#181 Blessings from China

Photo by Jeff Rogers 

I have had it on my heart to adopt since I was a young child. After having two biological children, my husband and I began to prayerfully explore adoption options. Our idea was to adopt a healthy baby because we felt like we couldn’t handle special needs, and didn’t think we could do foster care. We started the international adoption process but faced one closed door after another. After becoming pregnant with our third child, we just assumed the adoption idea was over.

A few years later my husband told me about studying John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” My husband said, “we don’t have to die for someone to lay down our lives. I think we should look into adoption again.” I was all in! That very day I got an email from Rainbow Kids who helps to find families for kids all over world who are hard to place. There was a little girl from China who caught my eye. When I looked deeper I realized we fit every adoption qualification for China at the time, though we didn’t those few years back. We started the process and there were lots of details that can only be explained as God’s work. Although we had said we couldn’t handle an older child or a child with special needs, we realized those were false barriers. It didn’t have to be a healthy baby. We could do anything with God’s help! Our beautiful daughter was revealed to us in September 2015, and when we saw her date of birth, we knew she was ours despite her special needs. She was born the very week my husband and I had the first conversation about moving forward with adoption again. God was in this!

When we traveled to China to adopt our daughter, we were privileged to visit the foster home she had lived in for the past 6 months. What a blessing that was! But my heart went out for the children still there. One little boy with the same special needs as our daughter specifically tugged at my heart. After we left, I begged my husband with no avail to let us go back and get him. I continued to pray for him, and he was eventually placed with a good family. But it was still in my heart that we needed to go back to China.

The following year, our adoption agency began looking for volunteers to help with a camp for harder to place children in a Chinese orphanage. The idea was to get to know the children beyond their picture and information on a paper and advocate for them. The agency asked me to go. I went and spent two days in the orphanage with these precious children. One of these was a sweet 10 year old girl with Down Syndrome. My best friend (who is a special education teacher) had seen this little girl’s picture before I left and told me to pay special attention to her because it had always been her dream to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. She was the first child I met…and I knew she was special! I knew my friend would love her but I couldn’t tell her to adopt the child. I didn’t want to force or seem pushy. When I got home I told my friend, “you would love her but I’m not telling you what to do.” Adoption is difficult and expensive. But with the support of our community, my friend went to China and brought her home! She is truly a blessing to so many. Also during that time, I had another friend who adopted another little boy from our camp. He is now my little girl’s best friend and is an amazing child!

Months after my trip, my heart was still breaking for one particular boy in our camp. He was about to become ineligible for adoption because he would “age-out” at age 14, and we were having no luck finding him a family. He was fun, smart, and super brave. He didn’t talk much, but he smiled a lot. He was a great kid—but who was going to adopt him? I read the story of Moses telling God that he wasn’t good enough to go face Pharaoh in Egypt but how God promised to be with him to help him. And I realized something. God wanted me to go back for this boy. I wasn’t equipped for this job, but God would be with me. After having major conversations with our children because we didn’t know what to expect about adopting an older boy, they simply said, “he needs a family. He will be our brother.” We raced to get him home with us before time ran out. That was in 2017, and he has now been home with us a year and a half. It is evident God is blessing us with this young man. I am unbelievably thankful God wanted me to be his mother.

When looking back over this story, I realize it is far from over. I really feel like I’m in the middle of it. God continues to teach me important lessons. I have learned that sometimes we simply limit ourselves and God helps us go beyond what we think we can do. Sometimes you just have to step out and let Him work. I have also seen God shapes us through the difficult times, and we can help other people because of our own struggles. I have also learned to be patient and trust God. God delays our requests for reasons we don’t know or understand until later. Most of all, I’m thankful for my children and that God protected them while they were in China and protected us in all of our travels. The children bring us much joy! They have a hope and a future and they are loved.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#12. Rest In God’s Promise

Photo by Shining Light Photography

 I knew the stereotype for college about dating/hook-ups, etc., so before I started college I prayed that God would protect me from that. I prayed that the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me open my heart to anyone unless it was my husband. Sometimes I would meet guys in class or at work and see qualities that I was looking for and would ask Jesus, “If this is not the one, take him away.”

And God was faithful. Boys dropped out of class, quit jobs, or in some other way God removed them from my life. I didn’t go on any dates in college; guys would ask and I would say no because the Lord was protecting me for so much more. My friends were all going out and it was hard to explain why I wasn’t. I would get made fun of; people wouldn’t understand. But God would always remind me, “It’s not theirs to understand.”

In April of my sophomore year, I sat in Starbucks and wrote a list of 20 things I wanted my husband to be, and I prayed over each one of these 20 things every day for a year. While making that list, I replaced the shallow “attractive, over 6’ 2”, great teeth” to the Holy Spirit-led “loves God more than he loves me” and prayed, “Father, allow me to marry a man with rich spiritual heritage.”

After praying over that list for a full year, I felt the Lord say, “Quit worrying over something I have already taken care of.” So, with reluctant obedience, I stopped praying over the list daily, and one month later, I met the man I am now engaged to marry. He and I were both planning to go on the same mission trip and his brother and my sister were also going on the trip. His sister set up a “coffee date” before our trip to Haiti so that we could meet and “get to know each other” before leaving. But I only saw him as a friend during the “coffee date” and this was the way I felt throughout the mission trip—he was just a friend. I was so used to protecting my heart that I wouldn’t even pretend to let anyone in.

When we got back, he asked me on a date. I prayed about it and Jesus said, “YES!” This was my first YES from God about a man, and I knew this meant he was going to be my husband. I knew that I needed to tell him the journey that the Holy Spirit had taken me on and that I was dating with intention, not just because I was bored. Although I was nervous about telling him that, he said he had known he was going to marry me since the “coffee date!”

After dating 10 months, we got engaged. Sometime later I found the list of the 20 things I wanted my husband to be and read through each item again. My fiancé far exceeded everything on the list—even the physical characteristics I failed to mention on that list. I put my full trust in God and continually asked for His guidance, and God did not disappoint me—He exceeded my expectations.

God is a faithful and good Father and He delights to give His children the desires of their hearts. So if you are still waiting on your “one,” don’t settle because you are getting restless, but REST in the promise that God has already written your story. He will bring the exact one He has chosen for you at the right time—because waiting for my One was worth more than anything in the world.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.