July 21, 1999

Adopted special needs child
a special blessing for Texans

___By Toby Druin
___Buckner News Service
___NEVADA--The list of problems facing little Chloe Noelle Soverns is staggering.
___Her weight, at 16 pounds, is about 25 percent below normal. Most of her first 15 months were spent on a ventilator. She has a tracheotomy to aid her breathing and will have it until she is at least 2. She requires tube feeding. She will have to see a lung specialist once or twice a month and will require speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
MARK AND MARY SOVERNS know they will have to be with Chloe virtually every moment of the day, but they also know beyond a shadow of a doubt they are supposed to be her family. (Photos by Toby Druin)
Doctors expect her to be developmentally delayed for at least a few years. She requires constant attention. She requires almost hourly medication.
___By nearly every definition, she is what the staff at Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services terms a "special needs child."
___But until earlier this year, the biggest need for Baby Chloe wasn't medical. What she needed most was a family.
___Chloe Noelle, the black-haired, dark-eyed daughter of an alcoholic mother, was born Nov. 18, 1997, at Medical City Hospital in Dallas. She was three months premature and weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces.
___Chloe left Medical City Feb. 2 in the arms of Mark and Mary Soverns of Nevada, a tiny community northeast of Dallas. Working with Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, the Sovernses adopted the special needs child, climaxing a desire and search of several years.
___They had been married seven years in July when they attended the Texas Baptist Family Reunion at Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico.
___ They had wanted a baby, but she had her tubes tied after having two sons in a previous marriage. They had inquired about adoption, but the agencies they contacted "wanted too much money or said we hadn't been married long enough," she said.
___But at Glorieta they went to a seminar about adoption options and found out about Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, including the need for couples to adopt special needs children.
___"We didn't care about special needs," she said. "We just wanted the baby to be breathing. It wouldn't have mattered to us if we had a child of our own with special needs."
MARY SOVERNS has no doubt that Chloe is the daughter that God had planned for family.
The Sovernses are members of First Baptist Church of Lavon, and they and their church family began praying about adoption.
___ "They really pulled for us," she said. "We knew if it was God's will, that everything would fall into place."
___They filled out a "mile of paperwork" with Buckner--"It took a month"--and the next month they came to Dallas for an interview.
___ "It was a time when they asked what kind of child we wanted," she said. "We said we didn't care, and they seemed surprised."
___ Two weeks later, caseworker Carol Demuth called and told them about Chloe. They came back to Dallas and were given a description of her problems.
___"It was very overwhelming," Mrs. Soverns said. But they began to pray about it, weighing the pros and cons.
___"I was afraid we couldn't be that unselfish," she said. "Chloe's needs meant that we wouldn't be able to take her to Grandma's house and drop her off. We would have to be with her constantly."
___But after a few days of prayer and thought, she said, "God took away the scare and anxiety."
___They sat down and almost simultaneously said it was what they wanted.
___"We wanted her, and we knew it was what God wanted," she said.
___She has worked as a house cleaner and will continue to clean their church when he is at home. He is a crew chief in construction for the city of Richardson.
___The city had just implemented an adoption assistance program, which would cover all but $500 of the cost of the adoption. The Sovernses were the first to benefit from the new policy.
___ "We just had to say it was God," she said.
___The Sovernses met with the birth mother and saw Chloe for the first time Dec. 7. Mrs. Soverns went back to the hospital every day for the next two months except for when she was ill. Soon, Chloe's eyes were tracking her every movement.
___Her birth mother named the baby Chloe Noelle, a name the Sovernses decided to keep "as a gift to her birth mother and because we had prayed for her as Chloe Noelle," Mrs. Soverns said.
___She is grateful for the open adoption process, she said.
___"I would never recommend anything else. It helps a Christian adoptive mother to reach out to that other person who might not be a Christian. Chloe's birth mother knows we are going to raise her as a Christian. And she can pick up the phone and call us, or I can call her about any question I might have about Chloe's background.
___"And one of these days it will be so much easier for Chloe to know about it, that she can go to her birth mother or father. We will raise her for it to be normal for her to have a birth mother and father as well as Mark and me."

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