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"As you can see by her personality, she's just all smiles," Hopper, who works as a police officer in Glynn County, told WSB. "No matter what, even in her situation, she's just joyful and loves life in spite of her disability."
Arianna Hopper, a 6-year-old elementary school student diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is seen in a video excited for the first day of classes.
Hopper said he and his wife Page adopted Arianna at 2 years old after fostering her from birth. She didn't show signs of cerebral palsy at first, and Hopper said he and his wife prayed about whether they could care for her after her diagnosis. The couple have seven children, three who are adopted, including Arianna.
"By the time two years rolled around we had a decision to make," Hopper said. "Can we take this on? We prayed about it and decided that we felt comfortable about it and that God put her in our lives to take care of her. And we've been doing it ever since."
Arianna is nonverbal, but the school is teaching her sign language and provides a communication device. Hopper said he thinks his daughter loves school because she gets so much positive attention from classmates and the school is so interactive.
Hopper said when he asked her if she was excited to go back to school, she gave a huge smile and "nodded" her hand, sign language for "Yes."
Hopper said that in the future, stem cell research may pave the way for treatments to help her get more use of her arms and eventually even walk and talk.
Until then, he said he's been delighted to see people's reactions to his daughter's joyful nature.
"Honestly everybody that comes in contact with her at church, at work, they always tell me they love her and how much her smile brings joy to them," Hopper said. "I'm glad that everybody gets to see this joy that she has that she brings to us every day and that everyone else can see and experience it."