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Parents Adopt Baby Without Any Limbs
The lives of a family from Utah have forever been changed thanks to a tiny toddler from the Philippines named Maria.
Maria who is now 3, was born without any arms and legs. She was adopted by the family, from a special-needs orphanage in Cavite, Philippines. By sharing their story, this family is hoping to inspire other families to consider adoption. Her parents, Adrianne and Jason Stewart, posted a video on YouTube marking her first adoption anniversary.
The family also consists of the Stewarts’ two biological daughters and an adopted son from the Philippines.
At the time of considering having another child and after contacting their adoption agency, Hand in Hand, they received a special home findings list: the names of children with special needs, older kids and/or sibling groups waiting to be adopted in the Philippines.
They hadn’t really discussed adopting a child with special needs, but they instantly fell in love when they saw a photo of Maria, who was only 9 months old at the time.
At 6 months of age, Maria had been placed at the Chosen Children Village, an orphanage for children with special needs. Little was known about her or where she came from, but her beautiful smile was all the Stewart family needed.
Stewart wrote in the post: “When we found our daughter, we did not think that we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most,” Adrianne
After heaps of paperwork and enduring months of waiting, they received approval the next year to adopt their little girl. They traveled to the Philippines, both nervous and eager to meet their newest family member.
For Adrianne Stewart, meeting Maria was a moment of clarity.
“I had hoped that she would be further along than she was. She was two years old and she couldn’t even hold her head up,”
It was unknown whether Maria would be able to regain use of her muscles, but she knew that the family had a lot of work ahead of them. The orphanage explained the difficulty of finding a home for Maria and why the Stewarts had been chosen to adopt her. Adrianne Stewart said after hearing the story, she felt inspired by her daughter’s story, and it made the family realize how lucky they were to have her.
Since sharing their daughter’s story, the family has received many positive responses.
In a Facebook post she wrote “She has given us far more than we will ever give her. She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of. We are so blessed to have her in our family.”
Adrianne Stewart also received comments from woman who had abortions because their fetuses had similar conditions and regretted their decisions after seeing Maria’s story. Adrianne hopes that her story will inspire other women who may be in similar situations to reconsider their decision.
Maria now lives a happy life full of love and her family is grateful for Maria and says she is a blessing.
“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. The most important thing she has taught us is that we are all so much more capable than we think we are.”
Maria receives speech and occupational therapy each month and attends preschool twice a week in a mixed classroom setting. There she is able to interact with both children with and without special needs.