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news News Thursday, November 7, 2019 Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:38 PM - Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:38 PM

Room to grow: The Willson family shares their adoption story

The Willsons adopted three children from China who are patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis

Room to grow: The Willson family shares their adoption story

The adoption process can be long and tedious, but finally holding your child in your arms makes it all worthwhile. When Harry and Bunnie Willson decided to adopt a child from China, they knew their child could have special needs. However, they knew they were called to save a child, and that’s when Hadley, who has an upper limb deficiency, joined their family.

About two years after they adopted Hadley, the Willsons were at an adoption family reunion and attended a seminar on adopting older children. They felt the calling to adopt again and saw a photo of a 13-year-old girl who was about to age out of the adoption system when she turned 14. Bunnie knew this child was theirs, and just a few months later they traveled to China to adopt Alexis.

Though they already had two girls when they began adopting, the Willsons knew they had more love to give and that their family wasn’t yet complete. They returned to the adoption agency, this time to adopt a boy. They were blessed with Andrew, who was 5 years old and missing his right foot. They now had a family of seven, yet still felt like they could do more.

A few years later, Bunnie and Harry again felt the calling to adopt, this time knowing they wanted another special needs child. They found out about Teagan, who was born with club feet and had a language delay. Once again, they traveled to China to meet their daughter. “China looks at these kids as having special needs,” Bunnie said. “We need to bring them here and give them a chance to see that they are not special-needs kids. They are kids just like everyone else.”

With their family finally complete with six children, the Willsons have enjoyed raising them and providing them with as many opportunities as possible. Three of their adopted children are patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis and serve as Patient Ambassadors for the hospital.  “Each and every one of our kids have been such a blessing to us,” Bunnie said. “All of them have great potential.”

For those thinking about adoption, the Willsons say the outcome is worth the long process. “There’s lots of paperwork and many hoops to jump through, but it’s worth every bit of what you have to go through to get them.”