Many couples are blessed with having children, while others try for years to no avail. Joe and Karen Bartling are a mixture of both. They had their son Joel when they were 30 but when it came for them to expand their family, it wasn’t in God’s plan. After several failed IVF attempts, the couple turned to adoption.
The first child they adopted was abandoned in a South Korean orphanage. Karen heard about the little girl at her doll shop and told Joe about her. What they came to find out was that the toddler, now 23 and named Hannah, was born without eyes due to a development disorder.
Karen recalled seeing Hannah for the first time in 1997: “We decided to adopt and the first one just happened to be blind. As soon as the first picture of Hannah came across we were like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ It was a head-scratcher. We were like, ‘Oh well, that is interesting.’ We went to the airport and just picked up this child. She was a precious little baby,” she continued.
“It took us about a week or so to wrap our brains around the fact she was blind and that would never change. It was one day at a time,” Karen added.
Hannah has a processing disability and learning disability and Karen says she is much younger than her 23 years suggest, but she is also “delightful.” A few years later, the family was approached by a social worker about adopting another blind child.
Head to the next page for more on this loving family…