Birthdate: June 6, 1982

I had to write and tell you about Andy our 16 year old son whom we have fostered since he was 2. When we met him he was so institutionalised that the only thing he could do was to drink from a bottle while lying flat on his back. We were advised by a doctor at the local university hospital not to take him as " He´ll never be able to do anything for himself" but just one look into his beautiful brown eyes and we were lost (even though he never made eye contact at the time). So home to us and our three daughters he came and we´ve never for one second regreted it.

Andy began having physiotherapy at least 3 times a day ( he´d only had it once a week in the home he´d been in !) Volta is distressing for the child and parents but we soon began to notice an improvement and at 4 he took his first steps alone. He still walks like a little robot but who cares. Once he was walking we then concentrated on exercising the mouth in the hope that he would one day speak, and with the help of a teddy that repeated everything said to it ( which Andy adored) he began to speak a 5 1/2. How many times had I prayed that he would say just one word so that I would know we were getting to him, and now I almost always laugh when I have to tell him to PLEASE stop talking Andy!!!

He`s had his share of operations, heart, fused fingers separated, hernia, one testical removed, the other brought down and his latest 5 teeth extracted as he wouldn´t let anyone near his mouth to try with a brace. Andy´s the most loving child I´ve ever known, still demands at least 20 kisses a day and smiles at everyone although the older he gets and stronger the more difficult it has become to try to teach him that he´s not allowed to throw his arms around everyone he meets. He´s got 1 1/2 years left at school where he´s learnt to read very well and although very slowly he can now read almost anything. As we are an English family living in Germany his main language is German but he understands most english which we never thought possible.

We are at the moment looking for somewhere for him for when he leaves school and hope for him to go into a day centre where he can work with his hands as his perception of shapes and sizes plus his magnificent memory put most people to shame. He can do a new jigsaw puzzle in half the time it takes me and when he´s done it once he then turns all the pieces over and puts the blank side together perfectly.

Like lots of other RTS kids he adores music, playing Nintendo and cartoons, but he is of course still severly disabled. He can´t for instance fasten buttons, wash himself or brush his teeth properly. He´s been out of nappies for years but still almost daily simply forgets to go to the toilet, and we keep the local mattress firm in business. He has no feeling of fullness no matter how much he eats which means we have to constantly watch him or he´ll just help himself to the whole fridge, but he´s managed to stay slim as he´s always moving some part of his body, he just cannot be still.

Well that´s our Andy and as I write poems in my spare time I thought you may like to read one named of course, ANDY

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