About two and a half years ago on KLTV 7's "Gift of Love report," we introduced you to a little girl named Moonshadow Rose. She's a special needs child who has been in foster care her whole life. Her needs were so great, no family was willing to take on the challenge, permanently. She continued to be shuffled from foster home to foster home. We are happy to tell you that is about to change
It was January, 2002. Moonshadow Rose attends a therapy session. This fragile two and a half year old was hardly even aware of her surroundings. Because her mother used drugs, she was born missing part of her brain.
Two years later, now almost five years old, she was placed in the foster home of Tammy and Paul Iley near Grand Saline. "When she first came into our home, she would sleep all the time. She would claw at herself until she would bleed," explains Tammy.
Tammy slowly began to wean Rose off most of her medication and, slowly, this little girl began to come alive. "What Rosie needed was family. She needed someone to love her. She needed to feel loved. The more I sat and talked to her and held her hand, she just stop clawing at herself. That's what she wanted was attention. Something she never had.".
Rose is now alert. She plays and laughs and, for the first time, she smiles. "Seems like 90 percent of special needs children had already been given up on. And when you take somebody that's already been given up on and you start turning them around, it's just a great feeling," says Paul.
Rose was finally beginning to enjoy life, but she was still missing something very important, a forever family. "It's something we've talked about from early on in our marriage that if we ever had the opportunity, in any way, to serve or help children with special needs, that would be something we would want to do," says Brandy Meredith.
Out of all the children in need of a home, Brandy and Michael Meredith chose Rose. "When we adopt her, she's going to be just like the rest of our children and if we'd of had her it would have been the same situation. You know, we'd take care of her and I wouldn't expect any at-a-boy for taking care of my child," says Michael.
The Merediths already have four biological children. Now, they'll have another mouth to wipe and another child to love. "We just fell in love with her just like any parent does when they hold their child for the first time," says Brandy. Michael adds, "I don't know, she kind of looks like me a little bit, too."
Rose will require a lot of attention. She gets up at 3 a.m., needs to be feed four times a day through a feeding tube and needs her diaper changed. Brandy says, "We get told a lot, it's going to be so hard. Rose is never going to leave home. You're always going to have Rose and to us, that's just the biggest blessing in the world," Brandy says. "We learned a lot about her condition. We hope for a lot of improvements, but if not, as she is is perfect and we'll just see whatever lays ahead," says Michael.
But there is hope. Rose's foster parents were told she'd never walk. She can now stand with the help of a walker. They were also told Rose would never talk. Then one day they heard... "Mama. She been saying Mama and she's been humming lately. She loves music and lights," says Tammy.
"We're just going to give her everything we can. We don't say she'll never walk or she'll never talk. We just say we'll see," says Brandy.
Rose is about to have a new family, complete with two brothers and two sisters. As one of the young boys strokes Roses hair, you can see she is already beginning to feel their love through a gentle touch. Michael says, "They're excited to have a new sister and they love her."
This little girl has joined two families into one, both caring for her very much. But the time has come for one to say goodbye. The Ileys will miss her. "Just the time with her. Just being with her. She made me feel needed in that I can help other kids too," says Tammy as a tear rolls down her cheek.
"It's sad to see her leave, cause we've made so much progress with her but it's rewarding to see that she's getting what she deserves," says Paul sincerely.
Rose was close to being put in an institution for the rest of her life. Now, while her potential is unknown, one thing is certain. This little girl will grow up with the Gift of Love.
Things are going well for the Meredith family. They will be able to make the adoption of Rose final in about six months.
The Meredith's want people to know that taking on this type of a challenge doesn't have to be overwhelming. There are a lot of resources out there to help with a special needs child. Such as, a nurse will come to their house every day, respite care is available to give them a break, and many other support resources. But again, they say Rose is not a burden. She's a blessing.