We are the Smith Family. Scott (Dad), Jennifer (Mom), Julian (12), Cooper (9), and Elijah (4) with a daughter awaiting us in heaven, and another in China. Welcome to our story, a story that only God could write. A story we wouldn’t change, although the path is not one we would have chosen on our own.
In early 2016, we sat in an ultrasound room with our boys waiting to hear the gender reveal of our sweet baby. The news we received was not the news we expected that day. Our baby had been diagnosed with severe skeletal dysplasia, with a less than 2% survival rate. She wasn’t expected to live beyond life outside of the womb, and most likely wouldn’t make it through the entirety of the pregnancy.
The news devastated us, but the Lord was so close to us through it all. I dare say, I have never felt closer to Him. My husband and I leaned on God through everything. We cast all our worries, pains, and sorrows on Him. We learned as much as we could about her diagnosis and prepared our family as best we could. For eighteen weeks leading up to our daughter’s birth we did everything possible to celebrate her, prepare for her, and to prepare for what was the inevitable. We would be giving our baby girl to the Lord much sooner than any parent would ever like to.
July 2, 2016 we welcomed our sweet daughter Sandra Lyn to this world for a brief two hours. Sandra’s life was short but in those two hours we fit in a lifetime of love. She was small but left a large impact on many. Her hands were tiny but had a sizable hold on our hearts. Her life was important, her life had meaning, and we will continue to see the blessing she was to all of us. Until we see her again we will hold on to these memories.
Seven months later, here we are embarking on the journey of adoption that God has set in front of us. In the middle of it all, I cannot help but think about how Sandra’s reach is extending through this process. If she was here, would I be considering this leap of faith right now? Would my faith have been this strong if it hadn’t been matured by the experience God gave us with her life and passing? Scott and I had talked previously about adoption/ foster care but the conversation never really went far. Now, I long for the day I can wrap my arms around our daughter in China.
We have been blessed by watching a couple families in our church adopt, and three members of our family begin foster care. Foster and orphan care seemed to be all around us more and more! A good problem to have, since the need for families is dire! Our heart strings were definitely being tugged, this being an understatement. The stories of each one of these children and the places they came from, you couldn’t help but be burdened. Through time in prayer, reading the Bible, conversations with an elder at our Church, and through much research we decided to pursue an adoption from China. China was best match for our family as whole, and more importantly that is where God was leading our hearts and where He had our child.
We have since been matched with a delicately framed, sweet 4 year old girl who we will name Elizabeth (God of plenty) Belle. She was left outside the gates of the welfare institute at just under 6 months and bears a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. Our sweet girl will need open heart surgery to repair this when she comes home to us. She participates in a school program called Big Sky, is close with her nanny, and loves to answer the questions in class first. We were told that she does well at performing and she was a fairy in the Children’s Day program this past year. We are blessed by her already and hardly know her. The day cannot come soon enough where we will begin enjoying life with her and for the healing to begin.