It doesn’t take long for Lizzie to show her true colors.
Her dark brown, curly hair bounces across her forehead as she concentrates on filling a metal container with cubes of colorful wax.
In one hand is a pair of long plastic tweezers, which she uses to pluck the wax squares from one container to put into another. A little unsure of her dexterity, she quickly assists with her hands and plunks a bright orange cube into her heart-shaped container.
She looks up and laughs brightly at her creation, which includes not only cubes of wax, but figures of red lips, high heels and a heart.
Lizzie is a girl ready for fun and bubbling over with excitement at Make Meaning at the Scottsdale Quarter, where she is making her candle.
“Today was a perfect day for this activity,” said Rene Jenkins, Lizzie’s guardian ad litem.
“I’m sure if you allowed her, she’d come back every week. But she enjoys painting, coloring, pretty much anything that has to do with creating,” Jenkins said.
Lizzie, 11, has a moderate cognitive disability and will need life-long care. She has lived in a group foster home since March.
“At this time in the group home, I understand she enjoys baking. She enjoys helping out with the staff members and the other girls,” Jenkins said. “She tends to socialize and engage well with other children.”
She is enrolled in the fifth-grade and has an independent education plan to help her get the one-on-one attention she needs to learn and develop skills.
“She’s very interested in the world she lives in,” Jenkins said. Currently, that world includes a certain male pop icon.
When a Justin Bieber song comes across the radio, Lizzie jumps up from her seat and begins to dance along. She shakes her head back and forth, moving to the catchy beat. A huge smile never leaves her face.
“At our last team meeting, that’s where I became aware of her crush on Justin Bieber,” Jenkins said. “Which is age-appropriate and she just seems to like everything about him. She’s at an age where she’s starting to discover pop culture, music and teen idols. She’s got a great sense of humor and always looking to have a great time.”
She’s also very interested in finding her forever family. Lizzie has lived in potential adoptive homes before that did not work out and Jenkins said the disruptions have not dissuaded Lizzie’s interest in having a permanent home and family.
“Lizzie does speak about a forever family and that’s what we’re looking for at this time,” Jenkins said. “She desires a home of her own where she has possibly siblings, a mother, a father, an everyday lifestyle with a family.”
Interested families do not need to have specific skills to care for Lizzie, but they do need to understand that Lizzie will need life-long care and will not be able to live independently.
For more information about Lizzie, please contact Brianna Rossi at (602) 930-4601 or via e-mail at email@example.com.