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photo: Karin Martinez

This story ran in our May 2009 newsletter. It’s still one of our favorites!

Eleven-year-old Robert has waited all of his life for his special Forever Family to come along. Now he’s found them 2,000 miles away! Anyone who sees Robert in the Heart Gallery video  feels a connection with him as he interacts with his photographer, Karin Martinez. He’s a happy and loving child who has many medical needs.

Robert has had so many obstacles in his life. He was born with a chromosome disorder that makes him fragile and impedes normal development. His speech is limited. Because of his mother’s alcohol abuse, he also was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, in addition to a cleft palate, which has been repaired. He underwent heart surgery as an infant. Today, Robert functions at about a 3-year-old level.

While many people saw Robert’s photo and wished to help him, most were not able to commit the attention that Robert needs. Until a remarkable family fromIdaho, saw Robert’s Heart Gallery photo!

Justin and Dominique already have six children in their family, ages14 to 3, including one from foster care. They both have medical training. Dominique, a former nurse, says that she “loves taking care of the medically fragile”. She reports that “Robbie” lovesIdahoand has charmed all of his teachers and nurses. Moreover, he fits right in to his new family. He loves playing with his brothers and sisters (He especially enjoys the trampoline) and his parents encourage his developmental progress. “We know he can do more, so we don’t accept less”, says Dominique.

Robert and one of his new brothers