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Ex-Orphan Loses Legs, Still Plays A Mean Softball

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Mike Max returned to WCCO-TV as a sports reporter and anchor in Apr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Elena Evans’ story began in Russia and has taken her to the land of opportunity. In her case, it’s also been the land of unconditional love.

Watching Elena play softball, it’s clear she’s confident and one of the better players on her team. She enjoys the competition.

The former orphan was born with deformed feet and lower legs, leading to the amputation of both below the knee.

She now wears prosthetic legs, which certainly command attention out there on the softball field.

“We came to the conclusion that we were open to adopting a child with special needs,” said adoptive father Lonny Evans.

“I remember thinking how vulnerable she looked. She had just woken from a nap, so her hair was kind of messy, she was wearing this tattered dress when they brought her down,” said adoptive mother Betsy Evans.

The fact that she has blossomed into a normal, active lifestyle is almost taken for granted because of how well she handles her situation.

“I try not to have that hold me back at all. I mean, it doesn’t really,” said Elena.

She has hit her first home run already, and there have been many other athletic milestones, but those accomplishments are not what make her feel special. It’s her parents and two brothers who have made her feel part of a loving family.

“People make comments — “doll legs,” “rubber legs” — when she just wants to be normal,” said Lonny. “Now we’re at the point where people stare and they’ll make comments like ‘That’s the girl that made the grand slam,” or “That’s the girl that pitched the whole game.’”

“I think I’m really lucky that this family picked me to come to the U.S. None of this would be happening if they didn’t,” said Elena.

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