Nothing makes us happier than stories of strength and perseverance, especially from our Once Upon a Farm family. Today, we’re sharing the inspiring story of DeMaun and his mother, Leah, who were faced with adversity at a young age. Despite the challenges, DeMaun and Leah did not give up and their story of resilience, courage and first food success continues to inspire us and our commitment to nurture families and each other every day.
DeMaun was born at 23 weeks. Being a micro-preemie, his life has been an uphill battle from the start. He is non-verbal and was in the foster care system for 12+ years where he did not receive proper care. Much of his life story is pieced together from a thick stack of files and at some point during his time in the foster care system, he was given a gastronomy tube (G-tube) for 100% of his food intake. This was until his adoptive mother, Leah, met the child they deemed “unadoptable” and saw a little boy very much worthy of a family just like any other child. She took him under her angel wings alongside his new father and three brothers and started advocating for him.
Leah and DeMaun were initially given a very long list of ‘he will never’ and their biggest battles were food and extreme sensory issues. Leah tried tirelessly to feed DeMaun blended foods with weekly help and guidance from a speech therapist, but these feeding sessions often ended in tears and food being flung about, leaving everyone feeling defeated. It wasn’t until that speech therapist threw away this “he will never” list that they made progress. Since DeMaun was allergic to most additives and Leah had a full plate with a newly placed medical foster baby (see ANGEL reference above), she turned to pre-made blends. Enter Wild Rumpus Avocado. As DeMaun allowed a tiny bit of the food to enter his mouth, he quickly began smacking his lips and clearly enjoying it. When he began feeding himself and asking for more, Leah said that being able to provide something for him that he enjoyed was overwhelming for her and it’s a tremendous honor having a front row seat to seeing her son defy that infamous list of nevers.
It’s small victories like this that most of us take for granted on a daily basis that are huge wins for DeMaun and his family. Leah is hopeful that DeMaun’s story may encourage other parents of G-tube fed kids to advocate for their children to have access to fresh foods when possible and try unorthodox methods to help their children thrive.*
We were so touched by their story and look forward to hearing more from this strong family! Please feel free to share any encouraging words in the comments below and we’ll be sure to send them along.
*It should be noted that Leah worked very closely with their speech therapist when introducing new methods and trying new foods. You should consult your doctor or therapist if interested in trying the methods mentioned above.