Blog Hop Link: Nikki Cochrane: Raising Children Who Are Blind


PD: A girl stands against a white wall, wearing a traditional Indian sari that is hot pink, blue, & gold w/ paisley accents & sparkly glitter. Her hands are at her sides, wearing blue bangles.

My friend, Nikki, who was a former volunteer and foster mom to 9 children at Sarah’s Covenant Homes, India, along with her co-foster mama, Merissa, has written a series of blogs pertaining to raising children who are blind.

6 of the children who lived in Nikki and Merissa’s foster home at the time had some degree of blindness (4 who are completely blind, 1 who is blind on one side, and 1 who has low vision, affected by nystagmus). Nikki’s daughter, Deepa, is also blind.

The first blog in the series is password-protected in order to conceal the identity of the children (India no longer allows full-face, identifying photos of children in care on the internet), but below is the last excerpt of that post.

“Want to learn more about parenting a blind child? I would love to write a blog post answering any questions that you have, and sharing more about the ways we have changed our lifestyle to help our blind kids thrive! I would love to see our blind children be adopted into loving forever families […] and I want to start breaking down barriers about how “scary” blindness is! Click the link to submit your questions!”

Following the link provided in the introduction paragraph above, you can ask Nikki anything  you want to know about parenting children who are blind.

The following posts are public (not password protected):

Part one includes some additional information about the blog series! It also begins to answer some questions that have been submitted to Nikki. Topics: sleep/melatonin, colors (video included from an adult YouTube user who is blind), and learning difference discrimination!

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 1

Part two in the series introduces you to a family who has adopted a daughter from India who is blind. It is an excellent introduction to some of the challenges involved with adopting and parenting children who are blind.

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 2

Part three in the series covers some more reader questions! Topics include: your child’s blindness and traffic; consuming media (including a Disney film audio description app!); and interacting with a blind child when meeting for the first time (hint: most often it is the new greeter who is uncomfortable, rather than the child)!

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 3

Part four in the series covers language, as well as echolalia (the repetition of words that are heard and mimicked by the child). Includes link to Bethel China’s Facebook page, for additional information and listings of waiting children. Bethel provides services to many orphaned children living in China who are blind.

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 4

Part five in the series discusses fine motor activities with blind children, including cutting and gluing; and, etiquette when it comes to interacting with and/or assisting someone who is blind.

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 5

Part six in the series discusses learning Braille (plus resources), tips for eating/feeding, and coping when adopted children have multiple disabilities and/or medical needs.

Raising Children Who Are Blind, Part 6

To learn more about SCH, visit their newly updated website. To get involved, follow this link.

The following kids from SCH are listed for adoption with Reece’s Rainbow! For other kids who are also available and listed through RR, see the bottom of this post. Children from India are available to 2-parent families as well as single moms.

  • *Dinah is 12 and has low vision due to nystagmus (vibrating or uncontrollable movement of the eyes). She attends an on-site school for the blind in her home. *Dinah needs $85/month in additional sponsorship funds while she waits for her forever family. Learn more about her and sign up to become a sponsor here.
  • *Eden is 5 and is blind due to anophthalmia, and is also profoundly D/deaf with a cochlear implant. She attends classes in her home to help develop her skills. She can use a guide cane to navigate. *Eden needs $110/month in additional sponsorship funds while she waits for her forever family. Learn more about her and sign up to become a sponsor here.
  • *Georgie is 6 and is functionally blind with some light perception. He attends an on-site school for the blind in his home. He can use a guide cane to navigate. *Georgie needs $25/month in additional sponsorship funds while he waits for his forever family. Learn more about him and sign up to become a sponsor here.

An important part of SCH’s work is YOU! SCH relies on donations to keep running. Donation opportunities include child sponsors at any cost per month, from as low as $25/month. Sponsorship usually costs between $300 and $500 per child, depending on complexity of needs and in which city they live (Ongole or Hyderabad).

You can sponsor any child who needs additional funding at SCH by using the resources found here. Use these resources to get involved in other ways, such as becoming an advocate or volunteering. You can also become a medical sponsor (ideal for large groups or organizations who wish to support SCH) and donate toward monthly emergency medical expenses; or become an educational sponsor and donate toward a specific on-site school. Learn about other ways to give charitably to SCH here, and check back often for additional opportunities. You can send gifts via Amazon India, make a one-time, general donation, pray if that is your calling, or volunteer at home or in India yourself by using these resources!

*A note about names: SCH uses online nicknames for the children in order to protect their identity, per Indian governmental guidelines which state that children in care may not have identifying photos of them on the internet, as well as no identifying information such as birth name, place of origin, etc.

Connect with SCH: Official Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

PD: SCH logo – black text reads ‘sch’; red text below reads ‘sarah’s covenant homes’; heart-shaped flowers bloom from the name.

Other children listed for adoption at Reece’s Rainbow who are blind are listed below. Children over age 10 are eligible to receive an Older Child Grant if a prospective parent files paperwork.

Eastern Europe

Urgent need:

  • Kanani (URGENT NEED, available to large families, older parents; eligible for an older child grant) has anophthalmos of one eye and optic atrophy in the other, as well as mild CP.
  • Wendy (URGENT NEED, available to large families; eligible for an older child grant) is completely blind, with microphthalmia (small eyes) complicated by congenital cataracts and optic sub-atrophy. She also has CP and microcephaly.
  • Zoey (URGENT NEED, available to large families, older parents; eligible for an older child grant) has unconfirmed blindness – her listing states ‘coloboma of optic disc’, which can cause various degrees of visual impairment. She also has CP, epilepsy, and microcephaly.

At risk of aging out:

  • Samson (AT RISK OF AGING OUT! available to large families, older parents; eligible for older child grant) has optic nerve sub-atrophy along with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and will do great in a family who has experience with vision disabilities. 

Under 13:

  • Cambria (available to large families, older parents; eligible for an older child grant) has anophthalmia, meaning she was born without eyes.
  • Christina (available to large families, older parents) is blind; no other information is given in her profile.
  • Donna (available to large families, older parents) has retinopathy of prematurity, CP, and hydrocephalus.
  • Donny (available to large families, older parents; eligible for an older child grant) is blind, but has some residual sight/low vision. He has some additional needs.
  • Hollace (available to large families, older parents) is blind, with some other disabilities including mild CP and a heart condition.
  • Ronan (available to large families, older parents) most likely has vision impairment/low vision due to a condition called microphthalmia (small eyes), retinal deformity, and strabismus complications.
  • Todd (available to large families, older parents) is blind; no other information is given in his profile.

Latin America:

  • Kristal (available to single moms and single dads; eligible for an older child grant) is blind. She is learning to read Braille. She would love to have siblings!
  • Luna (available to single moms and single dads; eligible for an older child grant) is blind. She reads Braille. She wants a family where she can be the youngest child and get lots of attention from a mom and dad.
  • Mandy (available to single moms, single dads, large families; eligible for an older child grant) is blind. She is attending kindergarten and participating in physical and speech therapy to improve in her development.
  • Rebekah (available to single moms) is blind and has significant delays in speech and motor development.

Asia

Urgent need:

  • Kassidy (URGENT NEED – available to single moms) is completely blind due to being born with anophthalmia, or absence of eyes. She also has anemia. Her health is declining for unknown reasons and she needs to be rescued urgently!
  • Victor (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant ) is blind/has low vision due to having albinism. He also appears to have some developmental disabilities and has a speech delay. The agency is urgently seeking a family that is experienced in parenting children with trauma from hard places, and who can provide Victor with unconditional nurturing care so that he can heal and thrive as a cherished son.
  • Warren (URGENT NEED) (available to single moms and older parents) is blind and has a repaired cleft lip/palate; update from 2017 showed Warren is severely delayed — doesn’t walk, talk, or play with other children. At 7 years old, he is only 19 pounds. He desperately needs the better care a family can bring.

At risk of aging out:

Under 13:

  • Alec (available to single moms) has anophthalmia (missing eye) on one side. He also has some developmental delays.
  • Armand (available to single moms) is blind due to leukoma of the cornea; his photos are old, he is 7 now. He has a developmental delay.
  • Ava (available to single moms) has low vision/vision impairment.
  • Austyn (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) has low vision due to albinism. He also has some additional delays, including limited mobility and non-verbal communication. Read more about him here
  • Emerlyse (available to single moms) is completely blind.
  • Gigi (available to single moms) is completely blind, and also has hydrocephalus and a developmental delay, including echolalia.
  • Jack (available to single moms) has low vision due to being born with microphthalmia (small eyes) and has had surgery to correct cataracts.
    He can see and identify colors and other objects. Jack speaks English fluently.
  • Jordy (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) has low vision due to congenital cataracts and one-sided microphthalmia.
  • Kendall (available to single moms) has anophthalmia of one eye and corneal degeneration of the other. She also has some hearing loss.
  • Kopelan (available to single moms) is listed as blind, no other info given.
  • Landon (available to single moms) is blind and had some training using a guide cane before being recalled from his school for the blind to his orphanage. He also has a strong foundation in the English language because of is school experience.
  • Mark (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) has a vision impairment.
  • Olivia (available to single moms) has microphthalmia (small eyes) of both eyes. Olivia has a $500 agency grant, with her current adoption agency. Olivia needs a family with an approved home study to be able to hold her file or move forward with adopting her.
  • Rupert (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) is blind and may be on the autism spectrum; however, some aspects of blindness from birth can cause quirks that mimic autism. Rupert’s current agency is offering a $5000 grant towards his adoption! He was recently recalled to his orphanage, so everyone would like him to find his family!
  • Sadie (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) is blind due to anophthalmia on one side and what appears to be microphthalmia with complications on the other side. She may have an unrepaired cleft palate.
  • Wendell (available to single moms; eligible for older child grant) has an unspecified eye disorder that severely limits his vision, possibly leucoma. He is allergic to egg whites.

Location Unspecified:

  • Brendan (available to large families, single moms, older parents) is blind and has a couple other disabilities including microcephaly. He was born premature, which may have contributed to his significant disabilities. Eligible for $2,000 grant through Reece’s Rainbow for his country specifically.
  • Caryn (available to single moms, older parents, large families) is blind and has cerebral palsy. Eligible for $2,000 grant through Reece’s Rainbow for her country specifically.
  • Harmony (available to large families, single moms, older parents) has anophthalmia and some other developmental delays. Eligible for $2,000 grant through Reece’s Rainbow for her country specifically.

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