The Unlikeliest Gift

December 22, 2018 adopting again, cleft palate, Craniofacial, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, developmental delays, Family Stories, Heart System, VSD 0 Comments

As I sit down and reflect on all the gifts that my Lord has bestowed upon my family and I, there are too many to count. Yet I know that, on so many days, I forget. My mind soars in other directions and I lose sight of these gifts. Or perhaps… as I have realized with our most recent adoption.. sometimes His gift is not one that I first viewed as a gift. It was hidden.

But after pushing back lies, refocusing my eyes on things eternal, I see it.

The gift.



We have adopted two beautiful daughters from China. Our first adoption in 2016 and our second adoption just a few months ago in August. Both of these adoptions I can without a doubt say were a gift to our family.

How has adoption been a gift to our family? The ways are too many to count. But today, I want to highlight a gift that may not be so obvious. A gift from adoption that, if I am being completely honest, is sometimes hard to see as a gift.

The gift of the unknown.



When you start your adoption journey, you may think you know how it will all play out. You envision and pray for your child, and you plan every detail in your mind. But then, as one step leads to another, you start to realize the lack of control you have in this crazy process. You quickly realize it has nothing to do with you or your plan.

But one foot in front of the other – you press on – trusting that the fire that sparked you to first say Yes will continue to blaze. Even when the days seem dark and the day you finally meet your child seems too very far away.

It seems so unknown.

And then your day finally comes… the day you have dreamed of. When you finally get to hold your child. The details of this day are so unique for each family, and so unknown.

Will my child cling to me?
Will she smile?
Will my child shut down in silence?
Will he scream in fear?
Will my child who I have stared at for so long be what I envisioned them to be?
Will she love me?

Unknown. Every detail so unknown until the veil is pulled back and this picture you have been staring at comes alive right before your eyes.

This past August, we adopted our second daughter, Charli Ying. The days leading up to her joining our family were again filled with unknowns. In August, my mother-in-law and I boarded the plane and headed to China to bring our Charli home. This time was very different than our first adoption. The “transition” was very smooth and full of peace and joy. I slowly got to know Charli and reveled in the softness and gentleness that her personality revealed.

But this time, as the days went on in China… my mind began to race more and more. Quite honestly, I was very scared of her health and what all was exactly going on. I just wanted to get her home. I wanted to get her to a doctor and I wanted answers. I told myself that I was going to be OK with whatever the answers were, but I wanted her home and I wanted answers so we could have a plan.

We had a beautiful two weeks in China but I was so glad to be home. We found ourselves in the cardiologist office less than 24 hours and received the best news we could have. Her heart had been repaired beautifully in China and it was strong. Thank you, Jesus.



I remember the relief of that washed over me as I heard the news. I like to go back and remember this day. A day of victory for Charli. You see, her fight didn’t end in that cardiologist’s office. And it is still not over yet. She has a lot of fighting still left to do. The outcomes of this fight – the exact days we will see victories, or when we will see setbacks – are unknown.

So how is a world of unknowns a gift? How is each diagnosis or each appointment that goes by where I hear the words “we just don’t know yet”… how is that a gift?

Because no matter how unknown this world is to us, it is known to Him. He knows every detail. There are no surprises to Him. He knows. He is our constant that doesn’t change.

So these unknowns, though many days may leave me in tears, really should be pushing my eyes back to the Lord. Because I have no other guarantee but Him.



So when I get frustrated that I can’t get answers, when I feel defeated that no one seems to know exactly what the future holds… a gentle voice reminds me to let go. I may not be able to fix everything. I may not get the exact answers I want. I may not get any answers. But one thing remains the same: these unknowns are known to Him. So may I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. May my hope not be in any physician, or any medication. May my hope be Christ Jesus alone.

So where is your Hope? And what will you do with these days we have been given here on earth? If tomorrow is no guarantee, if life for all of us, is really a world of unknowns, what are you going to do with those unknowns?



This Christmas, I am thankful for the gift of unknowns. May this road of uncertainty draw me closer to the Lord than I could ever imagine.

And, though so many answers to questions I have are unknown, I do know one thing. Charli is loved. That is one thing I can promise her. I can promise her my love. And – more than that – I can promise her that she was fearfully and wonderfully made perfect by a God who loves her more than I will ever be able to.

Thank you Lord for this hidden gift. The one tucked back behind the Christmas tree, not visible to all. May this little hidden gift light a fire in my heart for You.

And may it burn so brightly that all the world will see the goodness of Your love.



– guest post by Ashley: email || blog



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