Local woman helps sick Asian children find families in the states

Local woman helps sick Asian children find families in the states

A blood condition that's prevalent in Asia called thalassemia is a dire diagnosis for many children. Treatment is expensive and many parents can't afford it.

Many of these children end up in orphanages, but that condition can be treated very easily here. That's where Fanny Wilks comes in.

She has helped more than 20 of these children find families in America. She has adopted four of them. Her family started rapidly growing three years ago.

She and her husband decided they wanted to adopt. Through research they were led to China and wanted to adopt a special needs child.

" We have amazing insurance," Wilks said. "We decided the special needs program was right for us, so then it was a question of which child."

That's where they stumbled upon children that were on the waiting lists for years. They had a condition called thalessemia.

"It wasn't anything I really knew about," Wilks said. "I knew one adoptive family and started reading online. Thalessemia is a genetic blood disorder, found in China down to the Mediterranean to Italy. In China this is a death sentence, and in America it is not. "

It means transfusions and medications. Something that's relatively easy to get in America, but in China - not so much.

They moved forward and adopted five-year-old Chung Bean. When they flew to China to get him and realized the problem was much bigger than they thought.

"When we were going to China, we thought we were done," Wilks said. "We thought we would bring home one child and that would be it, and then we walked into the orphanage. There were hundreds of kids in that orphanage with medical needs. You look at them and think 'wow this child has so much potential and how will they reach it here?'"

On the flight home, they decided they would adopt another child. They brought three-year-old Laila back a few months later.

She was incredibly sick with the same condition.

Wilks said, "We were afraid she might pass away before we got there, so everything was expedited-on the China side, on the American side to get her home before it was too late."

The children receive blood transfusions at Nemours Children's Clinic in Pensacola every three weeks. They can now live like normal kids.

"Once I realized how dire it was there, but how well he was doing here, I just started advocating and finding all the kids who were waiting families," Wilks said.

She now has a blog and has helped around 25 families in America adopt Chinese children with the disorder. Through that work, God told her that her family wasn't done growing.

She is now in the process of adopting two more children.

She said, "We still have room at our table, room at our house. We still have great insurance, so we are going to go back for a couple of children. "