Sweeter By The Dozen
Ben and Kim Green have adopted 12 children from all over the world. And the latest, they knew, would require immediate hospice care.
There’s Klaire and Kya. Caleb and McKenna. Liam, Madison, Parker and Benjamin. Noah and Eli and Isaiah.
And since May, Josiah, now barely five-months-old.
The mini-United Nations Ben and Kim adopted beginning in 1999 come from Korea (5), China (1), West Africa (2), Michigan (2) California (1) and Josiah, from Ohio.
Noah has Down’s Syndrome, and once required open-heart surgery. Klaire came from an emotionally abusive home and struggles to speak. Two other children had special needs when Kim and Ken adopted them, but are now thriving.
Josiah also comes with something else—Cask Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that proved fatal for Josiah’s two brothers before either reached 18-months-old. His Akron, OH family “just couldn’t go through that again,” Kim says, so three-week old Josiah soon made it an even dozen children in the Green’s lively (to say the least) Fenton, MI household.
Josiah’s Akron Children Hospital doctors recommended immediate in-home hospice care. The Green’s chose Arbor Hospice.
“Our social worker, Selene, is wonderful,” says Kim. “She’s there for us in every emotional way imaginable, talks to each of the kids to make sure they’re okay.” And, Kim adds after a pause, “She just loves all over Josiah.”
Josiah’s medical care is coordinated by Arbor Hospice nurse, Colleen, who visits each week. “Colleen evaluates Josiah’s condition, double checks his feeding tubes and monitors his meds,” Kim says. “It’s nice because she works around our schedule, which, as you can see,” she says, pointing toward a living room bustling with Josiah’s 11 siblings ages 4-12, “can be a little unpredictable.”
The Greens say their first two adoptions were for fertility reasons. But after that, as Kim puts it, “Wherever God called us, we went.” And, Ken adds, “We just learned to stop saying no.”
They average about one new place at the dinner table each year. And the torn wrapping paper on Christmas morning? It averages about “this high,” Ken gestures, holding his hand even with three-foot tall Isaiah, who’s kibitzing with Liam nearby.
What makes the Green’s courage in adopting a child in Josiah’s condition all the more remarkable is they adopted a hospice baby, Selah, before. She died just 10 days after they brought her home. “Every child needs a home,” Kim says, adding for emphasis, “every child.”
Yes, the family grieved… heavily. But they also held a party to celebrate Selah’s life. “I want all of us to never take life for granted--to value it,” Kim says.
Every child needs a home.
And Josiah’s prognosis? There is no cure for Cask Syndrome. He has regular hospital visits, and, combined with all the medical care and support Arbor Hospice can offer, “We hope for the best and see each day with him as precious,” Kim says.
It’s true that among the Green children, Joshiah is one in a dozen. But clearly, his family as a whole, is one in a million.
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