Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Adoption Story

November is National Adoption month. My family has been blessed by the miracle of adoption. My sister, Julie, and her husband, Ryan, have 2 children who were adopted from China. I asked Julie to guest post her adoption story on my blog today.  I will be collaborating with Julie to review some picture books about the topic of adoption later this week. Julie will be guest posting later this month and sharing an awesome writing project that families with adopted children can do, called life books. Here is my sister's story:

We began married life like many young couples with hopes, dreams, and ideas of what our marriage and family life would bring. We always planned to have children but we were young and Ryan was finishing up school, so we thought we would wait for a few years. Julie was teaching music and enjoying it, but after two years, we decided I would resign and we would start a family. We waited and prayed and went to the doctor and began to realize that for us biological children might not be a reality. I think in our moments of desperation, God began to finally get our attention. Of course, people asked a lot of questions as the years went by and we remained childless. At this point, I was thinking a lot about adoption and pretty open to it. I wasn’t sure how Ryan felt but kind-of knew he had some reservations. One day I came home and Ryan was sitting on the couch listening to the song “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns. As we talked, I knew then that the anguish of infertility was affecting him just as much as it was affecting me. It was not long after that Ryan really surprised me. He told me he had signed us up for an adoption seminar. He had heard about it on the radio and called to sign us up. It really helped me to know going into the seminar that he was with me in this. We attended the America World seminar and both left knowing that adoption from China was the answer for us. We just both felt instantly that our child was in China.
The process of adoption- the paperwork and the process of becoming parents was not easy. Of course, going through infertility was not easy either. But those are things I would not change about our lives together. It taught us above anything that we really are not in control of our lives. And it also taught us not to fear because God is in control of our lives and His ways are always right. We learned to depend on each other and grow closer to each other because we were both growing closer to God through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Waiting for a child for so many years is difficult. We waited eight years not knowing if we would ever be parents. Then in our eighth year of marriage, we were able to fill out our application for America World Adoption Agency and begin the wait for a child. In January 2007, we submitted our paperwork to China requesting a healthy baby girl.
Now we were in the waiting phase and didn’t know how long it might be until we held our child. The wait time for healthy baby girls had greatly increased. We knew that special needs adoption was another option but it was very fearful for us to think of that. We had never been parents and weren’t sure we could handle anything ‘extra’. Our desire was to trust God for His plan for our family, but there were days we would really struggle with the wait. One morning, I was upstairs praying and reading my Bible. I was admitting to God how much of a struggle it was to wait and not know if or when we might become parents. I prayed that I could hear encouraging news that day. After I was finished with my prayer time, I went to the computer and looked up the waiting child page on our adoption agencies website. I ended my prayer time this way many days- praying for these waiting children. As I scrolled down the page, my eyes lit upon a little boy named Nicholas.
He had a big smile and there was something in his eyes. My heart began to beat very fast and my hands were shaking. I became super-emotional. I thought ‘This is my son’. He was two and a half years old and had a deformity of his hands and feet. I could not get him off of my mind all day long. It still amazes me as I write this that God spoke to me in that way and showed me His plan for our life. That evening, I sat down by Ryan and said ‘I need to talk to you about something’. I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect him to say what he did. He wanted to call the agency that night- but of course, they were closed. We sent an e-mail and went to bed. The next day, our family coordinator called us and said that his file was already under review. I couldn’t imagine that the family wouldn’t go forward with it, so I decided I must have been wrong. But for the next two days, we could not think of anything else. Two days later, America World called and said his file was available. We reviewed his file and decided to pursue his adoption.

Three months later and two days after my birthday, we got on the plane and headed to China. We arrived in our province on a Monday and thought we would be taken later that day to meet our children. We were told we would have to wait until the next day. That was very disappointing, but it did help us to have one more day to prepare. The next morning, we went to the Civil Affairs Office in Henan. We waited for a long time but we were getting a little better at that. Finally, they brought our adorable little three year old boy into the room. He was scared and shy and wouldn’t have much to do with us. He was okay with us sitting on the floor and talking to him. He liked the bubbles we had brought, but when the nannies tried to place him into our laps, he would begin to cry. When the nannies left the room, he began to scream. For us, it was love at first sight, but it was much scarier for Nicholas to understand what was going on. The nannies stayed with us for part of that day and then finally left at the hotel. We went to our room holding a screaming child who cried and cried for about two hours. He finally fell asleep. When he woke up, he ate some snacks and seemed to think we were okay. We went back to the civil affairs office that afternoon, and Nicholas clung to me the entire time. He sat in my lap holding onto my neck while I sang Jesus Loves Me in Chinese. For the rest of the trip, he laughed and smiled at us and started repeating everything we said. He would call our parents and say ‘I love you Grandma and Grandpa’.

We came home and began a completely new life as first-time parents. Nicholas loved his new house, his yard, his dog, and he loved his grandparents. After a while, he got used to going to church and seeing lots of people and not being so scared anymore. It was hard but it was also the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to us. Once again, we learned to depend on each other and depend on God. So many nights, when Nick wouldn’t go to sleep and we would have to lay by his bed, I would thank God for this child he had given us and pray for him.

Overall, life with Nick was wonderful and after six months we decided we should do this again. So we began the process all over and went through a very different experience and ended up with another wonderful son. Nicholas went with us to China to bring home his little brother Alex in June 2009. Nick had been our son for almost two years. He was so excited to travel to China and to meet Alex. It took a little while, but once we got home and settled into a routine, the boys began to really enjoy being brothers.

Nick is a great big brother. He is very patient with Alex and enjoys teaching him new things. He will read books to him and explain all the pictures to him. Nick loves to sing and learned to sing Dvorak’s New World Symphony pretty soon after we came home. He would sing it all day long! His paperwork said he had a ready smile and that is so true. He loves to smile and joke around. He is sensitive and very kind to others. Nick really is the perfect fit for our family. We are amazed at the things that he does that remind us of ourselves. Nick has been extremely interested in spiritual matters since he learned to speak English. He loves to have us read the Bible to him and asks some difficult questions. He began talking about becoming a Christian when he was still four years old but didn’t understand everything. On January 12, he brought it up and said he was ready to ask Jesus to come into his life. He prayed and accepted Christ and has begun telling me he wants to be a captain of a ship and a missionary when he grows up. He has already begun telling Alex that he needs to accept Jesus. Of course, Alex doesn’t understand yet.

Alex is another incredible blessing from God and also the perfect fit for our family. He is very different from Nick. He is kind-of a tough little guy. Of course, he did live in an orphanage until he was 4 and a half years old. But everyone who meets Alex loves to be around him. He is always smiling. He also loves to sing and does so very loudly. He loves to color and draw and can’t wait to go to school next year just like his big brother Nick.
There are days I am overwhelmed at the blessing adoption has been in our lives and think that everyone should do this! But I realize it has to be a calling. So many people choose adoption for different reasons. For us, it was a way to have a family. We could have kept suffering with infertility, but we chose to trust God and jump into whatever plan He had for our lives. It was scary but so worth it. I hope no one would miss out on this blessing because they worried about the financial aspect or any other thing that might hold someone back. We say take a leap of faith and go for it! God will provide.
To read more about our journey to Nick and Alex, go to and to see a current blog of our life, go to


  1. What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing it! Your boys are adorable! My family has been blessed by adoption as well. My husband's youngest sister is adopted and a totally blessing to us. Sammy love his Aunt more than air and I love seeing their special bond since they are only 9 years apart.

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