CHARLOTTE, N.C. – This Thanksgiving a local family is thankful for a little girl, unwanted in her own country, and now part of their family.
Kelly, Wilbur and 7-year-old Clara Long will celebrate this holiday season with the newest member of their family, two-and-a-half-year-old Carly, who was adopted from China just a month ago.
“Our wish is for her to have the fullest life she can,” says Wilbur.
Carly is an albino, considered unadoptable because of her condition.
In China, some believe a child with albinism is bad luck. The Longs didn’t know if Carly was held, touched or loved.
“Even in the orphanage, we learned there was a chance she wouldn’t have attended school, we learned the caretakers might have used gloves when handling her,” Kelly says.
So, fueled by a belief that God was calling them to Carly, the Longs decided to adopt her and the entire family flew around the world, to China.
They have a home video, showing the first time the family got to hold Carly and fall in love.
Big sister Clara remembers how it felt.
“I was just anxious to hold her ‘cause then I’d feel close to her,” Clara says.
Now back in Charlotte and getting ready for their first Thanksgiving together, Kelly says she is amazed by her daughter.
“Her resilience, what she’s been through, the fact she laughs, smiles and wants to be held,” she says.
Now the family has a message.
“Going halfway around the world to bring home a child isn’t for everyone, might not be God’s calling,” Wilbur says. “But there are lots of children even here who are looking for their forever family.”
Bethany Christian Services helped the Longs adopt Carly. While there are more than 120,000 orphans worldwide, the agency says there are currently over 100 orphans in Mecklenburg County who, like Carly, are hoping for that forever home.