Stories: 2017

“Here’s where the story gets crazy,” by Julie Davis

From an early age, I had a heart for adoption and orphan care. We brought Corinne home from China in 2013, and made that desire a reality. Through Corinne’s adoption, our eyes were opened immensely to the needs of orphans of all ages around the globe. Our heart for adoption grew even stronger. Six months after bringing Corinne home, our 7 year old son Carter was diagnosed with leukemia. Our lives felt shattered for a time with this news. Carter went through 3.5 years of chemotherapy, which included hair loss, mouth sores, hospitalizations, blood transfusions, more than two dozen spinal taps, and countless ER trips. Our lives were forever changed with this experience. Today Carter is a healthy 12 year old. Our faith, and especially Carter’s faith grew tremendously through this journey. When Carter finished treatment, we felt another tug on our hearts that we were being called to adopt again. If you ask us how we got from that tug on our hearts to our journey to Colombia, I’m not sure we even know that answer. God worked out the details and we quickly fell in love with three biological siblings who were waiting for a family in Colombia. In July of 2017, we brought home Camila (11), Cate (9), and Cason (5). These kiddos are absolutely incredible, and have bonded so quickly with our family. My heart is blessed by them every single day.

The Davis Family

Here’s where the story gets crazy… A few months ago as I scrolled through Facebook, I saw a listing for a little girl in Colombia that was waiting for a family. Each time I see the face of an orphan, my heart aches, but this time there was more to the ache. This little girl had been diagnosed with leukemia, the same cancer that Carter had. Not only had she gone through treatment once, but after going through over two years of treatment the first time, she relapsed. Today, she is 9 years old. She has now finished her second time of chemotherapy and is currently in remission. Though she appears to be doing well, her labs indicate that she continues to have some problems, and her blood cell counts are not recovering as they should. This little gal needs to be seen by oncologists in the United States, and needs a family to walk this journey, whatever it may entail, with her.

 

Though we had no intention to adopt again so quickly, and it doesn’t necessarily make worldly sense for our family to do this, we have prayed and prayed. We sought guidance from friends, family, our adoption agency, our oncology team, and our children. Through some amazing details along the way, we felt peace to start the journey, and we have decided that she belongs in our family. No child deserves to go through chemotherapy and hospitalizations without a family by her side. My heart breaks as I picture what Carter has gone through, and then imagine her doing it without a family at her side. Due to her current medical status, we, along with our agency, are attempting to have this process expedited. We don’t know what her future holds, but we want her to experience whatever that may be in a loving family that will stay by her side forever.

Congratulations to the Davis family on receiving a ONE17 Foundation grant.  To read more about their journey or to donate to their adoption please visit their Caring Bridge site, Julie ‘s Facebook or the Carter’s Crew  page.  

 


Congratulations Lindsey and Ross Games! “We had to make an extremely difficult decision to continue pursuing our adoption from the states, separating us from our daughter.” by Lindsey Games

My husband and I decided that adoption was plan A for our family. We’ve both wanted to adopt since childhood. Ross has family who have and are adopted, and he grew up understanding the redemption that adoption can bring. I remember learning about orphans as a little girl, and God has never let it leave my heart.

We met in Uganda in 2012 on a mission trip, serving a home for children with special needs.  Our hearts broke as we met these “unseen” children longing for them all to be in a family of their own. During this trip, a little girl named Gift captured both of our hearts in separate moments. Before we were ever a couple, God whispered to Ross and I both that this girl would be our daughter. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the moment our family met for the very first time. Throughout our marriage, we prayed for an opportunity to adopt Gift.

Fast forward a few years, Ross and I found ourselves serving as directors of this same children’s home in Uganda. Without hesitation, we knew God was also answering our heart’s deepest prayer. We began the fostering process of Gift with the hopes to adopt. However, a few months into fostering, God abruptly shut the door on our time in Uganda. Earlier this year we had to make an extremely difficult decision to continue pursuing our adoption from the states, separating us from our daughter. It has been so challenging, but we have seen God’s hand abundantly over our situation. We sold everything we owned prior to moving to Uganda, but thanks to God’s great provision we are settling back in the states and just waiting for our family to be whole again. Currently, we have submitted our Dossier, and we are waiting to hear from our Ugandan lawyer and agency when we are to travel for court.

You can read more about the Games and follow along on their journey on Lindsey’s Facebook page, their instagram account (or follow #thegamesadopt)  You can also help fund their adoption of Gift further by visiting and donating at www.youcaring.com/thegamesadopt

 


Congratulations Kelley Family, Our May Grant Recipients. Our Family Was Complete.  Until it Wasn’t.  By Stacy Kelley

We are in process of our third adoption. Just saying that seems surreal. We have been married 11 years and have 5 children at home. Zoey (7), Noah (7), Eli (5), Selah (4), and Emma (3). Zoey was adopted from China and Selah was adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They came home in March 2016. In fact, they came home on the same day, within 1 1/2 hours of each other!
We began Selah’s adoption in 2012. In 2013, Congo passed an adoption ban and children were not allowed to legally leave the country. Selah was legally adopted and even had a United States visa but we were not allowed to bring her home. It was agonizing. During the time of waiting and uncertainty, God softened our hearts to special needs and the children waiting for families. No doubt as painful as our wait was for our daughter, a child waiting for a family is worse!

In 2015, we began the process to adopt a 3 year old girl with Down syndrome from China. We decided to name her Haven Joy. All the while, we were renewing Selah’s visa and praying she would be allowed to come home. When we were four months away from travel to bring Haven home, we received the the news that she passed away during the night due to a tragic accident at her foster home. Needless to say, we were devastated. She is our daughter in Heaven and we miss her every day.

Still feeling confident in God’s call to adopt, we decided to proceed forward with a 6 year old girl with Down syndrome. We named her Zoey Hope. She renewed hope within our hearts! God performed a miracle when both Selah and Zoey were released to come home at the same time. Daniel went to Congo and Stacy traveled to China and arrived home in Nashville on March 10th, within 1 1/2 hours of each other. It was a miraculous event that strengthens our faith still yet. (Editor: to see the Kelley’s home video of this amazing story, click here)

Our family was complete. We were so happy to be all united under one roof. Our family was complete until it wasn’t. Something about seeing the waiting children changes your heart. It’s hard to forget and impossible to ignore. We began feeling the call to adopt again. After much prayer God led us to the little girl that was to be our daughter. She is 21 months old and has Down syndrome and a heart condition. She is perfect. We are naming her Mae (pearl) Johannah (God is gracious).

Just over a month ago all the children in Mae’s province were abruptly moved from their loving foster homes back to the orphanage. She was not doing well at this orphanage and our hearts hurt for the trauma she is enduring. Now more than ever, we are resolute to get to her as quickly as possible. We have faith God is watching over Mae and loves her more than we do. We are praying for a quick process so that we may bring her home as quickly as possible. We are thankful for this call in our lives and to be adding to our family. We are thankful for God who first loved us.

 


Congratulations Roush family — our February grant recipients

Tanna and Timothy Roush have  3 biological children (Carson – 14, Parker – 12 & Emerson – 6). In 2009, Tanna prayed a prayer that would radically change their family’s path forever…”Break my heart for what breaks yours” and “rise in me a holy passion”. With open hands, they told God that they would not refuse to do something. They wanted to be His vessel of change in the life of an orphan in China. They adopted their sons Hayes (now 5) and Baylor (now 4) from China in December 2013, after a quick 12 month process. The learning curve was incredibly steep…going from 3 to 5 kids overnight and having 3 toddlers in the home is not for the faint of heart.

In June 2016, they returned to China to adopt Finley (2). She has a visual special need -deformity of the hands and feet due to a genetic condition – and a dynamic personality. Finley easily fits into their family like the piece they never knew the puzzle was missing. They spent her first 6 months home basking in the glow of their new “complete” family. THEN…in December 2016, while browsing their agency’s waiting child website, Tanna saw the face of their precious Piper (who is 3 months younger than Finley). The face of a child she  instantly knew was theirs…all the while wrestling with the fact that they believed they were “done” adopting. To make a long story short, Timothy and Tanna came to the conclusion that saying no was so much riskier than saying yes. Piper has Down syndrome, a need that would very likely leave her institutionalized in an orphanage for the remainder of her life. So they put their yes on the table. They told God (with shaking hands and mustard seed faith) that they were willing and that we were leaving the details in His hands.

They now eagerly wait to bring their new daughter home this summer.

 


The Rowland family: “God will provide all we need to be for this child.”  BY SHELLI ROWLAND

From the very start of our relationship, we have been passionate about adoption. As early as I can remember, I’ve had a heart for orphans and have wanted to adopt. So, when I first met my husband, Collin and he was open to the idea of adopting, I was “in” to see what God was doing in our relationship. It was just one year later we were married and pursuing life together and following Jesus.

As things unfolded we decided to pursue birth children first. God blessed us with two lovely daughters full of spunk and personality. Our oldest Amelie is now 6 years old, in first grade and is growing faster than ever. Our youngest daughter Gianna is 4 1/2 years old, in preschool and eager to be a big sister. Having two daughters, we soon agreed that adopting a little boy 2 years or younger, with some special needs would be the best fit for our family. We believe we have a lot of love to give and that God will provide all that we need to be for this child.

We had known from the beginning that we were interested in international adoption, but where to start was the question. After a few attempts, it was as if God was coaching us along and leading us to China through a website that had caught my eye, Chinese Children Adoption International. I was drawn to the founder’s story and the agency’s openness about their mission, vision and all that was involved. Our dossier is complete and in China! Now we wait! We hope to bring our son home spring or summer 2017.

This has definitely taken much longer than anticipated, but God has been making it very clear that He has our son, and He will provide for him. Throughout this process the fun part has been as we educate our children and friends about what adoption looks like, our children are now sharing the process with their friends and teachers. Just as God birthed this vision in us, we hope to see that multiply in our community. You can follow along on the Rowland’s journey on  FACEBOOK  |  PURE CHARITY  & GO FUND ME

 


The Wise Family
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Our family served as missionaries in Asia for 7 years, one in India, 5 in China and one in Thailand. We just moved back to the US last year, so my husband could work with refugees. Our hearts have always been set on adopting again we were just unsure of timing.

Last Christmas we hosted two older Chinese orphans with the purpose of advocating for them as we did not think our income would enable us to qualify for adopting. After the boys returned to China we fasted and prayed and during that time we felt led to simply request a financial waiver from China for the more difficult of the two boys. Within 48 hours China had approved our request to adopt Jia Wang, who we would name Levi meaning “joined in harmony”. Since that time, it has been an incredible journey of faith. We did not have a penny to put into this adoption. God has brought around $21,000 in so far through fundraisers and gifts.

We are expecting to travel to China to get Levi, now 11 years old, in February. We are praying God will continue to see us through and humbly asking that you would be a part of this unfolding miracle.

 


The Yarbrough Family
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I have always wanted to adopt, and my husband and I talked about it a little over the years.  In February 2013, my husband felt led by God to begin the adoption process while listening to a missionary speak at our church.  At the time we had two biological children, ages 7 and 4.  After some search and prayer we began the process of an  Ethiopian adoption.

We completed our paperwork and began a wait of possibly 2 years.  A few weeks after sending our dossier, we found out we were expecting our third biological child – surprise blessing!  We continued our wait, prayerfully.  We had applied for a daughter, because my husband felt that specifically.  We waited and prayed as a family, feeling like we already knew her somehow.  Ethiopia has been pulling back from international adoption and proposing new laws.  In January 2016, we felt God pressing on our hearts to change to the China Waiting Child Program with our same agency.  We switched and quickly completed a new dossier for China.

On August 9, 2016, we were officially logged-in with China.  On September 9, 2016, our agency called us with a referral!!  Amazing moment!  I cried and cried as I listened to details about a sweet little 2 year old girl.  I quickly discovered that I had already seen her picture posted by our agency, and I had saved her picture  in my phone  when I first saw her just moments after we mailed our dossier a month prior.  My heart stopped when I saw her pic and I saved it in my phone.  Then that same sweet smile was emailed to me a few weeks later as a referral.  After reading her information, I quickly realized that we had been praying for this sweet girl her entire life.  According to her birth date –  November 2013, she was conceived the month that we chose to adopt, Feb. 2013.   From the very tiniest beginning of her life, God had placed her in our hearts.  She has been a part of our lives her entire life.

Our other children have loved her and prayed for her along with us.  We have saved gifts and pictures for her during this entire wait.  We are finalizing paperwork and expecting to travel to China  in November or December.  We can’t get there fast enough!   Update: Today is the Yarbrough’s daughter’s birthday, and tomorrow they will meet her for the first time. Please join us in praying for them. You can follow their story on their blog.