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LifeScape: Someplace We Can Always Turn To

When Kaitlyn Wanamaker and her husband Matt were making the decision to adopt a child with special needs, LifeScape was part of the equation. They knew LifeScape would be in their corner if and when they needed them. Her family has a long association with LifeScape, with her sister receiving specialty hospital care there as an infant. Kaitlyn had been a volunteer, and her mom, Kathy, had worked for the LifeScape Foundation. They were very comfortable with kids with special needs and knew they could provide a good home for such a child. Their process with a specialty adoption agency went quickly, and their son, Noah, became available from an out-of-state family right after his birth in March 2020.

Noah has multiple diagnoses, including cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder for which he’s been hospitalized numerous times. He breathes with the help of a ventilator and is fed liquid nutrition through a tube into his stomach. The Wanamakers have high hopes that an upcoming surgery to implant a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device for his brain will help. The VNS device should reduce the severity and frequency of the seizures and allow him to grow stronger and healthier.

Julie Johnson, MD, Medical Director of Rehabilitation & Medically Complex Programs at LifeScape, has seen Noah as an outpatient since he first came home with Matt and Kaitlyn nearly three years ago. “She really listens to us with our questions and concerns about Noah,” says Kaitlyn. “She has gone above and beyond to learn about his rare condition and ways to help him. If she doesn’t know the answer, she researches it so she can help.” How does that make her feel as the mom of a medically fragile child? “It’s very reassuring knowing we have a doctor like her,” says Kaitlyn. “She sees him every six months to see how he’s progressing. He’s come a long way, and she enjoys seeing how he’s progressed.”

Noah is also an outpatient at LifeScape affiliate RISE Custom Solutions, which provides specialized medical equipment. “We are very thankful for the equipment we’ve gotten for Noah,” says Kaitlyn. He got a “kid cart,” a specialty wheelchair/stroller for infants and toddlers right away. “It allowed him to be present and sitting up for his adoption hearing (shown in photo), which was on his first birthday,” says Kaitlyn. Noah has also been equipped with a stander and AFO’s (Ankle-Foot Orthotics), which supports him in a standing position for a different view of the world.

Noah is about to celebrate his third birthday, and he’s been joined by two younger siblings, keeping the Wanamakers and the grandparents very busy, especially with Noah’s high level of medical needs. As he grows and becomes more medically stable, Matt and Kaitlyn know that LifeScape is there for therapies and other specialty treatments. “It’s comforting knowing we have that help for Noah,” says Kaitlyn. “LifeScape is someplace we can always turn to as he grows.”

Wanamaker family photo

The Wanamaker family now includes three children, with Noah as the big brother.

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