We were deep in the process of adoption from India when I received an email, advocating for an 8 year old boy, who had the most incredible smile. I committed to pray for a family for this little boy, and I was faithful to do that over the next few months, as we received updated emails and pleas for a family for him. In the meantime, India denied our request to adopt due to our family size (we had five children at the time). Though our hearts grieved for the little girl from India whom we had hoped to adopt, we also felt confident that my prayers had been answered for the precious little boy from China. God had found him a family…ours!
We scrambled to update our paperwork for China, and also to learn more about this child’s special need, spina bifida, or myleomeningocele. We learned that it was a complex special need, requiring care from various specialists, but we were so certain that this child was our son, that we did not hesitate to move forward.
After Stephen Yuankai came home, we were on a steep learning curve. We waded through the many appointments and specialists and it wasn’t always with grace. But, our new son’s beautiful smile and wonderful disposition kept us fighting to learn more about how we could care for his needs.
Fast forward five years and we felt that God was leading us to put our knowledge of spina bifida to use again. We contacted friends, who were advocating for children, and asked them to let us know about any children that they knew who had spina bifida. When we saw 6 year old “Laurel’s” video on MAA’s special needs registry, we felt sure that we had found our daughter! She seemed to have a great deal of determination and spunk, and we were absolutely smitten. There were a few roadblocks to overcome before we could give our absolute “yes!”, but God used the time to strengthen our resolve.
On July 2, 2018 we finally met our beautiful daughter, Ruby Xiaohong, in Taiyuan, China. The spunk and determination that we saw in that first video were immediately evident. It was also evident that this little girl was one smart cookie! What she lacked in mobility (Ruby Xiaohong does not walk, but Stephen Yuankai does), she made up for in strength of character and will!
At just three months home, she has stolen the hearts of her siblings and parents. She is quite the dynamo! She chops vegetables with the best of them, plays wheelchair basketball with her brother, sings songs all day long, and knows almost all of the consonant sounds.
Ruby Xiaohong has had many doctor’s appointments over these past three months, but we can honestly say that it is much, much easier the second time around! One issue that is not uncommon for children with spina bifida is that they can have significant kidney issues without certain types of treatment. Ruby Xiaohong has grade 5 reflux in her left kidney that most likely would have caused her serious problems if she had remained in China. For that reason alone, we are incredibly grateful that she is here with us! It is a joy to attend to her medical needs, knowing that we are significantly improving her future quality of life.
Our family has eight children now, seven of whom are adopted. While it’s true that medically speaking, spina bifida is the most complicated special need of all of our children, we can honestly say that it is just a small part of who our son and daughter are, as people. Stephen Yuankai and Ruby Xiaohong are both bright, courageous, strong children who are absolute blessings to our family. We thank God for the privilege of raising these two precious children!
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