Leena left Palna in 1991 and got in touch very recently, filling our hearts with joy!
Here is her story…
Leena arrived in Palna as a new born child in 1983. She was severely physically challenged. Palna had later found a home for challenged children in Hyderabad and all our challenged children were to be transferred. Leena was also to be transferred but she, with her smile and expressive eyes, had won everyone's heart in Palna. No one had the heart to send her.
She was Matron Daniel's darling. So finally it was decided that Leena would not be transferred. Leena then continued to stay on in Palna and was a happy content child. Suddenly at the age of about five / six we began realizing that Leena's behaviour towards visitors / adoptive parents who came to take custody of their adoptive children had changed. Initially she would go to them and play and talk to them, but as time passed she did not like visitors or interact with adoptive parents.
Leena had started feeling left out and had realized that people were affectionate towards her but finally would not adopt her and instead take some other child into their family. This was affecting Leena's personality. All of us at Palna began worrying about Leena's future. It was then that we met Mr. Dean Hale of Holt International, USA.
Holt International specialized in finding homes for special needs children. We then approached Mr. Hale for Leena. He was good enough to take Leena's photographs and her medical reports. Holt international put these details in their newsletter. It was through this that Leena's present family, the Kings, approached the adoption agency and accepted Leena to be their child. Leena was about eight and a half years old when she finally joined her family.
When Leena reached the USA she did not know English and the family did not understand Hindi. It sounded gibberish to them. The family sent us Leena's video recording after three months of her stay in USA. Initially Leena was speaking in Hindi and she kept talking of Palna -- the babies, the Indian food she ate here, and Matron Daniel. After three months the video showed Leena speaking in accented English and showing off her pink shoes on a slide. She had never worn shoes in Palna as her legs were deformed.
Leena was a transformed child.
In USA - as told by Leena and her parents Bob and Donna King
In September 1991, we adopted Leena from Palna in Old Delhi. She was almost 8 and 1/2 years old. She was named Leena Danielle King ("Danielle" in honor of Sister Muriel Daniel of Palna) She was born with her knees bending backwards. The summer she turned 9, she had surgery to reverse the direction of her knees. With God's help, she had surgery done by the world's leading expert on Larson's Syndrome! After nearly a year of casting, she went from walking on the backs of her calves or crawling on her hands and feet with knees bent the wrong way, to using a wheelchair, then a walker and finally, Lofstrand crutches. After a few years, she didn't even need the crutches! Praise God! She is able to walk independently, although it is hard work and tiring!
Leena attended school from kindergarten to 12th grade. She graduated with a High School diploma after much study and with the help of a one-on-one aide provided by the school district. Today she is working at the local Military Exchange (a store for military personnel and families). She is a Greeter and checks ID cards on everyone who comes in. She is well liked by her employers and customers alike. She is always smiling and courteous and kind to the customers. They ask about her on her days off! She has been working there for over 4 years.
Leena has been a delightful addition to our family. She was the 6th child in our family and our first with special needs. After her arrival, we added 6 more children with special needs through adoption! She gets along well with her siblings. She also has a small circle of close friends and is always doing fun activities with them.
Leena still lives at home and is very helpful. Her job in our large family is to do the dishes and tidy the kitchen. She does that chore well. We can always count on her! Leena loves the Lord and faithfully attends church. We would like to thank Palna and the Indian government for allowing us to adopt Leena!