Sami was just a newborn when she was put into foster care. She was diagnosed with CHARGE Syndrome upon birth and needed foster parents who could take care of a medical-needs child. Sami was blessed to be placed in the home of Mary and Don Knoy at 7 weeks old.
She experienced extensive medical and physical difficulties early in life, such as congenital heart defects, hearing loss, blindness, breathing issues, difficulty swallowing, and brain atrophy. In her first 2 years, Sami underwent several surgeries including 3 open heart surgeries, cleft and palate repairs, a cochlear implant, 2 pacemaker surgeries, and numerous less serious surgeries.
Her foster parents were by her side every single day.
Sami’s doctors told her foster parents that she would never see more than light and shadow.
They told them she was profoundly deaf in both ears.
They told them she had multiple congentical heart defects, breathing issues and development delays.
They told them these delays would not allow her to learn more than 33% of what other kids learn.
Today, Sami can see with her right eye so well that most people don’t realize she’s blind in her left.
She can walk with a walker and uses close to 120 ASL signs.
And best of all, she makes friends everywhere she goes!
After caring for Sami as foster parents for over 2 years, Mary and Don adopted her! The Knoy family isn’t your “traditional” family but they have more love for each other than you would ever know. They delight in her accomplishments, such as eating a banana for the first time or giving Mommy and Daddy kisses.
Thanks to her foster parents, her Villages’ case worker, her team of 16 specialists, and countless friends, this remarkable little girl was able to accomplish so much more than anyone could have ever imagined.
She is surrounded by people who love her and would do anything to support her. Sami lives each day to the fullest. She learns and develops new skills constantly. Her future is unsure, but we know that with the love and support of her parents she will be able to do so much more. Sami and her family hope that other children in similar situations will find a loving and supportive home through The Villages.
If Sami’s story touched your heart consider attending our upcoming fundraiser, CHAIRish the Children. This unique event is being held at the Lucas Estate Sports Pavilion and is an auction that sells one-of-a-kind chairs decorated by local artists. A variety of pieces will be showcased, including children’s chairs, adult chairs, benches and rocking chairs. Click here to see all 48 items up for auction. We hope you can come and support The Villages as they continue to create more stories just like Sami’s.