See mom's heartwarming tribute to dads who adopt kids with special needs

Cady Driver's tribute is "a powerful testimony of what good men can do."
/ Source: TODAY

Cady Driver and her husband, Chris, adopted their son, Lian, from China in 2016.

Lian, who has Down syndrome, became part of a large family overnight, joining the Drivers' three biological children, who range in age from 17 to 20.

Driver says she and her husband had no knowledge of caring for a child with special needs before deciding to adopt Lian. Her family learned sign language to communicate with Lian, who is now 6, and began researching how to help a child with Down syndrome thrive.

Cady Driver's husband, Chris, with their son, Lian, who has Down syndrome and was adopted from China in 2016.Cady Driver

Since Lian joined their family, the Drivers have become advocates for families pursuing international special needs adoption. Driver holds fundraisers to help her fellow adoptive families raise money for their adoption costs and has written a book, "Extraordinary: Stories of Adopting Children With Down Syndrome."

"Shelby is 4, and been with us for two years," said Adam Campbell of the daughter he and his wife, Michelle, adopted from China. "I am inspired by her because of her ability to adapt to all that she endures. And her smile."Adam Campbell

Driver, who blogs at This Eternal Journey, recently paid tribute to her husband and other fathers who have adopted or care for kids with special needs.

"I originally wanted to write about my husband and our journey, but I knew from the adoption community how much commonality there is in our stories and I started thinking about telling the stories through pictures," said Driver, who put out a call on Facebook for photos of dads with their children. "I thought it would be a powerful testimony of what good men can do."

"Aerie first was our first child," Tim Cooper said of his now 9-year-old daughter, who was adopted from Ethiopa when she was 18 months old. "I had never realized I could love someone so much ... once you have them in your life you can't imagine life without your children, and without hesitation you would offer your life for theirs."Tim Cooper

Driver's post is a collection of more than 30 heartwarming photos of dads who are raising children with special needs, who have been adopted, or both.

"Here's to the daddies who don't count chromosomes," Driver wrote. "Here's to the babas who strive for attachment, who celebrate the hard fought battle from fear to trust. Here's to the dads who break down racial divides ... who wait for years for adoptions to go through, longing to give their child a permanent name and home."

This photo of Bryan Anderson and his son, Griggs, who was adopted from China and has a form of dwarfism, is from 2014, when Griggs was 3 years old.Bryan Anderson

Driver says during her work with adoptive families, she's seen dads step up in huge ways, often behind the scenes where they're not acknowledged.

Cori Salchert, a mom who adopts babies with life-limiting diagnoses alongside her husband, Mark, submitted a photo for Driver's post because she's seen this firsthand.

Mark Salchert and his wife, Cori, adopt kids who have been diagnosed with terminal conditions and have no one to care for them.Cori Salchert

"Mark lays down his life daily to do what we do in our home," Salchert continued. "His patience has grown in the 36 years since we met, and his capacity to love has expanded exponentially."

Cady and Chris Driver with their children, Chloe, 20, Jacob, 18, Tirzah, 17, and Lian, 6. Katelyn Mackay Photography

"I think the world needs to see good news of good men who are doing hard things, who love their families and are willing to do whatever it takes to help the children in their lives," said Driver.

The Drivers, who live in North Carolina, plan to adopt a second child with Down syndrome from China — a 2-year-old daughter they've named Ella — as soon as adoption bans caused by the coronavirus are lifted.