We are so grateful when the people and/or families we support want to share their story with us and with the community. We love to hear how we’ve helped support someone with developmental disabilities or delays, their family, or even other organizations, but that’s not our motivation in asking folks to share. Even though we think it’s incredibly cool how these stories motivate our teams here at Developmental Pathways (especially for those of us in roles where there are limited opportunities to connect with our supported-families), we wholeheartedly believe storytelling is a powerful tool in connecting people. Might that sound a bit cheesy or cliche? We’re okay with that. Follow our Getting to Know DP series to learn more about our teams, and you’ll know that it’s true.
Thank you to the Hammer family, particularly Becky (mom) and Abi, for sharing their story. We hope you enjoy learning about their family, and we hope it encourages you to share your story too.
Unparalleled: The Most Beautiful Little Girl
Developmental Pathways has been life-changing for our family.
Abi was just 18 months old when she arrived from India. She had many odds against her – the largest being that she was pre-mature, arriving at birth less than 4 pounds. She was ill with meningitis as a baby, which led to her being in the hospital for about 3 months. Yet, her Indian given name, Anupama is a tribute to who she is today; “Unparalleled.”
When we adopted her, we knew the moment we saw her photograph that God chose her for us, and us for her. There is something quite amazing to think that she was chosen. Not because of us, but because we believe God had a beautiful plan for our lives.
Prior to her arrival, we can remember a time when our [adoption] agency had called out of the blue to let us know they had the most beautiful little girl; however, we were too far down on the list. We just scratched our heads wondering why they would tell us this, then close the door. Yet, six months or so later, I was sitting at my office, the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing, when the phone rang. It was our adoption agency and the person said, “we have a beautiful little girl.” It turns out, this was the same little girl they had told us about earlier.
Early on we knew Abi was a bright star. While we didn’t know the extent of her specialness, we were open to doing whatever it took.
Abi’s Personal Cheering Squad
Developmental Pathways came into our lives while Abi was in high school. Getting her enrolled in the SLS (Supported Living Services) Waiver opened up doors never thought imaginable. DP was instrumental in introducing us to various programs available to our special star.
Their kindness, their knowledge and their willingness to go beyond to help made a huge difference in navigating the very arduous process.
The wonderful team at DP has invested in our family. Abi is changed because of those who have given to her. We are changed because we know people care and are willing to go beyond to help.
One program Abi was introduced to is called Wellspring Community. Her participation with Developmental Pathways made this program available, and it has been life-changing in and of itself. She is able to do hands-on training within their Best Buddies Café, their bakery, and take a variety of classes.
Living a Life Full of Enrichment
She has friends! This is huge for our daughter. She is able to manage things that may rattle her, she is able to communicate her needs, and she is making an everyday difference to those around her. Her life is so much more enriched because of the doors that were opened through Developmental Pathways.
Most people would feel sorry, or apologize to a special needs family; yet, here there is no apology necessary as it is Abi who has made the difference in our lives and the lives of many. Every day people comment on her smile, her countenance, and her ability to light up a room when she enters.
While there are times of difficulty, we have learned over the years to embrace them – to not allow hardship to take joy away from us.
A favorite quote written by Corrie Ten Boom says this, “Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” Developmental Pathways is a gift beyond measure. We could have never imagined all those years ago, the path that we chose, the many who have given timeless hours to our special star Abi, the testing, the countless hours of wondering what to do, that Developmental Pathways would be such a wonderful support to Abi and our family.