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Double amputee born to 11-year-old mother finds comfort in LDS faith

Shanthi Kimball has inspired others since infancy.

At two months old, Kimball was found beside train tracks near Calcutta, India. Her arms had been severed in what looked like a murder-suicide committed by her 11-year-old mother, whose remains were found near Kimball.

When none of Kimball’s relatives were identified, she was taken to an orphanage.

“The orphanage released a pamphlet with pictures of us kids that needed to be adopted,” Kimball said. “My (adoptive) mom showed it to my (adoptive) dad and he said ‘No, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It would be really hard to adopt a child with disabilities.’”

Later on, Kimball’s adoptive father was reading in the Bible, and he felt inspired by a verse in the book of Matthew.

“He read, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ ” (see Matthew 25:40), Kimball said. “He said he felt very strongly that I was to be their child.”

Kimball was brought to the United States at 13 months old, where she joined three other adopted siblings; a sister from Korea and two brothers from Colombia.

“I always felt part of the family,” Kimball said.

Growing up without arms led Kimball to learn how to do everything with her feet.

She writes, drives, cooks and uses computers.

“It actually hasn’t been that hard because it’s normal for me,” Kimball said.

Kimball said there was a time in her life where her dad wanted her to get prosthetic arms, but she didn’t want to.

“My parents have been very supportive,” Kimball said.

Although she doesn’t consider it to be a trial, she said she does find it comforting that she’ll have her hands one day.

“Through the Atonement, I feel peace and comfort when I get frustrated trying to do things. I feel very strongly of my Heavenly Father’s awareness and love for me as his daughter,” said Kimball, who is now 29.

Kimball, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Cimarron Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Redrock Stake, is a wife and a mother of two boys.

Megan Marsden Christensen is an intern with the Deseret News writing for the Faith & Family section. She recently graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor's degree in communication.