Samaritan's Special Needs Adoption Fund helps member families adopting special needs kids

Michael Miller  ·  Oct 23, 2018

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. To support Samaritan members adopting a special needs child, you may give via Secure-Q here.

Two Samaritan Ministries member families, each convinced that the hand of God has moved in their lives, have been blessed by the ministry’s Special Needs Adoption Fund.

Jacob and Jaimie Wolverton from Colorado and Scott and Melissa McCallon from North Carolina adopted children from China in 2017 who each had physical issues that needed to be addressed once they joined their new families. Already facing expenses from the adoption process, the Wolvertons and McCallons both were able to be helped with the children’s medical bills by the Samaritan fund.

Micah had some oral problems that needed to be addressed

The Wolvertons first became aware of 13-year-old Micah through a photo on Facebook in 2016.

“It just burned in both of our hearts,” Jaimie says of the effect the photo had on her and Jacob. “We prayed for about three weeks and decided he was our son.”

They acted quickly; Micah’s availability window was closing due to his age. Availability ages vary from one orphanage or area of China to another, Jaimie says.

“We had to get through the process within six months because he was going to age out of the China system,” she says. “Miracle after miracle brought us through, and God provided every bit of the money to get him home. We actually made it to him three days before his birthday on which he would have aged out. It is amazing.”

The Wolvertons, who have three biological children, brought Micah home in 2017.

Their new son had oral problems, though, stemming from a cleft lip and cleft palate. His pharyngeal flap—a spot in the back of the mouth that closes to enable guttural sounds—didn’t work. A charitable hospital performed surgery on the pharyngeal flap for free, and now 15-year-old Micah can make those guttural sounds and is working on forming words better.

“He still has a ways to go,” Jaimie says.

The Wolvertons found out about the Special Needs Adoption Fund when Jaimie called Samaritan to see what could be shared of the expenses. The member advocate she spoke to said the new fund was in the works and that he would keep them posted.

They eventually became the first family to benefit from the fund.

“It was a huge weight off us,” Jaimie says. “It’s been a huge, huge blessing. We were able to get him the help he needs.”

Addison was able to get help with her hearing, including a cochlear implant

Scott and Melissa McCallon also brought their adopted daughter home from China in 2017.

The couple had thought about adoption before their three biological children were born, but even after that still “felt led by the Father” to adopt, Scott says.

They started the process to adopt from China and then Melissa, a physical therapist like her husband, first met the girl who would be called Addison while she was on a two-week service trip in China in 2016. Addison was just one out of many children that Melissa saw while helping to update orphans’ medical charts, but the 4-year-old, who wasn’t even available to be adopted at the time, stole Melissa’s heart.

Not long after the trip, the McCallons received a call from a physician in China, that Melissa had met, about a cute little girl newly available for adoption. The doctor sent them the chart with a photo and … it was the little girl Melissa had seen.

“We felt that was a very clear sign that she was the one,” Scott says.

The paperwork that was already in the works speeded up from that point, and the McCallons brought Addison home in 2017.

Now 5, Addison had been diagnosed as deaf. She also had no verbal skills and did not know sign language.

“She was just kind of surviving in an orphanage of about 500 children,” Scott says, “so she’s definitely a little survivor.”

Chinese doctors gave Addison a cochlear implant in her right ear just before the adoption, but didn’t follow up.

“We don’t even think it was ever really turned on,” Scott says.

The McCallons started taking Addison to the Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they replaced the right-ear implant and gave her an implant in the left ear, enabling her to “hear really well” out of both ears.

While Addison has had to start learning language from about a 6-month-old’s level, she has come along quite well.

“I’d say Addy knows more sign language than I do,” Scott says. “She is really a brilliant child. It’s just her speech and her hearing that are kind of delayed.”

By “divine providence,” Scott says, he was reading about Samaritan’s Special Needs Adoption Fund in the newsletter around the time that Addison was receiving treatment.

“I called up there immediately,” he says. “I think we were one of the first families to sign up.”

Scott encourages Samaritan members to give to the Special Needs Adoption Fund by reminding them that “as believers we’re called to be generous.”

“For a lot of people who may just not be in a position where they can adopt, for whatever reason, they can be that arm of the Gospel by being able to give into that fund,” he says. “I encourage members to pray about it and seek the Father’s heart. You talk about making a difference in somebody’s life … I can’t imagine what else is more satisfying than that, being able to take a child out of a pretty desperate environment with little hope into a loving environment where she could grow and live a normal, healthy life.”

Samaritan members who may be adopting a special needs child: Because funds are limited, assistance is limited to medical needs for certain conditions. If you are interested in pursuing the adoption of a special needs child and would like more information about receiving financial assistance for the child’s medical needs, please go here.