“Love. That’s all Alan wanted,” says Marie, who decided to adopt Alan when he was bedridden in a total-care medical facility. Then, medical professionals told Marie that Alan, age 6, had profound disabilities and cerebral palsy. He would never be able to talk or walk. He harmed himself by hitting his head. What Marie saw was a cute little boy with a beautiful smile who needed love.
Alan had been removed from home at age 3 because his birth mother could not meet his medical needs. He had been in and out of a hospital and care facility for years before Marie met him via video calls during the pandemic. At the end of one call, she told Alan that she was coming to take him home.
Marie is a special person. She has two adult daughters and four adopted sons, two of them with disabilities and three adopted through Wayfinder. “She takes on children with patience and determination,” says Katie, Marie’s Wayfinder social worker. “She is so calm, loving and open.”
Marie praises Wayfinder. “Katie was wonderful,” Marie says. “She would listen, follow up, call me back, and ask if I needed more assistance.” Marie attended Wayfinder’s adoption support groups and continuing education classes for adoptive parents.
Retired from a career in healthcare, Marie was well-prepared to advocate for what Alan needed. “In health care, when you ask for equipment and services for someone with special needs, they want to say ‘no’ and have you go away,” says Marie. “But I don’t like ‘no.’ There is someone who can help me or point me in the right direction.” She fought for what Alan needed, including prescription glasses. He selected frames in his favorite color—green.
Marie suspected that most of Alan’s self-harming behavior was due to his inability to communicate. She taught him basic sign language to express needs. She got green and red buttons for him to answer “yes” or “no” to questions. Able to communicate, his hitting decreased dramatically. Now, he is learning to talk a little. One of his first words is “mom.”
Now age 8, the boy who wasn’t supposed to walk or talk is still surprising people. Recently, as Marie was transferring him from his bed to his wheelchair, she told him, “Help me get you to your wheelchair.” He stood up! And he smiled. “I know he will walk with a walker,” Marie says.
One moment delighted Marie. “At Halloween, Alan led his class out of the school in his wheelchair, wearing a fire chief costume,” she says. “He looked so cute, and he had a big smile on his face. Before, he would have been shy or triggered by too many people. I was so proud to see how far he’s come.”
We need you in order to achieve happy endings like this one. There are many more children like Alan are out there. They just need a chance… they just need love. Please make a contribution so that all our services remain free of charge to families, most of whom are low-income. You will help children and families who turn to Wayfinder achieve their full potential, just as Alan is doing.
November 15, 2023