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My Unexpected Journey: Raising Two Girls With Spinal Muscular Atrophy

In 2013, I accepted a position to teach college English in China. I moved my then-12-year-old son halfway around the world on a temporary, fun adventure. Just weeks after arriving, I began volunteering at an orphanage and my heart quickly started to connect to the children I was taking care of – one in particular, Laila, changed my life.

Laila was beautiful. She was 16 months old, and I immediately noticed something special about her. The other kids around her appeared unaware of the meager conditions at the orphanage, while Laila seemed distressed by them. But that wasn’t all that was unique about Laila. She had a visibly weak body, which the orphanage said was cerebral palsy (CP). Even when I wasn’t with her at the orphanage, she began

Family life affection
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