Felice and I first met Quinn in Hefei, China in 2001. We adopted her when she was 11 months old and went to the orphanage to see her. When we first met, Quinn was underweight, she had no ability to focus her eyes, the back of her head was flat from lying on her back the entire time. She couldn’t sit up. If we sat her up, she fell over and couldn’t get back up again.
When we brought her back to Canada, the three of us worked hard together to try to create an opportunity for Quinn to flourish and to develop into the fine young woman that she is developing into. In the process of this development, we realized that Quinn has some cognitive difficulties, perhaps related to the environment in which she was born. Quinn was in a situation, here in Edmonton, where she couldn’t participate in many of the regular school activities.
She is currently going to a special needs educational program. She’s now thirteen and in seventh grade. She’s loving the opportunity to work in art and develop her artistic interests. She also really loves AdaptAbilities. I want to stress how difficult it was for Felice and me. We were doing a tag team, where Felice would be with Quinn for a while, I would be with Quinn for a while, and it was wearing us down. We were pretty much getting to the end of our rope, trying to maintain a family life and a professional life. AdaptAbilities came across our radar screen, and we had the opportunity to have Quinn enroll in the Pre-teen Social Nights, to help her meet and make new friends.
Now she goes every day after school to AdaptAbilities and participates in the activities there. She loves art, but she also really enjoys and loves the people of AdaptAbilities. I get text messages from her constantly, asking me to postpone coming to pick her up because she wants to be an extra five or ten minutes. She’ll tell me, “can you pick me up at 5:55?” because the Centre closes at 6. She wants to get every minute that she can.
Quinn has, I think, developed in a very short period of time, very close relationships with the people at AdaptAbilities. Felice and I would like to take this opportunity, not only to share with everybody our experience, but to also publicly thank all the staff, Michelle and everyone at AdaptAbilities for providing this opportunity and for joining our tag team to help out in the care of Quinn.