There’s one from Bangkok, another from Bangalore . . .
One was rescued from Romania, one child is from China and three originate from Ethiopia. One travelled from Thailand. There are even a couple who came from Connecticut.
Two were born without arms and use their feet as hands. Most have special needs in one form or another. Individually, they’ve got little in common but together, connected, they’re a family. Perhaps the most remarkable family on Earth. They’re the Dennehys.
There are 14 in all: Sharon and Michael (mom and dad), their three biological children, Erin, Marissa and Ryan, and nine adopted offspring. Their names are George, James, Caris, Tamer, Tom, Siobhan, Hope, Kali and Andi. Their story is quite extraordinary . . .
It’s a tale that the Dennehys are used to recounting and one that they’re able to tell far better than us. Take a look at this short film about their lives in Ashland, Virginia, you’ll see what we mean . . .
The Dennehys might not be a conventional family – far from it, in fact – but just because something is considered orthodox doesn’t always mean that it’s the best method.
‘I think our unity and our love for one another is an everyday, unspoken lesson to us and to those around us that this is the way people were meant to live,’ says Sharon. ‘People of different races, ethnicities and abilities, living in co-operation and harmony.’
Here are two people who refused to see the problems, the pitfalls and the logistical difficulties. Here is a couple who saw only people. People less fortunate. People in need.
George’s medical notes, for instance, predicted a bleak future for a disabled Romanian baby, a future that even the doctors expected to prove tragic and short-lived . . .
‘[I saw] a blurred black-and-white photo of a three-month-old boy,’ Sharon recalls. ‘The caption read ‘Little boy born without arms desperately needs a loving home. Healthy and normal in all other ways’. That gripped my heart.’
It grips ours too and it gladdens us that there are such people in our world as Sharon and Michael. Before we go, we’d just like to underline two things that the Dennehys said in the film, two things that have inspired us and two things we’d like you to think about . . .
From Michael, ‘It took me decades to figure this out – that there’s no physical thing that you can buy that is actually going to give you true peace and happiness. The pure joy that can come from the rescue of a child’s life is probably the most satisfying thing you can imagine.’
From Sharon, ‘You see what happens with unconditional love. You give a person unconditional love and they blossom.’
Here’s to the Dennehys, a brilliant, brilliant family, an example to us all . . .