SAN DIEGO — Five-year-old Na’Lyhia brings laughter and joy wherever she goes. Her giggles are infectious. Born with cerebral palsy, Na’Lyhia is nonverbal, but her facial expressions reflect exactly how she’s feeling.
“You can definitely tell when she’s not happy or when she’s really excited and is all smiles and giggles,” said Amanda Stephens, a recruitment specialist for San Diego County Foster and Adoptive Resource Services.
Though Na’Lyhia has special needs, she has boundless determination. She’s constantly challenging herself to try new things. During our play date at the park, she was apprehensive about stepping down into the sand at first, but then decided she wanted to get to the swings, and took a step down while holding my hand.
“She’s super mobile, she loves to run around,” said Stephens. “She’s a little unsteady on her feet when she walks. She falls down, but she gets right back up.”
Na’Lyhia attends school and is doing well in her special day class. She enjoys being around other children and likes to follow their lead, often following them and venturing out of her comfort zone to explore the world.
Stephens believes Na’Lyhia would do really well in a family with children. Stephens explained, “Just seeing her interact with other kids at the park, she was trying to figure out the slide and was really uncertain about it, really kind of hesitant, then she watched another child go down and her face got so excited.”
Na’Lyhia eventually decided to give the slide a try herself and wanted to do it again and again.
Stephens says Na’Lyhia is currently living with a really great foster family. Her foster parents say they’re impressed at how well she learns and they’ve been teaching her sign language.
“She knows the sign for ‘eat’ and apparently goes around saying she wants to eat all the time,” said Stephens.
She has also learned how to go up the stairs in the house, which is a big accomplishment for her. Her foster home is only a temporary placement, however, and Na’Lyhia is in need of a forever family.
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-792-KIDS (5437) or visit the San Diego County Adoptions' home page.