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Luci: One mother's story of hope | News

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Luci: One mother's story of hope
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ATLANTA -- It isn't often that we get a window into someone else's life, that we get to see how tragic events led a Georgia woman and a Chinese orphan to a hospital room at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

One late night, two years ago, Tara Newton was surfing the Internet.   

"I just said I wonder if there's kids with burns?" she said. "I had never seen anyone with burns. I hit search and her little face popped up in the middle of the night on my my phone, and it's like something said 'There you go, now you know why. That's why.'" 

For five years, Tara had thought what happened to her was random. A group near her family on a Destin beach on the Fourth of July was setting off fireworks when one landed on her.

Her burns were severe.  And where she was burned, down the side of her head and face and neck, was strikingly similar to Luci's. She recuperated at Augusta's renowned burn center.

Remarkably Tara healed, and there is little evidence of her accident.

Tara learned that Luci had been left at a police station with fresh burns when she was 3 months old.  A newspaper notice featured her picture and news of her abandonment.  Married with a toddler son, Tara felt she had to go get her.

"I printed out her file and her beautiful pictures, and I told my husband 'Just look at them,'" Tara explained.  "He told me 'I think this is crazy. But I know it's what we need to do.'"

One year later, Tara and Luci met at an orphanage in Wuhan, China. Lucy was wearing a tutu her mother-to-be had sent her.

Today, one year after her adoption, Luci is 5 years old. She is precocious, fluent in English, and very familiar with Children's Healthcare, where the process of restoring her tiny body will take a long time.

Tara loves every perfectly imperfect inch of her little girl, and where others see scars, Tara sees proof that the worst thing that ever happened to her, led to the best.

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