On July 11, 2013, a baby boy born with a cleft lip and palate was abandoned on the steps of a building in China's Henan Province. Unable to locate his parents, the government placed the child in an orphanage.
Seven thousand miles away, Lisa and Austin Sharp had just received life-changing news: After a year of unsuccessful fertility treatments, their doctor determined they would never get pregnant. Heartbroken, the Sharps took the summer to grieve and re-evaluate their plans. Austin, who traveled through China during business school, suggested they look into adopting a child with special needs from an orphanage there.
After more than a year of paperwork, visits from social workers, health screenings and one failed match, they finally got a call about a little boy from China who fit their profile. Along with his file, the orphanage sent a video. "He was learning to walk up the stairs," Lisa says. "When he got to the top, he was so proud. He gave this look to the camera. I told Austin, 'This child has heart.' I knew he was ours."
A few months later, in July 2015, they were on their way to China to meet their new son—the same baby boy that had been abandoned on that doorstep two years before. They named him Cameron, and call him "Cam" for short.
In January 2016, Cam underwent his first cleft palate surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "I had always known that Children's was a special place for kids," Lisa says. "But to live it as a mom was unbelievable."
Cam has also become quite the philanthropist. For his third birthday, he raised funds for the Children's craniofacial department, and also held a penny drive at his day care, raising funds for last year's Children's Cape Day.
In July, the Sharps celebrated two years together as a family. Though the adoption process was grueling, Lisa and Austin are thankful they had Children's by their side. "Throughout the process and after, the Children's family has been remarkable," Lisa says. "I sometimes still can't believe I'm a mom. People often say how lucky Cam is to have us. I say we're the lucky ones."