Indiana household adopts blind daughter from China
She left a Chinese orphanage five years ago and got on a plane heading for a small town in Indiana. Today Louisa Mae’s life is just beginning.
CLARK COUNTY, Ind. – Louisa Mae Dangler learned the basics when she was nine. She runs her fingers over homemade index cards with a pattern of cut straws to represent small, medium and large objects. Then she walks over to a pile of books in Braille and traces the letter “A”.
It may seem rudimentary for her age, but Louisa spent most of her school days in and out of doctor’s offices.
We first met Louisa when she arrived in Louisville five years ago. She was born blind and spent almost three years in a Chinese orphanage until she met Donna and Jeff Dangler, who immediately knew that she was the one who would complete their family.
“It’s a book and we just saw the front and back and said let’s do that. And it’s been great read ever since. It wasn’t easy to read, but we’re only in a few pages,” Jeff Dangler said.
“When we adopted her, we thought she was just completely blind,” said Donna Dangler. “We wanted to come home, put her in the school for the blind and have a normal life, and it didn’t end like that. She was a lot sicker than we thought.”
Not only is she blind, but she is also non-verbal.
“When she got here, she tried to speak and then she kind of lost it,” said Donna Dangler.
She is developmentally retarded and has both swallowing disorders and silent seizures.
“When you have a child who can’t tell you what’s going on, it’s brutal. So we did our best, ”said her mother.
When Louisa first arrived she couldn’t walk, but that soon changed with the help of community organizations like the Molly Johnson Foundation and a lot of hard work. Today she can walk up to two miles on her own.
“When I look at it, I’m so excited, like okay what’s next?” said Jeff Dangler.
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Today is Louisa’s fearless and loving life.
“Her favorite thing in the world is standing in the ocean and those waves hit her in the face,” said Donna Dangler.
She also likes to ride a bike. It’s become a family affair in the front yard.
It is a joy for the whole family “to know that they are safe, secure, loved, fed, and dressed,” said Donna Dangler. “You are crazy about her.”
The Danglers have three grown sons. When Donna and Jeff became empty nests in their early 50s, all they wanted was to refill their homes.
They began the adoption process about 15 years ago and made separate trips to China to bring each of their four daughters home; Louisa is her youngest. The Danglers say they couldn’t imagine any other way.
“It’s incredibly valuable and our family has so much fun. It’s by far the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” said Donna Dangler. “I can’t imagine life without her and I can’t think about the future for so long because that scares me. I think what if? I can’t go there. I honestly have to know she’s one of the” Lord and he will always take care of her. At this point we just love them and take care of them. “
She goes to school about 2 hours a week, at Borden Elementary, and the rest of the week she is homeschooled with her 3 sisters.
You can keep up to date with the Danglers through an Instagram page created to highlight Louisa and all of her accomplishments, the ups and downs of adoption, and most importantly, her love for family.
Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter (@ WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook.
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