Lives Changed Story
“We long to have the emotionless expression on her face replaced by a gleam in her eyes and a smile on her lips.”
- The Shaeffers (prior to adopting Story)
There are no better stories than the ones that have a happy ending. This is one that you are going to want to read until the end. The quote at the top was written before the Shaeffer family adopted their daughter Story from China. Before she was adopted, Story was in a hopeless situation. Story was placed into an orphanage at the age of 8 years old. During her time in the orphanage she was bullied simply because she is mute. Because of this she was very shy and frightened while in the orphanage. In fact, she was so scared to be in the orphanage that they believed she had physical problems walking because she would only take slow and cautious steps.
After reading Story’s file and learning about her desperate situation, the Shaeffer family decided to move forward with her adoption. The Shaeffers began learning sign language to be able to communicate with her. Having adopted twice before, the Shaeffers knew first hand what the love of a family can do to change the life of an orphan. In both of their previous adoptions they saw their children transform “from sickness and malnutrition to thriving and fullness of life.” They knew that if Story could receive the same love and care their other two children received, then she too could find the fullness of life that she deserved.
When the Shaeffers adopted Story she was still a scared and frightened little girl. The photo below taken on Christmas Day, 2017, the day they adopted her.
Lynn Shaeffer (Story’s mom) said,
“She showed an utter rejection of us. She seemed to carry so much shame and was so burdened. Her chin was plastered to her neck as if she was too shamed to even look up.”
However, this would not be the end of her story Just like the Shaeffers other adopted children, Story has now found a place where she is secure, cared for and loved. She has found her forever family, and with that love she has also found her smile once again!
Story is now receiving the medical care she needs to thrive. Even though Story’s file said she is mute, she has started to say a few words since coming home. Before being adopted she was not able to feed herself, but with the help of therapy she is now able to. Since receiving love and proper medical care, Story’s mom said,
“Her behaviors have improved so much since coming home. She is happy and loves to be with her siblings. Who knew that under that sad depressed child that we saw in all those photos before coming home that deep inside was this sweet, happy girl just waiting to come out. Thank you (Connected Hearts supporters) for playing such a huge part in this. A long road lies ahead with a lot of work, but it is so worth it to see the change in her.”
These last two photos are from Story’s birthday just five months after her adoption. The emotionless expression that was once on her face has now been replaced by pure joy!
“You will never fully understand the impact you are having on these children.”
This is the difference that love makes in a child’s life. This is why Connected Hearts Ministry exists, to help amazing families just like the Shaeffers adopt children who are often overlooked for adoption. To take them out of situations where they have little hope, and bring them into a family who can provide security, care and most importantly love.