Kara and Adam are parents with Osteogenesis Imperfecta who began their journey as parents with the birth of their daughter, Hannah. “Hannah notices when people stare,” Kara notes, but her daughter doesn’t worry about it.
Mistaking the word “disability” for “possibility”, little Hannah gets excited when she sees someone else in a wheelchair. She’ll point him or her out and say “he’s got a ‘possibility’ just like you, Dad!”
Deciding to become parents
They decided to become parents knowing that they had a 75% chance to pass their disability onto their daughter. Her parents were prepared for whatever came, ready to give their child the life he or she deserved. “She was going to be a gift, with or without a disability,” Adam says. When Kara was younger, she didn’t know it would be possible for her to have a biological child. She assumed adoption would be her ultimate road to parenthood.
Exploring adoption in China
Eager to give Hannah siblings, the couple began the process of adopting a little boy from China who has another form of dwarfism. “We knew we wanted to adopt a child with a disability because we knew we could give them a life and hopefully be models for them about embracing your disability,” Kara shares.
The story follows the eager parents on their journey to China to pick up their son, Eli. With all the emotions traveling and adopting a child brings, the parents head out. They got lots of questions from people around them, not only worried about how they’ll manage another child, but also about managing the trip itself.
“It just feels silly to me that some people would be worried about me having a rough time in China versus there’s a little boy that for seven years felt like nobody loved him.”
International adoption is more accessible to people with disabilities due to the policy and systems in place in the US. For China specifically, many parents with disabilities are barred from adopting, but are considered more realistically if the parents have the same disability as the child. They had a beautiful moment meeting their son in person for the first time. “We prepared ourselves for all kinds of different reactions from him,” Kara says, “it was surreal how open he was and excited.” Soon enough Eli was home in the US with his family and met his little sister, Hannah. From their first hug, it’s obvious the two little ones are going to get along just fine.
Challenging an antiquated law
For Adam and Kara, who are in Ohio in the US, there are still laws in place that say children can be taken away from parents with disabilities, without any required allegations. “It’s a terrifying thought to have as a parent that your child could be taken for no cause at all, other than just the fact that you have a disability,” Kara shares. An agonizing thought for any parent.
Kara and Adam have the same goals as any parent, making sure their children grow up to be independent, competent adults, but their biggest challenge right now? Getting their kids to not put their pants on backwards.
“If other people are open to just that a family can look all different ways, I think they’ll find that all those hard parts are just blown away by the rewarding parts,” Kara shares. That seems pretty standard for all parents finding their way raising their kids.
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