'United Nasons' adopt unwanted children near and far

Date: 1982-01-04

By ROBERT E. SHOTWELL
TheOregonian

SISTERS. Ore. (AP) - "I like you just the way you are."

That is a motto that has crept into the
lives of Dennis and Diane Nason.
When you have 19 children, some with
severe handicaps, living at home you
learn to accept what comes along. What
has come along for the Nasons is six
children of their own and 18 children
they have adopted.

It's the "United Nasons" of Sisters.
The adopted children arrived from Vietnam,
El Salvador and India with several
from throughout the United States —
Florida, Oregon, Indiana, Washington
and New York.

Medical histories for some of the
children read like textbook cases of
what can go wrong with a child. But that
doesn't bother the Nasons.

Nason, who is postmaster in Sisters,
said, "Most of these kids are kids that no
one else wanted, but we love them.
There are a lot of kids in the world who
could make it if they had understanding
and love. They may not all grow up to
set the world on fire, but at least they
can function as members of society."

Mrs. Nason said, "What we have now
are kids from every race. It didn't start
out that way, but I think God would
really like, this family. There's a lot of
harmony — the way a family should be,
and that's the way it has turned out."
Seven-month-old Kevin is an example
of the type of child that finds a way into
the Nason's hearts. When Kevin was
born to a family in Florida his parents
were devastated to learn he had Down's
syndrome — a form or retardation. His
tests showed him to be at the top of the
scale — able to read and write — but his
natural parents couldn't accept the
handicap.

"Their loss is our gain," Nason said.
Another example is 4-year-old Mandy,
whose birth-parents in Calcutta, India,
used drugs to try to abort the mother's
pregnancy. The parents, both doctors,
were appalled when their daughter was
born without arms. Mother Teresa in
Calcutta took Handy until the Nasons
adopted her.

Then there is Melissa, 5, who was born
with cerebral palsy, deafness and
clubfeet. Surgery has corrected many of
her frailties.

David, 5, of black-white-Indian
heritage, was born in New York City to
parents who didn't want him. David has
a mild case of cerebral palsy and a few
other disabilities caused by his mother's
use of drugs.

There is Kari, 12, who as a tiny child in
Vietnam was burned in a napalm attack
on her native village. Skin grafts and
other care in Vietnamese hospitals finally
made it possible for her to become
part of the Nason family.

Ten years after the Nasons had been
told by their doctor that they would
never have any more children of their
own, Donny arrived. Then came Diana.
And then Kenny. Donny is now 5, Diana
is 3 and Kenny is 1.

"Now we have these three of our own
(at home) and they are role models for
the socalled 'handicapped' kids, and it
works beautifully," Mrs. Nason said.
"They see these three doing things they
want to do — so they do them — with no
concern for their handicaps."

The Nasons say they have become experts
in psychology, medicine, deafness
and a host of medical problems. There
are money problems from time to time
but they have learned to cope with that
phase of their lives, too.

"We don't get any outside assistance
except for Kevin and Melissa — from
the Easter Seal Society. I feel that if we
adopt them we should take care of them.
I could go to the Welfare Department in
Bend and probably get $600 a month in
food stamps — free. But I can't do it. I
adopted these kids, and I'll take care of
them,"Nason said

THE NEWS. Frederick, Md.
Monday. January 4.1982 C-5

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