Help us make a difference!

Make Your Year-End Gift by Dec. 31st - your donation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, and change more lives.

Special Olympics athlete returns to Korea after finding his true home in USA

The upcoming competition in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Korea will hold special significance for Oregon USA athlete Henry Meece. Not only will he traveling thousands of miles to test his skills against other athletes from around the world, Henry will also be experiencing a homecoming, of sorts.

230x300-Henry-M1

Special Olympics World Winter Games have a special meaning for Henry Meece, who was born in Korea.

Henry’s Journey

Henry was born in Korea, where he started life in the hospital for many months due to complications at birth. He was then taken to live in a foster home before being adopted by a new family and welcomed to a new home in Portland, Oregon.  Fast-forward 22 years later and Henry, despite struggles that have come with his intellectual disability, has grown up to be an accomplished athlete.

Henry has been thinking about going to Korea for years - seeing where he was born and perhaps visiting with his foster family, who cared for him and visited him during all those hospitalizations when he was a baby. "We told him one day it would be the right time," says Nancy. "When he was selected for the World Winter Games in Korea we were totally blown away. I thought it was a joke and I wanted to see it in writing."


300x300-Henry-M2

Becoming a Family

It was the 1980s when Nancy and her husband Ted Meece found out they couldn't have children. They began to think about international adoptions, thanks to the shining example of Nancy's sister-in-law, who had been adopted from Korea. 

Nancy says she was emotionally prepared to become a mom, but was not as prepared for the amount of energy it takes to raise a child with disabilities. She stayed home with Henry full time the first four years. She says the most important thing she has ever done was be a parent to Henry.


Picture of a Champion

Despite the differences and challenges, Nancy says Henry has had the perfect upbringing, with the exception of not having any siblings. That's another reason she says Henry's involvement in Special Olympics and the support is so important. "My son can participate in an athletic event and I don't have to talk about the disability… It feels good that he can go somewhere and we don't have to write a three page paper about his disability," she says. "Special Olympics is a banner athletes can be proud of. It also gives the community a sense of pride for supporting it. It puts a positive face on disabilities."

Henry is not only an accomplished athlete. He just finished a one-year certificate in culinary assistant training at Portland Community College and is working with a job developer.

Nancy and Ted are traveling to Korea to watch their son compete. The trip conjures memories of all those years ago, when they first met their new baby at the airport. "I can't imagine living without him. I feel like whoever matched me up knew something. For me, it has been a perfect match. I can't imagine anything different."

Speechless

Special Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.
Watch Video ››


Around The World

Great photos of Special Olympics events and people.
See Slideshow ››



Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Make a holiday donation in honor of loved ones.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 226 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Our Supporters

MicrosoftRevolutionizing information systems that power our games.Learn more »


Our Supporters

The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.  read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan

Make Your Year-End Donation and It Will be MATCHED!

Make your year-end tax-deductible donation and help us get one more person onto the playing field.

Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar through Dec. 31.