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Kristen Williams, 44, is a single high school teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio, who always dreamed of being a mom. She started pursuing adoption in 2009, and after researching different international adoption agencies, she elected to adopt an infant girl from Nepal. In the midst of the process, however, the U.S. Department of State suspended all adoptions from Nepal on suspicion of fraud.
Despite losing $28,000 on a child she would never meet, Kristen was determined to try again. While looking into adopting from India, Kristen came across a 5-year-old girl named Munni.
Munni’s past had been physically and emotionally traumatic. Before she was orphaned, Munni was subjected to extreme abuse that left her with prominent scars on her face and scalp.
“I saw her face, and it was like an electric current just shot out and hit me in my heart,” Kristen says. “She was everything I wasn’t looking for, and she ended up being everything I needed,” Kristen says.
On Valentine’s Day 2013, Kristen officially became Munni’s adoptive mother.
Six months later, Kristen decided to adopt another child from India. She and Munni came across a 3-year-old girl named Durga, who was abandoned at birth and repeatedly rejected by prospective adoptive parents due to her appearance.
Durga was found in a garbage pile, barely clinging to life. Her nose and part of her upper lip had been eaten away by animals and insects.
“It’s very unfortunate that this is an everyday event in India,” Kristen says. “Because somebody did stop, and someone did pick her up and turn her in, that’s kind of the silver lining. They could have kept walking, which many people do.”
In February 2015, she and Munni welcomed Durga into their family. Although the orphanage in India named Durga, Kristen and Munni wanted to give her a new name to commemorate her new life. They eventually decided on Roopa, which means “blessed with beauty.”
After hearing Kristen’s inspiring story, The Doctors reached out to Greg Gion, a certified clinical anaplastologist, who offered to provide Roopa with a custom nasal prosthesis until she is old enough to undergo reconstructive surgery. In addition, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jon E. Mendelsohn offered to perform cosmetic scar-removal treatments for Munni, free of charge.