Has adopting a disabled child enriched our lives?

Yes, absolutely and I would not change it for the world.  Tony came into our lives at the beginning of 2015, he was four months old and had spent most of it in hospital fighting for his life after suffering the most horrific injuries at the hands of his biological parents. He was never expected to survive as by the time medical attention was received, he had developed sepsis, toxic shock and multi organ failure. He endured 23 operations, eight blood transfusions and multiple other interventions by the time he was four months old.    

We already had a large family with eight birth children between my husband and me, but we had started fostering to help lots of children that were not as lucky as ours. We knew very little of Tony's story when I first met him, but it wasn't long before he had captured my heart. His prognosis was pretty grim and he was unlikely to meet many milestones.  At first he was a broken, shut down, withdrawn tiny baby, whose eyes showed pain and fear that no child should ever experience. But gradually over the next month with us he blossomed and grew into a beautiful, happy little boy even though he still had so many injuries that sadly resulted in him losing both his legs in 2017. He is also deaf in his right ear and has various other joint and mobility issues.

His cheeky character started to come through over the next few months and started to reach some of the milestones like sitting and crawling that we were told would never happen. Delayed yes, but he got there in the end.  Unsure whether he would be able to talk, we taught him Makaton which he embraced, especially the "more" action as he always wanted more of everything!

After being with us for a few months the courts decided it was time for Tony to be adopted and we had to have an adoption medical so that new prospective parents had a full account of Tony’s needs. The doctor doing his medical said "my goodness with so many problems and disabilities, who on earth will want to adopt him?"  She wasn't being cruel, she was being honest as everyone wants "the perfect child".  Straight away I pipped "I would in a heartbeat" and that's how we came to adopt our precious, beautiful Tony. There have been many challenges and the toughest decisions of our lives, but our brave little boy brings sunshine to us every day.  His strength, determination, resilience and zest for life is so inspiring to all our family. Tony has totally enriched all our lives.

Tony knows he is adopted and he relishes the fact he is the chosen one. He knows he is my extra special baby who didn't grow in my tummy but grew in my heart!

Author: Paula Hudgell 

 To read more about Tony and his incredible story, along with the stories of other inspirational adopted people, head to our shop, where you can purchase our new book Bravely Being Me.