Serving young children with visual impairments
and their families since 1938

The baby was named Martin. He was born at 24 weeks gestation and weighed only 1 lb. 2 oz. at birth. He had many medical complications, was legally blind and had hearing loss. With one visit Denise and Joe were hooked and Martin went home with them in January of 2002.

Two months later Denise and Joe got the surprise of their lives. It seemed that Martin had a twin sister, Mary, who needed to be removed from the foster home that she had been living in for five months. Martin and Mary were born at a Los Angeles Hospital and only Martin had been transferred to Childrens Hospital. Mary who weighed 1 lb. at birth also had many medical complications and was blind. "Separating them now was out of the question after all they had been through," said Denise. "So in March of 2002, Mary joined our family."

"After countless doctors appointments and surgeries, and after reading tons of material on being blind, one thing became clear; we needed to find a school that could help our babies," said Denise. "One name kept coming up in conversations that we had with people who had knowledge of blindness…the Blind Childrens Center of Los Angeles."

Martin & Mary Witmeyer, 3-year old twins, joined the Blind Childrens Center family in September of 2004. Their parents Joe and Denise are thrilled with their progress.

"Even though we live over 50 miles away from the school, after taking a tour, we knew it was the only place we wanted our babies to be." Martin and Mary have been attending the Center for almost a year now and their growth has been astonishing. "They are learning things that I would never have imagined possible," added Denise.

In July of 2003, the adoption of Martin and Mary into the Witmeyer family became final. "These wonderful babies will be loved every day for the rest of their lives. Thanks to the caring teachers and staff at the Blind Childrens Center our children have a wonderful foundation on which to build their lives."

Denise and Joe's family also include a 13-year old with severe asthma and allergies, a 14-year old with cerebral palsy, 17-year old twins, and a 25-year old woman with cerebral palsy. All seven, including Mary and Martin, have been added to the family over the years by adoption or guardianship through the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services.

An additional two young adults live in the guest home on the Witmeyer's Agua Dulce ranch. The home was added because the two are too old for the county's foster care program but still need assistance. They also have five natural children aged 20 to 36, not to mention the hundreds of abused and neglected children that have passed through their home before going back to their natural parents or adoptive homes.

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