THE COATES FAMILY: A Very Happy Ending

Next month, Cathy and Aaron Coates will celebrate their one-year anniversary of being Sergei's parents. They all have a lot to be thankful for and one of those things is the KidsFirst Foundation grant that your donations made possible.

When Cathy and Aaron received Sergei's referral, they learned that he had a cleft palate. Like anyone would, they worried about the cost of future surgeries. That's when the Foundation stepped in.

A few years ago, the Foundation instituted a grant program designed to get more special needs kids out of orphanages and into loving families. The grants go up to $5,000 and that's what the Foundation provided to the Coates family last year.

"We traveled to Vologda in April of 2009 to meet Sergei and what we found was one great little boy,"" said Cathy. "There was no question that we would be a family. But, we were concerned about the costs associated with one or more surgeries. The Foundation grant helped put us at ease and we really appreciate the generosity of the organization and its donors."

Sergei's surgery was completed just before his second birthday at Riley Hospital for Children last September. Fortunately, insurance picked up the majority of the surgery costs. So, the grant dollars have been put to use funding the weekly speech therapy sessions that Sergei will need for the next several years.

Cathy is busy working as a stay-at-home mom. Aaron works as the chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Zionsville Community High School. Sergei is a happy two-year-old boy and mom tells us that he is coming along nicely with his speech. Cheers to the Coates family and thanks to all you KidsFirst Foundation donors for helping us create a happy ending.

Currently, more than one million children live in orphanages in the former Soviet Union. Only about 15,000 are adopted each year.
The KidsFirst Foundation has already made a difference in the lives of many children and families.