Feature Article

A Teenager’s Plea

Independence for Charissa

If you’ve visited Shepherd’s Field within the past three years, you’ve probably seen Charissa zipping around campus on her way to class or to the playground in her bright yellow power wheelchair, and you’ve no doubt seen her sporting her favorite accessory—that fantastic big grin of hers! Three years ago, a generous donor sponsored Charissa’s power chair and it completely changed her life. Charissa was born with spina bifida, which for her means that she is unable to walk and has limited movement and sensation in the lower half of her body. While this condition affects her physically, it has no impact on her cognitively. Getting a power wheelchair meant that Charissa was no longer dependent on other people to push her everywhere, and she got to experience the taste of independence for the first time in her life!


We recently visited Charissa at her new home in Shangrao and were sad to see that her chair is now broken beyond repair and she has pressure sores on her bottom. The pressure sores are a result of Charissa not having her diaper changed often enough and sitting in the same position for a long amount of time. If not caught early or prevented, pressure sores can lead to very serious infection. The wheelchair was showing significant signs of wear before she left Shepherd’s Field, but now it does not function at all. Charissa is back to being dependent on her caregivers for her mobility. During our visit, our sweet girl asked us for two things: 1. “Please, will you help me find a family?” and 2. “May I have a new chair?” We need your help in order for both of those things to happen.

Charissa has already turned 13 and is close to aging out of the system. Children in China can no longer be adopted once they reach the age of 14. She is a strong, smart and kind girl who would thrive in a family environment. Please help us find her Forever Family by sharing her story and keeping her in your prayers. Secondly, we need to raise $4,500 USD to purchase a new power chair for her. The chair has a feature that will recline 100%, making it easier for her nannies to change her diaper more frequently without having to lift her. This will significantly reduce her chances of getting additional pressure sores. It is a medical necessity. Won’t you consider giving toward Charissa’s independence? You’ll be helping to bring her untold happiness!