Fostering Special Needs: A Special Adoption Story

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Twenty years ago, single mom Pat McCollum decided she wanted to help children in difficult circumstances by becoming a foster and adoptive parent. In 1998, Pat faced her biggest challenge when a foster agency called about a seven-year-old boy who had barely survived a fire as a baby and was in need of a home.

When DJ arrived on Pat’s doorstep, one leg was only a stump, he had no speech and almost no hearing, and his body was almost entirely covered in burn scars. Pat worried she wasn’t up to caring for a child with such profound special needs, but in a few days DJ captured her heart and she became his greatest advocate.

DJ was 21 years old at the time of filming and surrounded by family and a community who care for him. He is learning to walk with new prosthetic legs. He spends time every day at Sonny Spot Too, a day program that provides services to people with disabilities and special needs. Sonny Spot Too has become a way of life and extended family for its clients. They see the value in DJ and work hard to help him reach his highest potential.

Fostering or adopting a child with severe disabilities can be intimidating, people like Pat McCollum are shining examples that anyone can rise to the challenge.

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