(Orange, Texas)

May 25, 2013

Elementary student national finalist in essay competition

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Michael Lafley met a four year old in Walmart one day that changed his life forever.

The little girl, Emily Lafley asked him if he had an ‘old lady’.

Michael, according to his wife, Susan, returned home and told her they should consider adoption.

The Lafley’s already knew they would need to find an alternative to traditional means of having a family.

“He told me that we should consider adoption, especially if we could find one like that red-head he met at Walmart,” Susan said.

Little did they know that two years later they would adopt that very same child, Emily.

Emily will go to Washington, D.C. this summer as a National Finalist in the Do the Write Thing Texas Challenge for her essay “Celebrating ideas to break the cycle of violence.”

Emily said it is pretty amazing to be able to see the nation’s capital.

“I want to the Hope Diamond and Dorothy’s red slippers,” Emily said. “And all the monuments.”

The first night the family will take a night tour of the monuments throughout the capital.

“Emily is a true miracle,” Susan said. “We were aunt and uncle to 13 (foster children). We wanted to be parents so bad. I know God intervened when he brought her to us.”

Emily tells people that she picked her parents.

“I guess I choose the right home,” Emily said as she smiled at her mother.

The essays, poems, plays or songs submitted through the schools are in response to the questions of how violence has effected the student’s life, what are the causes of violence and what can the student do about it.

Emily was recognized by the Vidor School Board on Monday for her essay.

Susan said she first heard the essay in November during a Writer’s Reception held at the Vidor Middle School.

“There was not a dry eye in the house,” Susan said. “We are so proud of her.”