‘The first time in my life I met someone with nobody’

Phillip and Sandra Battles are used to caring for children in their home. They’ve been caring for foster children in Beaumont, Texas, since 2000, cultivating hope as they nurture vulnerable children.

But they’d never met someone like Anna – to the point that it prompted a response like none they’d ever given.

“This little girl doesn’t have anybody,” Sandra told her husband. “This is the first time in my life I met someone with nobody. We’re going to have to adopt her.”

For a variety of reasons, 4-year-old Anna has no family connections. When she was placed into the Battles’ home, she had been attacked by some sort of insect, though doctors couldn’t be sure what kind. When Sandra washed Anna’s hair for the first time, it came out in clumps.

The couple took Anna to the doctor and began caring for her. The bites went away. Her hair grew back. She grew quickly into a beautiful girl whose smile speaks straight to Sandra and Phillip’s heart.

“I kept taking her to the doctor,” Sandra said. “Before too long, she sprang right up.”

A bond was forged – one that the Sandra, Phillip and Anna cherished. The young girl loves to read to Sandra, occasionally making up the story when it becomes too hard for her. She rides her bicycle. She loves going to the movies. And she’s extremely popular at New Faith Church, where Phillip is pastor and Anna sings in the youth choir.

On Nov. 13 – National Adoption Day in Beaumont, the Battles adopted Anna and changed her name to Shelly, which starts with the same letter as the Battles biological daughters.

“We had a great time yesterday,” Sandra said. “Our family went out to eat. We took up three tables. People asked, ‘What are you celebrating?’ I told them, ‘This is adoption day!’”

Phillip beams when he talks about his new daughter. He talks about how he hopes she’ll one day go to college, and how she learns new skills almost daily.

“I really believe God is going to do some remarkable things in her life. She’s got a lot of hidden talent. When she gets a little older, I think we’re going to see a bunch of it come out.”

John Hall is the associate director of public relations for Buckner International. Get in touch with him at jhall[at]buckner[dot]org.

The Battles' foster care story was featured in the Beaumont Enterprise. Read it here.

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