Conroe couple shares story of international, special needs adoptions

CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- Like most 13-year-old girls, Julia Sparks likes to swim and help out in the kitchen, and be a good big sister.

When Eyewitness News visited her home, she was leading her little sister Avie around a jump house, in and out of mazes, and through dark tunnels. What makes this remarkable is that Julia has no sight. She was born without eyes, but not without determination or heart.

"She has a very, very contagious personality and she makes a lot of people smile just by being herself," father David Sparks said.

David and Chelsea Sparks adopted Julia from Ukraine, their second international adoption. Six-year-old Kallen from Ethiopia was their first.

"When you travel overseas and you see a foreign orphanage, it's not something you can forget," David Sparks said.

The had a biological son, 4-year-old Luke, in between the adoptions. They have also adopted 15-year-old Viktor, also from the Ukraine. The latest addition to the family is 6-year-old foster child from China, Avie. Avie arrived just last month.

Julia and Avie share a special bond in that they are both blind. Although they cannot see each other, Julia is quickly learning Avie's native language of Mandarin Chinese.

All they have right now is tough and trust, and parents with a message.

"Everybody has different talents, and not everybody should adopt," said mother Chelsea Sparks. "We want to show them that special needs aren't scary. It's a blessing to your family and it's wonderful to have a child in your life."

Julia told ABC-13 that she wants to be a translator when she grows up since she already knows several languages.

If you'd like more information on hosting or adopting an international child, these are the organizations that the Sparks family used:

- Great Wall China Adoption

- Adoptions by Gladney

- Heart for Hosting
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