A few months after Gavin's death in November 2009, Karen and Adam contacted an adoption agency and told them they would accept anybody. In fact, they would prefer children with special needs because not everyone had the skills they'd learned with Gavin.
About 104,000 foster children nationwide were waiting to be adopted in September 2011, according to the most recent report from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. Although the report tracks children's ages, genders and other factors, it does not track how many children have disabilities. This is largely because the definition of special needs varies from state to state.
"If you have a good heart, it can work," Karen said. "There are so many kids out there that just need one person to love them. It's an easy choice. It's not an easy life but it's an easy choice."