That adoption fell through, but the Bartlings weren’t finished. Roughly five years later, almost by divine intervention, there was a publication in their mailbox about adopting blind children. One of the children inside the pamphlet’s name was Jesse and it didn’t take long for the Bartlings to fall in love with her and make her a part of their family.
After Jesse came Abi. Abi was found screaming inside of a trash can in a park in India. She was born with a rare genetic condition called Fraser syndrome, which caused her eyes to be malformed and covered by skin.
Their fourth adopted child was David, who is now 18 and dreams of going to college. He was abandoned by his family in China after he was born with cataracts in one eye and microphthalmia in the other. The Bartlings stepped in when another family decided they could not care for a blind child.
Obed joined the Bartling brood in 2006 shortly after he was born in West Africa. Obed has cerebral palsy and severe intellectual disability. He needs 24-hour care as does Jesse. Their last child, Bethany, was born with a myriad of health issues in Thailand, including being blind. She became a part of the family a few months after Obed.
Despite the obvious hardships on the Bartlings, they remain loving, patient, and positive. While they watch their friends retire, Joe and Karen are trying to give all of their children the best life possible. Karen humbly describes them as “remarkably unremarkable,” but they’re story has touched the hearts of millions of people; especially their six adopted children.
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