Most aspiring adoptive parents dream of bringing a bright-eyed baby home, someone they can nurture from infancy.
Unfortunately, older kids like Sony, a teenager from India – who also had physical and emotional scars – get overlooked. One family dared to look past that and met an incredible girl. Their story reminds us of the gift of ignoring appearances.
Indian families usually only want to adopt newborn children who are completely ‘perfect’ according to themCARA CE0 Deepak Kumar
A difficult upbringing
At school, teachers would force her to cover her face, saying that it scared the other children. “It made me feel sad”, she told KHOU.
Her older age made finding a family difficult. Couples dream of taking home a bright-eyed baby who they can nurture. Older kids are seen as undesirable, having too much “baggage.”
According to India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the majority of “returned” adoptive kids are older (6 years +).
Isolated and packed in a home with 28 other foster children, Sony seemed to have nothing to look forward to as her 15th birthday neared.
Hope across the globe
While Sony was praying for a family, thousands of miles away, Shannon Regan and fiancé Jay Marsh of Anne Arundel County, Maryland were growing theirs.
They had recently adopted 11-year-old Chelsea from China. During Chelsea’s adoption process, Shannon came across Sony and wanted to adopt her too.
Working closely with Reece’s Rainbow, a group that provides support for families adopting children with special needs, they fought to bring her over.
Race against a pandemic
The couple was fully prepared for the red tape and delays. What they couldn’t anticipate was a global pandemic. With the coronavirus spreading, Shannon needed to hurry to India to complete the process.
There has been a lot of trust on her part that there is a world out there here, we just need to get out there safelyShannon Regan to ABC
Thankfully, she made it in time. They brought Sony over before the COVID-19 lockdowns started, just days before her 15th birthday on June 3rd. Shannon counts her blessings.
“If I hadn’t gone over there and got the final approval to bring her home, she definitely would still not be home”, she told ABC.
The gift of a home
Shannon truly realized her fortune when Sony returned to Maryland. In fact, she says both of her adoptive daughters have completely enriched her life and changed her for the better.
Having parents has helped me know that I’m important, loved, I have a new life. I can be my best and I am safe.Sony Regan to ABC
No longer having to cover up, Sony is happy to finally be part of a family. She is now on a mission to help other children receive the gift of adoption. In a two-page letter she wrote encouraging adoption, Sony explains why a child is never too old.
“I know people are scared to adopt older children because they think that child might hurt the parents or family or child or won’t love them and won’t fit in. Actually, I know the adopted child can make your family life better. Adopted children do love their family even when it feels hard at first.”
I think adoption is love. I prayed for a family for a long time.Sony Regan
Many saw in Sony someone too disfigured to look at, too old to change, too hurt to love.
The Regans instead saw a beautiful girl with a big heart who only needed a chance. Finally given an opportunity, she can show the world the amazing person she is.
Shannon Regan encourages parents to pursue adoption with both their “head and heart.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we brought that approach to all of our pursuits?
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