Chris and Emily Norton became a viral sensation when a video was shared online of Emily helping Chris learn how to walk again. Chris is an athlete from Iowa who was injured and sustained a spinal cord injury. The couple released a book detailing their lives because as they state, “ the past nine years haven't been easy, but they've been real.”
"Seeing us in the media, people assume everything is great and we're in a great place. There have been a lot of struggles and challenges along the way."
How The Couple Met
In 2010, Chris sustained a spinal cord injury while playing football. Three years later, Chris was working out four to six hours a day, and Emily was his personal trainer. Chris was training to walk across the stage at his college graduation. He accomplished this goal with Emily (his then fiancee) by his time. The moment was recorded posted to the internet and the video went viral.
Growing Their Family
Chris and Emily recently became adoptive parents to five daughters - all within the span of three months.
Emily has always had a passion for helping children in need. In high school, she volunteered for a mentor program where she met her now daughter, Whittley. She says, "I came from such a great family who was always supportive, who was always there, so I didn't really understand there were kids in our community who don't have that family or that support."
“I just knew that I wanted to do everything in my power to help kids who were struggling.”
In college, Emily completed an internship at a group home for children in the foster care system. The Nortons welcomed Whittley into their home by fostering her before officially adopting her. The couple has since adopted four siblings, Ariana, Izzy, Lily, and Ava. “We have the most special girls that bring so much light and joy into our lives," says Emily. Chris and Emily have plans for fostering more children in the future.
Chris concludes, “Those harder moments also have shaped us into being a better couple, being better parents, just being more resilient.”
Best wishes to the Norton’s as they grow their family!
Are you a parent with a disability? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!