The Anderson-Page Family

Told by Pam Anderson

Born on the 25th of December 2007, Steven was a Christmas baby. He was placed with us when he was merely 6 months old. He was such a tiny baby—weighing only 6 lbs. when he arrived. Back then, I never could have imagined how radically he would change my life. He may not be my biological child, but I think of him as a precious gift.

At 9 months old, Steven was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and we were able to get him into early intervention services. He went on to see different therapists and doctors. Over these last 2 years, he has had to undergo several surgeries. He has had bilateral hip surgery on both hips, developed contractures, has had to have surgery on one leg, and is about to have his other leg operated on this summer. He can no longer use a walker and is now primarily bound to a wheelchair. It has been hard, but he is a beautiful child and is taking on these challenges as well as he can.

Steven is very verbal. He speaks in phrases and can put words together to form sentences to tell you exactly what he wants and what he doesn’t. He is also very polite and charming, but he can be a pistol with me. I guess that’s what makes him a typical teenage boy.

I learned about Jill’s House many years ago through a friend on Steven’s T-ball team. I don’t know why it took me so long to inquire about it, but I’m so glad I finally did. I guess it’s because we as parents and guardians are so hesitant to send our special needs child into the care of someone else. We worry about our children and whether they will be all right or not. However, after observing Steven’s first weekend at the Rocky Top Weekend Adventures Camp, I wish I had enrolled him earlier!

Steven has now participated in the camp twice. As he was getting ready to go this last time, I heard him repeat to himself, “Make new friends.” As we arrived at the camp’s entrance, he rolled his window down and called out to his friends. It’s obvious that he loves the camp very much. When I picked him up at the end of the weekend, he went on and on about ziplining, water activities, and horseback riding. Yes, Steven went horseback riding! Who could have thought?


What I love the most about Jill’s House is that Steven can participate in various activities, and he is not made to feel limited in his ability. So many people are available to help each child experience all the activities, so if it was going to take 4 people to help Steven enjoy horseback riding, then that’s what they were going to do! One camp counselor told me, “Although Steven might forget about me, I will never forget about him.” In all honesty, I doubt Steven will ever forget how special the camp made him feel.

I suppose Steven would say that his favorite thing about camp is being able to see his friends. After all, being a special needs child can be very isolating; you can’t just run down the street and play with your friends. However, while at the camp, Steven gets to spend the entire weekend with his friends.

Since Steven is not my biological child, some people like to tell me just how good I am to be caring for him. What they don’t know is that he is the one who has been a blessing to me. He is a very special young man. I’m sure he would love to get up and run, but, unfortunately, that is never going to happen. I see him as a child sent by God, and I am committed to doing everything I possibly can for his sake.

Today, society has become more inclusive of kids and even adults with special needs by offering spaces for them to engage in a variety of activities; however, there is still a long way to go. Jill’s House does a beautiful job of helping these kids. I am so grateful for Jill’s House!

Thank you for making stories like Steven’s possible.