Five-year-old Bowen Toomey was born without arms or legs in Serbia — the reasons that caused his physical disability are not clear. The boy was adopted by Devon Toomey from Eagle, Iowa, when he was 18 months old and has been doing everything other kids his age do: going to kindergarten, bouncing on trampolines and even swimming. Devon says:
He does everything any other kid does, he just finds his way to do it. So if they’re riding their skateboard, he rides his skateboard. He already knows how to get on it, and push himself down the driveway.
Mrs. Toomey is a former special education teacher and had physical therapists help Bowen to learn how to use a wheelchair and prosthetics, which she says has been particularly difficult:
It’s not the same as if someone had limbs removed through surgery. When you’re born as an amputee, your muscles don’t know how to walk.
Mrs. Toomey has been documenting Bowen’s story on her blog since she first saw him in 2009. She says she wants to help others realize that special needs adoption “isn’t something to be feared”, that they can be adopted and taught to “thrive just like any other child”.
1. Five-year-old Bowen Toomey, who was born without arms or legs, poses for a photo on his first day of kindergarten.
2. Devon Toomey adopted Bowen from a Serbian orphanage in 2010.
3. Bowen uses a special band to help with activities such as drawing.
4. Bowen floats in a pool while spending time with his father, Jeremy Toomey.
5. Bowen’s older sibling, eight-year-old Heath, looks out for him at school.
6. Proud parents: ‘I just knew he was our son when I saw him,’ Mrs. Toomey said of Bowen, pictured with Jeremy.
7. Bowen, who was born in Belgrade, was 18 month old when the Toomeys adopted him.
8. ‘Water is the one place he really doesnΓÇÖt have limitations,’ Bowen’s mother said.
9. Mrs. Toomey wants to show people that special needs adoption ‘isn’t something to be feared’
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