N.C. child with special needs finds forever family through his teacher

The nonprofit organization Holy Angels in Belmont took Wyatt in to care for him. Holy Angels is a residential facility for children and adults.
A young boy named Wyatt was born, medically fragile with special needs. His family was not an option to meet those needs.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 8:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A young boy named Wyatt was born medically fragile with special needs. His family was not an option to meet those needs.

The nonprofit organization Holy Angels in Belmont took Wyatt in to care for him. Holy Angels is a residential facility for children and adults.

“A lot of our guys are medically fragile or have delicate medical conditions,” Lori Hanafin said. “Most of the people that we serve are medically fragile. And they have to be a North Carolina resident, but we have some families who are here every well, pre-pandemic, we’re here every day. And then we have others who are in the custody of DSS why it has been here since he was a newborn.”

Hanafin recalled when Wyatt was brought to Holy Angels.

“The first call came from a Levine social worker, saying that they had this little fella that had really humble beginnings and they weren’t sure what his prognosis was, what his lifespan would be,” she said. “But they were working with the Rowan County Department of Social Services to try to find a place that could meet his medical needs. Kara was the vision teacher here at Holy Angels for Wyatt and some of his preschool friends. And as she tells the story, he reminded her so much of one of her children.”

Kara Grimes would become Wyatt’s art teacher.

“I met him and just kind of fell in love. And they say you don’t bring your work home, but I did, “Grimes said. “So I came home and talked about him a lot. And we discussed ways that we could help him just to be around them and spend time with them. And we just kind of fell in love.”

Grimes and her husband later decided to make Wyatt a forever part of their family. On December 13, 2020, Wyatt was officially adopted.

“The only thing we really could give Wyatt was family and love. And that’s really all he needed,” Grimes said. “He has a really great family here at Holy Angels that takes care of him and loves him and has been with him since he was born. But it’s nice to have that outside support. Also, when you first meet him, there are so many tubes, and there are so many different things going on... but I think you just need to learn to look past it and realize that there’s still a little boy under there that needs you. He is the most content child you’ll ever meet. He’s just a happy kid. He lives here. He started to come home to visit just during the days. He’s got a lot of medical needs. So he comes home independently and we take care of those needs. So but here he does have like a 24-hour nurse and people around the clock that take care of him.”

Wyatt now has brothers and sisters and a dog.

“You know, those little things that we take for granted, “Grimes said. “You know, he had never been to a house before. Before he came to our home, you know things you don’t think about like driving in a car when you’re not going to the hospital. Just to go for a car ride. Little things like that, that he loves to do that he wasn’t able to before and now he can.”

“He had great social workers with DSS but a social worker is never able to replace a family,” Hanafin said. “Along with having mom and dad, he has siblings. He has that dog at home that he got to go and visit when they were able to you know do their first visit with him at Christmas. I just think it anytime every child deserves a family at any time they can have a family of their own. That’s what we should shoot for. Everybody. Everybody wants a family. He deserved one too.”

The Grimes often visit Wyatt, who still lives at Holy Angels.

He will likely need full-time care for the remainder of his life.

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