Harmony was adopted in January 2016


Her name is synonymous with peace and kinship, an ironic choice by her birth mother. There wasn’t a lot of harmony in her young life.

But on Jan. 26 — Harmony’s 8th birthday — a judge’s signature changed that for good. She was adopted by Shonda, her Methodist Home for Children foster mother.

Before Shonda, home for Harmony was a place without rules or boundaries. It’s the place where Harmony was abused by a relative and where her family blamed her for speaking the truth. After the abuse, social services set up a safety plan that would allow Harmony to stay in her home — on the condition that her abuser stay away.

It was him or her and, ultimately, her family chose him.

Although home was neither safe nor supportive, it was still the only life Harmony had known, so she entered foster care in October 2013 with an adult-sized load of guilt and sadness on 5-year-old shoulders. “She felt bad for telling the truth,” Shonda says. “Kids think it’s their fault anyway, but her family would come right out and say, ‘It’s your fault he can’t come around.’ ”

Shonda has spent the past couple of years walking Harmony back from that grief and trying to replace what she’s lost. In the process, she’s discovered that family is precious to Harmony—especially her relationship with her adopted grandmother. “They adore each other,” Shonda says. “She loves to go down to see family and hang out. She has to have her grandma time.”

Harmony is now a typical first grader, and her favorite school subject is math. Shy by nature, she’ll entertain you with a song and a dance once she decides she can trust you. She’s got a Monster High poster and blanket in her room, and she was ecstatic to see Great Scarrier Reef in the theater when it came out. She also loves flowers, so Shonda takes her to the arboretum and the rose garden. She plays with dolls and looks forward to sleepovers with her friends.

Foster care specialist Melissa Nordan says it’s been fun to watch Harmony become a “spirited young lady,” secure and comfortable with Shonda and free to be her own person.

“It’s obvious there’s a lot of love and trust between them,” Melissa says. “A lot of love there.”