Connecticut mother-of-nine adopts six children with special needs to give them a better future
Hope Feliciano represents motherhood in its most inclusive form, as she goes on to care for children who are challenged in various health related ways
Stay-at-home-mum-of-nine Hope Feliciano (53) from Connecticut has always hoped to adopt a child herself. But her objective has been unique as she has adopted six children with medical problems and provided them with a home where they can do anything they set their minds to.
Following her marriage to her husband, Caesar, in 1988 at just the age of 23, they both desired to adopt children, despite going on to have three children of their own.
It all began in 2002 when Hope and her husband decided to attend an open house session about fostering and adoption, soon after which they adopted their first child, Antonio — who is now 16 — in 2005.
Always wanting to adopt children of her own, "even as a little girl", Hope revealed that her intention initially was to foster care, and later adopt a child if everything went well. She explained, "My husband and I had to go to attend foster and adoption care classes. While taking the classes, I heard the instructor mention children with special needs in the foster care system. That just piqued my interest, because our own children had some medical issues."
Hope's first adopted child, Antonio, was born premature and suffered from the mild subglottic stenosis. He was later diagnosed with spasmodic chronic croup, which affects breathing and he also has scoliosis. Hope revealed to Daily Mail, "There aren’t many medically complex foster homes in CT where these children can go. We actually received a call about our first child before we finished our classes.”
Soon a year later, they adopted their next child, Aubree, who was born with a birth defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm. While most children, who suffer from this condition called diaphragmatically hernia, do not survive, Aubree has managed to pull through and is now a gymnast.
Unfortunately, their third child, Alana, passed away in December 2009 the same year they adopted her due to a critical condition called gastroschisis, in which the intestines and other organs are found outside of the body. Despite the tragedy, the couple did not stop their good-willed work.
After a brief pause for mourning, they proceeded to foster and adopt their son, Aedan (eight-years-old), in 2012, who spent the first eight months of his life in hospital, as he suffers from a condition called septo-optic dysplasia (SOD), a rare congenital malformation syndrome featuring underdevelopment of the optic nerve, pituitary gland dysfunction and the absence of the midline part of the brain.
In the two years of 2016 and 2017, they went on to adopt Alec, who was born with caudal regression syndrome and Ava, who was born with a rare condition called Moebius syndrome, characterized by weakness or paralysis of multiple cranial facial nerves.
Hope and her husband have three biological children; Ashlee (26), Aaron (28) and Austin (30), who were all born prematurely resulting in various medical issues.
Hope believes, "If you choose to do foster and adoptive care, you have to do it as a family. If you already have a family, you have to make sure that the whole family agrees to it."