A Williamson County family is preparing to open a special needs orphanage in Haiti in upcoming months.
"Most people in Haiti have never come in contact with a child with special needs, if they have, it's at a distance," explained Mike Wilson, adding, "There's a voodoo culture there and the voodoo culture says they've been cursed."
Mike and his wife Missy have spent months in Haiti volunteering their time at other orphanages in the country.
The couple told Nashville's News 2 there are approximately 500,000 orphaned children living in Haiti, while children with special needs are either hidden or left on the streets.
"Sometimes you don't know that they do exist, because the culture says they're unaccepted," Missy said.
She continued, "We've seen anything from learning disabilities, to Down Syndrome to cerebral palsy. Really any level of special needs that we see here [are also found there]."
The couple told Nashville's News 2 their longtime friend Hillary Scott, who is the lead singer for the country group Lady Antebellum, went to Haiti with them last spring.
While there Hillary met a young girl named Josephine. The singer said the girl changed her life.
"I had a heart for those special needs children," she said in a recorded interview produced by the Wilson's group My Life Speaks.
She continued, "These orphans with no mom and dad, no sense family and then I had a heart for older orphans who will most likely never be adopted into a family."
Hillary encouraged the Wilson's to go forward with their dream of building the orphanage to help those children with special needs.
"We'll start taking our first set of kids on March 1," Missy told Nashville's News 2, adding, "In this first home it will be eight kids."
The children will live in a rented 7,000-square-foot building with two house parents.
"We want to give them that hope, we want to give them the best quality of life that we can give them," Mike said.
The couple plans to build at least five additional homes to help as many children as they can.
The Wilsons' said they are not asking for contributions or donations, but instead are looking for people to invest in those children with special needs in Haiti.