Kayella Was Once an Orphan With Down Syndrome, Now She’s a Successful Model

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 25, 2016   |   9:34AM   |   Washington, DC

An adopted child with Down syndrome now is a familiar face for Target shoppers.

Kayella Aschoff, a 4-year-old from Minnesota, was chosen as the model for the company’s Up and Up Training pants packaging, The Mighty reports.

Her parents, Ted and Jodi Aschoff, hope that their daughter’s image and her story will make a positive impact for other children with special needs.

The couple adopted Kayella from Colombia in 2011 and her younger brother, Leo, who also has Down syndrome, from China in 2014.

When the Aschoffs began pursuing adoption, they initially did not plan to adopt children with special needs, according to the report. But when a family whose baby had Down syndrome chose them as adoptive parents, they began preparing to care for the baby. Later, the birth parents decided to parent the baby themselves; but the Aschoffs decided to change their plans, too. They began pursuing special needs adoptions and in 2011 were connected with Kayella.

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After the adoption, the family took Kayella to a Target casting call for child models. She was not chosen immediately, but a follow-up call landed her a photo shoot and a spot on the diaper packaging.

“Kayella loves being in front of the camera,” Jodi Aschoff told The Mighty in an email. “She’s quite the ham. When you take a photo though, she has to check it and then says ‘cute picture’ or she’ll tell you to take another one!”

Almost a year ago, the stores began stocking the shelves with the new packages bearing the little girl’s image.

“We wanted to show Kayella and others with differing abilities that they can do what any other child can do,” Jodi Aschoff told The Mighty. “Every child can be like other kids and have the same opportunities. We are all about inclusion and will not let our children’s disabilities define them.”