A Couple Adopts a Red-Skin Girl With Slight Chances of Surviving, and Raises Her Into a Champion
Born with a rare skin condition, many believed this girl wouldn’t live long. Meet Mui Thomas, the main heroine of today’s story, abandoned at birth by her mother because of her appearance. Despite enduring adversity and hurtful comments, two people saw her uniqueness, helping Mui in reaching a significant milestone in her life.
She was abandoned when she was just a little girl.
Mui Thomas, born in China, entered the world under circumstances that would lay the foundation for a unique life trajectory. Abandoned by her birth parents, who swiftly relinquished any connection to her, Mui faced an uncertain future. In 1994, Tina and Rog Thomas intervened in her path, fostering that red-skinned little girl in need of a home.
Their decision was not without challenges, as medical professionals had bleak predictions for Mui’s future. “Mui will die in infancy,” experts told the couple. Thus, informed that the infant’s life expectancy was limited, the Thomases embarked on their fostering journey, fully aware that their time with Mui might be brief. The medical community echoed a grim sentiment, advising Tina to redirect her aspirations towards a more conventional family-building with her spouse.
Despite the prevailing pessimism surrounding Mui’s prognosis, Tina and Rog embraced their role as foster parents with resilience. The couple defied expectations, providing a nurturing environment for the child deemed unlikely to survive infancy.
Despite her slimmest chance of survival, the couple decided to fight for her.
When Mui turned three, Tina and Rog chose to formalize their bond, deciding to adopt her into their family. The decision wasn’t made lightly; it was a commitment to face the challenges that her condition presented. Doctors foresaw that she wouldn’t make it past her early years, prompting Tina and Rog to step up and give her the strength she couldn’t have at that age.
Tina vividly recalled the first time she laid eyes on Mui, a mere one and a half years old at the time. The couple, initially foster parents, were taken aback as they watched Mui not only defy the expectations set by her condition but also grow and thrive into a spirited toddler. It was a revelation that sparked a profound and immediate connection between them: “She came into the room, and I could see this spirit. I could see she wanted to have fun. She wanted to get on with it.”
Rog, reflecting on the path that unfolded over the years, shared a poignant moment of realization. “We met her in a hospital (...), and my wife told us that we’d look after our daughter for about a weekend, and that was 20 years ago, so it has been a very long weekend.” His words encapsulated the enduring love and steadfast commitment that transformed what was supposed to be a brief respite into a lifelong journey.
Mui’s journey is a testament to the indomitable human spirit, defying the odds imposed by a rare and challenging condition. Born into a world where her very existence seemed an insurmountable challenge, Mui had to confront the physical manifestations of her condition (Harlequin ichthyosis) which is a severe genetic disorder that affects the skin. Infants with this condition are born prematurely with very hard, thick skin covering most of their bodies. The skin forms large, diamond-shaped plates that are separated by deep cracks (fissures).
Despite the adversity she faced from the moment of her birth, Mui was raised with a resilience that became the cornerstone of her existence. Her upbringing instilled in her a determination to conquer life’s challenges, even when the chance of survival seemed slim. As she grew, so did her strength, both physically and mentally, being one of the 20 known people worldwide diagnosed.
They chose adoption over natural conceiving.
Tina and Rog had originally intended to have a child through natural conception and expand their family. However, they decided not to adhere to the “expected” course and steered it in a different direction. Life doesn’t always stick to a set plan, and you never truly know what it might have in store for you. In their case, life brought them Mui, and they, in turn, “gave life” to Mui.
However, beyond their own decisions, fate also played a role in bringing their paths together. Indeed, on August 12, 1994, Tina had written these specific words in her diary, marking the beginning of their unique family journey: “Mui will be our little kid to take care of,” and that’s precisely what unfolded.
People were harsh with Mui, but she didn’t let it discourage her.
Mui’s toughness isn’t just about handling the physical curveballs her illness throws at her; it’s also about dealing with a society that can be downright nasty. Right from the start, she’s had to navigate judgmental looks and not-so-friendly remarks.
Even with her parents being her rock growing up, giving her the backup she needed to keep moving forward, her journey wasn’t a cakewalk. Mui had to deal with a bunch of haters who couldn’t see past the surface.
High school, supposed to be the time of your life, turned into a bit of a battlefield for Mui. People threw some seriously mean words her way, like telling her she shouldn’t have been born. Imagine carrying the weight of those words on a young soul already trying to handle a condition that makes her stand out. The constant teasing took its toll, leaving Mui feeling pretty beaten down and lonely.
And the pain wasn’t just coming from her classmates. Adults, who should’ve known better, were just as heartless. One bus driver, acting like some judge and jury, had the nerve to say that Mui wasn’t welcome on their bus.
The rejection wasn’t limited to the schoolyard; it spilled over into the wider educational scene. In Hong Kong, Mui faced being barred from school, and even in her own neighborhood, schools were slamming their doors shut.
But, in the face of exclusion and the cold shoulder treatment, Mui didn’t let bitterness take over. She stood up against the current of prejudice and ignorance. Throughout it all, Mui’s journey becomes a testament to the power of resilience and the refusal to let narrow judgments of others define her.
She grew into a beautiful and strong champion.
While Mui’s academic journey ended, it didn’t mark the conclusion of her remarkable story. Despite enduring indescribable pain, she orchestrated a turnaround, attributing her success to the unwavering support of her parents. In an unexpected twist, she found acceptance in the most unlikely of places, forever changing the course of her life.
As she remembers, “I found something that was both inclusive and welcoming. I discovered rugby.” Encouraged by her father, Mui delved into this sport, which, beyond being a distraction from her skin condition, evolved into a platform where she could advocate for people with visible differences.
Her inspiring story has touched many lives, and when her family decided to break their 20 years of silence, the response and support were overwhelming.
Through her platform, “The Girl Behind the Face,” Mui has created a haven of encouragement and love. Those grappling with their own conditions find solace in her courageous journey, expressing deep gratitude for the positivity she radiates.
Knowing that people with Mui’s condition usually have a shorter life expectancy, her parents keep hoping she’ll keep beating the odds. Mui’s a real survivor, and she carries the constant love from her adoptive parents, hoping to inspire others through her journey. Now, at 30, she’s all smiles, showing not just that she conquered challenges but also the strong resilience that’s all her.
With strength and love, facing adversity can make overcoming it appear insurmountable. Numerous stories echo this sentiment, such as that of a woman who guides others in embracing their uniqueness.