By Kate Quesada

When FishHawk resident Rebecca Long received a photograph of Zeke, a baby living in China with albinism, she fell in love and is now working hard to raise enough funds to bring him to Lithia. In December, through personal donations and an online auction, the community donated more than $4,000 to help Long reach her $17,000 goal, but she still needs help.

A single mom with six children, some biological and some also adopted, Long thought that her family was complete until her agency sent her information about Zeke, who is living near Inner Mongolia in the Hebei province.

“He has albinism which means he lacks pigment in his skin and people with albinism often have poor vision too. He also has anemia most likely from poor nutrition,” said Long. “In China, people who are born different are considered to bring a curse to the family and they are ostracized by the society. His life there would be very difficult.”

“I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received regarding bringing Zeke home,” said Long. “It started with my softball team asking for donations and has grown from there. I am so moved how the community cares for a little boy half way across the world.”

Local businesses including Agape Chic, Backyard Birds, Mobile Frenzy Detail, Davenport Daily Delights, Bridge Boutique and Wood Crafts and More and author Kim Clark all donated to the on-line auction. Long has also received support from local businesses like Mike Brand of Vortex Security, Debra Caputo, who has offered a donation of her Arbonne sales and Bob and Madonna Abruzzese who donated $100.

“It’s important to note that I live debt free and even volunteer-facilitate budgeting classes at FishHawk Fellowship Church,” said Long. “I’ve saved, budgeted, sold things and sacrificed to get this far in the adoption process. However adoption is very expensive. Most dual income families also fundraise. My career is flexible and I have the means and more importantly love to care for baby Zeke.”

A painting event is in the planning stages at FishHawk Fellowship this month. Contact Long at rebeccabauerlong@gmail.com for more information on the event. Visit www.AdoptTogether.org/thelongfam.