Hope for a Home: Meet Benjamin, Mimi and Carla

Story features children in need of loving homes; special needs in spotlight

SAN ANTONIO – Our Hope For a Home series on KSAT 12 features children in the foster care system who long to be adopted. Reporter and anchor Myra Arthur had the opportunity to talk with them to share their likes and dreams for the future in the hopes of connecting them with a potential forever family.

Some children, however, can’t share those things, but their need for a loving home is just as great.

We met Benjamin, Armida, who goes by Mimi, and Carla at Morgan’s Wonderland, a place designed for people of all abilities to enjoy.

All three of the children have autism.

Gordon Hartman created Morgan’s Wonderland with his daughter, Morgan, in mind, who thrives despite her special needs.

“When you first hear about special needs sometimes there's a negative to it,” Hartman said. “I can tell you it’s just the opposite. Morgan has been nothing but a blessing, nothing but being able to open our eyes to life in a different way.”

Benjamin, 14, is considered nonverbal and has chronic lung disease, congenital anomalies of the aorta and suffers from seizures. But look closely and you’ll see a smile and hear a laugh.

His Child Protective Services caseworker said Benjamin’s social skills continue to improve thanks to hard work in therapy. He loves to swim, listen to music and watch Pixar and Disney movies.

Carla is a fan of Disney, too. The eighth-grader also loves technology.

Danielle Rigueira, the director of Habilitative Homes, where Carla and Mimi live, said Carla is task-oriented and enjoys earning a reward for her achievements.  

“She does understand a whole lot,” Rigueira said. “If she knows she's earning something, she's really good at doing what she needs to do.”

Both Carla, 13, and Mimi, 9, have their own unique personalities, Rigueira said.

“Mimi, she is definitely my very chill child,” Rigueira said. “She likes nothing more than relaxing. She loves food and she is not super high energy.”

All three children are in need of a forever family; a home in which love can help them thrive.

“There are some challenges from time to time. There may be more planning that needs to be done. There may be things that need to be taken care of. There may be some obstacles, but all of those things can be dealt with,” Hartman said. “I can tell you for all the work that has to be put in to deal with those issues, the fulfillment that comes back from that is many times tenfold, twentyfold, what anyone could ever possibly imagine.”

“A lot of times you realize once you get to know them that they have their own personalities. They're not too different than any other child,” Rigueira said. “All of us have our things that we're not very good at and good at.”

For more information on how to foster or adopt, call 210-337-3117 or visit www.adoptchildren.org.

“I think anyone who wants to bring a child with special needs into their home, it takes just a big heart,” Hartman said. “And there's a lot of big hearts in San Antonio.”

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