27-year-old Jonathan was at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia, and he was in bad need of a new heart. But that sure wasn’t going to be easy. Jonathan has autism and was pretty much all alone. And there were stipulations for a heart recipient that someone care for him after the surgery.
But, again, there was no one. He was going to die because he had no family and no one was stepping up to the plate to take care of him. Then, all of a sudden, someone did. It was 57-year-old Lori Wood. She was a nurse, and she wanted to take care of him. But she also wanted to take it a step further, just so there would be no mistaking her commitment to the young man. She wanted to adopt him.
When Lori and Jonathan first met, he had been in and out of the hospital many times already over several months. He was at a shelter when he wasn’t at the hospital. But after only knowing him for only 48 hours, Lori, a single mother, knew she wanted to be his legal guardian.
Says Lori: “I had to help him. It was a no-brainer. He would have died without the transplant.”
They bonded quickly and shared many of the same interests, like football and Family Feud. That transplant was done a short time after the adoption, and it was a success.
Lori now monitors all of his medications, which amount to about 34 pills daily, and makes sure he’s at all of his doctor appointments.
Says Jonathan: “She treats me like one of her sons. I am truly thankful for that.”
Lori is also teaching Jonathan some life skills so he can live an independent life when the time is right. But she tries not to think of that last day before he goes out on his own, as it’s bittersweet.
Says Lori: “It’s been a joy having Jonathan here with us. I knew this is what I was supposed to do.”