A Christmas Story

This is a true Christmas story of Christ’s unfailing love and grace for a child whom He has miraculously saved time and again. It was the year 2005 when we brought Grace home.
We had tried to adopt our daughter Faith’s long time friend from China. They were like sisters in over eight orphanage situations, but China was not in favor of her being adopted. Our paperwork for the second time was timing out and we would have to start the whole process over again. Our agency encouraged us to contact other agencies and ask about their special needs list of children who might fit into our family. We knew that the Lord was directing us.
While searching on one agency site I first saw our daughter Grace. I knew immediately she was our daughter. She had her chin stuck out and looked like she was ready to fight. She was 10 years old and had a severe heart condition, noting she had already had open-heart surgery.
We agreed that Grace was God’s, and our choice. Little did I know then just how much Jesus had watched over her life.
When we made our decision one well-meaning friend said to me, “Why would you adopt a child that might not live long?” I replied, “If I only hold her once she will know that she is loved as my daughter”.
December of that year came and our family of then 5 boarded a plane bound for northeast China. Grace was in an orphanage located on the North Korean/China border. We were not allowed to go to her orphanage, but they brought her to the capital city Chang Chun in Jilin Province. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west.
We toured the city as we waited for them to bring Grace to us. When they brought her into the Civil Affairs building she was not too friendly. We later found out that she didn’t even know that she was being adopted until they questioned her as we all filled out the paperwork. She wasn’t feeling well, because she was carsick all the way there. But after the paperwork was done and she was bid good- by from the orphanage director she took my hand. On the way out of the building she jumped up in the air and was smiling from ear to ear.
It wasn’t long before Grace learned English. She was smart and learned quickly. She began to read the Bible and asked Jesus into her life.
As Grace confided in me we learned that her parents had dearly loved her. In China when you had a second child at that time you would have a forced abortion unless you paid a huge fine. Grace’s parents were not wealthy. They somehow were able to keep her until she was 4 years old. One day while out shopping they were walking across the street and a car in front of Grace’s eyes hit both of her parents. Both her parents were killed instantly and she became an orphan.
She was taken to the orphanage where her new life began. They quickly found out that she had a serious heart condition and needed open-heart surgery to survive. If Grace had not been orphaned she would not have lived much longer because they didn’t have the money to have her treated.
The orphanage director took a likening to Grace and looked out for her, even taking her to his family home at times when she needed extra care. The orphanage only had a few children as it was connected with a senior facility also. It was located near a city where China trained their physicians. As Grace’s condition worsened, sometimes she passed out and they thought she was dead. Grace had to have open-heart surgery to save her life. For an orphan to have open-heart surgery rarely happens in China. Truly the Lord Jesus had His hand on Grace’s life.
She shared with me about the operation and how terrifying it was for her at 6 years old. The orphanage Director stayed with her some of the time and had other workers stay with her at other times. She was in the hospital for over a month. Grace survived and her condition improved, but she developed pulmonary hypertension and an enlarged heart, which would require much more care as she grew. She was placed on a Special Needs adoption list that the CCAA allowed so that potential parents overseas could review those children.
The orphanage where Grace was rarely had children adopted out. Grace is actually the second child that came out of that orphanage. It was a miracle she was allowed on the Special Needs list. And it is rare for an older child with such severe special needs to be adopted. God clearly had His hand on Grace.
After we brought her home she quickly fit into our family. She and Hope became best buds, but it didn’t happen immediately. Hope had survived third level malnutrition, which threatened her life before coming home to us. So she was a fighter too.
When Grace and Hope disagreed they were both determined to win. One day they had to sit at the kitchen table because of their behavior until they could get along. After a few hours I went in town to do some shopping. An hour later Faith called and said, “Mom, they are finally saying sorry!”
As we have walked through the last 11 years since Grace came home we have witnessed God save her time and again. She has been through many tough situations with her challenging health, but each time God touches her and brings her through.
Currently she is struggling with severe hypertension and we are praying about a heart-lung transplant. Because of Idaho opting out Grace has no health insurance. Only God knows what the future will bring, but we do know that He has a plan for her life.
This Christmas season God gave Grace a gift that she has wanted for several years. She has prayed for a miniature Jersey heifer. Last month God made way for her to have one; little Pearl, her heifer, is a great gift to Grace. She follows Grace like a dog and licks her. The Lord’s hand remains of Grace’s life, leading, blessing and keeping her. His grace is sufficient, and miraculous.