Photo Of Baby Stops Mom In Her Tracks, Travels Overseas With Family To Take Action
FaithTap Staff 4/7/2017
Adoption is no longer the answer for only those who can't have children of their own. Many families in the US who already have or can have biological children are still making the decision to expand their families through domestic and international adoptions.
While all adoption stories can be deemed as an extraordinary commitment of love and family, there are some that stand out as even more so. This story of the Stewart family in Utah is one such case.
Adrianne and Jason Stewart already had two biological daughters when they decided to adopt their son from the Philippines. In 2014, the Stewarts felt that it was time to expand again and started working with the same adoption agency, Hand in Hand, to see if they could welcome another child also from the Philippines.
Having been through the process before, Adrianne and Jason pretty much knew what to expect. However this time, the agency reached out to the Stewarts with a request for a special needs girl who at the time was nine-months-old and was born without any limbs.
Her name was Maria, and until seeing her picture, Adrianne and Jason had never thought about adopting a special needs child. According to Adrianne:
"When we found our daughter we did not think that we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most!"
The adoption paperwork was intense and the waiting time even more so, but finally when Maria turned two-years old, it was time to bring her home to Utah. The nervous couple, who had only seen one picture of Maria, flew to Philippines with much anticipation and nervousness. Speaking honestly about their first meeting, this is what Adrianne said:
"I had hoped that she would be further along than she was. She was two-years-old and she couldn't even hold her head up."
Maria, who had been in the orphanage since the age of six-months, had a hard time finding placement because of her condition until the Stewarts came along. Given the limited resources too, she wasn't getting any special needs therapy or attention that one might expect for a child like her in the US. True to their words however, Adrianne and Jason brought her home and immersed her in an environment of love and care.
In addition to receiving speech and occupational therapy each month, Maria also attends a preschool twice a week for social interaction with other children her age. Posts and videos on their family Facebook page, show among other things, Maria enjoying painting with her brother, swimming with the family, and working on exercises to strengthen her neck and core.
There is no denying that there is a lot of work that goes into having a special needs child, but according to Adrianne:
"She has given us far more than we will ever give her. She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of. We are so blessed to have her in our family."
Adrianne and Jason's story has been featured on several news media outlets and social media. They both see this as a good thing and are happy to be an inspiration to others who might also consider adopting many of the waiting children around the world.
"She has made each of us better. She has taught us to find joy in small things, to not be sad or disappointed by what we don't have, and to not take for granted the things we do have. The most important thing she has taught us is that we are all so much more capable than we think we are."
Here is one of the most heartwarming videos of Maria with the rest of the Stewart family!
Maria who is now three-years old, has shown us all to be limitless and happy. We are thankful that modern families like the Stewarts are increasingly breaking the traditional definition of what a family should look like. Their story will continue to provide inspiration to the rest of us!