Stories: 2019

Her smile is infectious! by Lisa Fitzgerald

We didn’t PLAN to have a big family! But in early 2019, busy with four incredible children, we began to consider adopting from China, again! Yes, we have four children and yes, we have adopted from China before.

Mike and I just recently celebrated our 18th anniversary. And after a lovely dinner out together, we found ourselves shopping for a carseat for our newest little, coming home soon. We couldn’t help but find humor in this! Who knew we would be planning for our FIFTH child 18 years later!? But here we are! We have walked down many paths in our years together, both incredibly challenging mountains and outstandingly beautiful terrains. But we are certain that we are on the exact path God has intended for us, even if is isn’t anything we would have ever thought!

Several months ago, in spring of 2019, we saw the face of our daughter on an advocacy website. Again, at this time, we weren’t planning another adoption! We almost chuckled at what the two of us were considering. But, adoption is in our hearts and this precious girl needed a home. And, we have love to give! So we said YES and now we are just DAYS away from meeting our daughter.

Our four children are so very excited to meet their new sister. Her name is Carlotta GuanHan and she is 4 years old. She currently lives in Shanxi Province, China. Our oldest daughter, Anastasia, is 15. She has a passion about China and adoption that we could have never expected. Our daughter Danika, age 10, will be sharing a room with Carlotta and had so much fun decorating their new room.
Our two boys, Callum (age 6) and August (age 3 and adopted in 2017 from Yunnan Province, China) look at Carlotta’s picture daily and ask often how long before she is home with us.

Carlotta is not yet walking due to a condition known as Arthrogryposis. She was born with clubbed feet. Fortunately she received care for about 2 years from a medical program in China. This program was able to cast her feet, though quite late at 18 months. She made many gains while in this program. As of May 2019, she is no longer receiving any medical or therapeutic care. She will need extensive orthopedic care and we are fortunate to have several top notch facilities in our state. As we do with all of our children, we will work hard to give her every opportunity possible to help her thrive to her fullest potential.

We are eager and excited to meet Carlotta and to watch her blossom! Her smile is infectious and we await the day we can see her smile at us. We are currently awaiting immigration approval and travel approval and are on target to travel in early February 2020!

** You can follow along with the Fitzgerald’s adoption jounrey on their blog Fill Your Heart

“If you say YES to him, we will make it work!” by Megan Negrete

We have always felt called to adoption.

In 2016 we were matched with our precious daughter from Uganda. Her adoption was extremely difficult, Megan was stuck with her in Uganda for six months as we fought bureaucracy and red tape to get through the court system. While it was extremely hard, we learned so much about God’s sovereignty, and his steadfast love even in our doubt. In 2017 we welcomed our sweet biological son. He was born with rare food allergies that required hospital visits and specialists. Walking through that with him taught us how much God equips us for trials. As we began exploring adoption again, we felt God was calling us, and had equipped us, for a special needs adoption.

In late 2018, we began in a special needs program to adopt from South Africa. We wanted to adopt again from Uganda but laws had changed and Uganda now requires families to foster for 12 months before applying for court. At the time, our son was still sick and South Africa was only requiring us to be in country for a few weeks. In mid 2019, we were about to submit our dossier to South Africa when we saw the sweetest face on a waiting child list, and he was in UGANDA!! Just two weeks earlier, God had healed our biological son and he had outgrown his allergies! With that major barrier out of the way, we called Chris’ boss to explore if he could fly back and forth and keep his job in order to provide for us financially. His boss said “if you say yes to him, we will make it work!” Our two main hurdles were miraculously taken care of and we fully committed to our precious son. It was incredible to watch as God opened doors to allow us to say YES!

We’ve spent the past 6 months dreaming of him, and preparing our family to move to Uganda to foster to adopt. It’s been an agonizing several months, our son has complex medical needs and has struggled to stay healthy. We’ve received several updates detailing his hospital stays and various complications he’s had. We have also sold everything we own in order to move and are prayerful our travel approval will come in the next few weeks. Our whole family is so excited for a season of living in Uganda and getting to know our kids’ birth culture even more. Our move does put a huge financial strain on us. Chris will be flying back and forth to the U.S. and Uganda in order to provide for us financially. We’ve seen God provide in ways only he can, we’ve seen him fling wide doors that should have been bolted shut. We may not know how we will face major changes and challenges but we remain confident that God is at work and goes before us. We know God has called us to our son and we are so excited to add him to our family!

“We felt the Lord prompting us to adopt this child as well.” by Kristan Byrd  

Warren and I have been married for almost 30 years. We have seven biological children ranging in age from 7 to 28 years old. We seek to follow Jesus in every area of our lives. Five years ago Warren’s job transferred us to the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. For the last 4 years, we have been in prayer trying to determine what the Lord was calling us to do. In our spirits we sensed God moving, but we couldn’t figure out where or what He was calling us to. In our human minds, we were thinking He
wanted us to be in full-time ministry. Warren would quit his job and go into a pastoral role or perhaps we were being called onto a mission field somewhere. But everything we looked into did not give us peace; roadblocks were put up or we felt the Spirit pulling us back. It was discouraging, but we trusted that the Lord would reveal His will in His time. This past December we found out about a young boy from Ukraine who needed a host family. We had never heard of hosting; however, after praying about it, we decided to volunteer to host him. Soon after we got him, we found out he had a sister who was very close to aging out. Through God’s hand, we also were able to bring her into our home for 4 weeks. It didn’t take long for us to know that this is what God was calling us to do. These two children had never known the love of a father and mother. The girl was about to be on her own in a country where orphans are lost in a broken system. The suicide rate, drug and alcohol dependency rates, and sex trafficking rates are astronomically high for young children who have aged out of the system. We knew that this is what God had been preparing us for and calling us to. We immediately
began the international adoption paperwork and home study. In early June we were asked to temporarily host a 15-year-old boy. His host family had gotten salmonella and they were in the hospital. We have had this boy with us since June 9. He has been institutionalized since he was very young. We felt the Lord prompting us to adopt this child as well. We have worked hard to save for the sibling’s adoption. It is going to drain our savings completely to adopt them but we almost have enough to cover their expenses with the help of a second mortgage. The addition of the third child has prompted us to reach out for help. The children are in different regions in Ukraine and they will be on a different timetable for adoption. We will need to make 5-6 trips to Ukraine to complete both adoptions*

*The Byrd Family is currently traveling to Ukraine on their first of three trips to adopt the siblings.  They will travel at a later time to adopt the 15-year old boy.  You can read more of their story on Warren’s FB Page.              

“Could we really do this?” – By Kelli Gard

On October 3, 2017 I took a screenshot of photo of a boy name Andrew from a hosting web site and could not stop looking at it. I tried not to think about it. I couldn’t rest or feel at ease about not hosting him. I finally told Lance we had to host and that I was sorry but I felt so compelled to host him I couldn’t deny it. I knew God was inspiring me to do so. Lance respected my desire and we signed up to host on October 5, 2017. When Andrew got off the plane he was as white as a ghost and scared. He didn’t speak any English. After a few days, he started warming up to us and we got to know him. He was silly, kind and playful with the kids. He fit right in with the family. I will never forget the look on his face when he first saw our Christmas tree. He was just in awe. Everything was new and unfamiliar. He was quiet and observed a lot. The last week he was with us, the kids and Lance were back at school, and he went to work with me. I don’t know if I would have made the decision to adopt him if it weren’t for this time together. We were really forced to figure out how to communicate and I fell in love with that kid in that last week. I spoke to Lance and he felt the same way. We knew this boy was ours. Lance and I talked about the possibility of adoption. We rolled the thought around in our minds. Could we really do this? How could we afford it? We had so many questions but we had faith. The moment he left us we started the very lengthy process. We had no idea what we were doing. The processes has not been easy. We started it over a year ago and have hosted him two more times. We have fallen more and more in love with him and have gotten to know more of his story and the trauma that comes along with it. We can not wait to get him home for good. We are estimating (the cost of this adoption to be )between $30,000-$40,000 depending on travel costs. Through fundraising and our own contributions, we have raised roughly $15,000. We’ve paid all our agency fees to this point and have enough to cover the next fee. We do not have enough to cover travel which is almost upon us. The  Gard Family is currently in country, finalizing Andrew’s adoption. You can read more about the Gard’s adoption of Andrew on
 Kelli’s Facebook page . Watch here to see how the Gard’s have fundraised for their adoption.