Aliyah was born a healthy baby girl. It wasn’t until she was 15 months old that everything changed for her. She was crying, as infants do, and dad put his hand over her nose and her mouth and squeezed to make her shut up. It worked, Aliyah stopped crying; in fact, she stopped breathing.
Her little brain was deprived for oxygen so long that she lost the ability to move any of her extremities. The circulation in one leg never recovered and part of it had to be removed. She lost most of her vision and could no longer chew or swallow food. During the first meeting to discuss her case, other parties involved initially deemed Aliyah uneducable and unviable, and even suggested that she be removed from life support.
KidsVoice disagreed and advocated for her to be given a chance. Aliyah made progress to the point that she had grown healthy enough to be released from the hospital. She was placed in a temporary foster family with four other children. It was assumed she would be nonverbal for the rest of her life. But her desire to communicate was still strong. Aliyah responded to colors and sounds, and when she would hear her foster father begin his morning rituals, she would make noise until he came in to say good morning to her.
The KidsVoice case team worked with the foster family and advocated for Aliyah to attend the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind. Defying the presumption that she was uneducable, there she learned that she loves books on tape. When the temporary family was unable to provide a permanent home for her, KidsVoice advocated for placement with the nurse who had been taking care of Aliyah in the foster home and at school. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for Aliyah to be placed with her nurse, who said that she had fallen in love with Aliyah and wanted to take her home with the hope of one day adopting her.
Aliyah is 9 now and she was officially adopted on July 21st. In her new forever home, she is loved and cared for by her mother and her two new siblings who help take care of their sister. She’s been attending school at the Children’s Institute, where Aliyah has more opportunities to be academically stimulated and challenged. She has indeed made continual progress and can now communicate by answering yes or no questions with her eyes. KidsVoice has helped the adoptive family connect to available funding resources so that Aliyah can continue to receive the services that allow her to live her life as fully as possible and express herself as an individual.