Projects in Georgia

In the last couple of years, the majority of children from the orphanages in Georgia have been moved into foster homes. The family atmosphere, consistent caregiving and attention have been a blessing for the children, the majority of whom will never be adopted. Almost all of the children in these foster homes are disabled, either physically or developmentally with a condition like Down Syndrome. Since most of them will never be adopted, these foster homes are the only homes they know and where they will live until they are adults. Overall, this is a good and workable system. The children have better lives than when they lived in the orphanage and the foster parents genuinely care about the children in their care.

Packages of Hope’s Georgia Program has shifted its focus from orphanage support to assisting foster parents with items they need for the children in their care. The Georgian government pays a monthly stipend for each child in care but it’s never quite enough to cover the extra expenses that come with having handicapped children in the home. One of the first donations we made was in-home medical equipment for children with asthma. Many Down Syndrome children have asthma and when one child would have an attack the foster parents would have to find a sitter for the other children so they could take the ill child to the hospital, often on public transportation. This was a huge disruption for the family, very hard on both foster parents and the child. All the foster parents we gave devices to report the children aren't suffering as long when they have an asthma attack because the attacks can now be treated in the home quickly, they no longer have to wait to be taken to the hospital to be treated. We consider that a win for everyone and a great use of money.

In Georgia, the foster parents are long-term, not temporary, caretakers. When they take children they often need extra furniture, like cribs and bunk beds, to accommodate the children they are fostering. This is another area where Packages of Hope’s Georgia program likes to help because we firmly believe every child should have a safe and appropriate bed. We have purchased several cribs and beds for foster families so the children don’t have to share their sleeping area. Another item that was requested by several families was a washing machine so the foster mother doesn’t have to haul all the kids and the clothes to a laundromat. We were happy to help with these purchases as well since they directly improved the lives of the children and foster parents.

Our final area of support for the foster families is with disposable supplies: diapers, wipes, children’s OTC medications and vitamins. Quite a few of the children being fostered are not out of diapers by the time they’re three and require the largest size diapers for several years. These diapers need to be changed regularly and the child kept clean so they don’t develop sores, especially children who aren’t very active. Since Packages of Hope’s Georgia Program buys large quantities of diapers and other supplies at one time we can negotiate for the lowest prices available. The diapers and other disposable supplies we give to the foster families help them use their stipends for things like more fresh foods, and even some treats for the children, instead of paying full price for diapers and OTC medications.

Long-term foster care is one of the best solutions for children who are “in the system,” children who are considered special needs and have very little chance of ever being adopted or reunited with their birth family. Packages of Hope’s Georgia Program is proud to support, in any way we can, the wonderful foster families that care for these children.

For more information about our projects in Georgia, contact Filomena Citarella, Georgia Project Manager, or Clara Citarella, Assistant Project Manager, at fcitarella@aol.com.


 


 

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Thank you to the ChangDeKids, QianJiang Families and Bengbu Families for actively supporting your children’s orphanages! We couldn’t do what we do without you!