By the Disability.gov Team
A basketball whizzes past the camera, and a little boy with short blonde hair cracks a smile and lets out a mischievous laugh. His dad, Ricky, jogs to the ball and in a split second returns it for another round of entertainment. When you ask Brendan questions, he answers confidently. He eagerly returns high-fives. His energy fills the room, tugging at the heartstrings of everyone at the photo shoot. Brendan is like any other five-year-old boy, despite being born premature at 28 weeks with complications that caused cerebral palsy and kidney disease. He also has asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet, his story is not defined by his disabilities – rather Brendan thrives because of the love, support and expectations of his adoptive parents, Sarah and Ricky.
Shortly after his birth, Brendan was placed into the foster care system; however, his delicate health situation made it difficult for some foster families to give him the attention he needed. After three foster homes and numerous hospitalizations, he was placed with Ricky and his wife, Sarah, a former labor and delivery nurse who could focus 100 percent of her time caring for Brendan’s needs. After a year and half, they officially adopted him. A unique twist to this sweet story is that Ricky and Sarah also adopted Brendan’s biological sister, Lauren, who was born 16-months later. Ever the dynamic duo, Brendan and Lauren hardly go anywhere without the other in tow, so his memorable trip to Washington, D.C., was a little bittersweet.