Local family meets Pope while on European vacation

News

ROME (NEWS10) — Did you ever want to change up your life and do something that all your friends and family think is crazy but you know isn’t? Meet Jenn and Glenn. 

Jenn and Glenn Stevens are your typical love story. 

“Yeah, so I was in high school, went to Junior Prom and got married in 1990.” 

First came love, marriage, baby carriage twice – both boys. Glenn was a cop, and Jenn was a social worker. For 20 years, they lived a pretty ordinary life in Saratoga County. 

Then Glenn got an idea. He packed up the gang and moved to Alaska. 

“People who haven’t lived there, their impression of Alaska is that its dark all winter, light all summer, and you have to hitch up the dog team to get a gallon of milk.” 

It was a big adventure, yet despite all the beauty, there was a light missing from their lives. So Jenn had a thought: to adopt a baby with Down syndrome. 

“We talked about it for a long time before we actually did it, and we wanted to involve the older boys because, obviously, it affects them.” 

In 2012, Hannah came into the world. She was perfect, which, a couple years later, gave Jenn another thought. 

“I didn’t want Hannah to be an only child.” 

The solution? Max, a baby a lot like Hannah. Suddenly, all their preconceived notions about raising a special needs child got drowned out by laughter. 

When your hands are full, you need a vacation. So recently, they took a trip to Europe. One day in Rome, the Pope happened to be driving by. So like thousands of others, they tried to get a peek. 

“I was holding Hannah up just so they could see, and one of the guards, who was standing next to the Pope, kind of his secret service, pointed to me and pointed to Hannah.” 

Next thing you know, Hannah is having a private chat and hug with the Holy Father. 

“Now to Hannah, she might as well have been at Disney World, and this was Prince Charming, but it doesn’t matter because for her it was special.” 

Hannah and her family left Alaska and have found paradise in the hills of Vermont living in love and hoping to open hearts and minds about kids with special needs. 

“Don’t be afraid to adopt a special needs child or have a special needs child because in a lotta ways, they’re just the same as everybody else.” 

And a blessing, of course. Just ask that guy in Rome. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download our news app

Get it on Google Play