Adoption: Second Time Around and More of God’s Grace

Adoption: Second Time Around and More of God’s Grace

People often dream of plans but too often they remain just that – dreams. “I’ve dreamed of going to Paris”, or “I’ve dreamed of opening my own business one day”.   But those things never happened because more often than not life just gets in the way. We, Terrie and Bob, “dreamed” for years of adopting. Our hearts, for some reason, were drawn to Asia, more particularly China and most specifically females due to the low status of females in most Asian culture. At age 14, children in China “age out”of the system and are – for lack of better words – put out on the street to fend for themselves. Yana’s home city of Nanjing is home to 12+ million people. Tell us, what is a 14 year old orphan female going to do to survive in a city of 12 million people with no family and no contacts? God has called us (believers in Christ) to defend the fatherless and care for orphans.

We started our adoption journey in 2010- hoping to adopt from the Philippines however the program we were a part of was unable to continue- so we thought to ourselves that maybe actual adoption was not right for us, that maybe we could advocate or help others adopt- So, I, Terrie, put it out of my mind and refocused on other things. However, God had a different plan.

In November of 2011 we were at a church planning meeting for the upcoming year- Our pastor asked a1-Yanrong and Kang Kang general question to the group “What should our church be busy about”- we were all brainstorming. Bob spoke up and said “Adoption” and the pastor responded, “What do you mean, corporately or individually?” Bob responded “Individually, I think we should adopt” Bob and I had not discussed adoption in the past year- My husband is not a spontaneous person in the least- but we know it was by the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit that God led us that day into the wonderful world of adoption. At that time we had no idea how to pursue it, how to pay for it, or what it would look like or where we would even adopt from (domestic or international).

We met with our social worker in December of 2011- and told her we were open to the world, but knew we needed and wanted to adopt! She directed us to China- and I am so glad she did! Yes, we could have went a “cheaper” route- yes, we could have gotten a child that was more like us, but we knew God was leading us in this direction. So the process began and in October of 2012 we brought home our first adopted daughter Yana. God led us to the perfect daughter for us. The whole process taught us to trust God for the money; Trust God for the right child; and simply God is in CONTROL OF EVERYTHING! Yana’s adoption showed us a much more clearer picture of the gospel and our own adoptions as children of God- and what we experienced in adopting Yana was not even close to what God went through to adopt us! He paid the bill, paved the way and let her belong to us… just as we belong to Him.

On the day that we adopted Yana, we visited her orphanage and met her classmates. She had 2 very good friends that she was especially close to. I thought they were both boys due to the way they were dressed. One in particular looked at me with such longing eyes as if saying “Please take me”- I remember thinking to myself, “I wasn’t planning on a boy, but God if you want me to have this child, let our path’s cross again, I will do it!”

In May 2014, on their way to Cleveland, TN from Columbia, SC for the wedding of our son, Terrie’s dad 2-11-DSC01280and step-mom were in a horrible accident, killing Lindy. That same weekend an adoption social worker in N.Y., with whom we had no prior business or contact, reached us by email about one of Yana’s best friends from the same orphanage. She wanted to know if Ling Shan could begin a pen pal relationship with Yana because she missed her so much. We said, “sure, no problem at all”.   Little did I know that this ‘girl’ was one of Yana’s friends that I thought was a boy! She was in fact a very sweet lovely young girl. I remembered telling God, ‘let our paths cross…” and He did…

Eventually, that agency asked if we would ever consider adopting again. Over the summer of 2014 we prayed about it. In September of 2014 we said “yes” to Ling Shan. But God was not finished. In scanning photos of Yana while she was still at the orphanage, in hopes of finding any pictures of Ling Shan, we ran across another girl that we had on a short list in our minds for adoption in 2012. In the photos, she had bunny rabbit ears on. We nicknamed her “bunny ears”. God tugged at our hearts, we inquired about the possibility of adopting 2 at the same time and both former friends of Yana’s. The answer came back “yes, you can do that”. Within a week, we had decided to adopt 2 more girls from China, both former friends of Yana’s, both 9 years old.   Do the math: Yana is 9, Ling Shan (Kathryn) just turned 10 and Emily (Yan Meng) is 9 years old. We will have 3, nine year old daughters from China. Wow!

Now these are just the raw facts, but there is more to this story. It is a story of grace and God’s great provisions. You see, the adoption agency’s chances of finding Yan Rong (Yana) and her American adoptive parents were like finding a needle in a haystack. To top that off, what are the chances that a random adoption case worker from New York. would go to the same orphanage in China that Yana came from? There are tens of thousands of children in Chinese orphanages. There are 100’s of orphanages in China. The chances of one little girl, Ling Shan (Kathryn) finding her best friend half way around the world are just odds that don’t add up. We don’t believe in luck. We believe in providence – God’s gracious provision to us in so many ways.

There is a proverb in China called the “red thread” and it goes like this: when a child is born an invisible 3-YanMENg_PTred thread connects that child’s soul to all those people – present and in the future – who will play a part in that child’s life. As each birthday passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing closer those people who are fated to be together.   While “just a Chinese proverb” it holds a great deal of truth for us and our adoptions. Bob has kept a journal since Lauren’s birth in 1993. It is interesting for us to go back to that and read what was going on in our lives the days these girls were born. We never knew that “red thread” God was tying. But God did. In His foreknowledge, will and providence He destined us to be the parents of these girls and the girls to have parents that were Christian.

You see, our goal in adopting is not to receive accolades of how noble and special we are.   Sure we have a nice home, plenty of food, clothes, warmth, care, etc. etc. But the real reason we are adopting is two-fold. First, we all are adopted.   While we were yet in our sins, God provided for us a Savior – a way of becoming sons and daughters of God. Second, our goal is to introduce these girls to their heavenly Father. So we are not noble or valiant or special. We are doing what God has called us to do. Has adopting enriched our lives? Absolutely! Are we the better for it? Unquestionably.

The grace that God has shown us in so many ways is breath-taking. Unsolicited money/checks showing up in our mailbox on the exact date we needed them in the exact amount cannot be a random occurrence, it cannot be chance. To look into the face of Yana and see ourselves as adopted children ourselves has been one of the most transforming events in our lives. We will never be the same.

People often debate over what “real religion” is. James tells us: to care for widows and orphans. We are doing that, to the best of our ability and by God’s grace, one child at a time.Bob_Terrie

Bob is a professor of Christian Education at Lee University in Cleveland, TN and Terrie is a wife, mother and home educator.

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