I look at those big, beautiful dark-brown eyes, and I can't help but melt.
I feel so blessed that God has brought this little girl into our lives. It's gotten to the point to where we can't imagine our lives without her.
My name is Dory Grace. I live in Puyallup, Washington, with my husband, Grant, and our three sons, Colby, Clinton, and Craig. We also have a new daughter, Shoney, who has become a very important part of our lives.
We adopted Shoney last year, when she was six. She is now seven. We had her since she was only four; we took her in because nobody else would. She had been abused by her parents; it left its ugly mark on her emotions and mind. Shoney is subjected to frequent "night terrors", where she will wake up in the middle of the night, screaming her head off.
In addition, she has scars crisscrossing her body, from beatings, punches, and God knows what else. I shudder as I think of the terror she must have felt at the hand of her parents; no child deserves to live like this. It breaks my heart, each and every time.
Thankfully, the "night terrors" are becoming less. We have been showering Shoney with lots of love, support, and encouragement. I think it's making a difference in her life: her true personality is emerging. She is a very happy, gregarious child with a huge appetite for life. She doesn't cry nearly as much, thanks to ongoing therapy with the child pyschologist. (She sees Ms. Huerrera twice a week, after school.)
Now Shoney roughhouses with her brothers, competing for her parents' attention, plays t-ball at school or on weekends, plays with her toys, goes roller skating once a month if she's been good, watches (Christian) children's programming on Qubo, and likes to go on sleepovers at her best friend's house across the street once a month.
Shoney Elyse is a typical little girl in many, many ways. Few people know of her sad past unless we tell them. They act surprised to find out that she is a child who has special needs; yet that is exactly what she is. She has emotional problems that are being dealt with.
I am grateful to God that He brought Shoney into our lives. Now a formerly abused child can grow, live, laugh, learn, as any child should. No child deserves to be abused. EVER. We wanted to reach out in love; that is exactly what we have done. Now because of it, Shoney is emerging like a butterfly from its cocoon.
And what a beautiful sight it is!