Elaina Anevicius is a silly, strong-willed, and fiery girl, who at just 2 1/2 is teaching people a lesson in facing adversity. Born with three fingers on her left hand, the toddler has already taught her parents, Lacey and Kevin, about overcoming the unexpected and looking past her difference. However, it seems that Elaina, the middle child of the family, is actually embracing her difference in the best way possible.
In a photo posted to Facebook, Lacey explained a recent incident in Elaina’s class, in which the teacher nonchalantly mentioned that people have 10 fingers. The response that came from the little girl was inspiring.
“Today during our daughters Bible study class the teacher said ‘I have ten fingers, I bet you all have ten fingers too,’ and Elaina proudly held her 3hand up and said ‘I DON’T!'” Lacey wrote in the post. “She laughed and told everyone she had 3 fingers! It was so sweet to see her joy as she boldly showed everyone something she is not ashamed of. I hope this confidence stays with her throughout her life!”
The display of joy and lack of insecurity from their daughter is something that means the world to Lacey and Kevin, who both had initial concerns about her hand. Lacey tells Yahoo Lifestyle that although they of course immediately accepted Elaina, there were some difficulties.
“After Elaina was born, we definitely went through a ‘grieving’ process of sorts,” she says. “I was never ashamed of her, but I worried so much (and still do some days) about what others would think. It was all new to me, and I had to let go of the life we had planned, and grab hold of the one God had given us.”
One of the biggest supports throughout that process has been the Lucky Fin Project. The Facebook group that the couple was introduced to by a friend is an online community that the Aneviciuses call family. Dedicated to educating, supporting, and uniting families and individuals with limb differences, the group has allowed Elaina’s parents to learn more about her difference, while also giving them hope that she’ll have this community for herself in the future.
Elaina hadn’t previously noticed her own unique features, but Lacey points out that she just started to. Thankfully, she’s learned ways to explain the difference to her child with help from Lucky Fin.
“Elaina just started noticing her hand this year. She first asked me one night where her fingers went, and it just sort of evolved from there because her brother loves to say that God made her special by giving her a 3hand!” Lacey explains. “We have a private group called ‘3Hand families.’ Another mom calls her daughters limb difference her 3hand and it just sort of stuck!”
The nuance is one that the Anevicius family has used with Elaina since she was young, asking for “high threes” instead of a “high five,” all in an effort to normalize the way that their daughter was born. But in the case that people are curious, Lacey says she encourages questions.
“Most responses come from children because they are so curious. A lot of kids say she has a hand like Yoda, Ninja Turtles, and frogs,” her mother says. “I love to embrace questions and I love for parents to encourage conversation with their kids. This is not something we ever want to hide, and I always want Elaina to feel free to be bold with her difference.”
As Elaina nears 3, the family is already so inspired by their daughter, who exudes boldness — a word that Lacey uses a lot when describing her little girl. From her the Anevicius family, friends and the Lucky Fin Project have all gained a little light and a little more knowledge about what it means to be unapologetically unique.
“As a mom to a child with a difference, I just want everyone to look passed her difference and see her,” Lacey concludes. “Elaina has a beautiful light inside of her, and we truly believe God never makes mistakes. She is perfect, and we want everyone to see the same spunky, smart, and amazing little girl that we do. We want Elaina’s difference to give God glory and for her life to make a difference. There is so much hate in this world, let’s not let something like a limb difference define us.”
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