Texas welcome for spe­cial girl

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Au­drey and Brent Shook, a cou­ple from a Hous­ton sub­urb, wel­comed Lucy, a 6-year- old Chi­nese or­phan girl with Down syn­drome in tears at the Bush In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port.

In a news re­port by KHOU-TV, Au­drey Shook was seen wip­ing tears away when she saw Lucy com­ing out of the ter­mi­nal on Mon­day.

“Oh my God. There’s Lucy,” she said, then knelt down to greet the child: “Hi, hi, I’m Momma.”

“Momma,” Lucy re­peated, and went into Au­drey Shan­non’s open arms and wrapped her arms around Au­drey’s neck as if they knew each other very well.

The Shooks are one of the 30 fam­i­lies across the United States to host 30 Chi­nese or­phans with spe­cial needs be­gin­ning Mon­day for four weeks, a Sum­mer China Host­ing Pro­gram spear­headed by Great Wall China Adop­tion (GWCA), a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Austin, Texas, said Shan­non Phillips, or­phan host­ing di­rec­tor at GWCA.

Au­drey Shook and her hus­band agreed that they would adopt a child from China be­fore they got mar­ried more than 20 years ago, she told China Daily on Tues­day.

In Fe­bru­ary of this year, the Shooks, who have five chil­dren of their own be­tween 5 and 18 years old, got an e-mail from GWCA about its sum­mer host­ing pro­gram. The Shooks looked at photos and videos of the chil­dren in the pro­gram.

“When I found Lucy’s pic­ture and was watch­ing her video, I im­me­di­ately knew she’s our daugh­ter. We have to adopt her, we have to have her for­ever,” said Au­drey Shook.

She said that af­ter Lucy came home from the air­port, the fam­ily gath­ered to watch her open presents from ev­ery­one.

“She ran around in ev­ery room. She’s very cu­ri­ous, she checked out ev­ery closet, opened ev­ery drawer. Last night she fell asleep star­ing at my face say­ing momma momma,” said Au­drey Shook,

“We al­ways love chil­dren with spe­cial needs, es­pe­cially chil­dren with Down syn­drome,“she added, say­ing the pas­sion came from ob­serv­ing other Down syn­drome chil­dren and their par­ents in her church.

Lucy is sched­uled to go back to her foster home in China in Au­gust af­ter the host­ing pro­gram is over. The Shooks have al­ready started the adop­tion process, which will al­low them to take a trip to China in six months to bring Lucy home per­ma­nently.

Au­drey and Brent Shook

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