In August of 2014, the life of our family took a dramatic turn in ONE day, due to ONE blog post, due to ONE friend that posted a link on her Facebook page, due to ONE team made of many that went to be love and found ONE little girl that was meant to be our forever daughter. The title of the blog post where we first saw her precious face was "A Family for Lee Lee."
We had been in the adoption process for over 4 years at that point, and still waiting. Our paperwork sat in Ethiopia almost all that time and was never matched with a child due to governing delays in the process. During that time, we had some life changes like adding another child through foster care, job changes, and moving to a new city. Life went on but our hearts still longed and ached for our daughter who we felt was in another land. We had heard the clear call to adopt, it just felt as if there were scattered puzzle pieces laying around that were yet to be a finished picture.
About a month before seeing the blog about Lee Lee, we had inquired with our agency about what options were available to us if we switched countries from Ethiopia, since we were still at a standstill. Our family coordinator said China's Special Needs program would be an option. We had first desired to adopt from China when we first began the adoption process. At that time, however, we were disqualified due to a cancer history in our family. But, things had changed in China during our wait and we were now eligible. We decided as a family to take some time to pray and see if that was the right direction.
August 3, 2014, with our family vacation beginning the next day, packing procrastination had set in. Facebook browsing was underway and then, boom! The blog post that would change our lives forever was before us. I (Angela) read it first and many things caught my heart. Lee Lee's need was Down Syndrome and we had been in a conversation about a year before in our marriage about considering adopting a child with that specific need. The night before our long drive to our vacation spot, I showed the blog post to my husband, unsure of what his response would be. After all, we had seen thousands of similar advocacy blogs throughout our 4 year wait. But, my husband was also intrigued and his heart tugged. We ended up staying up almost all night praying, dreaming, crying, wondering....could this be our daughter we had waited for all this time? We inquired by email and got a quick reply so the next day, we packed our van with all our typical vacation items but also took our printer/scanner, adoption paperwork, financial documents, anything else we could think of, in case the possibility became a reality.
That August week was a roller coaster of events that became the first of many miracles we would see in Lee Lee becoming an orphan no more. Our agency was guarded about saying "yes" to helping us. There were just so many places that logistics could stop the whole thing. For example, this child had no file started. The orphanage had said they would prepare her file if a family was found, but would they follow through? Not only that, we needed to fund raise and do all new paperwork for a new country. All we knew for sure at that point was that God had burdened our heart for this little girl, she needed a family and we hoped we could be that family. Our promise to God was to walk obediently through the doors He opened and to accept whatever His will was for us and for Lee Lee.
We had no idea the miracles that were waiting to happen. Each piece of paper completed, each dollar fund-raised, each "yes" from government officials, down to the details such as someone donating the airfare for our three biological sons to go with us to China to bring Lee Lee home.
So, so many prayers were answered. We brought Lee Lee (now named Lia) home to be with our family forever on July 9, 2015. We envisioned the joy she would add to our days and even what we imagined has all been surpassed in just the few weeks we have been together. All the arduous days of waiting and wondering are now over for her and for us and we are blessed to be the recipients of the richest gifts on earth...seeing God perform real life miracles right before our very eyes.
Now we sit and smile when we think that her crib was once in a room filled with boys. Her new home is also filled with all brothers, who love her immensely. She has a Mommy and Daddy to tuck her in bed at night and to be there first thing in the morning, memories are being made, milestones met. A family for Lee Lee was found!
Lee Lee in 2014 with a one of our team members.
Lee Lee with one of the nannies that loved her like she was her own (she has worked at the orphanage for over 20 years because she loves the children).
And, now Lee Lee (now known as Lia) HOME almost exactly a year later - she has FOUR brothers, the same amount of "brothers" she had at the orphanage! If that is not al little wink from the Father then I don't know what is!