Patient Stories

Big Dreams for Adopted Teens Miles and Jonah

Story Summary

When Jackie and David adopted two boys with overwhelming disabilities from Ukraine, they kept their expectations in check. The couple could offer a loving home, but they weren’t sure what the future would hold for Miles and Jonah.

Miles was adopted at 16 years old and weighed only 15 pounds. Until that point, he’d spent his life in a crib at an orphanage without medical care for cerebral palsy. The lack of socialization, physical touch, and adequate nutrition stunted his physical and cognitive development, leaving Miles nonverbal and nonambulatory.

Jonah lived at the same orphanage but didn’t meet Miles until they were adopted. Inadequate care for spina bifida almost claimed Jonah’s life. He arrived at his new home with life-threatening pressure sore complications and a bone infection that left him nearly septic.

After doctors stabilized the boys’ health, Jackie and David took them to Shriners Children’s™ Salt Lake City. The team of surgeons, seating specialists, and physical therapists there changed everything for the family.

When the physical therapist first placed Miles on a crawler – a small board with wheels – he experienced self-propelling for the first time. As he scooted himself around, his face lit up, and Jackie started imagining new possibilities.

Thanks to spinal fusion surgery, Jonah is doing better too. He also has a custom-fit manual wheelchair with power assist. Now, he can propel himself or choose to activate the motor for more challenging routes.

The donor-funded medical magic at Shriners Children’s has inspired Jackie and David to dream big for their boys. And Miles and Jonah are looking forward to lives enriched by the love and opportunity they lacked for so long.

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