Thank you all who have emailed me these amazing stories…its going to hard to make a decision…so therefore I had help…four additional people read these amazing stories but one nominee stood out from the rest…her heart was so generous beyond words…she is an angel…here is her story…I cannot wait to share the Dean’s family pictures…so excited and so honored to photograph such a special family!
My families story began back in 1994 with the much waited for birth of our first son Brent. He was such a good baby, never in our wildest dreams did we see what the Lord had planned for us. When Brent was 2 years old we started to notice that many of his learning milestones were being left in the dust but others were so far advanced we were very confused. When he turned 4 we finally were able to get a diagnosis of Autism. It was quite a shock. My pregnancy was perfect there was no reason that we could understand at the time to explain why. We just knew that we didn’t want him to grow up in the autistic world all alone. My husband and I decided to look into adoption. We got matched with a 2 year old little boy from foster care named Charlie. He was exactly what we needed. Brent had a playmate to force him into our world and out of his private one. 6 weeks later Childern’s Services called and asked if we were willing to foster Charlie’s biological brother Joey who had been born premature. We said yes, and with that I became the mom of 3 boys in 6 weeks time!! Shortly after that we moved from Cleveland to Parma in our first home of our own. My husband and I decided that we had 3 boys and now it was time to add a girl to the mix. So again we placed a call to Children’s Services and told them that we were looking for a little girl that needed her forever family. About 2 weeks later we got a call asking if we would be interested in a set of sisters Madeline and Molly, instead of just one. Who could say no to 2 girls looking for their forever family. We were now full to capacity with 5 children in 2001. In all of our adoptions our children all had outstanding medical conditions that quickly taught us how to deal with Asthma, Hypotonia, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Effects, Severe ADHD, Epilepsy and of course the Autism. We expected some medical issues with the kids just because of their previous circumstances but what actually came to be was at times harrowing. Instead of being one of those “Soccer moms” or “Football moms” I called myself a “therapy mom”. We spent over 25 hours in combined therapy hours per week. But after about 8 years most of the kids made great strides in their abilities and were closer to their regular counterparts. It made my heart sing to see that they were doing so well with all their hard work. In 2004 it was clear that we were bursting at the seams in our Parma home and it was once again time to upgrade. So in December of that year we moved to Brunswick. It was the best move because it gave our kids all the room they needed and opened more doors for their special needs than we had before. Everything was status quo around here until 2007 when we once again opened our home to foster care in the hopes of providing more children with their forever family. We waited for years this time for a match. In Nov 2011 we got a call asking if we were willing to foster an infant that had been born on drugs and was experiencing a pretty severe withdrawal. I couldn’t turn down this little boy it just felt like this was what God had us waiting for. It was several days of up and down emotions while were waiting for him to be well enough to be released from the hospital. He was finally well enough to come home almost 3 weeks after his birth. At the time of his placement we had no idea that he also had 2 older siblings that were in another home in another county in Ohio. When we found out that they existed in January we told the worker that we had the room to take them also if the worker was looking to keep them all together. In Feb 2012 we accepted foster custody of the 4 year old sister and 5 year old brother. The county is still working on getting permanent custody of all 3 of these children and once they do we will be turning right around and ending their time in foster care and making them ours. But the story doesn’t end there… In November 2012 there was another sibling born to this set and we have him also as a foster child. It’s in God’s hands if this baby will be staying with his sister and 2 brothers but if that is God’s plan he will also be adopted by us and that will make 9 children for the Dean Family. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be chosen by God to provided all these children with a mom. I cherish everyday that I have with my children and am so overwhelmed to receive this gift of a chance to capture my family in pictures. Thank you so much whoever nominated my family for this special gift and for the time that Vicky will take out of her day to make this happen. Thank you so very much!!!!