leo is eligible to receive is through Reece’s Rainbow’s Older Child grant fund.
What Leo’s Host Family Has to Say About Him:
Leo is a 13 year old orphan from China who stayed in our home with us last summer. It is our family’s intention to connect this sweet boy with his forever family so that he can return to the US as quickly as possible. Leo is full of joy and smiles, and loves music. He has taken a liking to American music and sings along often and also has been singing in Chinese. He also played the piano in our home nearly every day. Though he doesn’t play a familiar tune, he plays it appropriately and even looks at the song books as he is playing. He also likes to push buttons and play with toys that make noise or move. He didn’t know any English when he arrived, but he has quickly learned some words and is very good at mimicking words and phrases that are spoken to him. We have also developed some hand motions to communicate. He can let us know when he is hungry, thirsty, finished, or needs to use the restroom. He also understands some of our hand motions which has helped with our communication. He is a very affectionate boy that loves to hug, hold hands, and snuggle on your lap. He is also very silly. He often does things to make the family laugh like wearing silly hats, and dancing around and laughing. Leo also loves to be in motion. He really enjoys riding in a car and giggles as we go up and down hills every single time. Swinging is his favorite activity at the park and he screamed and laughed with amazement as we went down waterslides. Leo has a diagnosis of PKU (Phenylketonuria) which is a genetic metabolic disorder that means he does not digest protein like most people. Leo will need to be on a special diet to address his PKU diagnosis. While here he has been an incredible eater! He is open to almost all foods including fruits and vegetables and he ate all of the special low protein foods that are manufactured for those with PKU that we offered him.