We all have a story and I’ve decided that since I’m about to embark on a crazy journey that Christ is calling me on, I wanted to share a little bit of my background and how I got to the place that I’m at today. I’ll break it up into several parts over the next few weeks. So here we go…
Where do I even begin? When did God call me on this crazy journey that has become my life? I think it started back in 2001. My family had begun the adoption process from China in August 2000 and our paperwork was submitted in February 2001 and then the 13 month wait until our referral began. During that time, in June 2001, I went on a mission trip with my Church youth group to Reynosa, Mexico. It was only for a week, but it was my first time out of the country (except for Canada) and I was excited to experience another country and culture. I was 15 years old and didn’t think of this trip as really anything other than a fun trip with my friends. Had no idea that God was going to place orphans very strongly on my heart during the short, one-week, time we were serving in this orphanage in Mexico. But He did. He broke my heart for the orphans. For the fatherless. For the kids who didn’t have a mom or a dad or a family to call their own. I spent a week loving these kids with all that I had. I knew a little Spanish and it was a struggle to communicate with the kids but I soon learned that you could still love kids without speaking the same language. Actions speak so much louder than words. My heart not only broke for these kids I became so attached to in such a short time but also got me thinking more about my little sister half a world away. The little sister who I didn’t even know if she was born yet (little did I know that she was 4 months old at this time). I didn’t know what her name was or where in China she was. My time in Mexico, God spoke to me about loving the orphans and the widows. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). So that’s where it began. God’s calling on my life to take care of the orphans. However, I had no idea that this was what God was calling me to do. I was only 15 and hadn’t even begun to think about “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” All I knew was that I wanted to be a wife and a Mom. That’s as far as I had gotten.
1st picture we received of Kiah on 4/8/02
I met Kiah Hope RuiQing on June 6, 2002, for the first time in the Buffalo airport. I’ll always remember that day. Kiah wasn’t too thrilled about me in the beginning. Here she has spent 2 weeks bonding with my Mom and Dad in China and now all of a sudden, there were all these crazy siblings of hers to meet! But as time went on, she became more and more comfortable with me. And she became very attached to me. I was quite smitten with my 15 month sister and from the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was my sister. And I also knew that my life would never be the same. Not only because I now had a little sister finally after 16 years of waiting, but God cracked my heart. I felt this burden for the orphans of China. Here we had given one precious girl a home. Kiah had a future and a hope. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). But there were thousands of other children all over China and all over the world without a family of their very own. And what if they never got one? What would happen to them? And from that point on, I began researching China adoptions. I would join yahoo groups and learn more and more about the orphans in China. And rejoice with each family when they were matched with their children. As time went on and as high school came to a close, I began the college search. I was recruited to swim in college, but decided that I probably needed a major as well. All I had ever wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and a Mom. I was 18 now and decided that maybe I better have a backup plan, just in case. So I went through major after majoring at St.Bonaventure University trying to find my “calling in life.” Then it hit me out of nowhere and made so much sense. I remember telling my Mom what I “wanted to be when I grew up.” I wanted to work with international adoptions. Help families through the adoption process and unite families with their children. Since my school didn’t have a social work major, I decided to major in Sociology. And there I began my 4 years of schooling to help orphans. My “dream job” (or so I thought) was to work in an international adoption agency, in the states of course. My family used Children’s Hope International and I thought it would be awesome to work for them one day. So I poured my heart into swimming and into school. And knew that at the end of this crazy journey, God would use me in big ways. I had no idea how big of a way He was going to use me though. Or how even though I had the “topic” right, God was going to turn my passion and dream into something completely different. Something I couldn’t even have put together if I had tried. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
Myrtle Beach – April 2008