Initially, the Stewarts were a little unsure if they wanted to take on the responsibility of raising a child with special needs, but they immediately felt a bond with the baby.
“She had one of the most beautiful smiles and at the time we weren’t really planning on adopting a special needs child but we just fell in love with her,” Adrianne said. “We just knew we needed her to be part of our family.”
“We knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most!” the mother of four added.
It took the Stewarts a year to go to the Philippines for their new daughter, but the wait was worth it.
Upon meeting the calm and innocent Maria, their worries melted away.
“Even meeting her for the first time, you think she’d be scared and nervous to meet strangers, I mean, she’d seen a picture of us. But she did so well and she was so happy and smiling for us and it was really amazing,” said Adrianne.
She recalls that a nurse at the children’s home quietly cried with happiness when the Stewarts were preparing to take their daughter to her new home in the States.
When they arrived back in Utah, it didn’t take Maria long to fit in with her siblings and in her new surroundings.
Adrianne and Jason made sure she had all of the medical attention she needed and got her a specialized electric wheelchair that Maria could control with her nubs.
Everything was progressing beautifully until they received devastating news: Their son Joshua had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Although the family is terrified they will lose their sweet little boy, they are strong thanks to the lessons their limbless baby girl taught them.
“She has made each of us better. She has taught us to find joy in small things, to not be sad or disappointed by what we don’t have, and to not take for granted the things we do have,” Adrianne wrote on Facebook. “The most important thing she has taught us is that we are all so much more capable than we think we are.”
Watch Their Touching Story:
Maria visits her big brother in the hospital all the time and practices using her wheelchair in the hallways. She adores her family immensely as they do her. The Stewarts hoped to improve Maria’s life by adopting her, but it’s Maria who changed their lives for the better.
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