On Monday, July 20, a plane arrived at Bush Airport from China. On board were a group of orphans, and among them, a 6 year old little girl named Lucy.
Lucy has Down Syndrome, which puts her in a demographic of children who tragically often don’t get adopted for many years, if ever.
“These are the kids that are ‘unwanted,’ they are the kids nobody else wants, they’ve been sitting on lists for their entire life or sitting in an orphanage,” explained Shannon Phillips, with Great Wall China Adoptions.
But for Audrey and Brent Shook, Lucy is the little girl they’ve dreamed of adopting for so many years. Audrey is a busy mother of five (now six!) and Brent is a doctor specializing in skin cancer surgery and reconstruction.
As Lucy arrived off the plane, she walked alongside so many other disabled orphans, and wandered down the long the corridor, never dreaming that an eager family who already loved her so very much, was waiting.
Audrey spotted Lucy right away. “Hi! Hi, I’m Momma!” she said through tears.
Lucy’s eyes lit up and she said, “Momma!” before hugging her new parent.
Great Wall China Adoption is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Austin, Texas. Since 1996, they’ve assisted the Chinese government in placing more than 9,000 children with forever families. Between Austin and a sister-office in Beijing, Great Wall works on behalf of families as experts in exceeding China’s requirements to facilitate and expedite parent’s dreams of adoption.
They’ve certainly delivered on a dream that Audrey has had since childhood.
“[Brent and I] started dating in high school,” she explained, “and I knew back then I wanted to adopt from China … I’ve always loved kids with special needs, especially kids with down syndrome.”
But when the couple got pregnant, they put the dream on hold. Nine years later, they watched a video of Lucy, singing songs and clapping her hands in a country almost 8,000 miles away, and they knew she was their daughter.
The adoption agency, Great Wall China Adoptions, asks families to host special needs orphans for four weeks. But the Shooks – who are the brother and sister-in-law of Kerry and Chris Shook of Woodlands Church – have already started the process to adopt their darling little Lucy.
“She’s beautiful and sweet. We just can’t wait for her to be ours,” said Audrey.
“We don’t see it as we are going to help her,” said Brent Shook, Lucy’s new daddy. “We see it as she’s going to help us with our lives.”