We wanted to highlight some of the before and after stories of our amazing families and their beautiful children. At any given time, China has over 3,000 children waiting to be adopted. These children range in age from 36 months to 13 years and all have varying degrees of medical conditions. We need families who are open to adopting these amazing children and can help them meet their full potential!
“Our journey to our daughter Abigail started long before we ever consciously made the decision to adopt. My husband, Zach and I often talked in theory about adopting a child. Then life happened and we started having babies. The next thing we knew, we had 3 boys and were happy as a family of 5. In our minds we were done having children. We had three wonderful healthy boys and were living a happy life. Then one day we felt God talking to us again. Through prayer, research, and a lot of discussions we felt that God had been talking to us, telling us that yes this is His plan for us. After many discussions with our boys and research we as a family decided to step out in faith to follow God’s leading. In February of 2016 we decided to follow this path of adopting a little girl from China. This was one of the scariest, humbling, faith building experiences that God has ever asked us to do.
Adoption had been something Zach and I had talked about, but we never seriously thought that we would be an adoptive family. We did not save thousands of dollars before starting down the adoption path. In fact, we had saved zero dollars, nada, nothing, not one penny was set aside for adoption. We also had never considered adopting a child with special needs. In fact, I distinctly remembered a conversation where my husband said we could not afford to adopt a child with special needs. I believe God got a good chuckle out of that one. Little did we know we would be stepping out in faith that HE would provide in amazing ways both financially but also that we would choose to adopt a child with such a scary diagnosis.
Right after we decided to follow God’s path of adoption, I had a dream that we adopted a little 4 year old girl from China. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew it was our daughter. We embarked on the daunting task of raising funds, completing a Medical Condition Check List, the home study, filling out paperwork, and completing the dossier. Our family is an active family. We enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and all three of our boys play lacrosse. Our prayer was that God would bring a child into our family who would be physically able and adventurous enough to join right into our family activities. We were concerned after being cautioned from our social worker that our new child may not like all the activities our family enjoyed. This of course could happen, but we also knew that God would bring us the child we were meant to parent. God doesn’t make mistakes.
The Medical Conditions Check List at first was very overwhelming. There were so many special needs we had never even heard of. The first time we completed the MCC we were very restrictive as to what we would accept as a special need. Once we submitted our MCC we continued to research some of the special needs listed that we were unfamiliar with and began talking to other adoptive families that we knew and friends in the medical field. We updated our MCC to be more open a few different times before we were matched with our sweet daughter. One of the conditions that we initially said no to was spina bifida or meningocele. Through talking with a friend who adopted a child with meningocele and who also had a close family member with meningocele we learned that there are different types of spina bifida with a wide range affects. I had worked with my friend’s daughter for years in Sunday School and had no idea she had meningocele. Meningocele cannot be cured but in some cases it can be managed well. Little did we know that in September of 2016 we would be presented a file of a little sweet little 3 1/2 year old girl who had meningocele.
Our daughters file was two years old when we received it. It was very basic without very many details at all. She had not had surgery and the file said that she did have a tethered spinal cord, however there was no MRI to definitively even diagnose the spina bifida. There was nothing else in her file to make us believe there were any other underlying issues. We asked for an update and immediately asked our pediatrician to look at her file. Our pediatrician reviewed the file along with the pictures and sent them to a colleague as well to get a specialist opinion. We only had 48 hours to decide if we could accept her file or not. Our biggest hope was that she was physically capable to participate in the activities our family enjoyed. Could she walk unassisted? Would she be able to hike? Could she ever learn to ski? Our house has stairs and stairs and more stairs. We couldn’t afford to move. Will the stairs be a problem? We didn’t have the answer to any of our questions. Neither of the doctors who reviewed her file saw any underlying issues that we weren’t aware of, but they also cautioned that her file was very basic and they didn’t have any scans to look at. We had been presented with a file a few months prior to our daughters file but we felt uneasy from the moment we received the little girls file. Saying no to a file of a child who needed a home was one of the hardest decisions we have had to ever make. In comparison, when we received Abigail’s file even though it was so basic and we had so many unanswered questions, we had a peace that surpasses all understanding. After much prayer we decided that this little girl was our daughter. We were all in love and couldn’t wait to bring our daughter / sister home.
In February of 2017 by God’s grace and provision we traveled as a family of 5 to China to become a family of 6. On February 6, 2017 a scared, quiet, shy, Mandarin speaking little almost 4 year old girl was placed in our arms. We were strangers to her and her to us. We were filled with hope, excitement, and a little trepidation as to what our new future and family was going to look like. Over the past 2 ½ year this little girl has flourished into a joy filled, extroverted, affectionate, smiling, dancing, singing, clothes matching, flower in hair, Minnie Mouse loving, craft loving, food loving, adventurous 6 year old. She has embraced our active family lifestyle with camping, skiing, hiking, a multitude of lacrosse games, biking, swimming, and road trips. Abigail has changed before our eyes in so many ways. She is not the same little girl that was placed in our arms 2 ½ years ago. We are so thankful and blessed to have her join our family. We didn’t know for many years that we were missing a piece to our family puzzle, but God knew. He knew that Abigail was our daughter. He knew the journey he would take us on to her. He knew the perfect little one that would complete our family. We have seen our boys pour love, care and kindness into their sister like we never could have imagined. Abigail, we love you to the moon and back.
Medically, Abigail is doing amazing. She has no side affects from the spina bifida. We do know that at some point she will most likely start to show symptoms and will need surgery. Currently we see two specialists every 6 months just to make sure everything is still at her base line. One thing we didn’t expect was that she did come home with some hearing issues, which has been corrected with a quick outpatient surgery. I know not everyone’s story will end like ours. Some families find unknown medical issues. For us, we took a leap of faith. We didn’t know what we were walking into when we agreed to adopt Abigail, but if we hadn’t taken that leap of faith, we wouldn’t have the joyful girl filling our lives today.”