INDIANAPOLIS - The adoption of a baby girl from China in 1996 has become a significant story of adaptation after health problems struck the child.
Cheryl and Jeff Heer called their baby girl a holiday blessing, but she has become so much more than that.
Lexi Heer arrived from China 17 years ago, just a few days before Christmas.
“This is a celebration of Christ’s birth. It's special to have a baby at the same time," Jeff Heer said.
It was a special time, but the family was devastated when a year later, they learned that Lexi Heer suffered from a type of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
"We in some ways felt a death of dreams. Life as we expected it to be was over. To see her excel the way she is excelling is a life we didn't expect," Jeff Heer said.
At 4 feet 10 inches tall, 55 pounds, Lexi Heer has become a champion power wheelchair soccer player.
Thanks to her patented spin kick, her team, Power Soccer of Indy, just won the President's Cup in Arizona.
She was named the Most Valuable Player and scored the most goals in the tournament. She refused to let her disability hold her back.
"I love the sport. I have a lot of determination. When I set a goal for myself, I want to achieve it. I do anything I can to get to where I want to be,” Lexi Heer said.
Where she wants to be on October 30 is in Paris, France.
She and two of her teammates who took the title in Arizona have been selected to represent the United States in an international championship in Paris.
"She's excelled beyond my wildest dreams and a chance to go to Paris. We never ever thought that would have been possible,” Jeff Heer said.
It’s possible, in part, because of the support of Lexi Heer’s big brothers Jordan and Ryan and her baby sister Lauren.
Lexi Heer’s goal is to become a math teacher or an actuary when she grows up. Her parents said that's only natural because she beats the odds every single day.
It will cost Heer and her two teammates $5,000 per person to go to Paris.
Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas