Posted by: nicholemm | November 14, 2013

Richie

RichieIn 2003, along with the completion of Cottage 4 at Westhaven Children’s Home, came the addition of 20+ boys and girls in need of a home. Many of us were excited to hear that young children had arrived amongst the new additions. One little boy in particular, Richard Campbell, became a fast “favorite” as he was the youngest child to arrive to Westhaven in years.

Richard Campbell was born on May 9, 2001. He was abandoned as an infant and spent time at Blossom Garden Children’s Home prior to his arrival at Westhaven. I remember the first time I met Richard. He was only 2 years old and he wanted to be held constantly, as most toddlers do. Richard settled into life at the orphanage quickly and was constantly getting into mischief. A gait impairment couldn’t even slow him down! He had many of the Westhaven staff and visiting missionaries wrapped around his finger. After all- who could resist those cute kissable cheeks and his big smile?

My mother, Wendy Johnson, began going on mission trips to Jamaica in January 2000. She has taken care of children with special needs for over twenty years by providing home care as a Licensed Practical Nurse. It was always a dream of hers to adopt a child. After returning to Jamaica and visiting Westhaven in the spring of 2004 she started that process after meeting Richard. You see, Richard not only had my mother wrapped around his finger but he also stole her heart.

After submitting the initial paperwork for the adoption my mother made regular trips back to Jamaica to bond more with Richard. In November of 2004 and again in the spring of 2005 she was even able to take Richard from Westhaven to stay with her at a hotel during her visits. Finally, on August 13, 2005 she was able to bring him home to Minnesota. His official date of adoption was Valentine’s Day in 2006.

It’s hard to believe that Richard, whom we now call Richie, has been officially a part of our family for over seven years. It’s even harder to believe that he is now as tall as I am and that his 12th birthday is right around the corner. My mother and Richie currently live in Sanford, North Carolina. They moved here to be near me after I relocated to North Carolina in 2010 with my husband for military purposes. I am able to see Richie daily and he stays with me on the nights that my mother works. Richie is in sixth grades and attends East Lee Middle School and is doing well academically. He still has the gait impairment, but it is still not slowing him down. Richie loves playing outside in the neighborhood with his friends, playing video games (like most pre-teen boys) and this week was talking excitedly about working with clay in his art class at school. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Richie and what the little troublemaker from Westhaven will do when he becomes an adult. In the meantime, we are having a great time watching him grow up and I am very proud to call him my brother.

By: Lora Jackson


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