Helping families of children who are critically ill or have special needs.



The foundation was started by Mike and Sara Deaterla in honor of their daughter Marlee. Marlee was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis at birth. This is a genetic disease which causes tubers/tumors to grow in any organ of the body. In her case the tubers have been in her brain. She has fought many battles in her little life and continues to fight. But 
she isn't the only one. 


​We are here to help families with chronically ill and special needs children. ​

We know what it is like to watch little ones struggle to walk, eat and live. We know what it is like to worry every day. We know what it is like to fight insurance companies, schools, and others to get what your child needs. We know what it is to balance their needs along with everything else. We know what it is like to know there are not enough funds for the special equipment or therapy you child needs, or enough money to get your child to the many doctors' appointments. We are here to help through health grants.

There are so many children and families who struggle every day because of chronic illnesses and special needs. This foundation is here to support them with information, support, and if needed, grants to help them with the numerous trips to the hospitals.














We know what it is like to feel called to adopt a little one with special needs. Marlee was adopted. We thank God that He chose her to be part of our family. We also know what it is like to wonder where the funds to adopt are going to come from. The foundation aims to help alleviate that burden by providing adoption loans and grants to families hoping to adopt children with special needs.


In serving it's central mission, The Marlee Factor Foundation operates as the umbrella 501(c)3 covering of Special Angels Adoption, an adoption agency dedicated to exclusively helping families of children with special needs.

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A glimpse of some of the children we are helping...

If you were touched by Marlee's story, if you want to help other chronically ill children, or if you want to help babies with special needs please consider a tax deductible donation or contact us to see about regular monthly draft.



135 E Huron St. Suite 105
Jackson, OH 45640

In Loving Memory

Our lives are forever changed


Mike Deaterla was instrumental in the development of the Marlee Factor Foundation. He, along with his wife, Sara started the MFF in honor of their special needs daughter, Marlee. Mike was a loving, caring parent to Marlee and all of his other children. He loved to take Marlee to her various therapies. He loved to see her gain new skills. He would say “we celebrate the little things” when it came to her. Mike never missed an event for MFF. He loved interacting with the families and children served by MFF. He enjoyed flipping pancakes at the Breakfast with the Easter Bunny event or doing the kick off at the Poker Run. Mike loved God, his wife, his kids, the MFF, writing, teaching, trains, lighthouses, coffee, and Notre Dame.

Mike wrote a book about the family’s adoption experiences and parenting children with special needs. Special Needs: Adoption Journeys of an Older Couple:

Deaterla, Michael