It has been exactly one month since the Supreme Court issued the landmark decision to overturn Roe . Of the more than 63 million babies aborted since Roe‘s passage in 1973, we have no idea how many of these babies would have been special needs.
Any parent who has chosen the life of their child with special needs over the “perfect” one will tell you the secret to their joy is in how they complete and transform their family, as well the world.
This is what happened to Morgan Hartman when her father, Gordon Hartman sold his real estate businesses to create a place of recreation for her where she could feel safe and welcome.
They are the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday story.
You can call her a catalyst. Morgan Hartman may not realize this, but her smile and ability to laugh despite having cognitive and physical special needs led her parents, Gordon Hartman and Maggie Hartman to accomplish things that were never possible for people with special needs. Morgan was the inspiration for the creation of an exclusive theme park as well as other projects that benefit the inclusive community.
The tipping point occurred in 2006 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her. Gordon and Maggie decided to make it possible for people with disabilities and others without disabilities to have fun together and get along better. Morgan’s Wonderland was built in Northeast San Antonio’s abandoned quarry. The butterfly, which is the emblem of the unique park’s theme park, is fitting. It is no surprise that it is so successful.
Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special needs children in mind, opened in 2010. The park is completely wheelchair accessible and incorporates rides, playgrounds, and a host of eye-catching attractions–more than 25–to bring delight and enjoyment, and create an atmosphere where these children can bond with their families and make new friends.
Admission is free for those with special needs; there are no fees.
In 2017, Hartman, through his Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, opened up a new park: Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a water park that is also built with special needs and mobility assistance in mind.
Hartman continues to use his now 28-year-old daughter as inspiration to expand on his vision of making the world a happier place for those with special needs. Hartman explained his plans for Morgan’s Wonderland Camp. This ultra-accessible camp will feature a challenge course and cabins and be accessible to all. Morgan’s Wonderland Sports is also being developed. This facility will offer sports for both adults and children with special needs. Hartman also wanted to expand his assistance for special needs beyond the recreational realm into practical. Hartman is planning to create a Multi-Assistance Center, a center where special-needs families can access help and services that will streamline their process of obtaining medical and other benefits.
The Foundation supports programs and projects in collaboration with other non-profits within the San Antonio region that serve the special needs community. The Foundation has assisted more than 600 non-profit agencies through monetary grants, sponsorships, events, and resources.
For those still believing that aborting special-needs babies is necessary to save them and their parents from pain, suffering, and hardship, Hartman said this:
I have a few words to share with you. Many people see special needs as a problem, but I view it as a blessing. Because of her special needs, my daughter and I have become closer than ever before. Morgan has been a positive influence on my family and me, as well as our families about the value of living a full life.
Morgan is the spark behind Gordon Hartman’s vision of a world she felt at home in. This means that other children with special needs and their families have an environment where they feel welcome and accepted.