Adopt A Special Kid
Nola and Sarah Lyn:
She wouldn't speak. Her social worker told me that she had never heard Rosemarie speak. At 2 and 1/2 years of age, only her foster parents and siblings had heard her speak. There was some cause for concern. She had been born drug addicted and had experienced withdrawal shortly after birth. Perhaps there were severe learning disabilities.
Preparing for Rosemarie and Priscilla I had placed at the back door of the kitchen, a child's play kitchen that had a sink, stove, telephone, and small counter top table. Inside I had placed some toy dishes, pots and pans, and cooking utensils.
Sarah Lyn and I had taken the children out to the park and came back through the patio gate onto the back porch. Through the sliding glass windows Rosemarie could see the toy kitchen. When the glass doors were unlocked, she ran delightedly into the kitchen towards her toy kitchenette exclaiming, "My dishes!" This was the first time I had heard Rosemarie speak.
As she proceeded to play with her things, the other three of us, her older sister Priscilla, Sarah Lyn and I, came in past her. We all were silent and surprised. I sat down next to Sarah Lyn. Priscilla walked through the room and was standing not far from us. Even she was looking amazed.
Suddenly Rosemarie looked up and ran across the room. "Mom!" she exclaimed as she hopped into Sarah Lyn's lap. I found myself afraid to breathe, as though I could somehow destroy the moment. My heart ached and tears filled my eyes. Priscilla also was silent but nodded to me. All of us knew that at that moment, Rosemarie had made us a family.
Alan and Lori Smith:
Then came Shayne, 5, Nathanial, 1, and just recently Jonathon, 10, all adopted through AASK and with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities. Jonathon has diagnoses of cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and mental retardation. But, that's not how Lori sees him. She looks at the picture of the handsome, smiling boy on the mantle and simply sees her son.
Lori and Alan are fierce advocates for the children in their family and the love they have for their kids is evident in everything they do. All the Smith children participate in family activities, outings and celebrations. Laura and Brandon have their own roles with the younger kids: Laura likes to help with feeding and supervising, while Brandon can make the boys laugh like no one else can.
Having worked with kids with special needs before adopting, Lori developed a calling to provide them a family. The Smiths do not see themselves as stopping with 5 children; they know that there are thousands of children waiting and they can nurture a couple more.