Photos courtesy of Kim Mallory Photography
This story showcases three amazing Tiny Lights. Siblings, they were adopted by a very loving couple, who are indisputably their Mom and Dad. Eva and Aurora and their brother Logan all suffer from preventable diagnosis due to prenatal substance abuse. Amy and Jeff knew this upon adoption, but there were still many unknowns as they took this huge responsibility. These children’s diagnoses include dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, substance-related neurodevelopmental disorder, static encephalopathy, complex developmental behavior condition and developmental delays. These are all related to their prenatal exposure to substances.
Eva was adopted at 18 months. Her speech problems have been ongoing and a huge struggle. Not knowing what she needs because of the inability to communicate has been a major challenge for Eva and her parents. With the help of speech lessons, she still has speech delays at age 5, but can talk and for the most part, understand. Eva is easily overstimulated but has learned to cope in a world that completely overwhelms her. She is aware of her speech delays and extremely self-conscious, but is determined to succeed.
Aurora, who is named after Sleeping Beauty, was adopted at three and a half years old. While her parents were aware of her condition, they were not prepared for what things would be like as she entered school age. She was an angry and scared child at the time of her adoption. She had been in care from birth until they adopted her. “We were strangers coming into the children’s lives.” Aurora struggles because she looks like a typical child. Her big smiles and spunky personality are coping strategies that she uses to get people to like her. Extremely sensitive, she takes help as rejection and feels she is never doing good enough. Her disabilities are brain-based and not visible by people who don’t know her. She was scared to become a part of this family and spent six months asking night after night if her new parents would still be her Mommy and Daddy in the morning.
Logan was adopted at 4.5 years old. His conditions limit him his ability to process information at the same rate as his peers and retain new information. As Logan gets older the developmental gap between him and his peers is increasing. Upon adopting Logan, his parents thought that loving him would fix everything for him. Now they know that loving him is not enough. They have become advocates for these kids. “It breaks my heart to see him struggle so much in everyday life when his diagnosis were 100% preventable.” Looking like a typical child, people place unrealistic expectations on Logan. Amazingly, despite the trauma of adoption at four and a half years old, he trusts that his parents are his parents. Forever.
Despite the difficult start to Logan’s life, he is a happy, empathetic and loving child wanting everyone around him to be happy.
Despite ongoing challenges, this family continues to work hard to hit milestones. Logan recently learned how to tie his shoes! This is an amazing accomplishment, considering his difficulty with fine motor skills. These kids had a horrible start. Adopted at the same time, Logan and Aurora were living together but at the time Eva was in a separate home. Without this family coming together by adoption, these siblings may have been separated forever. “This has been the hardest and most rewarding journey. We encourage everyone to take the time to get to know a child before you pass judgment on they should or should not be doing. You never know what they have been through or what their story is…”