We adopted our beautiful daughter, Shena, at 14 months old from Ethiopia. We were so excited to bring her and her twin sister, Kebe, into our family, sharing in a physical adoption that mirrored the spiritual adoption we were so grateful for! As the years went by, we grew more and more attached to our twins, and we watched as their personalities grew and they become individuals. Kebe is more shy and quiet, though she can belt out a tune when she needs to, while Shena is more rambunctious and outgoing. As the more natural extrovert, Shena was (and is) fun to hang out with. She always had spunk and enthusiasm. Through the years, we noticed that there was some resistence and opposition growing, though it was always contained while she was younger. We did some therapy through the years, and felt pretty good about our attachment and where things were headed.
Fast forward to March, 2020, when the world was turned upside down by COVID-19. All our kids came home 24/7 for several months as schools and stores shut down. This was when we really noticed Shena’s behavior’s escalating. Over the next few months, Shena struggled to regulate and her behaviors could not be managed. We struggled through day after day, battling mental exhaustion and weariness, as it took a toll on our whole family. It is VERY complex, and cannot be reduced to any one thing. We did general counseling for a few months, and then got in with a highly trained early childhood trauma and attachment specialist. We are recognizing that this is going to be a long road for our family, and there is no easy fix that will make it go away. But we are committed to doing everything we can to help Shena, and to see healing take place in her and our family.
Previously, we had raised funds to help support our family financially as Shena was at a childrens home in southern Illinois. The Lord provided through friends and family, and a matching grant from Lifesong. While we were hopeful for healing and transformation through this avenue that opened up rather miraculously, Shena was only there for about 2.5 months, before she was discharged due to violent behavior. At the end of November, Shena transitioned to a home that specializes with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), in Texas. This is a private pay guardianship agreement in a therapeutic home environment. The house parents have been working with chlidren with RAD and other attachment and trauma for 25+ years. This home works with a highly skilled psychologist, psychiatrist and attachment therapist that they have partnered with for years and years as well.
The cost for this home is $2,800/month (substantially more than the childrens home), not including the “out of network” (and out of pocket) costs for the pscyhologist and psychiatrist that Shena is (and will be) seeing. Our previous funding raised through Lifesong will last for 3 months at this new home. This is not covered by health insurance or any other method, and needs to be paid out of pocket. We are expecting her to be there 12-18 months, but have been told to prepare for 18 ($50,000). We are so thankful that Lifesong has given us an additional $10,000 grant, in order to spur our community to give and have their gifts matched up to the $10,000. Lifesong has been so incredibly gracious and caring through this process. They have followed our story and really went above and beyond with this second grant! We are so grateful for the love and support we’ve experienced through this process.
In full transparency, your donations will go to Lifesong, and they turn around and reimburse us for expenses incurred for the monthly costs from a paid invoice and cancelled check each month. Thank you for considering a donation to help cover some of these costs! And quite honestly, for praying for our family. The power of prayer is real, and this is critical over the next 18 months!
To help put your donation into perspective:
$100 donation pays for 1 day of care.
$1400 donation pays for 2 weeks of care.
$2800 pays for 4 weeks of care.
If you feel moved we are ok with this need being shared within your community. Knowing you and your friends/family are praying means the world to us! And PLEASE ask if you want to know more details, or if anyone you share this with would like more details (we prefer to keep a lot of the hard to write details off this to protect Shena, since it is a public internet page).
John 6:68 says ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.’ When all else we cherish is stripped away from us, God alone remains.
Hold on beloved, Ressurection day approaches.
STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Kellenberger 90286”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 9, Gridley, IL 61744.
Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.
- In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
- Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.