A Knoxville area couple took the message “a little child shall lead them” to heart, as their young daughter prepared them to adopt her Chinese sister–something they hadn’t planned.
In August of 2007, our daughter Gabrielle, who was four years old at the time, came to me and asked if I could teach her how to count to ten in Chinese. When I told her that I couldn’t, she asked if her daddy could.
He, of course, gave her the same resounding “no” that I had given her. A few days later, a friend of mine called to tell me that the Knoxville Chinese Christian Church was offering Mandarin classes for children and asked if I thought Gabrielle would be interested in learning the Chinese language.
I couldn’t believe my ears! I told her that Gabrielle had already expressed an interest in that language, and when I asked Gabrielle if she would like to attend the classes, she was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to start! God had—very quickly—given her the desire of her heart. She enthusiastically attended the classes and fell in love with the language.
About a year later, she came to me one day while I was in the kitchen and said, “Mama, God spoke to my heart and told me He’s going to give me a Chinese sister.” I was a little surprised, but I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time. However, it was not simply a passing thought for her.
Clearly, she was serious about this, and she wasn’t going to let us forget about it. Every couple of days she would ask, “Are you working on getting my Chinese sister?” Then she began to ask, “Are you praying about it?” That’s when my husband and I knew that we had better start talking to God about this ourselves.
We found an adoption agency in South Carolina that facilitates China adoptions, so we decided it would be a good idea to take Gabrielle there to let her meet the staff and learn what adoption is all about.
We wanted her to have a full understanding of what would be involved if we decided to pursue this dream of hers. But who were we kidding? She had been ready for months!
It wasn’t long before we were walking alongside Gabrielle on the road to adoption—the journey to her sister! In April of 2009, we started our paperwork. Anyone who has been through the adoption process knows that the paperwork alone is the hardest, most tedious task.
When we were able to view a list of adoptable children, Gabrielle knew right away which one was her sister—a little girl whom they said loved to sing, dance, and play dress-up, a little girl who is 7 months younger than her big sister Gabrielle, who adores her Chinese sister and who has loved her from the moment God spoke to her heart. In June of 2010, we traveled to China and brought home Gabrielle’s sister, Gracie Mae.
The question we are most frequently asked is, “How did you prepare Gabrielle for your adoption?” I have to answer in all honesty and say, “We didn’t prepare her, she prepared us!”