Our people: A natural fit

Daniell educates children at the Christian Children's Home on the feeding of livestock.

Daniell, 15, and her husband Rick, 17, on their honeymoon.

Daniell's childhood passport photo.

Lori Daniell's childhood dream was simply to be a mom, but that didn't turn out to be so simple for the Portales mother of three. Daniell, who has three adopted sons, works with her husband Rick at the Christian Children's home in Portales.

Are you from Portales? If not how did you get here? We recently came from Albuquerque. Our middle son was born deaf and they have a school there that he attended to learn to use his cochlear implant. I grew up in El Paso between two major malls. My husband called me a city slicker for years. We came here to be houseparents at the Christian Children's Home. All our children were adopted from them. We were houseparents for five years. It's one of the most challenging things we've ever done because the kids are dealing with hard stuff and your heart just breaks for them. It's not feeding them, bathing them, going to their school things that's hard, although that keeps you busy, it's the things that pull at your heart strings that are hard.

Why did you choose to adopt children? It's because we had a daughter with a rare skin disease. We found out that what she had was genetic. She passed away when she was 11 weeks old. If we had more children we had a great possibility of passing it on to them. Adoption was a natural for us. We didn't have to think twice about finding another way to start our family.

Why did you choose to adopt from Christian Children's Home specifically? The thing that we loved in particular was that they gather the information about families that want to adopt, then they have birth moms that come and look at files of families and they choose the family for their child. The mothers aren't counseled to give up their babies. They are helped to keep them if they want. It was important for me to know that we were chosen by the mom, that we weren't taking someone's baby away, because I had just lost a baby.

What do you like to do? I love to cook. I love to make whatever is going to make other people happy. You know people get really happy when you put something in front of them that they really love. I'm always looking for new recipes and new desserts, anything that will make my family happy when I put it in front of them. I'm always looking at cooking magazines and cooking websites for great recipes. I also knit. I find myself sitting at basketball practice or Tae Kwon Do-it drives me nuts just to sit-so I can take that with me and do it a little bit at a time.

What's the most exciting thing that's happened to you lately? I guess the most exciting, fun, joyful thing was the family cruise we went on for my son. We went to Cozumel and Jamaica. We had been planning to go since my son was in junior high, for his senior gift. We did that in December because it was cheaper then. Sixteen of us went. We just loved it. We had saved and planned for five years to do that.

— Compiled by CMI staff writer Tonjia Rolan

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