Variety of St. Louis

If the famous quote, “We are our choices” is true; many would say that Erin and her husband are admirable, brave and exceptionally caring.

According to Erin, “the choice to adopt children with special needs just made sense. My degree is in special education, so we just knew it was something that we would do.”

Although the couple already has biological sons, ages 11 and 14, they made one more addition to the family in 2010. They brought home Oksana from Ukraine. Now eight, Oksana has cerebral palsy, microcephaly and is on the autism spectrum. When this loving family brought her home she was at the level of a toddler so her therapies through school were simply not enough.


“We found that school therapies focused on school behavior and what we really needed with Oksana was therapy to help her with community and home skills. Before we adopted her she was confined to a bed for five years – so she needed help with simple things like stability and feeding.”

This is where Variety’s new program, Ther-Happy Kids, came into play. Ther-Happy Kids ensures that children with disabilities not only have the medical equipment they need, but the therapy to support them while they use it. Through this program, Oksana has been going to four hours of therapy each week at a Variety agency.

Both of her kinds of therapy, physical and occupational, have been helping Oksana greatly. “Oksana is increasing her stability and learning to manipulate her environment,” says Erin.

This family focuses on the little day-to-day triumphs for Oksana, each of which is accomplished because of the help she received through her therapy. “This week she held a fork while eating and I couldn’t have been happier,” said Erin. We are so happy that Oksana’s steady progress is making life a little easier for her each and every day.

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