Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Emerging STARS is a non-profit organization that empowers and encourages young adults with developmental disabilities. Two years ago, I realized that my 26-year-old son who is developmentally delayed needed more activities in his life and a community to be involved in. Therefore, I left my job of fifteen years as a children's’ pastor to take on this new adventure of creating Emerging STARS.
But this adventure did not start then. It began in my heart the day Jonathan came into my life. Jonathan was born to a drug-addicted mother. She loved Jonathan but her addiction and her own developmental delays kept her from keeping him. It was God’s miracle that Jonathan was even born and then ended up in the arms of my husband and myself. In 1991 we sat in our dining room with a social worker from Bethany Christian Services. We signed papers for adoption and that social worker told us it would be two years or more for us to get a child. She would stay in touch. Even though we knew the process would be long, as we had walked through it with our first child, we were extremely excited. God put on my heart to tell the social worker, we were always open to any special children because we wanted what God wanted. It was just a last minute thought as she walked out the door.
I did not know that that statement would end up changing my life forever. Within one week the social worker called us and said she had a child for us. A state social worker had called her and had a baby boy that she was getting ready to place in foster care. She explained that the mother had taken drugs and other medications that could harm the baby. She said the mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and the baby would be extremely hard to place for adoption. The only reason this baby was not aborted was because of some nurses at the hospital who kept the homeless mother in the hospital for the last trimester of her pregnancy. The nurses took care of her and gave her baby, my son, life. Kirk and I had been involved in the pro-life movement for years. From marching in Washington to knocking on doors for legislation and now we were going to get the opportunity to parent and love a child saved by God’s grace. The moment Jonathan was placed in our arms, we began our journey of raising our special child in a society that rates success by IQ and accomplishments.