Stories & Pictures
Karla came late in life to her parents, Ike and Sonia. Born with a rare syndrome, she was a surprise they lovingly embraced. Sonia had lost another baby daughter 20 years before, and Karla was named after her.
Part of a musical family, Karla loves to be sung to. Every week at church, she holds her hand on her dad's chin while he sings. He knows the sweetness of that moment together, because Karla was not expected to survive.
At birth, Karla's health was so fragile, doctors believed she would not live to the age of five. They suggested she become a ward of the state instead of going home with her parents. But Ike and Sonia wanted their daughter home with them, where they could care for her and love her.
Now 13, Karla has grown and thrived, but her developmental challenges are significant. She has learned to eat well, and although she cannot speak, she brings her shoes and coat to her parents when she wants to go outside. Sonia bathes, diapers, and dresses Karla, and watches her every minute for safety. The constant nature of her care is getting more difficult as Karla grows bigger and her parents get older.
Ike, now retirement age, makes half the income he used to make, at a time when he and Sonia need more help with Karla. Both parents have tried in vain to get some DDA funded assistance. Karla has been on the waiting list all of her 13 years. Ike says, "Karla is lucky to have two loving parents, but we cannot continue without some help."
If the Developmental Disabilities Administration had more funding, people like Karla could get the supports and services they need. Invest in citizens of Maryland with developmental disabilities.
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