Maggie Purvis Story
Both Maggie Purvis and her parents consider themselves lucky for several reasons. First, they are lucky that family circumstances turned Maggie’s aunt, Vanessia Purvis, into her mom. They feel lucky that Maggie is who she is, and they feel lucky to have a loving, caring environment for Maggie to grow up in. Things could have been so much different, so they feel blessed and lucky that life took unexpected turns to lead them to each other.
Vanessia and her husband, Butch, started caring for Maggie when she was three months old. Maggie’s biological mom made some life choices that did not include her daughter, so Butch and Vanessia were happy to step in. They never stopped helping Maggie and considered themselves parents from that time forward.
“We loved having her, and she was thriving in our care. In my eyes, I have always been Maggie’s mom,” Vanessia said of parenting her niece.
Once Maggie hit two, Vanessia noticed that she was not hitting some of the toddlers’ milestones. For example, she was slow to walk and talk. Vanessia kept a close eye on her progress and supported her growth. Once Maggie started school, she was given a few additional supports to help her progress. Finally, in the 4th grade, Children’s Hospital provided an official diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD).
“It was helpful to have a diagnosis so we could move forward in a way that works best for Maggie to grow and prosper. However, knowing her shortcomings also made her strengths show through. She is very creative, loving, helpful, and kind. These traits, including her autism, make Maggie the little girl we adore,” the Purvis’ said.
The family began receiving more focused support at school and connected with the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD). The Purvis’ said that the support provided by MCBDD has been invaluable. The County Board Service and Support Administrator (SSA or case manager) has guided them toward many community resources and assisted them with small supports. Things like a three-wheeled bike to help with balance, a tablet to encourage her creativity, and a saucer swing.
Vanessia said, “Maggie’s SSA’s have always gone above and beyond to help Maggie reach her goals and support her needs. They have also been a great resource for navigating the school supports.”
Maggie is 13 years old now and thriving. The Purvis officially became a family when Maggie was formally adopted by Butch and Vanessia in 2018 – a day that the three agree was the best day of their lives.
When Butch was asked what he loves most about being Maggie’s dad, he said it was hard to answer because he loves everything about the experience. But, he finally landed on a few traits. Seeing her smile, being happy, watching her grow, and having the opportunity to love her.
Simply put, Butch said, “She teaches us as much as we teach her, and it’s a gift to be her parents.”
In a word, he feels lucky.
Maggie oozes love for her parents as well. She said she loves how they always have her back, how they fight for her success in school and in life, and most importantly, her parents make her feel safe and protected.
The Purvis family is an example of unconditional love, and it is a joy to see them thrive. Some may question – is this luck, fate, or just a family determined to support each other? No matter the answer, the Marion County Board is happy to support them in their journey and see the Purvis Family thrive.
March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month. The Marion County Board is proud to tell the stories of those served, their successes, and their challenges to better inform the community of the role MCBDD plays in Marion County.