Wiles was a Thalidomide baby, with no useful arms or legs and with only one functional eye, born to a poor, unmarried woman who abandoned him in the hospital.
He spent the first years of his life in Chailey Heritage, Sussex, in a long-term hospital for severely handicapped children. He was then adopted transracially age nine by a white couple, Leonard and Hazel Wiles, who had known his mother, after considerable opposition from social services. His father invented a number of devices to help him function normally.
He learned to play the organ, steer a motorboat and paint, among other things. His life story was made famous in the book and film On Giant's Shoulders.
As an adult he married and emigrated to New Zealand, is married and living in Hamilton.
To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.