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'It's Like A Miracle:' Long Island Family Opens Its Heart & Home To Orphan From China

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island family recently welcomed an unexpected addition.

Although the couple has children and grandchildren of their own, they opened up their hearts and home to an orphan from China.

"It's like a miracle," Amy Galm told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan.

That miracle is 2-year-old Lia Lililing. She was born with a rare syndrome – craniosynostosis – and abandoned at birth. Her fate was to live her life in a remote and rural Chinese orphanage.

"When I first brought up the idea of hosting her and bring her here for surgery, my husband was like, 'if it's temporary, then OK we'll do it,'" said Galm.

With their own children grown, they were committed to helping the suffering infant.

"I am a grandmother, that's my grandson up there, yes. And my oldest is going to be 27," she said.

They persevered and brought Lia into their Massapequa home last year, while another family in another state prepared to officially adopt the girl.

"We were super attached by then. So she had already been with us almost four months," Galm said. "So we were super attached to her."

Suddenly, without warning, the other family withdrew and Lia was to return to the Chinese orphanage.

"We used to cry thinking of what it would be like to say goodbye to her," said Galm.

That goodbye never came. Instead, the family just flew to China to officially adopt their daughter. This week, Amy, Tom and Lia Galm returned home for good.

Their Massapequa neighborhood was overcome.

"Fell in love with her," Galm said, adding it's "very permanent -- yes, forever."

Lia has already undergone two successful surgeries so far. A third is scheduled for just after Christmas.

Her proud parents already predict a joyous outcome.

The Galms said they saw many other infants in the orphanage with cranial syndromes and cleft palates. They hope others will consider doing what they've done, bringing such health and happiness into all of their lives.

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