In honor of Adoption Awareness Month this November, Jeremy Green joined HuffPost Live to share his story of adopting and raising six special-needs children.
Green, the father of three biological children, considered adoption after he and his wife discovered they could no longer have more kids. "We found out we could not have any more children biologically and wanted to add to our family," he explained to host Nancy Redd. "And as we started down that road, we at first were thinking 'healthy infant.' But as we went through the process, we started to look at the 'waiting children' list. And these are kids that have special needs, that don't match up with what anybody has checked off on their adoption paperwork saying, 'yes, we'd accept a child with such-and-such special needs.'"
The first child they adopted, Ellie, was blind. When he first saw Ellie's profile, Green admitted he was nervous. "I was quite overwhelmed. I said, 'you know, blind -- that's a significant special need. We don't know anything about that.' But then I came to realize that nobody knows anything about raising a special-needs child, and special-needs kids are born to families all the time. And you just deal with it and you figure it out."
"And we got Ellie, and from then on, the special need has never even really been part of the question. They're just people."
Green added that his children often help each other with their different needs. "Our daughter Lexi is blind, and our daughter Sophie was born without arms. Both of them were adopted at the same time, December of 2010, and they are just two peas in a pod. They go everywhere together. Lexi, again being blind, will take hold of the empty sleeve of Sophie's shirt, and Sophie will lead her around the house, and if they need something, Lexi can reach it. So they really work together, they play together, they play make-believe together, they're just the sweetest little couple of kids."
As the Greens prepare to add a 10th child to their fold, the family has also received an outpouring of support from their community. "When we announced that in the spring of last year--2012, our community actually rallied around us and decided they would like to help us get into a bigger home," he said.
"And they raised over $200,000 toward the construction of a larger home that we just moved into about two months ago. And it has made just an amazing difference for our family. So we've had an unbelievable amount of support."