Adrianne and Jason Stewart and her husband Jason recently shared a video of their 3-year-old daughter’s journey from the Philippines to their home in Utah, as a way to celebrate her first adoption anniversary. The video was then shared in a Facebook post on the popular page Love What Matters. It’s taken the internet by storm, having been viewed around 924 thousand times. That’s a lot.
Clearly, the video going viral shows that it touched some heartstrings–and how could it not? Adoption is pretty common, but it’s only been recently that many parents and children open up about the complex beauty of their experiences (I suppose we can thank the internet for that–sometimes the internet does great things!). In the Facebook post, Adrianne wrote how adopting their daughter, Maria, changed their lives:
“Special needs adoption has changed our family forever. 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!
She 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. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of. 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.”
This isn’t the first time the Stewarts have adopted a child. They are parents to their two biological daughters (13 and 11) and 6-year-old adopted son, who is also from the Philippines. Adrianne told Coconuts Manila, that she saw of picture of Maria, and fell in love. Then, she began to work with Hand in Hand, an adoption agency, to start the process. While Maria was born with without arms or legs, which initially gave family pause, they ultimately made the choice to adopt her and are so glad they did.
In CM, Adrianne said Maria’s disability doesn’t change who she is, which is a very loving and happy little girl:
“We really don’t even see her as having a disability anymore. She is just our daughter and even though she may have to learn to do things a little different than everyone else, she is still doing the same things as all the other kids. She loves people and will smile and give kisses to almost everyone, sometimes even people she doesn’t know.
She loves to do things on her own and gets a huge smile on her face and is so excited when she finally is able to do something completely on her own. It is so inspiring to see and brings me a lot of joy also.”
As of now, Maria will be going to preschool soon and also receives speech and occupational therapy. The family now has plans to adopt a 9-year-old girl with special needs also from the Philippines, because “there are so many orphans all over the world and all of them deserve love and a family.” Adrianne went on to say that everyone deserves a family, special needs or not:
“It doesn’t matter if they have special needs or are healthy or if they are older children or younger children. They all need a family. Being able to love is really what matters most when considering adoption.”
Watch a video the family put together below. You can check out the family’s Youtube channel here.