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10. When Dani was 6 years old, neighbors used to see her peer out of her window, and they got concerned since she was living in a rundown rental house in Florida. So in mid-2005, police investigated. And what police found was horrifying. The house had animal feces all over the floor, along with chewed-up food, trash, cobwebs and thousands of cockroaches. In the middle of all that filth, they found Dani, who was severely malnourished and in a soiled diaper. She was immediately taken and put into child care until Diane and Bernie Lierow of Tennessee adopted her. She could not speak,nor smile, and she had trouble making eye contact. She walked on her toes and would only drink out of a baby’s bottle. Today, after much encouragement and love by her adopted family, Dani is trying to live as much of a normal life as she can. And Diane and Bernie couldn’t be prouder of their adopted daughter.
9. Adam and Karen Owens’ young son, Gavin, battled a rare genetic disorder but died. And even though they had a daughter who was healthy, they felt a void in their lives. So they wanted to adopt a child, and they specifically requested a child with disabilities. Soon, they adopted 18-month-old Angela, who could not speak and had cerebral palsy. For the longest time, it looked as though she was in constant seizure, and would not attempt to communicate. Adam and Karen, with their love, have been able to change that. Now, Angela smiles, giggles and even uses an iPad to communicate with her family. They have also made similar progress with little Jayden, who was also adopted by the couple. The little boy was a victim of shaken baby syndrome and had many broken bones. Many lives were changed through these unselfish adoptions.
8. A 2-year-old Nigerian boy was found by aid workers emaciated and with worms after his family left him for dead, accusing him of being a witch. The little boy was named Hope after one of those aid workers, Anja Loven, took him in. When a photo of Hope was published showing him receiving water from Anja, it broke hearts all over the world. Donations started pouring in for his care, and soon, those donations amounted to more than $1 million. In just 8 weeks, the little boy was hardly recognizable, having gained a good amount of weight, smiling and playing with other children. From the unselfish hearts of strangers around the world, this little boy named Hope has beaten the odds, and now has the chance to live a remarkable life.
7. Russian couple Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko adopted a bear cub when he was only 3 months old. The orphaned cub was found by hunters wandering through the forest all alone and was in bad condition. That was 23 years ago. Today, that little bear cub is a 300 pound bear named Stepan, and he loves his adopted parents. He even has dinner with them at the table. He has never bitten anyone, eats plenty of fish, vegetables and eggs every day, and keeps himself busy by acting in movies and posing in photo shoots.
6. A child street beggar in Nairobi, John Thuo, approached a car stuck in traffic to ask for money. Then he seen that the woman in the car was using an oxygen device. When he asked her about it, she told him she was blind and had to use the oxygen device to breathe. Young John started crying and even handed over to the woman all the money he had collected while begging, which amounted to 96 cents. Soon after a photo showing this was published, a woman named Nissy Wambugu adopted John, and he will now be able to get his education.
5. Little Bobby, a Chihuahua mix, became an orphan when his mother was hit by a car. Bobby was only a few days old and still needed a mother. So workers at the Michigan Humane Society in Bingham Farms wanted to put him with Gwen, a cat already nursing a litter of 5 kittens. Almost immediately, Gwen accepted the little puppy as one of her own. You’ve just gotta watch the video in our Show More area.
4. When Priscilla Moore of Tennessee flew halfway across the world to Bulgaria to adopt a little 7-year-old special needs boy named Ryan, he was literally, nothing but skin and bones. He was truly on the verge of death. Priscilla even thought he would die before she finished all the necessary paperwork. But through special care and family love, Ryan has gained weight and is now enrolled in a public school with a special needs teacher.
3. A baby boy, just six weeks old, was abandoned in a field in Beijing several years ago. John and Lisa Bentley found him. He had burns over 70 percent of his body, but the couple took him in and adopted him. Little Levi endured more than 20 surgeries in China and the U.S., and the loss of one of his arms, but he carries on just like one of the couple’s biological children, and his adopted sister, Orly. Lisa and John have founded ‘Harmony Outreach,’ which is a non-profit charity to help other orphaned children in China.
2. Most of us are appalled when we hear of a newborn child being thrown in the trash. Personally, it sickens me a great deal. Chilean Bernarda Gallardo felt the same way when she discovered someone had done that in 2003. But in Chile, if the body does not have a family member to claim it, it is considered human waste… and disposed of as such. But Bernarda pleaded with medical officials to allow her to claim the discarded baby’s body as her own. Some time later, they did, and Bernarda was able to hold an actual funeral for the child, which she named Aurora. About 500 people turned out for the funeral and treated it more like a birthday party, singing spirited songs and reading poetry. A school bus even brought local school children to attend the event. And a journalist, a profession I was proudly a part of for a long time, wept at Aurora’s tomb. Bernarda’s efforts even inspired a director to make a movie about her life. The film is called “Aurora.”
1. 22 years ago in Northern China, Li Yanping and her husband had a fine, healthy boy. But soon after, they adopted an abandoned and disabled toddler on their doorstep. They took in the small child, but their finances and milk shortages soon made care for the two children impossible. So they did something that was actually unthinkable to most … they gave up their own healthy son for adoption, figuring since he was healthy, that his adoptive parents could easily care for him; whereas, a disabled child would hardly have a chance. Many in their village could not believe they would give up their own child, although some greatly appreciated their act of kindness and sacrifice. After that, more abandoned children, many with disabilities, started appearing on their doorstep. And then, Li’s husband died, leaving her to care for what was now 13 abandoned children. But she would not give up on these children. Other villages started to help her with finances and the Chinese government began giving her grants to help her situation. That was 20-some years ago. Today, 80 abandoned children have passed through the loving, caring home of the now 49-year-old Li, and she says she would sacrifice anything to get all of her children into college so they can all live a good life. We here at Knowable certainly hope that wish comes true for such an amazing woman.
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