Dakota Martin, age 11
Gigi Martin, age 5
Jack Martin, age 4

Photograph by Emily Barnes (2020)

Brad and Jena Martin began their journey in 2014 as therapeutic foster parents. Their first placement were two brothers-Dakota and Jacob. Eventually, the Martins adopted both boys.

Soon after beginning their family, they were given guardianship to provide kinship care to their six-month-old great niece, Gigi, who had been in foster care since birth. The following year, Jack Martin, Gigi’s biological half-brother, born premature and weighing 4 pounds, joined the Martin family through kinship care, and eventually adoption.

Dakota is funny, quirky, smart, loving, kind-hearted and LOUD. He is a peacemaker, a rule follower, and completely fine to hang in the shadow if it means his siblings or friends will feel joy. Dakota’s early years of neglect has required many years of evaluations and treatment to address his diagnosis of unilateral hearing loss, Duane’s syndrome, ptosis of the eyelids, ADHD, anxiety, and sensory processing disorder. Once placed in a self-contained classroom, he now excels in the general education setting and has two advanced placement classes.

Gigi and Jack (6 and 4) have an inseparable bond and enjoy playing outside, dressing up as superheroes, and spending family time with their family. Jack has had to undergo a variety of medical procedures and surgeries, currently receiving speech-language therapy. This is a big year for the siblings! Gigi starts 1st grade and Jack will be in kindergarten.

Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.

Sign up for our newsletter!