On June 9, 2011, a precious baby girl was abandoned at the entrance of the Luohe City Social Welfare Institute in China. She looked to be about a month old. Police searched the scene but were not able to locate any parents or relatives who would claim her as their own. So that same day, she was placed in the care of the nearest special needs orphanage, where she lived for three years as she waited for her “forever family.”
On Mother’s Day of 2013, we gratefully accepted the opportunity to parent this sweet child. And the day after Father’s Day of 2014, we were able to officially adopt her, naming her “Hadley” whose roots mean “hardy and strong.” We hope to raise her to be strong in the Lord, confident that she is a beloved child of God and very precious to us as our daughter.
The Lord gave us a heart for the orphan in 2010 when we adopted our son, Hayes Mikhail, from Moscow, Russia. His addition to our lives enlarged our faith and broke our hearts for the orphan crisis. We began praying about what more we could do to demonstrate God’s love to orphans in need. In early 2012, as we geared up for a mission trip opportunity to visit special needs orphans at Maria’s Big House of Hope with Show Hope, we decided to apply to adopt a special needs orphan from China because our hearts grew tender towards the abandoned children in that country.
And not long after, our agency asked if we would consider adopting this little girl. The journey of adopting our daughter, Hadley, has been the hardest, most heartbreaking, indescribably beautiful experience of our lives. In the immediate aftermath of her adoption, the effects of the neglect she’s endured for years surfaced at times and broke our hearts. But it wasn’t long before she bonded with us and we got to see glimpses of her sweet soul come to life. The depth of her grief is great…but the well of joy you hear in her laughter is even greater. She teaches us every day what it looks like to love well. To love without expectation. To love with the pure heart of Jesus.
Our time in China was a visible reminder that we live in a big, broken, beautiful world. And when you get a chance to be a part of a redemptive response to ugly situations in life like the orphan crisis, it’s a really beautiful thing. I believe every follower of Christ needs to be involved in the orphan crisis in some capacity. It’s where the heart of God is.