Ordinarily when writing the child of the month feature I meet with the family to hear their story and then I write our post. This month’s child story came directly to my inbox thanks to Ms. Pati! Kai’s father was kind enough to send me Kai’s story. Sweet Kai’s story was too touching to re-write in my own words or even shorten; he truly has a story to be told.


February 2013: Kai

“Kai was found in a cardboard box near a water tower near Jincheng City, in central China. He was raised in an orphanage with over 300 children.”

UCP-OC Child of the Month_Kai“On February 20, 2012, Kai Min was united with my wife and I. He was 2 years 10 months old. It took my wife Lisa and I two years through the International Adoption process to get to this point. We had limited information on his health history except that he was born with rectal malformation and was abandoned by his parents at one day of age.

Our story unfolds from here. Lisa and I were given basic information on his psychosocial and motor development. Kai was described as “shy and kind.” He was described to be able to speak 5 words, sit alone but unable to walk. We were told he was potty trained and no longer had any bowel issues because of a surgical repair. It was recorded that he weighed 19 lbs. and we received 4 photos of him in the orphanage. Retrospectively, he looked very sad, and small compared to his fellow orphans.

Upon our “Gottcha Day”, the day orphans are united with their forever family, we saw a pale small fragile little boy that was expressionless. He showed no attachment to the caregivers that brought him to the Civil Affairs Office where we were united. Kai now entered into a new world.

UCP-OC Child of the Month_Kai
Kai’s Physical Therapist Cori uses an inverted half foam roll while he plays, reaches for toys and squatting to pick up fallen ones, in attempt to activate the muscles required for balance.  

On quick inspection, Kai appeared well cared for. It was not until we spent the next several hours to days that we realized his deficits. The back of Kai’s head was flat from spending all his time on his back in a “crib.” He could not roll, or lift his head off the carpet while lying on his stomach. Kai did not crawl or scoot, he could sit up if propped up. The smallest imbalance made him fall flat on his face. In fact, he had a permanent bump on his forehead from seemly repeated falls. Kai was 100% immobile at the ripe age of almost 3 years. When spoke to in Chinese, Kai had no response. We quickly discovered he had never learned the language. Surprisingly to us, Kai knew too well his toes and would play for hours with them by himself in the hotel room. Kai was a victim of his own body. We can only believe that he was left in social isolation in a small cradle that did not even allow him to move. Nonetheless, we were terrified, mad, and lived in disbelief.

Upon Kai’s arrival to the USA, I made multiple doctors’ appointments to have him formally tested for any congenital syndromes that might have been missed or misdiagnosed. After being evaluated by 7 specialists, and denied services by the school district, it appeared that Kai’s developmental delay was due to environmental issues. My wife and I were familiar with Help Me Grow, as our daughter was born premature. Out of the persistence to get Kai help, Help Me Grow directed us to United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County. UCP-OC welcomed Kai with open arms. They were the first organization that navigated the care and therapy that was needed for Kai.

 Today, Kai participates in 3 group sessions, and two individual therapies per week. Kai is blossoming into a boy that walks, runs, plays and climbs at every opportunity. He is beginning to put two words together. All these milestones in just 5 months of treatment! Kai is a new boy and no longer a victim of his own body. He has a long way to come, but nevertheless, he has been given the gift of a “Good Life” –a song my wife and I dedicated to him before meeting him.

Thank you UCP-OC for all your love and support of Kai.”


Dr. Joe & Lisa

If you would like to make a gift to support the services that are helping Kai and his family please click here or contact Elizabeth Wylie at ewylie@ucp-oc.org for more information


Published by Life Without Limits: UCP of Orange County

The mission of UCP of Orange County is to help children with disabilities reach their full potential and improve the quality of life for their families.

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