Our family adopted our first daughter in June of 2015 from China. My husband, Jeremy, and I (Angela) knew from the beginning of our marriage that we felt called to adopt. However, the Lord led us on many journeys before adoption. We fostered, gave birth to our three biological sons, and then we began the international adoption process in 2010, almost eleven years into our marriage.
Our hearts were set on China from the beginning, but due to a cancer history, doors closed for us to choose China, so we prayed and felt drawn to Africa. Through that process, we began networking, researching and began an adoption and orphan care ministry at our local church. Jeremy travelled to Africa, we developed lifelong friends there. We completed our paperwork and got on a wait list, open to bringing home two girls.
After waiting four years and no adopted children yet home, we began asking some questions and our hearts wrestled. What was God’s plan for us? Our adoption agency laid out the choices if we changed direction. And, China was again on the table if we were open to a child with special needs. We prayed more and through a series of events throughout our lives, we both desired to adopt a child specifically with the need of Down Syndrome.
Two weeks later, I read a blog of a friend of a friend on Facebook. “A Family for Lee Lee” was the title….first my heart and then Jeremy’s as well, was captured and captivated by this child and her story. We asked questions, prayed, cried, wondered, dreamed…could she be our daughter? Within a few weeks time and after witnessing several miracles, it was evident that she was indeed our daughter we had longed and prayed for all those years.
|Lee Lee pictured with team leader Lori McMurphy in 2014|
A Visiting Orphans team had visited Lee Lee’s orphanage in the summer of 2014. It had been several years since a team had visited that orphanage. Relationships were made, children were loved, nannies were encouraged. The team asked about Lee Lee, could she be adopted and the orphanage staff said she did not have paperwork ready for adoption but, “if you will find her a family, we will make her a file.” And, so they found her a family through advocating for her, sharing her story, and praying diligently.
Our family has been blessed beyond measure by the obedience of that team to Go Be Love in China. Lee Lee may not yet have a family if it were not for these ordinary people that took on an extraordinary challenge to Go Be Love in another land. On our adoption trip in the summer of 2015, we enjoyed our time in China, but my heart broke as we boarded the plane to return to the USA. I was ready to sleep in my own bed, eat American food, enjoy the comforts of home, but part of my heart was being left in China. What about the other children in the orphanage, the nannies and other staff? I knew then I not only wanted to go back…Some day, I had to go back.
In the fall of 2015, a friend shared with me that Visiting Orphans was giving away a free mission trip! I was excited to see this opportunity and decided to enter the contest, only by the easier ways, sharing on Facebook, giving a donation,etc. But the trip deposit payment had the most entries and the deadline was coming soon. I felt drawn to commit, to say I would go even if I didn’t win. I talked to my husband and he was in agreement, as I had wanted to go on a mission trip for a long time anyway. But, then the fears crept in, doubts reared up, procrastination set in. I waited till the last night of the giveaway and after the house was quiet, I sat down to talk to God one more time about this trip giveaway. The what if’s came out: what if it was hard for my family to leave them for two weeks, what if we don’t have the rest of the money right now, what if it’s not going to be easy….I rationalized, debated, fretted, and finally, I felt I would have no peace until I said yes and hit send on that computer screen. With three minutes to spare, I hit the button to confirm my entry and the trip deposit was paid.
A few days later, the drawing happened. I remember thinking about it that day, wondering, hoping. And that night, I got one of the best phone calls ever: I won the trip giveaway! And, the entry that was drawn in the drawing was from the trip deposit payment! I had almost missed this opportunity by three more minutes.
Because of this mission trip giveaway, I was able to join one of the Visiting Orphans China teams in July 2016 to return to the same orphanage our daughter was adopted from just a year before. To go back there to those that knew and cared for our sweet “Lee Lee,” who was now known as Lia, was one of the biggest blessings and amazing gifts I’ve ever received. “Going" got me out of my comfort zone, opening my eyes and ears to see and hear what God wanted for me. “Being” gave me a front row seat to the needs of others and what God is doing globally, to be present with the orphan and those that care for them. And “loving” helped me to get a clearer picture of what it means to be Jesus with skin on, the reality that we are the only Jesus some will ever see. This trip was life-changing for me.
|Angela with the 2016 China team on the trip she won!|
While I was away in China this summer on this 2 week trip, God revealed to my husband in my absence that our family has been called to adopt again from China. I had felt this same call for some time, but we both needed to be on the same page and unified in this decision.
So, my last minute surrender to hit “send” on that trip deposit for the contest???? It has even further reaching implications than I’d ever imagined.
We hope to have our new son home in the Spring of 2017. We still won’t have all the answers and fears and doubts are sure to creep up again, but we have determined to remember, that He who called us is faithful, and He will do it. (1 Thes. 5:24)
We're giving away another mission trip this year too! Find out how you can win at:http://bit.ly/7thAnnualMissionTripGiveaway