Images Captured by Rhonda DeMone Photography
It was devastating for his parents to never hear their child speak, to never know how he is feeling, and to not hear him say the words "I love you." And through this, they've learned to not take things for granted. They say that the most amazing thing through this has been seeing how children around him have grown more compassionate and curious to learn about children like TJ, and seeing people fall in love with his infectious laugh and handsome smile. His mom says, "I am inspired by just how strong a person is inside of his little body. Despite all the pain he has endured with multiple surgeries, he just keeps smiling. I swear, he even comes into the recovery room smiling!"
TJ is very close to his best friend, his Grampie, who is the only person who hears what TJ is saying without even saying a word. They have a special bond that simply cannot be explained.
His parents constantly worry about TJ and what his future holds, but they know that his brother and sister will advocate for him and love him. They hope that he will grow up being happy, healthy, and being accepted by others. TJ's mom sums up her feelings with this quote she often uses to describe her thoughts, "Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be."
And so far, TJ is proving to be the best teacher.
Story by Jag Nagra