Gift of Love: Joey, Needs A Special Family - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/12/06 - Grand Saline

Gift of Love: Joey, Needs A Special Family

Every child deserves to have a loving family. It's especially true for foster children. There is a young boy in East Texas who needs a special family to take care of him. We introduce you to Joey in this KLTV 7 Gift of Love report.

"He's very sweet. He's very loving. He loves attention," says Lana Means about her foster child, Joey.

He is a special young boy with an endearing smile. At just 8 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder. Lana says, "They did all kinds of tests and couldn't find out what was wrong. When they finally did diagnosis it, it was too late. It had caused severe brain damage."

But make no mistake, this 7 year old is aware of his surroundings. "Mentally, he's pretty much fine. He knows what's going on. He knows what you are saying. He knows if he's happy or sad or if he doesn't like something but he's just trapped in a body that won't work," explains Lana.

Joey has no control over his motor functions requiring constant care. But Joey has made great progress through therapy since being placed in foster care two years ago. He's even going to school. Lana says, "Now he's in class and they have switch board control box things for him and they're working on him to work with his hands and feet and he can kick it and they're just really amazed at the change in him."

Although Joey can not speak, he can still communicate. "He loves to watch cartoons. If you step in front of his cartoons he'll let you know," says Lana.

He also enjoys going to movies and baseball games and playing with other children in his foster home. "I can take him to their room and put him on the floor with them and he's just as happy. He's just like one of the guys." Lana goes on to say, "He watches every move on the TV screen and he laughs and interacts just like any other kid would."

Joey's improvements are impressive considering he weighted just 19 pounds when he came into care at 5 years old and couldn't even hold his head up. Looking at him today, there is proof that giving a child attention, nurturing and most of all love, you can make a difference. Lana says, "I think the perfect ideal family for Joey would be someone that's young enough to grow with him."

If you'd like to know more about Joey, call our Gift of Love hotline toll free, 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan reporting.

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