Danica Wetmore lived in a Ukrainian orphanage until she was 6, and never had any visitors or inquiries. But Thom and Tami Wetmore knew they wanted to adopt her as soon as they saw her, USA Today reports. Danica was born with Treacher-Collins syndrome, a disease that caused her to be born deaf and without a considerable number of bones in her face.
The Wetmores’ daughter, Juliana, was also born with Treacher-Collins, and her case was more severe than Danica’s. The Wetmores say Juliana’s courage is what inspired them to adopt Danica. “Pure love,” Tami says about her daughter’s outlook. “She loves everybody. She doesn’t judge anybody. She doesn’t see anybody as different.”
The girls, now both 12 years old, are typical preteens. Juliana enjoys watching movies and playing on the computer, while Danica is incredibly artistic.
“It’s just amazing how your daughter that you look at as just a normal, everyday child that looks a little bit different has changed so many lives,” says Thom. “Because you realize it’s OK to be who you are.”