If you thought your mom worked hard, take a look at Clorissa Alcantara. The single foster mother has adopted five children and cares for one more. Four of her adopted children are siblings that have sickle cell disease, a red blood cell disorder that can cause pain, extreme fatigue and can lead to anemia. Two of the children with sickle cell also have eating disorders.
After she adopted her kids, Alcantara found herself in constant motion: running the kids back and forth to the doctor, feeding them, making sure that they did their homework, giving them their medication. Life for Alcantara, like for most moms, was a juggling act.
The difference between Alcantara and most other moms was that her kids needed constant supervision. All of the four siblings arrived at Alcantara's house underweight. Miracle and Albin, the youngest of the four, were so thin they needed to be fed intravenously through tubes. If one of the two children turned the wrong way in their sleep, their tube would come off.
Today, Michael, Tamika, Albin and Miracle are still underweight, but Alcantara says that she has learned to care for them effectively. She says the trick is to recognize when one of the children are about to catch a cold and head it off. To do that she stocks up on Vapor Rub and makes sure her kids drink plenty of water.
In their spare time the children love to watch movies on DVD. "That's our big family activity," says Alcantara. In conjunction with CL's Give & Get program, Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema is giving Alcantara 10 free movie passes to share with her family.
Alcantara says she's proud she has offered her kids a better life, but she wishes she could do more.
"I'd really love to take them on a vacation," Alcantara says. "They've never been on a vacation. Just to relax and sightsee. That would be great."
See www.atlanta.creativeloafing.com/giveget for more Give & Get profiles.