Children With Severe Disabilities Make Huge Strides In Adoptive Home and Give Family’s Life Meaning.
The love and devotion of an adoptive family made it possible for two children with severe physical disabilities to accomplish surprising success and change the lives of their family forever. Adoptive parents Marilyn and Charles Matthews have devoted their lives to helping their children with special needs accomplish more than doctors ever imagined possible.The Matthews, from Union, West Virginia, adopted Bo at 18 months in 1985, Sarah as an infant in 1988 and Brandon through the CAP photolisting at age 4 in 1995. Both Bo and Brandon had severe physical needs that required around-the-clock care. Their doctors told the Matthews that the boys would never be able to communicate or hold meaningful relationships. The couple took the time to unlock the children’s true potential when many others had given up on them.
Marilyn and Charles were in their 40’s when they first adopted. They say they felt like complete “misfits” as Yankees from the north who moved to the remote mountains of West Virginia and adopted multi-racial children with special needs. They say some of their family and friends thought they were crazy to take in children unrelated to them with such significant health challenges. Not many understood them, in particular many of the children’s teachers and doctors, but the Matthews found their life’s meaning in adoption.
“It gave us a different focus, a hope that things could happen that we never expected to happen,” says Marilyn. “I could see them growing. It was wonderful to see what they were able to do with what we were able to give them. I never had an experience before like that in my life, it gave us purpose, hope and the love was like no love you would get anywhere else.”
Earlier this year, on May 2, 2013, their son Brandon passed away unexpectedly at age 22.The loss was devastating to the Matthews family. Although they say they may never fully recover, they feel so grateful to have been part of Brandon’s life. “Adopting our son was one of the best decisions we ever made. He was a total delight in every way, in spite of his many challenges, he far exceeded all expectations in every important way. We were so blessed to have found him,” says Marilyn. Despite times of pain and hardship, they explain that adoption is the best thing they have ever done and want to encourage others to do the same.
-Story written by Melanie Schmidt, Adoption Supervisor at Children Awaiting Parents