Found in a Dumpster: Christian’s Story

This article was first posted at http://www.tlc4kids.org/services/foster-care-success-stories.

We react with horror when we learn of babies discarded in dumpsters or born addicted to drugs. We wonder how a mother could do such a wretched thing, and we worry about what is in store for the infants. One tiny victim of such a beginning may now have a bright future. Christian took his earliest breaths in a dumpster on a cold November day. For over seven and a half hours, the newborn fought to survive. He suffered a stroke. Blood coagulated in his brain and left a hole. By the time he was rescued, his body had begun shutting down. He wasn’t expected to live, but if he did survive, he would likely have serious brain damage. But he was a fighter, and before long he was in a foster home awaiting adoption.

Laura and Francisco Cousineau began the adoption process with the thought they would consider only children with mild or no disabilities. But when Laura saw a photo of Christian, she saw her son, and his list of disabilities and longterm prognosis didn’t scare her or Francisco. Christian was six months old when they met him, and he went home with them a month later. From the minute he came home, Laura and Francisco knew their son was capable of more than his medical records indicated. They were told he wouldn’t walk until he was maybe four, if at all. They were told he might never talk. He would always need a tremendous amount of care.


“I used my head and my imagination to come up with things for him to do and I gave him lots of love,” said Laura.


She began moving his arms and legs and pulling him into the sitting position. She talked to him as if he were capable of understanding. She read to him. Within weeks of coming home, Christian was able to sit up and reach for things. He could say “daddy” and a few other simple words. By his first birthday, he could say quite a lot. At 14 months, he started walking. He celebrated his second birthday last month and Laura says he is almost completely potty trained. He is developmentally “normal” for his age! But more than anything, Laura says, he’s a happy little boy. Christian was adopted on March 26, 2008 and in October there was a new source of happiness for Christian: seven-month-old Jasmine. He calls her his sister, and likes entertaining her by singing and dancing. Jasmine was exposed to drugs in-utero and survived a traumatic birth: she has brain damage and global developmental delays. Laura and Francisco give her the best of care and adopted her on October 16, 2009.

The article goes on to say that, “A national survey in 2007 revealed that 48 million Americans have considered foster care adoption, yet too many have misperceptions about the process and the children who are eligible for adoption. We know that the adoption process might appear to be complex, confusing and daunting. We continue our outreach to the community to let them know that children need homes, it is not too difficult to adopt and WE CAN HELP!”

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