A nine-year-old girl has been adopted from foster care by her second grade teacher in a story that’s being compared that of Matilda and Miss Honey.
Loralie Henry, from La Verne, in Los Angeles, first went into foster care when she was just four.
At age five she returned to live with her biological mum but by the time she was six she was back in foster care.
Now, after spending 1,445 days in care, Loralie has been adopted by one of her former teachers in a story straight out the pages of the Roald Dahl classic.
Zoe Henry is a teacher who had no plans to adopt but she said that changed the moment she met Loralie two years ago.
Zoe told KABC, ‘She came into my class, and I just took one look at her — her little freckles, her little birthmark.
The ‘minute [she] set eyes on her” is when Zoe thought to herself: ‘I am going to adopt this little girl. She’s my daughter.’
Zoe initially thought Loralie would get adopted by another family, but when that didn’t happen she pleaded with social workers to let her adopt her.
Two days later, they did and Loralie moved in with Zoe.
The teacher said Loralie had faced a lot of obstacles but she was a ‘brave and strong’ little girl.
‘She is probably the most compassionate person I know. She wants to be a foster mum someday and adopt kids,’ Zoe added.
It’s taken two years, but the foster-to-adoption process was finally completed on November. 20, National Adoption Day, when Loralie was among 165 kids adopted in a joyous virtual ceremony.
Zoe held back tears as she told KABC: ‘She completes our family, she completes our life. She brings such adventure and joy and fun and spunkiness to everything that we do, so it’s perfect. It’s perfect. Don’t cry? OK.’
Biological parents have the right to contest these adoptions, but that didn’t happen in Loralie’s case.
‘I know her mom really loves her. I know she really wanted to be a better part of her life,’ Zoe said. ‘But like I tell Loralie, her mom loved her so much that she would let her be adopted so that I can give her what she needed.’
The story is drawing comparisons to Matilda, the 1996 film based on a 1988 book by Roald Dahl.
In the movie version, Matilda — played by Mara Wilson — is a special child with magical powers who is miserable at home with her parents, who don’t treat her well.
She forms a special connection with her teacher, Miss Honey, who ends up adopting her.