By Kathy, mom to Rachel from China with cleft lip
Rachel story is one of great detail, lots of red threads and sure determination of many people to make sure this little girl found her forever family. There are so many twists and turns I don’t even know what category her story will fall in.
It started in Jan. 04, when my Grandma, who I shared a birthday with, and ironically Rachel does as well, passed away. My Grandma loved children, and one of my fondest memories from childhood was hearing her sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. So in honor of my Grandma I decided I would sponsor a child in her memory. I did a web search and Philp Hayden showed up, I clicked on the sponsor this child link and started looking at all the wonderful kids. I would click on their profile and read about them. I saw the most gorgeous eyes staring back at me and I clicked on “Rachel’s” picture and when I saw her Birthday I knew I had found the perfect child to sponsor because she had mine and my Grandma’s Birthday. My Grandma I knew must be smiling! That started the “needle in the hay stack” search for Rachel.
Rachel was born with cleft lip, which was repaired in China. I would periodically get updates and new pictures of her and I felt I was really getting to know this little beauty. Further more, it started feeling like she was our daughter. I saw many pictures of her and it saddened me to see her grow up right before my eyes. I would send her Birthday packages, Christmas packages and would always dream of her being home with us someday. I would inquire from time to time with PHF (Philip Hayden Foundation), if they knew where her file was, was she up for adoption, and share my desire to be her Mother. They would always respond and thank me for the prayers for her and how special Rachel was indeed.
Over the years I had contacted many agencies looking for her, reviewed every new list I had access to and prayed if she was meant to be ours for God to let me find her. In the meantime I watched her get a few years older, and many of her friends at PHF come home and my heart ached for her.
We found our “needle in the haystack” on Dec. 14th 2007 when I received a call out of the blue from a agency I wasn’t even using. The lady on the other end of the phone said “we just received a new list of kids from Langfang but Rachel is not on it. But I know the agency who has her.” I never asked her how she knew because I knew there were a lot of miracles happening that could never be explained. She quickly gave me the name of the agency and I frantically started calling. Finally I reached someone who was amazed that I knew they got a new list because it had just been received. She did finally confirm that she did have her on their list. However a new road block was thrown up, their agency had never asked CCAA for a waiver and we would need one because we had only been home with our youngest for 3 months. I went on to explain our connection to this child and she finally agreed they would ask CCAA for us. However road block number two came up, their agency fee had to be paid before a child could be put on hold and that fee was a huge to a family just coming home from China to come up with, it was $6000. So once again a mountain was moved and we had the money, a further indication to us God was working to bring this child home.
We started gathering our paperwork, sent our LOI, and we were enjoying our family when in late March something would happen to us that would shake our world. Our son was in a terrible accident and for days we weren’t even sure he was going to pull through. We were in a fight for our son’s life. The morning after the wreck, as I sat in his ICU room, I got an email that states our pre approval to adopt “Rachel” was denied stating the one year rule and “too many small children in the home”. They asked if we wanted to appeal. When I was strong enough to get my thoughts straight, I sent a email explaining where I was at, about our son’s accident and that I just couldn’t focus on this right now, my plate was full. They replied they wanted to talk with their contact in China and explain our story. I honestly thought I would never hear from the agency, and on that particular day I am honest to say I was ok with that because we felt the focus was on our son at that particular time.
Praise God two weeks later we were able to bring our son home to start a long road of recovery. I really had given up on the idea that we would be bringing “Rachel” home but I was still praying that God’s will for her be done. A could weeks after we brought our son home our agency calls and says “we have news, we have your Pre approval”. To say I was shocked was a understatement. My mind was swirling, I wasn’t sure how we would do this because of our son’s recovery, medical bills, who could travel… a million things went through my mind. I second guessed if and should we proceed, but we just couldn’t give over the notion this was our daughter.
Over the next few months many people stepped up in faith, prayed with us, and for us, and helped us in every way possible to bring Rachel home. I will never forget the generosity of the adoption community, and I wish I could personally thank everyone who knew Rachel’s story.
Rachel is home now and doing wonderful and for anyone out there looking for a child you feel a strong connection to, remember our needle in a hay stack story and never be discouraged. The blessing of this child to our family has been huge.