"We knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most!” said Maria's adoptive mother.
One year after adopting their daughter, who was born without arms or legs, Adrianne and Jason Stewart decided to share with the world how blessed they feel to have her as a member of their family
Last week, Adrianne posted a video on Love What Matters, a site dedicated to sharing inspiring stories. Maria, now 3 years old, she wrote, “has given us far more than we will ever give her. She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her.”
That video has since been viewed more than 800,000 times and shared over 7,000 times. It tells the story that began when the Stewarts, a Utah family who have two biological daughters and one son adopted from the Philippines, decided to adopt another child.
While they hadn’t discussed adopting a special needs child, the adoption agency sent over a list of hard-to-place children, including a picture of Maria, who had been living at a special needs orphanage in the Philippines since she was 6 months old. They were immediately struck by her beautiful smile, and knew that they wanted her to be a part of their family.
“When we found our daughter we did not think that we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most!” Adrianne wrote in the post.
According to a CNN report, the Stewarts went public with their story in order to encourage other families to consider adopting special needs children and to encourage women who may have considered aborting children with similar conditions to reconsider.
Maria, who according to CNN, goes to pre-school twice a week, and works with physical, speech and occupational therapists, has made great advances. “We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of,” Adrianne wrote.
And she made it clear that Maria isn’t the only lucky one: “We are so blessed to have her in our family. She has made each of us better. She has taught us to find joy in small things, to not be sad or disappointed by what we don’t have, and to not take for granted the things we do have. The most important thing she has taught us is that we are all so much more capable than we think we are.”
According to the CNN report, while Maria “still does not speak much, she loves interacting and playing with her classmates. And like every normal child, she enjoys coloring, playing with her stuffed animals and occasionally even rocking out to 80s music.”