LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- By all accounts 24 year old Kate Singer is living a typical life- even though her life's story has been anything but. She is independent.

"I've never really been the type to depend on anyone," says Singer. "I always love to do things for myself."

And on this night she is doing just that by preparing for a big move, from her home in Little Rock to California.

"I love to try new things," Kate shares. "I'm not scared to try new things."

Probably because all her life Singer has been forced to try new things and new ways of doing things

If you look closely, you will see that she is texting with her toes. We also find her folding her laundry with her feet. Singer was born in Thailand with no arms, left for dead on the side of the road

"Kate was found by a gentleman on his way to work," says her mother, Connie Fails. "He saw a tea towel in the gutter moving. And it was Kate."

She ended up at a Thai orphanage called the "Crippled Babies Home," where she lived with 600 other disabled children until Fails came to bring her home.

If her name sounds familiar, you may recognize her friendship with the Clintons dating back to the late 1970s. She now runs his Museum Store in downtown Little Rock.

In the early 1980s, Fails and her husband found themselves desperately wanting children.

"You know, you just think you're gonna have an instant family when you get ready," says Fails. "But it didn't happen for me like that, so after 6 years, my husband and I said, 'well if we're gonna parent, we're gonna have to adopt.'"

First came Hannah, a Korean baby they first met at the Memphis airport. About that time, Fails found out she had indeed become pregnant and gave birth to Noah.

A few years later, she wanted another, so a friend who is also an expert in international adoption sent her a videotape of Kate.

"She said, 'hey what'd you think?'" recalls Fails. "I said, 'I never asked for a kid with a disability,' and Susan said, 'gee, you must've missed her personality,' and she hung up on me (laughs)."

That began the three year journey to bring Kate home. Connie's husband had serious reservations, but after many months of indecision, he grabbed a book.

"He opened the book," says Fails. "And at the time, it was a book no one knew about and he put his finger in, and it said 'pray not for things but for courage,' and he came home and said 'I'll do it.'"

Five days after President Clinton's 1993 inauguration, they flew 35 hours to pick up their new daughter.

"By the time I got her, she colored, fed herself, brushed her teeth, brushed her hair," remembers Fails.

Fast forward nearly two decades and much is the same.

"I don't really call it a disability," Kate says. "We know it is, but not really, because I'm fully capable of doing anything just like everyone else."

Kate says her parents never treated her any differently, and as she journeys west for better opportunities, she's always linked to Arkansas by their love and support.

"I would let them know," says Kate, "that I love them and I would thank them a lot for always being supportive and by my side."

"People will say, 'oh you're such a good person to do that.'" says Fails. "That's not it. This was our choice. We don't get extra gratitude for what we do or anything, but if you come from such circumstances, as Kate did, she is a grateful person. She would not have had a life if she stayed."

Fails says she tried to adopt in the United States for several years, but nothing came through.

That's when she asked Hillary Rodham Clinton for help adopting internationally.

An interesting note-- because of her journey, Fails became the White House private sector representative to the treaty on adoption at the United Nations.

Kate, by the way, has visited the White House and personally knows President and Mrs. Clinton.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.kthv.com/1f4OmI0