Meet Lily Bridges.
She is six-years-old and lives in Brookland, Arkansas with her mom, Lauren and two dogs.
Lily was born with multiple diagnoses, but there is one that sticks out.
“The main diagnoses she has is spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which means that below the waist she needs full assistance”, said Lauren Bridges.
Lily was put up for adoption as a baby.
All children up for adoption in Arkansas go through a special program.
Project Zero is a non-profit that focuses on finding homes for all the children in the foster care system.
That is how Lauren found Lily.
Bridges says her adoption file was not the best, “Her medical records are longer than most adults, but she deserved a chance to have a life and to have a family that treats her like any other child”.
After months of getting to know Lily, Lauren brought her home in November of 2014.
Lauren is a single parent, but knew she wanted to adopt.
“If I wouldn’t have took a chance on Lily she would still be where she is”, said Lauren.
While Lily had a rough start to life, she now a typical kid.
“She didn’t know how to play, she had never been in a car seat other than to go to the hospital or to the doctor. So, it was very scary for her to do all those things. Now she is a typical six-year-old. She plays miracle league baseball. She does what every other six-year-old does”, said Lauren.
Thanks to Project Zero Lily has been able to find her forever family. Now they are working on finding forever homes for the 375 other kids in the foster care system here in Arkansas.
Christie Erwin, Executive Director for Project Zero says they are searching for the perfect family, “Not just any old family. We believe that they are valuable, and they are unique and they deserve to have the very best family”.
Those in the system vary from babies, kids, and teens.
The longer they are in the program, the less hope they have, “As time wore on days, months, years of waiting in foster care. Hopelessness became their reality and they begin to wonder am I ever going to be enough? Am I ever gonna measure up? Am I ever gonna be chosen?”, said Erwin.
Project Zero holds monthly events to help connect kids with families and give them hope.
Their motto is 1+1=0.
“Just one family saying yes can change everything for a waiting child”, said Erwin.
Lily has been home now for almost four years.
Since she was so young, she does not remember the adoption process.
She is happy with her home though.
“I just want my mommy to be right beside me”, said Lily as she hugged her mom.
If you are interested in learning more about the waiting kids in Arkansas you can go online to theprojectzero.org.