CLEFT LIP TESTIMONIALS
Our adoption journey is one of many blessings. When we started our adoption process in November 2009 we were fearful mostly because of the financial part of the process. God blessed us as we trekked along the road of adoption by closing doors when we were in the wrong country (Bulgaria) and opened the door very widely when we finally woke up to Ethiopia. Once we picked Ethiopia and moved forward the doors flew open. We had people come beside us and help finance our adoption which definitely was a God thing. When we started we had no idea how we would fund the adoption but KNEW we had to move forward. In April of 2009, we were placed on the waiting list for a special needs child, boy or a girl age 0-36 months or sibling group from 0-5 years old, 2 or 3 children. The waiting was so hard and at times we thought the wait was going to take forever and we were discouraged. We knew the only way we would make it through this long hard journey was to focus our eyes on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that is what we did and he carried us through.
On October 28, 2010 we were contacted by Brandi Ware, our amazing case manager at AGCI, and she asked if we had a minute to visit. I couldn’t believe what she had to tell us next. “I have a little girl I’d like to talk to you about,” Brandi explained. We were shocked; we were number 4 on the boys list and 16 on the girls list when we contacted. We waited anxiously for each word she had to tell us about our precious little girl. Our daughter was 13 months old, weighed 15lbs, 26 inches tall, had cleft lip and palate, was Hep B+, couldn’t walk, just started sitting up, and could possibly be deaf. We received all the negative information first and then she sent us pictures and her medical reports. She asked that we pray about it before we make a decision and call her the next business day. We saw our daughter’s face and knew that she was ours. God had ordained this child as ours before time began and we are so grateful. We called Brandi the next business day and told her that she is absolutely our daughter and we wanted to move as fast as we could to get our sick baby home. We showed off our daughter’s picture to everyone we knew and asked for prayers. We wanted our friends and family to join us in praying for our precious baby girl who needed healing for physical needs and her sweet broken heart.
On February 25, 2011 we landed in our home town with a crowd of friends and family cheering us on as we walked through the doors of the airport. They were so happy for us and our little girl and we were thrilled to finally be a family of 5. The reunion with our kiddos at home was beautiful and they immediately fell in love with their baby sister. We hurried home to start our few day cocooning process and tried to get ourselves ready for our baby girl’s first doctor’s appointment.
On March 2, 2011 we brought Macie to her first doctor’s appointment in the United States where they did many tests on her. All of her blood work came back great and, by the grace of God, all of her test results came back negative. NO HEP B!!! She was clear, but we still had a long road ahead of us. Our little peanut was underweight, way below average in height, and her hearing was better than we thought but not great. We began treatment for her cleft lip and palate, tubes for her ears, and speech and occupational therapy. She is hearing at 80% in one ear and 100% in the other, she is right where she needs to be in height and weight, she can run, walk, talk, do sign language, and will be dismissed from early childhood education program because she is on track now with peers her own age. She is an amazing gift from God and we would absolutely adopt a special needs child again. The road is bumpy and full of turns but oh the journey is beautiful. Take a leap of faith, adopt a special needs kiddo—-JUMP!!! God will catch you and help you fly. All the miracles in our story are due to God and we want all the glory to go to him, where it belongs.
In April of 2005 God began opening our heart to adoption. We attended a Hope for Orphans Conference in Maryland and knew that we were called by God to adopt a child. As we continued to pray and ask our Lord about the details of the call of adoption on our lives, He answered each question in His perfect timing. God turned us toward China, but we were initially denied for adoption because one of us has a disability. God encouraged us through His Word and we experienced this truth from Isaiah 58:10-11, “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Through AGCI, we were made aware of the possibility of adopting a special needs child. In fact, Bo’s paperwork was overdue to go back to China when we found out about him. We were led to review his paperwork and prayed asking the Lord if he was our son. When God clearly told us yes in several ways, we were very excited. With the help of Lifesong for Orphans, over $10,000 was raised to help us bring Bo home.
We traveled to China in January 2007 and brought Bo home, who had just turned 4 years old. Bo was born in Chengdu city, China with cleft palate and lip and deformed hands and feet caused by a genetic mutation. When we picked up Bo from his orphanage in Chengdu, he was ready to become a part of our family and happily started out on our new adventure of becoming a family.
Bo is an amazing boy that loves life and enjoys discovering how to do new things. His adjustment has been miraculous and he is doing well in several aspects of his development. He is very loving toward us and enjoys meeting new people. Bo is such a happy, joyful, curious, and active boy. During his first year with us, Bo had several doctors’ visits and surgeries concerning his special needs. Through it all, he continues to excel, adjust, and show good signs of attachment to us. He has attended pre-K and K at our local elementary school. He is repeating K this year to give him more time learning the english language. He is currently scoring excellent in all major subjects! He is scoring excellent on his fine motor skills as well! He receives speech therapy 3 times weekly at school. Even among the various challenges, such as speech, he tries his best. Bo has been blessed to be part of children’s choirs, take part in AWANA as a Cubbie and Spark at church, play T-ball, and has started Upwards basketball practice. Bo will spontaneously tell us that he loves us very much and start singing songs that he enjoys. He is such a joy and blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ!
“When we started our journey to adopt a child we really had no idea where to turn. Through God’s leading He brought us to AGCI. I cannot say enough about AGCI. Through the entire adoption process they were very informative, helpful, and courteous. They truly have a desire to serve the King. Many wonderful children know they are loved and cared for because of AGCI’s commitment to the orphan. We would not hesitate to recommend AGCI to anybody considering adoption.”
Our experience with AGCI was more hands on then we ever dreamt. It was great to have a binder filled with information that covered everything to a T and when we needed more help we could always contact Tiffany our Case Manager. Putting together all the paperwork went easier then we expected and Tiffany was there calling us weekly reminding us or encouraging us during the waiting period. We felt very well informed before traveling about what we would experience in China and what we needed for our trip and how to prepare to receive our child.
Upon arriving in China we had the most amazing guides; Rocky and Jack guiding us through every step and process. We were so at ease while we were there because we knew ahead of time everything that was going to happen and what we needed for each appointment. In Guangzhou when we received our child Jack was so supportive and comforting. Our baby girl had severe heat rash and eczema all over her body and Jack took us to the pharmacy to get medicine for her. He even stopped by our hotel room that night to see how she was doing and showed my husband how to make a bottle!
“Adopting a special needs child is what we were led to do. Adopting an older child has its challenges at times, but it is worth every minute that we are together. The only regret that we have is that we did not adopt a special needs child sooner.”
“We chose All God’s Children for our adoption because we were impressed with their heart for orphans in adoptions, relief programs as well as mission works. Our experience with them was stellar. Throughout the process we were pleased with the attentiveness, planned phone calls, support, timeliness of replies via both telephone and email, when needed and thankful for their blanketing of prayers for our situation. In China, support and guides were professional and had everything in place for each step in our adoption process. They were organized, efficient and answered all our questions at every point.”
“The lack of knowledge is the biggest fear for us. We didn’t know anything about cleft lip/palate when we received our first referral. Having the resources available through All God’s Children and the real families that have been through this to share their stories is so valuable. We are currently pursuing our second adoption with a special needs (cl/cp) little girl and it is almost funny to me that I was so scared the first time around. There is a peace that God will give us if only we ask. He will provide the resources.”
“Working with AGCI was such a blessing. Clearly they are working on behalf of the orphan and carrying out God’s mission to come to them by uniting families with the fatherless. Our entire experience was wonderful and our daughter is a precious treasure. Our little lady was literally left for dead as we were told she was only fed one bottle a day. She does have significant special needs and it was probably just impossible to care for her with so many others. This year since coming home, she has gained nearly 20 pounds and grown almost 8 inches! She is no longer underweight and is thriving with the care we are able to provide her. She couldn’t walk when we brought her home at two either and now she is running, climbing, and jumping. She is able to enjoy interacting with the world and loves being a part of a family. She is truly thriving now that she is home and we love her to bits. I wish that for every child who waits. We will be forever grateful for the part that AGCI played in bringing her home to us. She is perfect.”
We always knew we wanted to adopt one day. We thought we would have a few biological children and then adopt. Our plans were not the Lord’s plans. We had Isaac in August, 2003 after one miscarriage. It turns out that he was our miracle baby! A couple years later we decided it was time to have baby #2. I had two more miscarriages and then a lot of testing to find out why this was happening. I found out that I have a clotting disorder that is somewhat common and I would need to give myself daily shots while I was pregnant. We prayed about that and decided that God was saying not to wait, but to adopt now. We started researching all our options, domestic, international, agencies, and home study agencies. We ordered information packets from numerous agencies, and went to a meeting with our home study agency. They talked about domestic adoption and just a little about international adoption. On our drive home we both knew that the Lord was saying to go to China.
We received the information packet from AGCI and a phone call. We knew that this agency was right for us because they were a supportive, Christian agency. China. Check. Agency. Check. I wasn’t quite 30 yet, but the wait for a healthy baby girl was a year or so away so we were able to get started on our home study. One day we got a call from Tiffany saying that she noticed that we checked boy or girl on our paperwork. I told her that we didn’t want to choose because that was up to the Lord to decide. We did assume that we would be adopting a girl though because China was filled with little girls! I even ordered a cute baby girl crib set when we decided that we were going to China. Ha! She went on to inform me that there were baby boys in China! Many of these boys had correctible special needs. Special needs? What? I wasn’t very informed at that time. I thought that people went to China to adopt baby girls. We looked online at the waiting children on AGCI’s website. We were surprised to see so many little boys on the list. Our hearts changed forever that day. We asked about one little boy on that list but we couldn’t adopt him because I wasn’t old enough yet.
Fast Forward to February 2007. Just a day before my 30th birthday we got a call that they had a little boy’s file for us to look at! We opened up the picture and saw the sweetest little face! My husband said right away that he looked like a Patzer! Mao Ai Mu was 13 months old at referral. We named him Samuel David Mu. He had cleft lip/palate that had been repaired. We traveled in November 2007 to adopt our sweet little boy. Samuel was so blessed to be at True Children’s Home. They choose babies from the orphanages who need surgeries and then find sponsors to pay for those surgeries. The children are given such amazing care before and after their surgeries. After that they are transitioned into a foster home that is affiliated with True Children’s Home. When we were in China we were able to visit True Children’s Home! We were amazed and so thankful that our son was able to be there! The director took us to the hospital to meet the doctor that did Samuel’s surgeries. While we were at the hospital we went to see the other babies that just had surgeries. There was one baby boy that was four months old who just had his lip repaired. We held him and talked to the lady who paid for a part of his surgery. She is also the woman who paid for part of Samuel’s surgery! After that we went back to True Children’s Home to give gifts and hold babies. It was such a wonderful day.
When we got back to our hotel we both just sat on the bed and my husband said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” We knew that day that we were supposed to go back to China to adopt Zhan Hai Sha, who was the little boy we met in the hospital. We knew it was only going to happen if the Lord worked out every detail. It would be a miracle. His file wasn’t even created yet and we had no idea if and when that would be. We didn’t know if his file would go to a specific agency or if it would show up on the shared list. We prayed, waited, prayed, and waited some more. In early fall 2008 my husband and I were talking and felt that it was time to at least get started. If Hai Sha was our son God would make it happen. If Hai Sha wasn’t our son then we would continue to pray that God would make it clear to us who our next child would be. We were excited to work with AGCI again and gave them all the information we had about him. Kate said she would watch the shared list. Some time passed and I was thinking a lot about that sweet boy. I decided that I would just email Kate to see if she had checked lately. She said that she just did a couple days ago, but that she would check again. She checked again and found him!!! There was a typo and he was listed as a girl and she was looking for a boy! I will never forget that day. It was January 27th, 2009! Praise God! We named him Elisha David Sha.
We traveled back to China in November 2009 to adopt Eli. We took the other boys with us and filled a whole row in the airplane! It was another wonderful trip. We got so many questions and stares for having 3 boys. People asked us if we didn’t like girls (we get that here in the US too). One Chinese man asked, “Three boys?” I said, “Yes, three boys.” He said, “God Bless You!” Ha! I love it! Life with three boys is filled with adventure, energy, and fun! Our boys are ages 6, 4, and 2 now. When our journey started we thought it was going to look so different, but I’m so glad that we listened to what the Lord was calling us to. We wouldn’t change a thing!