MANCHESTER -- Lillian Rolando will never forget the moment she first laid eyes on Mason.
"I just fell in love with him," Lillian recalls. The little boy was just three months old when he was brought to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford suffering from more than a dozen broken bones and significant brain injuries.
Mason was born a healthy baby boy but soon suffered significant brain injuries, resulting in blindness, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
When Lillian took Mason home to foster him weeks later, doctors didn’t think he would survive. He not only survived, he thrived, growing into a happy, healthy 4-year-old.
"He likes everything that makes sounds. He giggles, he likes to touch, and he also likes to be the center attraction," Lillian said.
Earlier this year Lillian wanted to adopt Mason, but the Department of Children and Families said it wouldn’t be possible unless her home was 100 percent handicap accessible. Mason also had to have his own bedroom. Lillian, a single mom of two other adopted children, didn’t have the money to make that happen That’s when Manchester area churches stepped in.
Beth Stafford met the family.
"It broke my heart to hear of the story, and then Molly said would you like to go meet Lillian, and the minute I walked in and saw Mason… and their connection... it just sold me," she said. "We both looked at each other and said we have to do it. We have to get this done!"
That's what they did.
Together with another charity, "Rebuilding Together" they rallied the community, raising more than $70,000 dollars in just a few months-- keeping this family together.
They were also able to add an entire addition to the house, a bedroom, a bathroom, more handicap ramps and a track that lifts and carries Mason from one part of the bedroom to the bathroom.
Lillian remembers getting the amazing news.
"It was amazing you know -- I couldn’t speak," she said. "It was like a miracle telling me they gonna make that room for Mason -- that was unbelievable."
Now, thanks to a community who opened up their hearts to Mason, Lillian's house can be Mason's forever home.
Beth from MACC says she’s overjoyed.
"The community heard the story, believed it, met her, and showed up," she said. "They really fell in love with Mason. None of us could have done this for her on our own. It shows what a community can do."