The Forgotten Children


Four years ago when I heard the term Special Needs, my reaction was, “that is for someone else, I could not handle that.” Three years ago our family’s world was rocked when we adopted our little “Guatemalan princess”. When we set out on the adoption journey, we signed up for a “healthy female two years old or younger”. Little did we know that there was a much bigger picture waiting to be painted for our family. When Mariah was dropped off to us at our hotel in Guatemala City, within the first hour my husband said, “Something’s not quite right with Mariah.” She wasn’t responding to English or Spanish. She just sat there and smiled!

Within five days of having her home in North Carolina, my mother’s intuition knew that her problem was a lack of hearing. I knew that she was not responding as a nine month old should. After a lot of testing we found out that our little “healthy girl” was a special needs, profoundly deaf little girl. My immediate reaction was mourning, but that quickly changed to an urgency to help our new daughter.

I moved quickly to get Mariah the best possible treatment for her special need. I sought the help of the top doctors in our state, and within five months she became the youngest child to receive bi-lateral cochlear implants in the state of North Carolina. She now “hears” with the aid of her implants and is communicating verbally almost at an age appropriate level.

Was this a journey that I chose to go on? No, but it was a journey that was chosen for me. Would I do it again? Yes I would, and I have. When I found that our Mariah was deaf my heart went to an orphanage in Honduras where I knew a little deaf boy lived. I worked many hours struggling with International government bureaucracy and finally obtained a US medical visa for him to come to North Carolina to receive help. A local EENT group helped get his hearing aids donated, and now he is hearing and learning to communicate verbally and through sign language.

What if I had never gotten Mariah? My ears, and eyes would have been completely closed to the forgotten ones that sit in the orphanages all over the world with special needs. Because of Mariah I am now passionate about seeing all children get homes, especially those with special needs. Many people think like I did, “special needs adoption is not something I can do”. It doesn’t take a special person to adopt a special needs child. It takes a willing person to help a special child find a special home. There may be a special needs child waiting on you to help them feel “special”.

MLJ Adoptions recently launched a new program focusing on special needs adoption. We have many children on the waiting list. These children are just like most other orphans . . . all they want is someone to love them for who they are, and not to be forgotten. The children on our list are the children that have been shunned by society or placed “permanently” in an institutional home. Would you be willing to provide a forever family for a “special” child? Maybe you’re the one who has been chosen to provide them with a home and a family where they can experience love.

I can’t imagine my life without Mariah. There may just be a child out there for your family that one day you would say the same thing, “I can’t imagine my life without …” Contact MLJ Adoptions today to fill in that blank with YOUR special child.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.