Meet the Dennehys, the family who adopted 9 children, all of them with special needs. Believing that they had a mission to create a loving home, they felt the best way to do so was to find those who were most in need.
With 12 children in all, the Dennehys might already stand out in this day-in-age. What makes their family even more special is the fact that 9 of their kids were adopted, and that all 9 of those ones were children with special needs. Now with a dozen children and a bunch of dogs gracing their home, both Mike and Sharon Dennehy can’t help but feel blessed.
Deeply rooted in their Christian faith, Mike and Sharon were leading a happy life with their 3 biological children. But according to their belief, God had greater plans for them. One day, as Mike told the Deseret News, after hearing a sermon at church, they came to the understanding that they were mere listeners and not doers of God’s work. And that’s what pushed the couple to take a life-altering step: adopting a boy with no hands from Romania. They named him George.
Raising George was a challenge, but both George and his parents were determined to make it work. George grew up to be a talented child who could play the piano, the cello, and the guitar.
The family wasn’t yet complete. Sharon came across another armless child on the internet and decided to take him in. Sharon knew this would be good for George, as both of them could grow up together, and relate to one another. And that’s how they welcomed their next son, James from India … and then came Tom, their third adoptive son, through the Connecticut state system.
Tom, whose mother was in rehab, was initially under the foster care of the Dennehys. But after Tom became a part of the family, letting him go was no longer an option. When Tom was 2 years old, his biological mother gave birth to his sister, Siobhan and so, the Dennehy’s gladly ushered her as well into their loving home.
Soon, the couple came to know about a baby girl born without limbs in Thailand, and naturally, they wanted to add her to the family. Unfortunately, the strict adoption laws of Thailand made it impossible for them to do so. But one bit of disheartening news paved way for more happy additions; their happy home was again lit up by 10-year old Caris from China.
On one of the many special needs websites that Sharon was a member of, she came across an Ethiopian girl with no arms. When they went to adopt her, they returned home with two girls: Andi and Cali, both biological sisters. Two years later, these two sisters were reunited with their other biological sister, Tamer—when the Dennehys found out about her from Andi and Cali, they decided to adopt her too. This demonstrates as clear as can be, that Mike and Sharon really know how to bring a family together.
In 2011, they got the news that the baby girl in Thailand was up for adoption. Without further delay, they started the adoption process, and in February 2012, they welcomed their little girl Hope, into their happy family.
And that is what makes up the Dennehy home. Mike and Sharon believed they were following God’s design. As Mike said: “We’re all pretty messed up and then God says, ‘It’s all right, I’m going to rescue you and bring you into my family.’ We just try to tell everybody that adoption on earth is just like the adoption that’s coming later for everyone.”
Their family is indeed a testament to the fact that sharing enriches our life with happiness. They opened their home to children who needed love and care. In doing so, they created happiness not only in their own lives, but in the lives of the children who never thought they’d be so lucky as to become a part of such a big happy family.