STUDENT SPOTLIGHT — JASMINE WILLEFORD

Jasmine Willeford is an exuberant, joyful six-year-old. She is also the answer to her family’s prayers.

Angie and Sean Willeford adopted Jasmine from India when she was 2-1/2 years old. She was only two pounds, frail, and had sepsis at birth. As a result of her poor health, Jasmine’s immune system was not just fighting the infection but also attacking healthy tissue. Her hearing loss is a side effect of the strong antibiotics she was given to combat her illness.

The journey to adopt Jasmine was a long and arduous one. The Willefords suffered through multiple miscarriages and unsuccessful adoption attempts. A woman of faith, Angie Willeford kept reciting Jeremiah 29:11 throughout the ordeal: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The family’s prayers were finally answered over four years ago when India allowed non-Indian families to adopt children. From that point forward, Jasmine’s adoption moved very quickly. The entire family, including their son, Merrick, went to India to meet Jasmine and bring her home.  

Jasmine is now part of a loving blended Scottish-Hispanic-Indian family. She adores her older brother, and he feels the same way about her. Jasmine is a talkative, funny child with a big personality. Ohio Valley Voices has helped eliminate potential education barriers for Jasmine by helping her listen, speak, and learn. She loves to hear her mother read her favorite book about Peppa Pig. 

Originally from Washington D.C., the Willefords relocated to Cincinnati for work and school. Angie’s husband, Sean, first started coming to Ohio for business, and later Merrick decided to enroll in the pre-med program at Ohio State University.

In Washington D.C., Jasmine was enrolled in a full-emersion deaf and hard of hearing program. When the Willefords moved, they considered sending her to a small Montessori school in Mason, Ohio. Luckily, a speech therapist at the school referred them to Ohio Valley Voices.  

Angie says that her family fell in love with OVV at first sight. The family’s initial tour of the school observed all of the health department’s COVID safety protocols. But most of all, they were impressed by the school’s caring, nurturing environment. OVV was a significant factor in their decision to stay in Ohio.

Angie feels lucky to have found Ohio Valley Voices. She believes the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 has been fulfilled. After all, Jasmine’s middle name is Hope.

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