Vietnamese Bomb Victim Now A Model, Paralympic Hopeful

Josephine Thompson

Journalist

Haven Shepherd, 14, was a baby in Vietnam when her parents committed suicide by detonating an explosive. They ended their lives because their affair would have never been accepted - and cost her both legs below the knee. Born as Phuong Twi Do, she was going to be put into a shelter by her biological grandparents who were too poor to take care of her. However, the 20-months-old baby was adopted by the Shepherd family from Carthage, Missouri, who flew 8,500 miles to bring her home.

Haven learned to use prosthetic legs and became interested in sports, becoming a swimmer at 4, and only progressing further from there. She hopes to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games, and she has joined Models of Diversity to show others that being different can't stop you from being a model.

source

"I grew up hearing how I lost my leg and felt like it was a normal thing that had happened to others, it was only as the years went on that I realised I'm probably the only one with this story," says Haven.

source

"I tell people the truth, that my parents had an affair and had me, but in Vietnam women cannot divorce, so when they committed suicide and all the damage was done to my legs. It's a hard pill to swallow but I can't avoid it and have to tell the truth about what happened."

source

"One of my earliest memories is my sisters telling me that while I am different from them, my differences are what make me who I am and special from everyone else," said Haven.

source

"My family have always been very supportive and taught me not to be held back because I have to use prosthetics. I remember once watching girls playing basketball thinking I couldn't do it because I didn't have legs, then one of my sisters said I had to try. She told me that I wasn't going to sit on the bench feeling sorry for myself, at the time I thought she was being mean but it really helped. Since then I've participated in track events, other sports and when I tell people I swim at such a high level they are blown away."

source

"The thing I love the most about swimming is getting to take off my legs and feel comfortable in the water, I feel free without my prosthetics, I'm in my own world in the water. I've also started modeling after realizing a bunch of people weren't happy with who they are, I want to show them it's OK to be different," recounts Haven.

source

"I want them to see the unique things about themselves in a positive way and that diversity is a good thing, if I feel comfortable they can too."

source

The parents Shelly and Rob, 56 and 57, found her through the Touch A Life Foundation for homeless children back in 2005. They flew out to Vietnam to get her. "We heard about what happened to Haven and were told her grandparents were too poor to take care of her," said Shelly, mother of seven.

source

"Despite my husband's reservations about adopting, he fell in love with Haven instantly, she wouldn't ride in the car unless he was there. Haven wouldn't even nap unless he was holding her, over time she made us realise that she chose us and that not having legs wasn't a big deal."

source

Discussion

25 Things That Could Only Happen In Russia Stories

You can probably agree that Russia is kinda weird. It's this large country that stretches across the globe where odd things just keep happening.

Jayson Beck

People Pose With Pads To Stop Period Shaming Stories

You might not have heard of PadMan. It is the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who introduced low-cost sanitary pads.

Josephine Thompson

Shelter Kitten Finds New Brother, They Become Inseparable Stories

Shelter cats all have stories of heartbreak and separation from family. However, it all turned out well for a kitten named Unagi in Japan.

Jayson Beck

Amazing Video Shows 100 Years Of Beauty Trends In Korea Stories

But the Korean ladies still had time to look after themselves, and 100 Years of Beauty - the cult series by Cut.com - shows just how their trends changed over the decades.

Lauren Freeman

You Won't Believe What These Dogs Do To Avoid Vet Visits Stories

We can understand why we need to go to the doc, and we still don't like it. The dog probably doesn't, so it's even freakier for them.

Jayson Beck

You Have Never Seen Moscow As Beautiful As In These Photos Stories

Russian photographer Kristina Makeeva managed to snap some amazing photos of Moscow during a snowfall. Her keen eye and lightning reflexes are what brings us this beauty!

Lauren Freeman

11 Things To Throw Away To Declutter Your Life Stories

It seems like everything we have, we want to keep, since you might not know when you might need it. Besides, we worked hard to get that stuff, damn it!

Lauren Freeman

Starving Dog Who Ate Rocks Finally Gets Happy Ending Stories

A starving dog was found wandering San Jacinto desert in California in February 2016. The 4-year-old pit bull was all skin and bones, except for her large belly.

Hilary Gowan

Cute Moment When Little Girl Mistakes Bride For Fairy Tale Princess Stories

Most brides want to look like princesses during their big day. However, this was what almost literally happened during Scott Robertson and Shandace Lurma’s wedding!

Josephine Thompson

Abandoned Houses Bought For $1 Turned Into Lovely Family Homes Stories

Homes for a Pound is a Liverpool Council scheme to fill 6,000 unused houses - by selling them to people who or work in Liverpool for one pound ($1.40). The result is astounding!

Hilary Gowan

Chinese 'Nail Houses' That Refused To Give Way To Development Stories

We have all heard about the rapid development of China. However, it has many darker sides to it, and one of them are dingzihu – 'nail houses'.

Lauren Freeman

Amazingly Cute Story Of Lady Who Found Crow Baby On Road Stories

@Forestgalwithacrow found the bird on the middle of the road at night. She tried feeding it mushed peas and they got to be great friends.

Hilary Gowan

Sad Photoshoot Reveals Grim Reality Of Living In Hong Kong's Coffin Cubicles Stories

Benny Lam is an artist and photographer documenting the plight of the people living in these spaces where you don't even have enough room to stand.

Lauren Freeman

Heartwarming Story Of Man Who Turned His House Into Sanctuary For 300 Cats Stories

Love cats? Probably not as much as Chris Arsenault. He transformed his house into Happy Cat Sanctuary, where 300 kitties currently reside.

Hilary Gowan

25 Extremely Funny Photos That Were Snapped At Just The Right Time Stories

Well, sometimes the world just says "haha, no" and puts something hilarious in the frame. And wouldn't you know it, it immediately turns an ordinary, boring picture into something hilarious!

Jayson Beck

Loving Husband And Dad Illustrates The Joy Of Everyday Life With Heartwarming Illustrations Stories

Pascal Campion are some of those rogues that capture the essence rather moments in his art. Who needs photography when you can draw as well as he does?

Josephine Thompson

Family With Dwarfism Is The Most Awesome Instagram Hit Of The Year Stories

Charli Worgan, her husband Cullen Adams, and their first child Tilba, are now a sensation that attracted thousands of followers.

Josephine Thompson

10 Funniest Photoshops Of Dude Chilling In Middle Of Battle Stories

People have immediately started photoshopping him into hilarious situations. Whether it's adding new details to the man's surroundings or transporting him to entirely different locations!

Jayson Beck

16 Graves Stranger And Spookier Than Any Ghost Stories

Some people of vision and money elect to make their gravesites stand out.

Jayson Beck

15+ Albino Animals Prove That Being Different Is Amazing Stories

Unlike people, animals don't have racism and don't really discriminate based on fur color - or lack of it.

Jayson Beck

20+ Classical Pinup Drawings And Models That Inspired Them Stories

Look at some of his illustrations below, paired with the models that inspired them. Ask your grandparents, maybe they know some of the faces!

Jayson Beck

10+ Photos Of Celebrities If They Got A Lot Bigger Stories

David Lopera is an artist who goes by the name of Xmasterdavid on DeviantArt. And he's big on the website because of his large passion for enormous women.

Lauren Freeman

Brighten Your Day With 10+ Images Of Hedgehogs And Cats Being Friends Stories

Hedgehogs, however, are kinda too big for kitties to hunt and too quill-filled to be an easy prey. That's why cats and hedgehogs can be friends!

Hilary Gowan