Grace suffers from cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease and has been waiting for new family since she was born
but no-one wants to adopt her
With her sparkling blue eyes and infectious smile, three-year-old Grace is the picture of happiness.
But there is one heartbreaking piece missing from her young life.
Despite spending every day waiting to be adopted, Grace has never been able to find the only thing she wants - a new mum to love her.
She was taken into care at birth because her natural mum was unable to look after her and since then she has been waiting for a new home.
Grace is currently living with foster parents and authorities have taken the unusual step of appealing for prospective parents to come forward in the hope they will find someone to adopt the tot.
Nearing retirement, foster mum and dad Jill and Paul are desperate for the adorable youngster, who they affectionately describe as their “cheeky tomboy”, to find a new family .
Help: Grace with her favourite doll Upsy Daisy from In The Night Garden TV show
Jill says: “We’re just trying now to get a nice home for her. It’s so important for her to find a family and to finally see her settled.
“She needs a family for Christmas.”
Little Grace has already had a difficult start in life.
Her birth mum suffered from severe pre-eclampsia during pregnancy and was unable to look after her newborn due to a brain injury from an accident.
Weighing a tiny 1.3lbs, Grace was left with cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease when she was born prematurely at just 25 weeks.
Doctors feared she would never walk but the happy youngster has defied all expectations and now loves nothing more than running and climbing around her foster family’s home.
Baby: Grace was born with cerebral palsy
“At first when we heard about Grace’s special needs we did wonder whether we would be able to care for her,” Jill, 57, said from their home in the Midlands.
“But when we saw her when she was on oxygen in hospital we just knew – we had to help her.
“She is a very special little girl.”
Despite making remarkable progress since her difficult birth, Grace still suffers from health problems.
To the casual observer it’s clear to see how much the little girl loves cuddles and playing with her foster siblings and cousins.
When The Daily Mirror met Grace it was easy to see how affectionate and smiley she is and she was keen to show off her favourite teddy, Upsy Daisy.
Foster: Jill with Grace at home
But Grace still suffers with muscle cerebral palsy and has regular chest infections. She has problems eating, is regularly sick, and needs to be monitored through the night.
The winter months are a particular struggle for Grace, as the cold weather makes her prone to infection.
Just three weeks ago, she had a fit and was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with bronchitis.
And tiny Grace still wears clothes for children aged just 18-months and her little palms are just like a baby’s.
But Jill and Paul, who have fostered 40 children over the past 19 years , say Grace would be a gift for any family.
Carers: Jill and Paul look after Grace
“To meet Grace, you would never know she was unwell at all,” beams Jill. “She is so full of energy and is so happy. She takes everything in her stride.
"Considering doctors said she couldn’t walk, it’s unbelievable to see her like this now.
“She bops around everywhere. She is incredibly loving and playful.”
Grace seems completely unfazed by strangers as she giggles while reading her favourite farmhouse book.
Grace: A normal happy girl looking for a new family
She loves exploring and now walks unassisted thanks to help from special stability shoes called Piedro boots – but with their sparkly silver design, you would never guess they were any different than another little girl’s footwear.
Bus driver Paul laughs as he explains how Grace even climbs up onto window sills without falling over and collects his slippers from the shoe box when he comes in from work.
“She won’t ask you for anything,” he says. “You have to keep watching to make sure she has everything she needs because she doesn’t speak very well.
"She will point to things rather than tell you what she needs. She is such a lovely little girl. Very undemanding. Anyone would be lucky to adopt her.”
Grace has been up for adoption since birth but little progress has been made with prospective parents.
Her two siblings were adopted but nobody has taken Grace so far.
Jill, who has five biological children and 11 grandchildren with Paul, says: “I think there is a perception that Grace may be a demanding child because of her health problems.
“But she is so placid. She would need one stay-at-home parent like me because she requires a lot of care.
“But there is nothing wrong with her mind. She is as bright as anything. She is a very intelligent child.”
As Grace, who has just started school, nears her fourth birthday, Jill and Paul know she needs to be in a permanent family unit soon.
Talking about the setbacks Grace has faced in the adoption process, Jill says: “We would all love to have perfect children and Grace does face challenges in her future.
“But it in her own unique way, Grace is perfect.
“She is a fighter. She defied doctors – no-one expected her to be here. But she is. And it is her determination to be here that means she is alive and happy today.”
If you are interested in adopting Grace, or finding out more about adoption, call First4Adoption on 0300 222 0022.