Lisa and Chris always wanted to adopt a child. Through an adoption agency, they found and fell in love with Anicee, who shares the same disease as her new parents – osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease.
Lisa and Chris took a trip to Belize on Mother's Day 2010 to meet Anicee at the children's home where she lived. She was wearing a white dress with her bags packed, ready to stay with her new family.
"We instantly fell in love with her," said Lisa. "She was beautiful."
Their hotel room became home for the next 63 days until Anicee's adoption was finalized. Lisa, Chris and Anicee flew home in July of 2010 as a family, right around Anicee's birthday. "It felt touching to me and it felt like I had a new home," said Anicee.
Chris and Lisa knew Anicee required a lot of medical procedures, and they could provide support and empathy since they went through the same struggles. Doctors in Belize put a cast on broken bones and provided medication, but intricate surgeries were not possible until Anicee lived in Colorado.
Anicee has had 100 broken bones, rods placed in her femurs and lower legs to make them straight and strong, and she underwent a spinal fusion to increase her mobility.
"Children's Colorado, the doctors and everyone there takes care of my daughter and that's the most important thing in our lives," said Lisa. "We're so thankful that they're there for us."
Confined to a wheelchair, Anicee is a tenacious, fun-loving 11-year-old who plans to be an artist when she grows up.
After a bidding war, Anicee sold two of her colorful paintings at the annual Children's Hospital Colorado Gala for $50,000 each. There is also an Anicee original hanging in First Lady Michelle Obama's office.