We have been interested in international adoption for a long time, we even talked about it when we were dating. We had two little boys, Sam and Danny, back to back. Our boys are only a year and 2 weeks apart, so life was very full and busy, but still, I felt like something was missing. In September of 2014, we applied to Bethany, planning to adopt from the Hong Kong program and expecting that we would be bringing our child home within the year.
However, that year was long and filled with delays and disappointments. Eventually we decided that we should pursue other programs, which was confusing to us, since we had had such peace about the Hong Kong program. We looked through the China Waiting Child list, and one picture leaped off screen at us. She was the most beautiful little girl in the whole world. Prayerfully, and with trepidations from our disappointing year, we asked to be matched with her. And Bethany said yes! What a happy, happy day.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see how this sequence of events was the only one that would have led us to her, our daughter Maisie Shuyuan. If we had not filled out that application form, committing ourselves to adoption, we probably would have been pregnant by now, since our youngest son is three and almost out of diapers. If we had not felt called to Hong Kong, we would have pursued another program in Eastern Europe or South America. When we first applied, we did not meet the age or financial requirements to adopt from China, so we never considered it. Because God put Hong Kong on our hearts, we stayed in place, waiting for His timing. And after that long, hard year of waiting, we realized that now we met all the requirements for the China program. Maisie’s picture was posted on the Waiting Child list mere days before we made the decision to leave the Hong Kong program.
Maisie is two and a half and her special need is Congenital Giant Nevus. She has a large nevus (a type of black birthmark) that completely covers her neck and shoulders. She has many smaller satellite nevi, including an adorable smudge on the tip of her nose. She was placed in a train station waiting room where she would be found quickly, with a note saying exactly when she was born. We are so blessed that her family so clearly wanted her to found and to have a good life and even to know the exact moment when she was born.
When we were researching adoption before starting this process, Libby read that often infants will be given the youngest possible birthday, so that they have as much of a chance as possible to find a family before they were considered too old to be adopted. Of all the heart-rending things that one reads when researching adoption, the grief and loss in this fact particularly broke Libby’s heart, and she wept over the dual tragedy of not knowing even so basic a fact about oneself as one’s actual birth date, and the fact that children are passed over every day because they are just days or weeks older than the deadline a potential parent has decided on. It is such an un-looked-for blessing to know that Maisie’s birthday is not just a hopeful approximation, but a true fact, and the fact that we know this is evidence that Maisie was loved long before we first saw her picture.
Our adoption has been estimated to be $34,000. We have raised about $12,000 so far from our own savings and gifts from our family and church, and we have a very generous donor who has offered to match future donations up to $3,000. (So that’s $12,000 that we need to raise, in case your math is shaky!)
We are going to be partnering with a wonderful program called Both Hands to do one really (really really!) big fundraiser. We are assembling a team of volunteers who are going to each be seeking sponsorship and raising support for a workday at a local widow’s house. The donations will go to help bring Maisie home, and the work we do will transform a widow’s home, making it safe and lovely for her again. Both Hands is committed to raising money for its own support through other channels, and all materials for the workday will be donated by local businesses, so every dollar that you donate will go to our adoption! Plus, the first $3,000 that we raise will be doubled by our matching donor. Your money couldn’t go to a more wonderful cause: helping both the widow and the orphan!
If you would like to donate, mail checks (payable to
Both Hands) to:
PO Box 2713
Brentwood, TN 37024
Attach a piece of paper indicating your giving preference is “Fenn #258 adoption”.