Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants

by Angels In Waiting
Play Video
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Help America's Special Needs & Autistic Infants
Our Comfort Crisis Penguin Crew To The Rescue!
Our Comfort Crisis Penguin Crew To The Rescue!

Helping Children from Robb Elementary School Cope with One More Heartless School Shooting in America!

How Many More Angels Must We Send Back To Heaven? 

Decades ago, Angels In Waiting created a therapeutic stuffed toy to help medically fragile foster care toddlers and children in crisis cope and heal from numerous painful medical procedures and the trauma of being placed into countless foster homes. 

In 2012, the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. The loss of 24 1st graders' innocent lives -dropped AIW's founder to her knees, literally and figuratively! She looked for a way to help heal the trauma of the remaining siblings and survivors of one of our deadliest shootings in US history.

Our founder, Linda West-Conforti, was aware of the therapeutic effect of AIW's comfort penguin from feedback from foster parents, social workers, and nurses who received a comfort penguin for their medically fragile foster child -in need. As requested, AIW donated and shipped 500 of AIW's crisis penguins to Sandy Hook's "Therapeutic Crisis-Out-Reach Community.". AIW's Crisis Penguins won the hearts of counselors, parents, and children who were all deeply devastated by this heartbreaking and gut-retching loss of precious young lives. Here is a video clip from CBS, The Doctors, about the therapeutic healing effects of AIW's crisis penguin had on children from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxGs5OYMUcY

 A decade later, May 24, 2022, marks another dark day in American history. Another merciless torture and killing of innocent elementary school children occurred. Recruits who took an oath to protect and serve waited outside for nearly an hour for orders; to enter.  

  Crisis Counselors from the surrounding communities around Uvalde, Texas, reached out to Newtown, Connecticut, for help and guidance. One of the counselors told a therapist you have to find the lady with the penguins and sent her the above clip from The Doctors. 

 As the counselor sought the crisis penguin, our founder was pursuing a therapist to send AIW's crisis penguin too. So, once again, with a heavy heart, AIW's Crisis Penguins were donated and shipped to Rob Elementary School-age children to help them cope with another cold-blooded senseless elementary school shooting. 

 Sadly, school shootings are an American epidemic and the remedy to prevent these shootings is not an easy task. Unfortunately, school shooting tragedies seem to be a new staple to our society - many children are massacred and traumatized in American schools due to these televised shootings. Created by ill youths who did not get access to the mental health services they so desperately needed. As a result, our beloved children die in our classrooms as America tallies up one more heartless school shooting. 

 Angels in Waiting continues with our foundation's mission of recruiting nurses, to care for our medically fragile foster care population.  While infants and children are placed into the hearts and hands of our dedicated nurses. Many of these children, through our nurses' hearts, will also find their forever families.

 Providing Comfort /Crisis Penguins to Rob Elementary School shootings survivors was not its initial intention. Still, we are delighted to know our therapeutic toy is helping children in Uvalde, Texas, cope with another dark tragedy in American history.

 We understand donation funds may be tight with the rising cost of living, including gas prices and putting food on the table. However, if you can find a small donation amount for our projects, it would be extensively utilized to help more little Angels In Waiting thrive through the hearts and hands of our dedicated nurses.

 God Bless,

Linda West-Conforti.

Our Crisis Penguin To The Rescue Once Again : (
Our Crisis Penguin To The Rescue Once Again : (
Staging penguins with therapeutic crisis cards
Staging penguins with therapeutic crisis cards

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sammy against all odds
Sammy against all odds

Sammy is graduating High School next week. My amazing nephew. He could have been forever lost in the Foster care system. I thank God for the remarkable opportunity my Sister Linda Conforti, a nurse, and her life-altering organization, Angels in Waiting, provided for Sammy and thousands of other little souls -who need a safe harbor to weather the storm life has thrown at them. Sensing the power of unquestioning love through the skilled hands of a dedicated nurse, they call Mommy. 

I remember as a baby; his Healthcare Team didn't have much hope for Sammy. Claiming he will deeply struggle his whole life. As a baby, we welcomed Sammy into our family with no limitations, challenges -yes, limitations -no. 

Sammy thrived in his world, addressing his challenges head-on and overcoming his bleak prognoses and challenges. Sammy is a bright, evolved, hard-working, sweet soul! As he graduates from High School, I marvel at Sammy's other milestones. He graduated from a bleak life-treating birth at 23-weeks gestational age, navigated through his mother's drug addiction, countless surgeries, painful medical procedures, and numerous Code Blues. Sammy graduated from the words of medical experts that gave him a dismal cognitive and medical prognosis. He even graduated from the cruel, judgemental eyes of others, the struggles of schooling in a system unsympathetic to his challenges and learning method.

How I wish I could attend all the other graduations of extraordinary souls, Angels In Waiting charity helped usher onto the graduation ceremony stages! 

So many success stories just from my sister's; Linda Conforti's home... Imagine the ripple effect of hundreds of other Nurses opening their homes and hearts to these medically fragile foster care babies, children, and youths. A domino effect that is truly amazing to witness! Love equals more Love. Charity equals more Charity. Hope equals more Hope. 

Aunt Cindy

 

Sammy 1 lbs. 1 oz. 23 weeks gestational age
Sammy 1 lbs. 1 oz. 23 weeks gestational age
Prom Night
Prom Night
The Graduate
The Graduate

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
John Joe A Christmas Blessing
John Joe A Christmas Blessing

My wife and I are both registered nurses and have worked in the hospital for several years, unaware that a special, underserved population needed our nursing knowledge and skills; medically fragile babies/children in foster care. The program that allows preferential placement of medically fragile children into the homes of nurses was introduced to us by a friend. To our delight, we learned that the founder of this amazing program lived close to us in Southern CA.  Linda West, a registered nurse and the founder of Angels in Waiting (AIW). Ms. West is a strong advocate for medically fragile children and took her time to clearly explain the process and the steps that we needed to take for the approval to become a resource family home for these vulnerable at-risk children. The law for preferential placement of medically fragile babies into the homes of nurses was passed in California following the advocacy work of AIW under the leadership of Ms. Linda.

One day my wife received a call that every nurse foster parent awaits, with both anxiety and expectation. Every baby is unique, has specific psycho-social factors, unique medical diagnoses, and a myriad of other factors that make these calls very special. Fortunately, in our case, the social worker called about a 3-month-old baby whose identity was uncertain and his birth history unknown. The little Angel had been named John Joe! No one had claimed him, and no one had any information about his health history. His biological parent gave him up for adoption discretely. The baby boy suffered from failure to thrive issues and had severe abdominal complications. He needed a gastric tube to meet his nutritional needs at two days of age. My wife listened to the caller intently. She was faced with an immediate dilemma; was the family ready to take on another baby? Was the baby too ill to thrive or survive? Was the family prepared for the emotional roller coaster that comes with the lack of information, health history, or family dynamics? She requested time to discuss the options with me, promising the social worker a response by the end of that day. After careful consideration and prayer, we decided to explore the potential with hope and optimism. We made arrangements to meet the baby "John Joe," whose name was more of a placeholder than an identity.

It was a Sunday afternoon when I,  my wife, and our oldest biological daughter visited the baby at the hospital for the first time. It was love at first sight! Our hearts were open, right along with our home for the medically fragile foster care population. It was no longer a difficult decision; he was meant to come home with us. His demeanor was one of optimism, love, and charisma. He was happy; despite his painful abdominal abnormalities, he was a smiling, joyful, an enchanting little angel- who needed us. We could not resist. We knew we would adopt him right there and then -if we got the opportunity. Given the fact that his biological birth family was absent, he was already up for adoption.

We began the process for adoption, which involves consultations with the doctors, the department of children and family services, social workers, and specialty providers. We continued to visit our little Angel as his health stabilized enough for discharge from the hospital. The bonding started before his hospital discharge and will continue throughout his life. The adoption process takes a long time. As we follow instructions and work with the social workers, we care for Angel John Joe as his nurse-foster parents. He turns four years old this December, and we eagerly await for the adoption process to be complete. We can't wait to give him his forever family and our family's last name!

We have age-appropriate honest discussions regarding his history, foster, and adoption journey. Even at this tender age, he knows he is loved, safe, and cared for. He has been an absolute blessing to our family. He blended in and attended all family affairs, including local and international trips. One of the family hobbies is traveling, and all our children have traveled more than most other kids their age. We took vacations to Hawaii, a Safari in Kenya, and several other local tourist destinations. John Joe is an excellent travel companion, despite his constant need for close monitoring and tube feedings. He receives therapy and other supportive interventions to foster optimum growth and his developmental milestones. He participates in age-appropriate social and family activities and is overall a thriving child.

You might ask where does Angels In Waiting come into play with all this? AIW is committed to recruiting nurses and supporting them as nurse foster parents. The approval process is rigorous and cumbered with bureaucracy. AIW holds the nurses' hand to ensure they receive correct and timely information on their approval progress. Sometimes AIW receives referrals for the children/babies who need the specialized care of a nurse, and AIW attempts to match the children with the most appropriate family. 

AIW continues with advocacy work to expand the program to more counties in California. AIW is a 501c3 organization and heavily relies on donations to carry out its mission. When you give to AIW, you participate in ensuring the most vulnerable humans in foster care are matched with the appropriate, well-prepared foster homes of nurses. The nurse provides parental and nursing care needed to reduce prolonged hospitalizations or placement into institutions. The program has resulted in higher adoption rates and shorter stays in foster care.

John Joe's sibling set of three sisters.
John Joe's sibling set of three sisters.
John Joe will soon be adopted.
John Joe will soon be adopted.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sammy our founder son & founder of SammysBill.org
Sammy our founder son & founder of SammysBill.org


That call from the special medical placement social worker almost always starts the same way, "Hi Mary, there is a baby that might be a good match for your family…. would you be interested in meeting her?" My last one was not any different.

The social worker attempted to summarize the story of Baby Sara, but about 2 minutes into the call, I knew little Sara had to come to our home. I knew she was a perfect match for our family. I answered yes. Sara needed a safe home. She needed to be cuddled and a good dose of love.

Most importantly, she needed a nurse. Her recovery was going to be a long road with potential twists and turns. She needed me.

Sara was an 11-month-old little girl who had been in the children's hospital for two months prior to the call. She had suffered non-accidental trauma, which is a nice way to describe physical abuse and violence. Sara suffered from brain damage from abusive head trauma, multiple fractured ribs, a fractured femur, and a lacerated liver. She was severely malnourished and very underweight. This precious angel had spent three weeks in the intensive care unit and four weeks in acute rehab. She was finally ready to be discharged from the hospital after two head surgeries to evacuate fluid and several abdominal surgeries. She had hydrocephalus. She had Incision wounds on her scalp that needed daily cleaning and dressing. She had lost almost all milestones. Sara could no longer sit independently or support her head upright. Her head was large in comparison to the rest of her tiny body. She could no longer suck on a bottle and was dependent on G-tube for nutrition. Sara was behind on her vaccines. Her recovery would require an intense, well-coordinated rehab program involving several specialists and therapists, including neurologists, gastrologists, and rehab medicine.

Before the trauma, Sara was developing like any other baby. She was crawling, starting to pull up on furniture to stand, bubbling and giggling. She was feeding from a bottle.

After Sara was born, she was discharged to her father. The mother had tested positive for drugs throughout the pregnancy. The father did not have a stable home and was staying in a motel. An altercation between the parents led to violence, and Sara was removed from the unsafe environment and placed with an aunt. Sara's abuse happened while in this first foster placement with a relative.

It sounds like a straightforward placement of a vulnerable child to a foster home, right?

Well, it has not always been so. It was not always a particular medical placement social worker calling a home of a pediatric nurse. It certainly was not straightforward 18 years ago when Sammy was born at 23 weeks gestation. But, it's nothing short of a miracle that he survived. And no, there was nothing like a law enabling preferential placement of medically fragile children to foster parents who are nurses!

Linda Conforti, founder and CEO of Angels In Waiting (AIW), did not get such a call. She just happened to be a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse who was friends with the owner of the group home where Sammy was placed after 20 months of hospitalization. However, the events surrounding Sammy's health and adoption by Linda's family led to an epiphany. She knew that she needed to find other dedicated nurses to help her save as many medically fragile foster babies as possible, and Angels In Waiting was born.

Before AIW, it was incredibly difficult for CPS Social Workers to find appropriate foster placement homes for medically fragile children who need nursing care outside of the hospital. As a result, this led to prolonged hospital stays and placement into institutions. AIW recruits nurses who can provide both parental and nursing care to the children in a loving home until they are medically stable or find an appropriate permanent home. Many of these extraordinary nurses end up adopting the children. It has taken the focused and persistent advocacy work of Angels in Waiting to create a law that requires preferential placement of a medically fragile child to a foster home of a nurse. As a result, the medical social workers from the counties represented get access to the certified nurse foster parents that are licensed to care for these vulnerable children. AIW has collaborated with adoption and foster care agencies and the department of children and social services. To recruit nurses, train them, and create a system where the most vulnerable of babies who fall into the unfortunate state of needing to be in a foster home are matched and preferentially placed in a home of a nurse who is a parent as well as the child's nurse.

AIW, being a 501C3 organization, sorely depends on donors to support the ongoing recruitment, training, advocating, and support of nurses willing to be foster parents. But, unfortunately, they are often forced to take leave or stop working altogether to care for these children.
Your donation will be utilized in the ongoing projects that include and are not limited to:

Expansion of AIW's program is needed in more counties throughout California. We are recruiting and training more nurses. Marin County, located in the Northwest part of the San Francisco Bay area, has reached out and requested more nurses. Your donation will allow more nurses to confidently answer "yes" when that call comes.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Angel Zoey
Angel Zoey

For the past eight weeks, in a medical facility, surrounded by covid-patients, worrying families, and over-worked doctors and nurses, Casey has been fighting for her foster daughter's future. 

In hopes of finding a long-term solution for her 2-year-old daughter Zoey's condition, Casey has embarked on an arduous journey that has taken her and Zoey thousands of miles away from home to an unfamiliar city; all to ensure that Zoey has access to the best medical attention and with it a chance at a thriving childhood.

The story starts, unbelievably, about 20 years before Zoey was born.

It started with the adoption of Casey's first daughter, who is now 22 years old. She was six months old when Casey brought her home from her foster family.

Years after the adoption, Casey was asked if she would consider foster care. She took time to talk with her family, and with their support, she accepted the position as a foster mom.

Casey was then introduced to Linda Conforti of Angels In Waiting. Linda was very transparent about the pros and cons of caring for medically fragile children. She told Casey that this job is a 24-hour a day commitment. As a "Nurse, Foster Mom," Linda explained that" Casey would have the opportunity to help many babies thrive! She would be a very integral part of helping infant's manage their complex medical conditions. Casey's unwavering commitment, and love for children made it impossible to pass on such an unbelievable opportunity. She could always have babies and children to love on and

to care for, and she would also be involved in their daily medical care.

Casey's family expanded with twin girls, born at 24 weeks gestational age. She hesitated to take two babies, but could not say no. These twin girls had several doctor appts. And they were hospitalized many times while growing with medical conditions. Casey weathered the storms with the babies and ended up adopting them. She couldn't imagine life without them.

Recently, Casey and her family again chose to love and dedicate the needed nursing care for another medically fragile foster child in need- 2-year-old Zoey.

Zoey has the unbridled joy of a 2-year-old, a fragile angel who suffers from an overactive pancreas. This condition produces too much insulin for her tiny body to handle, which has caused a series of health complications that have led to constant nursing care and interventions to help stabilize her vastly fluctuating blood sugars.

Zoey needs acute nursing care, and we must monitor her 24 hours a day. She carries a feeding bag on her back at all times, which provides her nourishment.

Zoey's doctor was able to find a hospital where they specialize in her very rare condition. Casey excitedly jumped at the chance to help yet another child thrive by receiving the medical care necessary for her survival. Casey believes that with the proper treatment, Zoey's condition can be tremendously improved.

Casey has recently traveled thousands of miles across the country with Zoey to receive the best medical care for her condition and a possible long-term solution for her rare disease (Congenital Hyper- Insulinemia). The journey has been long and costly; everything from transportation, to sleeping arrangements and meals, has been incredibly uncertain. The struggles of the covid-19 pandemic only exaggerate their already arduous journey.

Casey and her entire family are doing their very best to give Zoey the best possible future. Every member of the family has made sacrifices for this sweet bundle of joy.

The cost, both financially and emotionally, has been significant for Zoey's devoted family, but this family shows no signs of discouragement. They will not give up the fight for baby Zoey's life and her future. They know a better life is in store for little Zoey and whatever it takes to help her get the medical care she needs is precisely what they intend to do.

Casey's passion and commitment to her children is unwavering.

"God has placed all of these children in my life because they need love and care, and I love each of them so very much. I love being a nurse, foster mother, and an adoptive mom. I love helping medically fragile children to live- happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. So, I will continue to fight, not only for Zoey, but for all of the little souls that God sends our way."

We seek donations to offset Casey's expenses and lost wages, as she cares for her precious angel, Zoey. Casey sits 16 hours per day in an uncomfortable hospital chair, thousands of miles away from her home in an unfamiliar hospital during our growing pandemic to secure Zoey's future for a happy childhood. Please pray for Casey and Zoey, and if you are capable, please help support Casey and the generous heart of a nurse who will go the extra mile to save a child.

*Names changed upon request

One More Check-Up For Zoey
One More Check-Up For Zoey
On The Road Again...
On The Road Again...

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Angels In Waiting

Location: Blue Jay, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Linda West-Conforti RN
Blue Jay, Ca. United States
$40,159 raised of $55,000 goal
 
903 donations
$14,841 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Angels In Waiting has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.