Our Founding Story
It is because of their children, with such compromised pasts and uncertain futures, that Cindy Kaplan and Mishelle Rudzinski were inspired to co-found SPOON Foundation.
Both adoptive mothers of kids born in Kazakhstan, Cindy adopted her son Jadyn in 2006 at the age of 7 months. Jadyn was severely malnourished with a "failure to thrive" diagnosis. At 8 months he weighed 11 pounds and did not have the strength to lift his head. Doctors in the U.S. suspected neurological problems and were close to classifying him as a "special needs adoption." After several months of a higher calorie diet post-adoption, Jadyn began to develop along a normal trajectory, albeit on a delayed schedule.
Mishelle adopted her daughter Bakha in 2006 at the age of 5 years. Bakha's posture was hunched and she walked little and poorly, with much pain. She was mistakenly thought to have an untreatable, degenerative condition and was weeks away from being transferred to a "special needs orphanage." Within days of adoption, Mishelle suspected rickets and began giving her a vitamin supplement. Within weeks, Bakha was walking, then running. She grew 8 inches in the first year home.
Cindy and Mishelle have watched their children fight hard to "catch up," and though their progress has been great, their futures are still uncertain. While some disadvantages are inevitable considering their institutionalized pasts, their struggles would be considerably less had they had access to better nutrition early in life. SPOON Foundation's purpose is to ensure that kids like Jadyn and Bakha get the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.