Meet Arianna Hopper, perhaps the most excited 6-year-old child to start school this year.
Arianna has faced adversity in her young life, but judging from her sweet smile and face lit up with joy, she is full of resilience.
Arianna was placed in foster care as a baby, living with foster parents Mark and Page Hopper, according to WSB-TV.
By the time she was 2 years old, Arianna’s future was beginning to look uncertain. She had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and was in need of an adoptive family.
Mark Hopper told WSB that he and his wife carefully considered whether or not they would be the right adoptive parents for Arianna.
The couple already had six children, three biological and three who were adopted. Taking on a seventh child, one who would require extra care, was a decision they weighed carefully.
“By the time two years rolled around we had a decision to make,” Hopper told WSB. “Can we take this on?”
The couple relied on their faith in God to guide this life-changing decision.
“We prayed about it and decided that we felt comfortable about it and that God put her in our lives to take care of her. And we’ve been doing it ever since,” Hopper said.
Fast forward several years, and sweet Arianna is a proud elementary school student, heading off for her first day of the second grade at Altama Elementary School in Brunswick, Georgia.
As she boarded the school bus in her hot pink wheelchair, Arianna was bursting with joy at the anticipation of returning to class. She jubilantly waved goodbye to her father, who said, “Have a good day Arianna!”
Arianna, who is nonverbal, has been learning sign language at school to help her communicate. Hopper said that at school, Arianna receives a lot of positive attention and enjoys the interactive culture of her classroom.
“As you can see by her personality, she’s just all smiles,” Hopper said. “No matter what, even in her situation, she’s just joyful and loves life in spite of her disability.”
Hopper loves the way his daughter brings light and laughter to those in her life.
“Honestly everybody that comes in contact with her at church, at work, they always tell me they love her and how much her smile brings joy to them,” Hopper said.
“I’m glad that everybody gets to see this joy that she has that she brings to us every day and that everyone else can see and experience it.”
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