Mary Gaskill of River Forest has adopted six children with special needs, including a terminally ill baby girl who was given six months to live-three years ago.
"Some days we think she has drawn her last breath, but she keeps on going," says Gaskill, who also has four biological children and two foster kids. "She is our great joy, and every day with her is so precious."
Gaskill points to her 3-year-old adopted daughter to illustrate how parents of children with special needs shouldn't be paralyzed by doctors' diagnoses, daunting daily worries or unwarranted fears.
"Don't let fear freeze your love for your child," she says.
For so many adopted kids with special needs, it's extremely difficult to escape the neglectful shadows of their early days and months. What they often need more than medicine, treatment and medical management is love, attention and affection, parents say.
"It's better to love them first and then deal with any special needs they have," Gaskill says.
To read more Chicago Parent stories about adopting children with special needs, click here