Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Caring for Serbia's Kids

When we were in Serbia for Abel's adoption, I was thrilled to learn of the changes made in the facility located in Belgrade. It is formally known as the "Center for the Protection of Infants, Children and Youth", referred to as Zvescanska (Zvez-chonska) by the locals.

The facility has hired brand new therapists, who were thrilled to show me the new sensory rooms that had been donated by a local NGO. The rooms include the kind of equipment the best therapy centers in the US strive to have. These rooms are a therapist's dream. The staff from Zvescanska were hoping to receive training very soon to learn all the ways they could utilize these gifts! They are eager and excited! They have a state-of-the-art space, and they are ready to help these kids!!

One of the biggest problems faced by the children in Zvescanska, and that the therapists are trying to work with,  are severe feeding issues. Most of these are caused by lack of oral stimulation as infants and archaic force-feeding methods for the infants and toddlers.
Photo Credit:

While there are changes being made for the younger kids, the older kids are left with mouths that cannot function properly. (We are still working to overcome both Asher and now Abel's feeding problems!) The therapists and I talked at length about some of the things I do with my kids to work on these problems after adoption, and they told me how they are working with the kids of Zvescanska.

One of my most valuable tools is a Z-Vibe. 

The Z-vibe provides a wide range of sensations for oral stimulation, encouraging tongue movement,  lip movement, swallowing, and...well the list goes on. I use my Z-Vibe almost every day for both Asher and Abel! 

The  speech therapist from Zvescanska was very proud to show me that she has **A** Z-vibe. Yes, that's right. She has ONE. One single, lone Z-vibe to be used with several hundred children. The few tips she had left were all chewed up by the constant use. Some were really not safe for use anymore. Her battery had died a couple months before and they can only be purchased in the US. She wanted to order more batteries but discovered the $6 battery costs an insane amount of money to ship from the U.S. 

I want to solve that problem. I went out on a limb and I made a promise.  I promised I could get her more Z-vibes. I promised I could get her more batteries. I promised because my readers helped me collect 300 blinking toothbrushes for the same kids back in 2011. 

My friend Mary Borojevich, COCI board member and director of COCI-Serbia, is headed back to Belgrade in a few weeks. I want to be able to send the needed Z-vibes with her. 

I have created a wish list on Amazon for the items needed. (please note the thumbnails on descriptions are not always accurate!) The shipping address is included, as well as the Federal Tax ID for your donation to COCI. The deadline for shipping is September 20th. 

Thank you SO MUCH for considering helping the kids of Serbia. The staff are working so hard to make the changes necessary. They really cannot believe there are people here in the U.S who care about these kids. Lets show them just how much we care!

***8/26*** Thank you to the person who purchased the batteries!!!


Melissa said...

Question on the amazon wish list, just click on it and it will send it to the pay page? Thanks.

Leah S. said...

Melissa, it should just let you click on it. I see there was a different site it was leading shoppers to, so I made a couple changes. Hopefully it works fine now!

Melissa said...

Thanks. I wondered about that.