Fostering Special Needs: A Special Adoption Story

Twenty years ago, single mom Pat McCollum decided that 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 7-year-old boy named DJ who had survived a fire as a baby and was in need of a home.

When DJ arrived on Pat’s doorstep, he had a stump for a leg, little to no hearing, no speech, and almost his entire body was covered in burn scars. Pat was worried that she wasn’t up to the task of taking care of a child with such profound special needs. But only a few days later, DJ captured Pat’s heart and she became his greatest advocate.

DJ is now 21 years old and surrounded by family and a community that cares for him. DJ is learning to walk with the use of his 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. But people like Pat McCollum are shining examples that anyone can rise to the challenge.

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