Texas family welcomes a special girl from China

Updated: 2015-07-22 13:02

By May Zhou in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Texas family welcomes a special girl from China

Audrey and Brent Shook (right) and their children welcome Lucy (center), a 6-year-old Chinese orphan with Down syndrome, on Monday at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Provided to China Daily

Audrey and Brent Shook, a couple from a Houston suburb, welcomed Lucy, a 6-year-old Chinese orphan girl with Down syndrome, 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 Shook's open arms and wrapped her arms around the woman's neck as if they knew each other very well.

The Shooks are one of 30 families across the United States to host 30 Chinese orphans with special needs beginning Monday for four weeks. It is part of a Summer China Hosting Program led 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, the Shooks, who have five children of their own between the ages of 5 and 18, 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.

Texas family welcomes a special girl from China

"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.

Phillips said that GWCA has been helping Americans to adopt children from China for 19 years, and in recent years most of the adopted children through the agency are the ones with special needs. So far, GWCA has placed more than 7,000 Chinese orphans with special needs in the United States.

"Most family are planning to adopt the children they are hosting, and some are advocating to find a family for the hosted kids," said Philips.

"I think this is a great program," said Audrey Shook. "It gives the adopting family a chance to get to know the child. Even for family not ready to adopt, the hosting program will give the children a chance for vacation, a chance to come to America and experience the love of a family."