Couple Meets Orphaned Kid – Her First Words Will Melt Your Heart

Upon watching a documentary about orphanages in China, Audrey Shook decided that she would become a mother. When she and her husband, Brent, signed up for a hosting program, they met six-year-old Lucy and decided to adopt her for good. Don’t miss this beautiful heart-warming story!

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

#21. How It All Started

Over two decades ago, Audrey watched a documentary about orphanages in China. From that day on, she wished to become a mother for one of these children. “I knew in my heart that someday I was going to be a family to one of those babies”, she said in an interview. At the young age of 21, she said I do, and married her high school sweetheart, Brent.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

Soon after, life put her plans temporarily on hold, as she became pregnant with the first of their five biological children. Currently, Audrey, Brent, and their five children live in Woodland, Texas. The current ages of her biological kids are 18, 16, 13, 7 and 5.

#20. Growing A Family

Between the birth of the third and fourth child, they had contemplated the idea of adopting once more. However, the plan was once again put on hold due to Audrey’s fourth pregnancy. Yet, Audrey would not give up on her plans of adopting a child.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

Nine years have passed since Audrey and Brent’s wedding. And despite all their effort, they had yet to receive any hopeful news from the adoption agencies they were in contact with. But little did they know, that was about to change very soon…

#19. The Life-Changing News

Time went by, and Audrey and Brent’s youngest was now attending preschool, so they considered that now was the best time to bring up again the plans for adoption. As luck would have it, they were soon reached by an email from the adoption agency Great Wall China Adoption. 

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

The company gave the couple the opportunity to host children as their foster parents, during a period of four weeks. Audrey and Brent had been in contact with the company for some time, and the timing for this offer was just perfect. Hosting temporarily a child would really put Audrey to the test, and prove if she had what it took to adopt them into the family.

#18. The First Impression

This was also a great opportunity to see if her kids would be ready for the possibility of having an adopted sibling. The family eagerly signed up. But then, when they saw a photo of their future host child, Lucy, everything changed…

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

“My husband and I had it in our hearts that we couldn’t just have her here for a month and send her back, especially with what we were feeling about her”

Not only was the photo of Lucy adorable, but it also came with a biography about the little girl. The information attached explained that she had Down Syndrome. This sealed the deal for the couple. They would not just host her. They now wished to adopt her permanently.

#17. The Child Who Sealed The Deal

Audrey felt in her heart that the child would not only come to visit during the four-week period they arranged. She was positive that Lucy would stay forever.

“I’ve always had a special bond with people with Down syndrome. I have an extra feeling of love for them”, she said.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

“My husband and I had it in our hearts that we wouldn’t just have her here for a month and send her back, especially with what we were feeling about her,”

In no time, she and her husband were filling the paperwork to make little Lucy an official member of their family.

#16. The Moment They’ve All Been Waiting For

The time had finally come. On July 20, 2015, Audrey went to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, with family and friends in tow. “Are you ready to finally meet Lucy?”, Audrey asked her kids, brimming with joy. They would finally pick up their newest family member and bring her home.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

Dozens of children with special needs arrived at the airport, and among them was Lucy. As soon as she spotted her new daughter, Audrey was overcome with emotion. “Oh, my god,” she said, unable to contain her tears. “There’s Lucy”!

#15. Meeting Lucy

She ran towards her and greeted the child. “Hey, I’m mama!”, Audrey introduced herself. Her new daughter immediately responded: “Mama!!”

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

Kids with special needs like Lucy have a harder time being adopted by families, but it was precisely because of this reason that Audrey wanted to adopt and love her all the more.

“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”, Audrey explained.

#14. The Sixth Sibling

At first, Audrey was a bit uneasy at how her five biological children would feel about Lucy, and she wondered whether they’d get along or not. To her surprise, they welcomed the little girl into the family with open arms. Even the youngest, Maggie, for whom Audrey was most worried about, was happy to have a new sister.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

Fortunately, the sisters bonded quickly. They both enjoyed the movie Frozen and danced together to its songs. Audrey assured that no long after that, the duo became inseparable.

 “Something clicked in their hearts…they’re going to be sisters forever”, she said happily.

#13. Nurturing Her Heritage

Everyone in the neighborhood was as warm and as welcoming to Lucy as her new family. Adopting children from China is very common in their community, and the town organizes gatherings to get them all together. This was a big help to Audrey and Brent, since Lucy was only speaking Mandarin at the time she arrived.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

While teaching her English was necessary, her parents were also respectful of her origins and wished to keep her close to her roots and her native culture.

“There are a lot of ways we can keep her culture a part of her. We want her to be part of her heritage,” said Lucy’s parents.

#12. Getting To Know Lucy

Audrey and the rest of her family were delighted to get to know their newest child. Lucy turned out to be the sweetest girl, always smiling and laughing, hugging just about anyone she met. She was also hilarious and enjoyed dancing and doing tricks to make others laugh. She was a chatterbox, too, but she only knew how to speak Mandarin for the moment.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

To prepare for her arrival, Audrey learned how to communicate with her through sign language, so Lucy could learn how to make others know when she was hungry or in need to use the bathroom.

“We don’t see it as, ‘We’re going to help her.’ We feel like she’s going to bless our lives”, Audrey said.

#11. An Inspiration To The Family

Audrey´s husband, Brent, stated how much Lucy had changed their lives in so little time. “She is such a joy and her presence makes everyone happier”, he claimed. But after a few years, the change that Lucy had made in everyone’s lives and the joy that she brought to them, inspired the couple to bring more adopted children to the family…

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

As always, Audrey and Brent relied on their contacts in China to find the next members for their family, and the agency Great Wall China Adoption came to the rescue not once but twice more. Let’s fast forward a few years and meet the newest members of the Shook family, Henry and Eloise Mei, adopted from the same orphanage as Lucy…

#10. Meeting Henry

Audrey and Brent recalled how Henry had been found near the village’s market, which was a very rare occurrence since the abandoned babies were usually girls. A possible reason for this was that Henry had a vision impairment.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

The people in the village were very poor yet at the same time extremely warm, friendly and kind to Audrey and her family.

“There was a market next to the place where Henry was found, and we asked to buy him some candy to bring back to him. When we tried to pay, they wouldn’t accept any money. They were so grateful we were there”, Audrey said.

The Shook family was reassured by the villagers that if they ever do discover Henry’s birth parents, they would let them know that their son is very happy and loved.

#9. Eloise… The Last One?

The Shook family visited China many times, and during one of these visits, they met a baby at the orphanage. This little girl would soon become Eloise Shook, the family’s 8th child.

“We had a feeling it would not be the last time we saw her. I’m filled with joy to announce to you- this same baby girl, so small and so worthy to have a family of her own, will be joining our family and become a Shook”, Audrey said.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook – Audrey Shook

One might have thought that after eight children, the family wouldn’t get any larger. But life had other plans...

On their way home from adopting their latest daughter, Audrey found out someone else was coming: She was pregnant! By the end of the year, the happy couple would have their ninth child.

#8. The Importance Of Sharing

But the Shooks weren’t the only ones to ever adopt and host children born on the other side of the globe. Let’s meet the Wynns, a family who had already adopted two small children from the GWCA agency in the past, until they decided to temporarily host a 17-year-old girl named Iris.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

During her stay, Iris shared stories, traditions, and even recipes from her homeland, China. In fact, she even managed to get her host family closer to the local Chinese community. In return, she had a great time as an exchange student, she was joyful and talented and even managed to enter the basketball team. She also got along with the Wynn’s two younger adopted Chinese kids. The whole family had a great time with her around.

#7. Little Caroline

As an agency dedicated to finding either temporary or permanent homes to children with special needs, Lucy wasn’t the only child with Down Syndrome to ever find a new home. A little girl called Caroline also found a loving home of her own, so let’s get to know her story!

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

When Caroline’s future parents found out about Audrey Brook’s story and how she had adopted Lucy, they were inspired. They contacted the agency and they were told that a young Chinese girl named Caroline was looking for a family. Their concerns about being able to care for her properly were outweighed by the overwhelming love they felt when they met her for the first time.

#6. A Very Special Older Sister

Even though the family struggled with the language barrier at first, this gradually managed to overcome this throughout the years. Caroline was a super kind and loving girl and she would always be willing to help in whichever way she could, even when it came to looking after her baby sister.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

In the meantime, the family had developed a clever way of communicating with Caroline: A combination of baby sign language and the use of communication boards with pictures.

“We had such good advice like – manage your expectations, as in don’t have any! That way you won’t be disappointed but instead will be really happily surprised”, her mother said.

#5. Adopting An Older Child

When it comes to adopting Chinese kids, there’s something people need to take into account: at the age of 14, children are no longer eligible for adoption. They can only be temporarily hosted as exchange students. Despite this, many people go through great lengths to race against the clock and adopt an older child while they still can. Such was the case of Lena.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

Lena was adopted at the age of 12, having been raised by a Chinese family in the past. She was able to quickly adapt to her new family and grew up to be a talented girl, excelling in school as well as sports. Her goals were many, ranging from being an English translator to missionary and volunteer in orphanages to working in a ballet company. And she had what it took to make them all come true, and even more…

#4. A Bright Future

Dance had always been a strong passion for Lena, and she tried everything, ranging from Jazz to tap, from contemporary to funk… And her talent did not go unrecognized! She was chosen to be part of a dancing team, and now, at almost 19 years, she was elected to be a part of The Nutcracker in Wichita.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

“I feel her story is a good one to share as I know many with older child adoption have had struggles. We are thankful for all the help we had at Great Wall as well as that things really have gone pretty smoothly for us”, Lena’s adoptive mother said.

Making an appearance in the cover of her local newspaper. It is safe to say that this young prodigy is on her way to shine even brighter in the future.

#3. The Adoption Agency’s First Steps

After reading about these heart-warming adoption stories, let’s say a few words about the agency. In 1996, Snow Wu founded what we know today as the Great Wall China Adoption agency. And this is the story of the first child to be adopted thanks to their help. Samantha, who was adopted as a 10-month-old baby 20 years ago, has lived to share her story.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption Agency

Unlike the previous stories, where the families looking to adopt already had children of their own, Samantha was chosen by a couple that was unable to have biological children of their own. This couple yearned to have a baby, and GWCA came at the right time, to make their wish come true…

“They say the best gifts are the ones money can’t buy, and I’m learning each day how much truth is in that statement. Appreciate the people who are genuine, kind, supportive, and who will love you no matter what. Twenty one years ago, I was granted God’s greatest miracle – a family”, Samantha’s mother said.

#2. An Exceptional Girl

Samantha’s new parents were completely inexperienced and very nervous. They didn´t know what to expect, However, they were very loving and devoted, and made sure their new daughter was happy and had the freedom to express herself. Four years later, they adopted once again. Now, Samantha has a brother: Alexander.

Photo: Courtesy of the Great Wall China Adoption agency

Samantha grew up to become a very accomplished teenager and the sky was her limit. She traveled around the world, formed close bonds with friends and family alike, excelled at many sports, and with a double major in college, she’s looking up to a very bright future.

“My parents have hearts of gold, and will forever be my heroes. I know that whatever obstacles life throws my way that my parents will be there to support my brother and I, and they’ll have our backs like no one else”, Samantha said.

#1. Real-Life Heroes

Luckily, Lucy, Caroline, and Samantha’s stories all had happy endings. This wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for their parents’ love, bravery, and sacrifice.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook / Audrey Shook

Adopting a child is the noblest act in the world, so it’s safe to say that these kids’ new parents are real-life heroes. Let’s hope there are many similar stories to come!

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  • About Author

    Skadi Glastheim

    I am a freelance artist and writer from Argentina. My hobbies include reading, researching, making fiction and designing characters. My favorite things are my cats Jazz and Merlina, creating, crafting and researching, historical manga, videogames, and cartoons.

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