You may remember hearing news stories about abused children.
But Lonnie Smith's story is the rest of the story with a happy ending.
His life inspired a change in the laws in Mississippi.... so that abusive parents get convicted before repeating the abuses on their children.
His life, survival and healing is all a matter of faith.
When I met Lonnie Smith I could see he is a happy child.
To see him playing in his favorite car... there was joy all over his face.
To see him at play, you would have no clue that his life began... with cruelty.
Tanya and Greg Mccall are in the process of adopting Lonnie. She recalls how he came into her life.
Tanya: "There was a child that had been scalded in a bath tub in an abusive situation and to please pray for him. His biological mother scalded him in a bath tub. Then she waited 4 to 5 hours to take him to the hospital so he was in shock skin was falling off and so they put him in an ambulance and transported him to a burn unit in Birmingham, at Children's and he's from Mississippi."
Lonnie gets around in a wheel chair when he's not in his favorite car.
He lost the bottom part of his spine.. that's why he is in a wheel chair... and has a urostomy and colostomy bag. He's had many operations to get to where he is today.
The call for prayer came to Tanya and Greg Mccalls Sunday school class.
Tanya. "We did start to pray for him and I felt God calling me to something more."
Tanya says after hearing about Lonnie, she felt as if God called her to go to the hospital and visit him.
So after taking her daughters to school in the morning she would spend the next two hours of her day... visiting a child that was a total stranger.
Tanya. "He was 3 but looked like the size of an 18 month old.. didn't talk would nod his head and you would get a smile every once in awhile."
She visited every day..
Tanya: "He really took to me and I said I'd see him tomorrow that I'd be back... he grabbed my shirt and started to cry."
Tanya... also helped him learn how to better communicate.
Tanya: "He would start saying words and would laugh. He started calling me mama in the hospital and none of us called me that."
Greg and Tanya... showed him what a loving nurturing home looks like.
Lonnie's life began in Mississippi... that's where the abuse happened.... because his injuries were so severe, he was flown to Children's in Birmingham... and that's where Tanya showed him the love of a mother.
Greg Mccall says, "He brings nothing but joy to us constantly for someone to go through everything he has gone through everything he goes through on a daily basis and maintains his happiness and joy it brings any problems or issues I might have helps me realize it's not so big."
The Mcall's believe... God put Lonnie in their life... to be added to their family of four daughters.
And as for Lonnie... he has no doubt... God has a plan for his life.
Mississippi has passed the Lonnie Smith act. As it was signed into law the Mcall's and Lonnie... joined the governor... to take a stand against child abuse... and help convict abusers more quickly before they repeat the abuse.
Tanya: "The hope the wound will be completely closed more surgery... in school loves it... continue to grow and know Jesus brought him to us... and God would use this story to be glorified."
Tanya. " I have summoned you by name and you are mine I claimed that verse for Lonnie."
In Mississippi, Lonnie biological mother is serving 18 years in prison with no possibility for parole.