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Caregiver Story Spotlight: The Joys of Adopting Special Needs Children

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
02/28/12  7:50 PM PST

Michele K. in Illinois shared her inspirational story about the beautiful rewards of caring for special needs children…

“Sixteen years ago we decided to adopt a special needs child. We already had four biological children. The first child that came into our home was severely drug exposed and premature. It was so rewarding right from the start – we truly were blessed beyond measure. We decided to adopt more special needs children. We adopted a total of five children, four with special needs. Two of these children will need a care giver and supervision their entire lives. They all have different needs  but each has become an integral part of our family, where they are LOVED, cared for and accepted for who they are.

When our disabled son moved in at 1 1/2 years old, nothing moved on his body. That was 10 years ago. We did alot of therapy, he had some surgeries, constant doctor appointments and tons of interactions and stimulation with our other children. Today, he walks and plays. Each milestone he crossed was huge!! Things one would take for granted with “normal, healthy children” are a very big deal to us. We celebrate even the littlest things. Others say our family has been such a blessing to him. We say he has blessed our lives more!! He needs supervision and constant care and most likely will his entire life. Our older biological children said if anything happens to us, they will always take care of him and his brother (these 2 are the higher level special needs). My eldest daughter plans on adopting special needs children some day. Caring for these special children has enlarged all our hearts. And when there is a need, we act upon it.

As parents we see the positive impact these special needs children have had on our other children, family, friends and strangers. We believe others have learned to respect and appreciate others that have special needs through coming to know our children. After all, they are people too! Our older children were very involved in sports and extracurricular activities and we went to everything as a family. The other kids on the teams loved our “special” children and we know their lives have been impacted too. We’ve been able to share our “story” in depth with many. Hopefully it has touched their lives in a positive way too.

Caregiving is an extension of who we ARE! At the end of the day, when we lay our head on our pillows and close our eyes, we know we made a difference in their lives and in the world that day and in the days prior and those yet to come. That is the REWARD!

We also have a grandpa living in our home that is in hospice care now. That’s an extension to this story. The opportunity to care for him in his final days has also blessed us in many ways.”

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