By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney

LITTLE Sophi Green loves to dance – despite being born with no arms

Scroll down for the full story

Videographer / director: Matt Duhamel
Producer: Tom Midlane, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Sonia Estal

Sophi enjoys making up dances while her brother plays the piano

The seven-year-old has adapted to carry out a dizzying array of activities with her feet, including eating with a knife and fork or chopsticks, writing and even riding a bike.

Adopted from China when she was just two-years-old, Sophi lives with adoptive parents Christianne and Jeremy in Herriman, Utah, USA.

Sophi lives with her parents and 10 siblings in Herriman, Utah

And the couple were quick to realise just how much she was able to do without arms.

Christianne said: “I remember when we had just adopted her and we got Sophi her first ice cream cone.

"I was ready to feed it to her and I held it out and she just snatched it up with her little foot and started eating it all by herself.

"We were just completely amazed and knew from that point that she could just do anything.”

Miss popular: Everyone wants to sit next to Sophi in class

The couple were in the process of adopting Sophi’s older sister Lexie, now 11, when they first saw Sophi.

Adopting two children from China simultaneously wasn’t generally allowed at the time - but because both daughters had disabilities the Green’s request was granted.

Christianne said: “Sophi had these beautiful big eyes and we actually noticed these before even thinking about the fact she didn’t have arms.

"We just knew that she needed a family.”

Sophi was adopted from China
Eating ice cream cones is easy for Sophi

As a result, Lexie, who is blind, and Sophi have a special bond:

“They are so cute together,” mum Christianne says. “Lexie acts as the arms and Sophi acts as the eyes.”

Sophi said: “Lexie is like my best, best friend because we got adopted on the same day and I think that’s really cool. I feel really happy because I now have brothers and sisters.”

Christianne and Jeremy, who have adopted seven children with disabilities, are passionate about the benefits of adoption.

A special customised bike helps Sophi get around

Jeremy said: “These are children that have a bleak future growing up in an orphanage with special needs particularly and in a place that might not be as accommodating to special needs as the United States is.

"So they have an obvious need but what we’ve found, as we have gone through the process multiple times, is just how amazingly they bless our family when they come here.”

The family made adjustments to accommodate Sophi’s disability, changing all the door knobs in their home to handles so that Sophi can open the doors with her chin and buying a special customised bike.

However, the youngster is able to use her feet for a huge amount of daily tasks such as washing, brushing her teeth and writing.

Jeremy said: “Sophi is really quite amazing at how well she has adapted. People will often ask ‘how did you teach her to do this or that with her feet?’ The answer is we didn’t teach her.

Parents Christianne and Jeremy Green fell in love with Sophi's beautiful eyes

"She has learned to adapt in so many ways. She writes very well with her toes. She draws and colours. She brushes her teeth, she can wash and brush her hair.”

Dancing is one of Sophi’s passions and the seven year old used to go to ballet lessons. However she stopped going because she found it upsetting when the rest of the class had arm choreography and she couldn’t join in.

But now Sophi has one-on-one dance lessons with an instructor – and is equally happy making up her own routines.

Sophi said: “I like dancing because it makes me feel happy. When my brother Connor plays the piano I like to make up dances.”

What makes Sophi’s desire – and ability - to dance even more remarkable is that when she was little, she wasn’t even able to walk and her parents wondered if their courageous daughter would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Sophi is missing the Fibula bone in her right leg. As a result this leg is weaker and shorter than the left leg. For a while she used a wheelchair controlled with her chin but she was determined to walk.

From a young age Sophi has used her feet like hands
'Sophi is really quite amazing at how she's adapted,' says dad Jeremy Green

Even though Sophi now can, her condition still affects her balance - and without arms to protect her from falls, the risk of hurting herself is high.

“The hardest thing for me to do is to keep my balance. I get hurt and cry sometimes when I fall and it’s really hard,” said Sophi.

As well as the cuts and bruises, Sophi, through the support of her friends and family, has learnt how to handle upsetting comments and awkward looks too.

Christianne said: “We’ve taught her to give fun and creative answers if she’s in an uncomfortable situation.

When asked why she doesn't have arms, Sophi will sometimes joke she's buried them

"One things she gets asked a lot is ‘ why don’t you have arms?’ and sometimes she’ll say ‘a bear ate them' or ‘a shark ate them’ and they’ll laugh and it diffuses the situation a bit.”

When Sophi started school, her classmates asked why she didn’t have any arms and she came home crying and afraid to go back into class.

Her mum went in to explain her daughter’s disability, showing a video of all the things her clever daughter could do. Sophi is now the class favourite, with all the kids wanting to sit next to her and take the elevator with her when she can’t take the stairs.

A doll without arms comforts Sophi on her down days
Using her feet, Sophi writes and draws as well as her able-bodied classmates

There are still times when Sophi gets upset, either because the looks and stares get too much, or out of frustration.

Christianne said: “When people make hurtful comments or stare a lot she typically shuts down and there have been a few tears where she has to cuddle up and she’s said ‘I just want to be able to do things the same way as other children’ but as time has gone by she’s gotten more confident and doesn’t let it bother her as much.

Sophi vows her disability won't hold her back and encourages others to adopt the same positive attitude

“She is such a joy, she has so much spunk and spirit. She is so sweet and caring and kind. She’s honestly just a perfect little angel. I don’t think not having arms will hold her back from doing anything.”

Sophi hopes her story will encourage others to consider adopting children from overseas. And her determination to overcome her disability is an inspiration to both those with and without disabilities of their own.

Sophi said: “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing something you really love.''