Several years ago, Ryan was adopted into a loving family, where he not only gained a mom and dad, but also a few siblings. Ryan has difficulty self-regulating and his parents are in the midst of having him assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder. For months, Ryan had been asking for an “Ethnic American Boy Doll.” Ryan really wanted a doll that looked like him and his parents understood how important this was for him. Kim, Ryan’s mom said, “Many of us are Caucasian families and maybe we forget that it’s tough to not see your face, color or features represented… and Ryan can’t put that into words, or even knows that’s what he is feeling.”
Unable to afford such an expensive doll, Kim reached out to her social worker, Alycia, hoping that perhaps she would know someone who had a used doll for Ryan. When Alycia shared the story with her Program Director, William, he said, “Just buy him the new doll and I will pay for it.” When Alycia relayed the message to Kim, she was in tears.
Since it arrived, Ryan has spent almost every moment possible with his new doll. He decided to name it Brody, after his older brother’s best friend. Ryan sleeps with his new doll and it sits with him all day during school. The Brody doll goes everywhere with the family. “We leave Brody in the van to ‘wait for us’,” Kim says.
The doll gives Ryan an extra source of comfort and helps him to process his emotions. During a recent crying episode, Ryan said his doll was having a hard time too. Ryan’s challenges with self-regulation and identity haven’t magically disappeared, but this doll, that looks just like him, helps. He beams when he shows it to people. And they say, “Wow, he looks just like you!”
Thank you to our dedicated donors, staff members, and resource parents who all play a role in bringing joy to foster and adoptive kids like Ryan. To learn more about how donations are used, click here.