Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bringing Home Annie: Parenting Never Expires

Continuing on the theme from my last post, I want to focus my reflections for the New Year on challenges and leaps of faith. The courage of this family to adopt is a good example of the untold rewards that come from taking steps in faith and love. After I featured their story in one of my publications, they gave me permission to share this on my blog. Thanks, Bakers! You can follow the Bakers journey to China at:

With an estimated 147 million orphans in the world, Jeff and Debbie kept feeling a tug on their hearts to make a difference – even if just for the life of one child, giving them a home.

Annie, the newest addition to the family

Parents of four biological children of their own, Debbie told me, “We had talked about adoption for a long time but convinced ourselves that we didn’t even have enough time or money for the kids that we had. However, we knew that God was asking us to do this, and He was not going to let our hearts go or forget about these children.” 

They knew they wanted to adopt a little girl from China, because with two biological daughters of their own, Jeff and Debbie couldn’t imagine the pain of the One Child Policy in China, where many families are forced to abandon their girls in hopes of having a boy. In addition, their hearts went out to the many families in China who abandon their children if they are born with special needs, because China lacks the resources to care for special needs children as we can in the United States.

Three years ago, they called a family meeting with the kids. Debbie explains, “We asked each of them what they thought about adoption and explained the sacrifices that would be involved. The kids were all very excited and anxious to bring her home right away.” 

“When we brought our first daughter home from China three years ago, we never would have dreamed how much love, joy and laughter she would add to our home. When you give, you just never expect to receive, and the gifts she has brought to our family have been amazing.”

Were they scared to adopt? You bet. It took them seven years of thinking about it before bringing their first daughter home. Yet the uncertainties weren’t enough to stop them from trusting what had been placed on their hearts to do.

Annie with her big sister Mei Mei and mommy
“Of course it has its challenges, but it’s hard to ignore that so many children around the world do not have the love and support of a family. Most of the children that are available for adoption in China have some sort of special need,” explained Debbie further. “Our first adopted daughter is missing her foot, but she now has a prosthetic and most people don’t even know. As I watched her rollerblade with her sister and neighbor friends yesterday, I just shook my head. She is so inspiring and she never lets it stop her or slow her down.”

This past year, they opened their hearts again to adopt a second daughter from China at age two and a half. While some choose to adopt older children or teenagers, Debbie said, “It’s very fun to adopt toddlers. They are ready to roll. There is a lot of time that’s been missed and a lot to catch up on, which is very enjoyable. It’s nice to just slow life down a bit and focus on that for a while.”

Jeff and Debbie have met couples adopting in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and actually feel among the younger ones to adopt. They know friends who are grandmas bringing their newly adopted children home. Debbie learned as she opened her ears to hear others' stories, “There is no expiration in parenting. As the orphan crisis grows, people are opening their hearts at all stages.”

Their family came to realize, “Most of us are never going to have all the time and money we think we need to do anything in life. Our family has been very blessed, and we want to share that. It’s my hope that our story can move other families to open their hearts and lives to a child. Maybe one child’s life could change starting this Christmas!” 

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

No comments:

Post a Comment