It can be incredibly hard to grow up without a family — especially if you have a serious medical condition. But one teenage girl found her home with parents who are just like her.
Anicee Lamoreaux was born in Belize.
At the age of 2, she was given to a children’s home. She lived there until the age of 7, when adoption finally became a possibility.
What was the reason for the long struggle without a family? Anicee has osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease. This genetic condition is extremely rare. It causes Anicee’s bones to be as fragile as glass. As a result, it’s incredibly easy for her to break a bone. Even a sneeze can cause a rib to crack.
Throughout her life, Anicee has broken roughly 200 bones.
Until she was 7 years old, she was without a permanent home. Then, Lisa Ferrerio and Chris Lamoreaux found her.
As it so happens, Ferrerio and Lamoreaux also have OI. They met when they were children at a support group for children with the condition.
Ferrerio says that she and her husband had always wanted to adopt a child with OI.
They thought their unique perspective could help a child live a full and happy life while navigating this very delicate condition.
She says she’ll never forget the day she met her daughter, who was over the moon to have a new family.
“I’ll always remember she was sitting outside the front of this yellowish building,” she said. “And she was in her stroller. And she was sitting there, her bags were packed and she was ready to go. She didn’t want to look back.”
The family gets around in wheelchairs.
They have many special accommodations around their home. They also have several service dogs that help them perform small tasks as needed, like closing the refrigerator door.
Anicee, now a teenager, is open about the difficulties of living with OI. But she also says her parents and grandmother have surrounded her with love and support.
“He says things like, ‘Anicee, you are who you are and you can’t change that,’” she said of her dad.
“‘And you need to put yourself out there and you need to show who you are. And you need to be yourself and that will get you far.’”
Immediately, the couple fell in love with Anicee and felt that she was a part of their family. The same went for her grandmother, who calls Anicee “her joy.”
“The minute I saw her I fell in love,” said her grandmother. “I knew that you were it. That she was gonna be my granddaughter. I hugged her and smooched her all around.”
Anicee has to use her wheelchair, so she can’t play sports or take part in a lot of activities.
But she’s found that she has a talent for painting. She even sells her paintings and has been featured on programs talking about her artwork.
“I like to paint,” she said. “I can express my feelings through my art. I just feel really happy and peaceful. You do wish that you were a walker. I guess I just wish that a lot too. But I’m happy about who I am.”
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