The Gift Of Adopting A Child With Special Needs

A Guest Story By Ruth DeBuck

Robert and I were on a 2 year or less pattern between our children. My 5th pregnancy was particularly difficult. Through much fasting a prayer we knew that I should not get pregnant again. We had my tubes tied with much heartache.

During this time we had become good friends with a young couple with two children. I went to visit them and discovered that my friend had had an abortion believing that two was enough. I left their apartment heartbroken. I remember looking up into the light blue sky, with billowing clouds and told the Lord that I would give anything for another baby.

The Decision to Adopt A Child With Special Needs

Knowing that I could no longer bare children, Robert and I began to fill out adoption papers, believing that we would be adopting older children. We were given a list of problems that children might have and we were asked what we would be willing and able to accept in our home. At the time I did not believe that I would be able to adopt a child with special needs. I had a brother with mental disabilities and I didn’t believe that I could tread those waters again.

In mid September 1980 we received a call from LDS Social Services about a 5 month old boy still in the hospital NIC Unit with a litany of problems. He hadn’t been put up for adoption yet because no one was sure he would live.

The only thing I heard was “baby boy.” All I could do was ask if I could see him.

Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities


Billy had the most beautiful blue eyes. He was only 7 pounds 11oz at 5 months. He had his first meal without his feeding tube 3 weeks earlier. Billy’s birth was described as a spontaneous breach birth, with an immediate stroke. He was 26 weeks along and weighed 3.4 pounds. He would need skull surgery because his skull sutures were prematurely sealed and had to be reopened. Doctors felt that he would never function let alone live to maturity. I knew differently. I had to but look into his eyes and see a glorious future.

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Despite his disabilities, I was in love. I went home knelt before the Lord and ask what we were to do. I felt as though I was told over and over again that Billy came to earth perfect in his imperfect body that he might be in our home, a part of our family.

Robert and I were blessed to bring Billy home on Oct. 10th, 1980 our 10th wedding anniversary. What a gift.

Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities

Beating the Odds

The first year was spent keeping Billy alive. The surgery on his skull didn’t go well. His body rejected the plates placed in his skull. They performed a second surgery to remove more bone and infection. That surgery proved successful. Billy had apnea and slept on an apnea blanket which would set off an alarm when he would stop breathing. My children would respond from all corners of our home to make sure he would take that next breath.

Billy quickly became an integral part of the family. The children made him a part of all their games. He was the bomber jet as they ran with him throughout the house. He was three by the time he walked though it was against all odds.  He continued to beat the odds by talking, learning to write his name, and memorizing and repeating the lines to any movie he watched.

Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities

He had an amazing sense of humor and was able to make anyone he came across smile. He immediately loved anyone he met and treated them like his best friend.  Billy blessed all of our lives as well as those he came into contact with in his 25 five years on earth.

Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities

I realize that Billy was an answer to that desperate prayer I uttered as I looked up to the heavens. I had no idea that with that answer would come as a child that would bring a piece of heaven into our home. His unconditional love and Christlike attributes became the glue to our family. He was imperfect perfection.

Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities

It was an honor to be his mother. Adopting a child with special needs was one of the best choices I ever made.

If you liked this story you’ll love the story I wrote about my mom, Ruth DeBuck, here.

Do you have any experiences with adoption or special needs children? Leave a comment below! Better yet, share your story here!

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Adoption | Special Needs Baby | Children With Disabilities