As we gathered around the conference room table during our own makeshift ‘Friendsgiving’ last week, the time came to share what we were grateful for. Of course, our own families were mentioned, but then you were too. Our adoptive families. Because without you, we cannot do what we do. We cannot change the lives of the fatherless. YOU make it all possible. For you, we are eternally grateful. And while we would love to share each and every story, as they are all so special, we only have room for one today. Please read Jenny’s story. And as she gives thanks for her daughter this Thanksgiving, we give thanks for her.
For years, her friends would return from these trips and she would see how they were changed. She would see how their hearts would bleed for the children they met. Not only were their lives changed, but the lives of some of the children they met were changed, as they would advocate for the children until forever families were found. She wanted to go. She wanted to do her part to be a voice for the fatherless. So in November 2016, Jenny went to China as part of Madison Adoption Associates ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ team. A trip that would change her life more than she could ever imagine.
The team visited three orphanages that trip. They met many children, getting to know them, doting on them, playing, laughing, teaching them how to be kids. And taking pictures galore knowing they would help advocate for the children on their return home. Each advocate was assigned one or two children at each orphanage. Prior to the trip, Jenny was drawn to ‘Nikki’s’ picture. So she was assigned as ‘Nikki’s’ advocate.
Upon arriving at ‘Nikki’s’ orphanage, the second orphanage on the trip, Jenny felt butterflies like she hadn’t at the first orphanage. She was going to meet the little girl whose picture she had been praying over for weeks. And what a spectacular meeting it was! ‘Nikki’s’ smile lit up the room, and she and Jenny were inseparable during their days together.
Jenny went on to orphanage number three, where she continued to do her part to advocate for the kids she met, but she could not get ‘Nikki’ off her mind. Of course she was dedicated to advocate hard for all of the kids assigned to her, but especially ‘Nikki’ – she just HAD to find this sweet, special girl her forever family.
Jenny returned home. ‘Re-entry’ was difficult, as it can be coming off a trip like this. You see, the children have a way of imprinting themselves deep into your soul. You might try to get back to your normal, but they will always be there, on your heart. Jenny experienced this for all the children she met, but especially for ‘Nikki.’ She could not get this girl off her mind, off her heart, off her soul. She dove into advocacy, but quickly realized she was having a difficult time advocating for ‘Nikki.’ As, the ‘what ifs’ wouldn’t go away. What if I am her Mom? What if she is the reason God sent me on that trip? What if? What if? After pondering and praying through all of the ‘what ifs,’ it became clear to Jenny that her advocacy for ‘Nikki’ was complete. Her forever family was found. In Jenny.
Jenny dove in head first that day. And almost one year later, ‘Nikki’ became Evy Lu, and was placed into Jenny’s arms again….this time as daughter, this time forever.
Madison Adoption Associates has adoption programs in China, Philippines, Bulgaria, and Colombia. There is currently a $1,000 grant available to any family who signs on for any adoption program by the end of 2017. Visit our website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.