One couple in Pennsylvania opened their hearts to four children with serious special needs and adopted them as their own. Having had a hysterectomy, Melissa Yetter was unable to conceive the family she and her husband, Chris, had dreamed of. Yet, she shared their beautiful adoption story on Love What Matters in the hopes of inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
“This is a picture that was taken at our 4th adoption. Unable to have children, my husband and I turned to fostering to adopt,” Melissa, of Middleburg, Pennsylvania, wrote.
In the photo, each member of the Yetter family wears a T-shirt, each with a letter of the alphabet, which together spells the word “Family.”
“We have been blessed with such an incredible little family. Each one is perfect in their own way and each has taught me a valuable lesson about life,” Melissa wrote.
The first child to come into Melissa and Chris’s lives was Abby. The little girl arrived at the couple’s house on Jan. 17, 2014, a little over a year after horrifically being born in a toilet by a mother suffering from substance abuse.
“Her biological mom had a drug addiction. (I must add that she beat the addiction and now has 2 beautiful children),” Melissa wrote.
As soon as Abby came into the world, she was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a genetic kidney issue.
“She was placed into a foster home (not ours) and eventually had both of her kidneys removed and began dialysis.”
In addition, Abby had to be fed through a tube. To make matters worse, she suffered a stroke that landed her in the hospital.
When the caseworker told the Yetters about Abby’s host of problems, Chris thought, “she sounded perfect!”
Caring for Abby was undoubtedly a tedious process.
“Every night, we would scrub, put our masks on and go through the process of setting up the machine,” Melissa wrote. “Dialysis supplies alone were around 28 cases a month.
“At one point during a procedure, she went into cardiac arrest on the table.”
Despite all these difficulties, though, the Yetters officially adopted Abby in July 2015, renaming her Abigail Noelle.
Every day, the couple had to be home by 8 p.m. to begin the 11-hour medical process for Abby—until at last she received a new kidney on Feb. 8, 2017.
“We never know when the disease will return, but we have a plan in place for how we will fight it. Until then, Abby is enjoying being a little girl.”
The second child to capture the Yetters’ hearts was David Andrew.
“Our caseworker called and said, ‘We have a 5-year-old AUTISTIC, nonverbal, not potty-trained boy for placement today. I immediately said no. Autism was foreign to me,” Melissa recounted.
However, the ever-open-minded Chris told the caseworker they’d welcome David into their home if they couldn’t find another by 5 p.m.
And soon, David came bursting into their house, literally bouncing off walls and making weird, high-pitched squealing sounds.
Melissa first believed she couldn’t handle David’s eccentric behaviors and was thinking of ways to have him placed elsewhere. But her heart softened as she learned David’s sad story.
“His biological mom couldn’t handle his behaviors. He never really had a father in his life,” Melissa wrote. “Soon my husband and I realized that moving him elsewhere would just add more trauma to his life.”
Daily triumphants….being able to separate, toast, and spread the cream cheese on your bagel all by himself!!!!!!!!#winning
The couple taught David basic life skills, and as time passed, he became Daddy’s boy, who loves nothing more than following Chris around wherever he goes.
David was officially brought into the Yetter family on March 9, 2018.
Following David, the bighearted couple took in yet another child, a 7-year-old girl named Karen.
In the beginning, Karen was incredibly skinny; she had trouble eating and, as she had been kept locked in her bedroom, she still bottle-fed at age 7.
“She lacked the muscles in her mouth to even be able to chew. She walked on her tippy-toes and was very unsteady. She was terrified of the county workers because she lacked human contact.”
Karen was only found when an ambulance arrived at her house for her grandmother one winter.
“The fridge was filled with moldy food and Karen’s bottles were moldy,” Melissa shared. “Grandma died from hypothermia and biological mom went to jail for involuntary manslaughter.”
Besides being underweight, Karen was also diagnosed with an intellectual disability and autistic characteristics. As the girl settled down with the Yetters, she began speaking, occupational, and physical therapies, and started attending school.
The Yetters officially adopted her on March 31, 2017, renaming her Karen Olivia.
Then, just when Melissa decided her family was complete, a woman she knew on Facebook introduced her to 17-year-old Sabrina.
Sabrina, who requires a special diet owing to a genetic condition, “is the tiniest, sweetest girl you will ever meet.”
“She functions at about 18-24 months, is nonverbal, not potty trained, but always has a smile on her face,” Melissa wrote.
Six months later, on June 19, 2018, the Yetters officially adopted Sabrina.
Home made pizza party for the Super Bowl. Abby and Karen and Agent D!!!
“Her adoption fulfilled my desire to help a child that nobody else would want,” Melissa wrote. “And in the chaos of it all, my husband has never questioned my desire to be a mom. There is no amount of words to describe how proud we are of our kids.”
Every child is a gift. Given the chance, kids with special needs are capable of giving back in wonderful ways. Thank you Melissa and Chris Yetter for giving these children a loving family and the opportunity to shine.