Shannon eventually grew up, married, had a son and then got divorced. She knew exactly what to do the minute she became single. She found Chelsea, a bright-smiling Chinese 12-year-old with cerebral palsy, among other diagnoses. And she adopted Chelsea as a single mother, Shannon and her two children against the world. 

Only six months after bringing Chelsea home to Maryland, she signed up once more. This time it was for Sony, an Indian teenager with craniofacial issues who had been bullied not only by children but adults for being “too ugly to go to school.”