Connie was an orphan in China but now she has a big sister and a big brother in her adoptive family. Her new little brother, who was born in Russia, also has Down syndrome.
An Oak Ridge family adopted a second child with Down syndrome. Connie was born in China. James was born in Russia. Brian Holt and Emily Stroud
(WBIR-Oak Ridge) Almost three years ago a couple in Oak Ridge adopted a little boy from Russia. He faced a bleak future there because he was born with Down syndrome.
Meet James Ivan's new sister.
She is all girl. Big sister Amelia painted Connie's fingernails.
He is all boy. Big brother Grant takes on James in a sword duel.
"He's just been such a blessing to all of us and we just love him so much," Glenn Walters said.
Glenn and Vashti Walters already had two children when they decided to go to Russia three years ago to adopt James, who is now 6 and going to school in Oak Ridge.
Then recently Amelia found photos on the webpage for Reece's Rainbow. It's a charity that helps connect families with orphans who have Down syndrome.
"She brought us the picture of Connie and wow. When I saw her picture I just fell in love with her for the first time when I first saw it," Glenn said.
Vashti said, "It just took about three days for us to decide she was meant to be ours."
Glenn was touched by her story.
"She was just abandoned at a hospital and left there and nobody knows who her biological parents are. And then just how she so desperately wanted a family, he said.
She got a new family earlier this month when the Walters traveled to China to adopt her.
"She had been prepared by her caregivers that she was going to get a mommy and daddy and a family and she had been shown pictures of us and she was ready," Vashti said.
Glenn said, "Just thinking about the future of these Down syndrome children... future in the orphanages and once they get out of the orphanage there's just not very much hope for them and we just wanted to provide a good loving family for her."
Glenn's older brother has Down syndrome. It's never been a big deal. But Glenn and Vashti knew children with disabilities in other countries have no hope.
"In Russia, James would have faced life in a mental asylum which those are horrible conditions. And then Connie would have been turned out of the orphanage at age 14," Vashti said.
Already, Connie's life is very different
"We went through the line at Target she says hello to the lady and the lady said oh you're such a good helper and she says thank you. And we walked out and I'm like we've been home two weeks and I don't know how she even knew that was appropriate," she said.
James is getting along with his new sister.
"Right away they hug each other. She feeds him, brings him food, tried to take care of him, and just their relationship is very sweet," Vashti said.
The are two sweet little kids who happen to have Down syndrome.
"I just know she is going to be such a blessing to everyone she comes into contact with," Glenn said.
Vashti said, "It's just so obvious that she was meant for our family. Perfect fit."