You will never see a child with a bigger smile or a sunnier countenance than Alex. Even though he was was born prematurely and developed severe medical issues, he seems to think being pushed in a swing is pure heaven.
Alex never came home from the hospital where he was born or from the interim institution that cared for him after that. His birth parents visited him often at Elizabeth Seton Hospital, hoping that somehow Alex could improve to the point where he would come home with them. But in the end, they made the difficult decision that Alex should be freed for adoption. He was by then, in adoption parlance, an “older” child at age 4. This is when Spence-Chapin first learned about Alex, who would not be permanently placed for nearly two more years.
Alex’s journey was far longer than any of the other special needs babies placed through Spence-Chapin because of several factors. There was the on-going hope of the birth parents that they would be able, at some point, to properly care for him. Another factor was the very real difficulty of his continuing medical condition. When Alex’s information was put up the ASAP website here, there were fewer responses than usual. He was no longer a baby but now a child of 4. His special needs remained, and would remain, severe. Nevertheless, a special couple came forward, a same sex couple who wanted to take Alex home and love him but were not able to move ahead because of a medical emergency.
Alex had to wait even longer because of more medical difficulties not his own. The Mongillo family, well known to us at Spence-Chapin, was very interested in Alex but just when they were to act on adopting him, one of their other children – a baby of two suffering from leukemia – became much sicker and it was determined to hold off on the placement until the Mongillo’s were able to resolve the needs of their baby who was in crisis. Alex remained at Elizabeth Seton.
Alex didn’t leave the hospital until he was six-years-old. But, at last, at the end of March of this year, Alex finally went home to his own forever family, the extraordinary Mongillo’s of Long Island. The family has adopted several times from Spence-Chapin and their home and their hearts seem always open to a child in need. Each of the children placed in this home has blossomed, making progress far beyond what doctors had predicted. The household is calm and loving and everyone agrees that Alex will thrive there too and attain every bit of his potential growth and then some.The Mongillo’s will stay in touch with Alex’s birth parents, visiting with them and allowing them to take comfort and joy in Alex’s bright future. It is truly a happy ending for Alex – and for us.