The Baxley Family:
Parents Dennis and Ginette with Adopted Child Jeffrey
Dennis and Ginette Baxley have never had an empty nest. With three boys of their own they thought they were done. That was until they became friends with a child from their church who they later learned was in foster care. They enrolled in MAPP classes and started out as foster parents. Through the process they realized that the easiest part was learning to love another child.
"It's never convenient to care." The Baxleys got the call about Jeffrey, their adopted son, at a hectic and transitional time in their life. They also found out that Jeffrey suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome and was blind, had fractures to his legs, and would most likely have some brain damage as he grew older. However, after many prayers and heart felt discussions, they knew what felt right in their hearts. When they first met Jeffrey at 8 months old the case worker told them that, due to his abuse, Jeffrey may not be able to be held without crying. However, after spending just a short time with Jeffrey he curled up into Dennis' lap and fell asleep. It took about three years to get Jeffrey, but it was worth it. Shortly before the finalization of Jeffrey's adoption, the Baxleys received a call that Jeffrey had a little sister, Ranee, who recently became available for adoption. They knew exactly what they needed to do. Soon the Baxley's found themselves welcoming in two new additions to their family.
"Jeff hears things that others don't, but not because he hears better." As a family, the Baxleys have learned to overcome many challenges. While working with Jeffrey's special needs they are still learning how to recreate visual experiences into sensory ones. One important lesson they have learned is that every moment is worth it and sometimes you need to take a risk every once in a while. Jeffrey currently is 23 years old and works at a local plant nursery for adults with special needs. He also has learned to drive a lawn tractor. Dennis admits that they might be missing a few bushes, but other than that Jeffrey does pretty well.
"Jeffrey and Ranee made our sons better fathers." Though the Baxley's biological sons are grown and have families of their own, they still remain close to their brother and sister. The Baxleys also encourage others interested in adoption to take things one step at a time and not go into it alone. Dennis encourages other families to make up their mind to persist and to make sure everyone around knows that you're not giving up. The only thing left for the Baxleys to wonder is: "what if I had missed this?"