While many of those children are perfectly normal, there are quite a few with physical and mental handicaps that often fall at the bottom of the list. But one local family wants to adopt, and they only want a child with special needs. Their reasoning dates back nearly 20 years.
“Kids like that are special,” said Carie Jarvis, who wants to adopt. “They’re not wanted. No one wants those kinds of kids. And that’s just what I’m drawn to.”
Carie wants to adopt a baby. The 38-year-old already has three teenagers of her own. Danni is 16, and twins Cody and Allen are 14. But the family doesn’t want just any baby; they want a special needs baby.
“They love you,” Carie said. “It’s not about, ‘Mommy, you’re embarrassing me’ because kids get to a certain age where they act that way. But these don’t do that; they just love you.”
Cody agreed, saying,“There’s no one that would love you more than a child with special needs.”
Cody has a few special needs of his own. He’s has Asperger’s syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism. He knows the importance of needing and receiving that little extra care.
“I do need help a lot,” he said. “I need help with handwriting. Kids don’t like me too much, so it would be nice to have someone that loves me.”
But this family’s desire to adopt a special needs baby didn’t pop out of thin air. It’s a longtime desire rooted in Carie’s childhood. When she was 12, her parents adopted a special needs baby. Michael was just 15-months old.
“He had water on the brain, CP, seizures, he was blind, he was a tube feeder,” lists Carie.
When Michael was 6 and Carie was 17, she became his medical power of attorney.
“Dad had an accident in ‘87 that about killed him and Mom was busy taking care of him,” Carie said. “Michael got real sick and was always in the hospital. I would always stay with him. I was 17, and I kept a suitcase packed. When he went to the hospital, I went to the hospital. He never cried. If he cried, you knew something was majorly wrong.”
Two years later, things did go wrong. Carie had to make the most difficult decision in her life — a decision not to resuscitate her little brother.
“Oh my God, it was horrible,” she said. “My best friend’s little boy died six hours before, and she was a basket case and she was like, ‘Carie, take care of Michael one of these days. It’s going to be you.’ And six hours later, it was me.”
For Carie, it was a loss she never fully got over.
“Michael was everything to me,” she said. “Michael was my world. He’s all I had. I didn’t date. I took care of Michael; I didn’t leave him.”
Michael’s story is a part of this family — not a sad story, but one full of love and happiness and hope.
“I think the way some people think about these babies ain’t right,” Cody said. “These are humans, too, and they also deserve attention. They don’t deserve to be treated like outcasts. They are special and need to be treated nicely.”
Carie already has started the adoption process — one that could wrap up more quickly than usual with her unusual request.
“They’re like, ‘Are you sure that’s what you want? That’s the first time we’ve had that request.’ So, I guess I’ll get my pick of the litter,” Carie said.
She and her family have agreed to allow us to follow them through their adoption process. She’s already met with the West Virginia Children’s Home Society about her desire. The next step is to return the application, take some classes and set up a home study. It’s a process that could take three to six months. We’ll check back in on them in a month or so to see how it’s going.
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