Steve and Esmeralda Hall weren’t able to have biological children, but they had a lot of love to give a child. The Lancaster, Calif., couple began the foster-to-adopt process.
The Halls were very interested in fostering a baby who had been surrendered under California’s 2006 Safely Surrendered Baby Law. The law encourages parents to surrender a newborn at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked, rather than abandoning the child.
One day, a woman brought a baby who was just five hours old to a local police station. At first, she claimed she found the newborn boy in the park, but officers convinced her it was legal to surrender him. She admitted he was born at home in the bathtub.
“By day two, we got the call about him, and by day three he was in our custody,” Steve recalls. The couple named him Steven Elisha.
The Halls officially adopted Baby Steven, whom they affectionately call “little man,” on his first birthday. Around that time, Esmeralda and Steve learned that their little boy, who was struggling to develop his motor skills, had likely suffered a stroke in the womb. A neurologist diagnosed him with a type of cerebral palsy called hemiplegia. The part of Baby Steven’s brain that controls muscle movements was damaged.
“His crawl was more like dragging,” Esmeralda recalls. The Halls turned to Wayfinder’s Early Intervention Program for children with vision loss or multiple disabilities to get help for Baby Steven.
Kana Brubaker, one of Wayfinder’s early intervention specialists, makes weekly in-home visits to Baby Steven. Kana provides therapeutic activities that are improving his physical, cognitive and emotional development.
“She clicks with him,” Esmeralda says. “He really gravitates to her and everything she teaches him.”
Today, Baby Steven is sociable, observant and thriving. “He’s been able to overcome a lot of things because of his therapy. It’s an amazing thing to see him grow and improve his motor skills,” Steve says.
Baby Steven’s improvement is the result of a strong partnership: loving adoptive parents, a highly trained Wayfinder specialist, and the generous donors who enable this important program to be delivered at no cost to families.
Originally designed to assist infants and toddlers with vision loss, the Early Intervention Program expanded to assist the growing number of children for whom blindness is accompanied by additional disabilities. Now, the community we serve is changing again as more young children in the child welfare system need Wayfinder’s expert help.
The Halls encourage other parents in a similar situation to embrace Wayfinder programs. Esmeralda describes the relief she felt when Wayfinder arrived to help her son: “Everything’s going to be okay.” •
December 7, 2018