We first introduced you to Chelsey in December 2014 on CBS19’s Children are a Gift segment. She told us she likes to go on family outings. Now, she is able to do that with her forever family.
“Momma, can I help you make dinner tonight?” asked Chelsey, standing in the kitchen.
This soon-to-be 15-year-old has waited a long time to be able to call someone Momma.
“She gives me hugs at night,” said Chelsey about her new mom.
And now, this teenager has more love than she could have ever imagined.
“I feel happy here with this family,” Chelsey said.
“It was a really easy decision for both me and my husband,” her mom, Stacy Duff, said.
Stacy and her husband, Mike, adopted Chelsey about eight months ago. It was a decision based on one thing - “our faith, first and foremost,” Stacy said.
It’s a lifelong commitment to a child with special needs.
“For most people, when their child turns 18, they go off to college,” Stacy said. “You know, your duties slow down or subside, but with children like Chelsey, that’s not going to happen. Chelsey will live with us forever, and we needed to have that commitment to her.”
It’s a decision the Duffs have made before. They now have five adopted children - two with special needs.
“Mike and I know we couldn’t do this without the Lord in our lives driving us, pushing us, picking us up off the ground when we feel like we just cannot do it,” Stacy said.
And their efforts are paying off in a big way. Chelsey is now adjusting to mainstream classes.
“Chelsey has definitely matured academically,” Stacy said. “She is able to add double digits this year and working on subtraction and telling time. She changes classes; she goes to athletics with the rest of the girls.”
Stacy said parents of special-needs children have to be creative in developing an academic plan that’s best for them.
“As critical as Chelsey’s medications are to her well-being, her education is equally important,” she said. “I can’t stress how important education is to Chelsey for lifelong living and being able to be in our society and make decisions and not be taken advantage of.”
They encourage Chelsey to be her best, boosting her self-esteem and helping her do her best.
“Chelsey has a good attitude, and she wants to do well, and she wants to please, and she wants to just fit,” she said.
Chelsey’s prayer of a forever family is now answered, and what this East Texas couple has gotten in return is something they never expected.
“Mike and I just look at the world differently when you have children in your home who come to you having nothing,” Stacy said. “Our lives have changed in a way that I definitely feel like I’ve done something that is of great importance to the Lord, and I’m grateful that we were allowed to be the parents to Chelsey and the other kids.”
To learn more about Chelsey’s adoption journey, join Gillian Sheridan for her Children are a Gift report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 Ten@10. You can also find information on www.cbs19.tv . To inquire about an East Texas child waiting to be adopted, call 903-533-4242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.