A Family Story: His Name is Jonah – Adopting a Son From China
About a year ago, Lon McMillan shared a two-part story with us about how God changed his perspective a bit. Both stories are below–the 2014 story, “There is This Little Boy…” and the 2015 story, “This Little Boy is Jonah”.
Lon & Kara McMillan are America World parents who have actively been partnering with America World over the years to advocate for adoption and orphan care.
There Is This Little Boy…
February 1, 2014
As I have written about in other forums, I wasnâ€™t always the advocate for adoption that I am now. The Lord has performed a mighty work in my heart, changed my perspective to be closer to His perspective, and has blessed us with seven (soon to be eight, Lord-willing) wonderful children. While this is adapted from an earlier blog post, I really want to focus and provide some perspective on our thought process as it relates to bringing a child into our home and the great need to find homes for children with special needs; especially boys. My plea and prayer is that if you are considering adoption, you will see that we all are special needs children in Godâ€™s eyes and in need of a Savior. Sure, there are practical and financial considerations but â€œâ€¦but with God, all things are possibleâ€ (Matthew 19:26). The need is great â€“ there are so many children waiting for homes â€“ but if you are reading this, you already know that.
I have experienced this beforeâ€¦four times to be exact. It starts subtly; with just a few inquiries and emails. I start thinking, oh oh, here we go again. My wife, Kara, will begin forwarding emails and links to websites with pictures, etc. and start asking, â€œWhat do you think?â€ or, â€œthere is this little boyâ€¦â€ By now, I recognize this as the Lord working through my wife to tug on my heart and bring me to the realization that we need to start praying about bringing another child into our home. However I am convinced that she has already been praying about this for some time and is sure that this is something the Lord wants her to bring to me so that we can be of one mind as a couple.
So, this time there is this little boy named â€œFynnâ€ in the Guangdong Province of China. He is classified as â€œspecial needsâ€ and just turned six-years old. The information available from China on his condition is sketchy at best but includes things like epilepsy, developmental delays, and brain abnormalities. We learned that he was in a foster home but recently transitioned back to the orphanage. How sad. Thatâ€™s about all we have to go on but as with other situations weâ€™ve encountered, we know that we need to trust the Lord in all things, including the unknowns surrounding this little boy.
The process of deciding when and how to bring a child into our home through adoption is not really a practical matter; instead it is, without a doubt a spiritual process. Due to our fallen nature, if it were a practical matter, there is very little chance that a couple in our stage of life would take on the adoption of a special needs child. In fact the reaction from some of our family and friends will be, â€œare you kidding?â€ A different perspective is; considering the fact that the Lord has blessed us beyond belief â€“ why would we NOT do this. Since we have experienced the Lordâ€™s provision and blessing with respect to our lives and our family (three biological daughters and four adopted children with special needs), it isnâ€™t difficult to imagine that the Lord may be calling us to bring this boy into our family. To us this is a very real case of strength through faith and Godâ€™s provision.
So, we begin the process again. Being firm in our faith and knowledge that our sovereign Lord has already determined our path and will make His will known to us through circumstances and His Word. From a practical or human perspective there is an unbelievable amount of uncertainty around this adoption. For one, Kara and I are technically too old to adopt from China (there is a part of me that wants to say that it was Kara that pushed us over the limit â€“ but those who know us, know better). Therefore, if this is something that is in His plans, it will happenâ€¦otherwise, our application will be denied or otherwise not accepted (for age or other reasons) and weâ€™ll move on. We are taking this step in faith and find ourselves askingâ€¦. Why would we NOT do this?
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
This Little Boy is Jonah.
May 8, 2015
Fast forward a little more than a year and here we are. â€œFynn,â€ now known as Jonah Shan AnFeng McMillan, is home with his family. We are going through the now familiar process of supporting him as he learns a new language and adapts to a new culture. Even as this transition occurs, itâ€™s already hard to imagine our family without him. The name â€œFynnâ€ was an English-sounding name assigned by the sponsoring organization before we knew him. As we waited to bring him home, our family had on-going, lengthy debates as to what his name should be. There was significant support for just keeping the name Fynn but ultimately, the â€œJâ€ theme won out. Our sons are now Jacob, John, and Jonah. While Fynn is a fine name; now that we know him better, Jonah is definitely his name.
Have there been challenges? Sure. Jonah has some fairly significant medical issues which we will work through with various specialists. There is ambiguity and sometimes no clear path to resolution of some of these conditions. Adoption can sometimes be portrayed as a fairy tale experience. It is in fact, hard work â€“ all parenting is hard work. However, any discomfort or inconvenience we experience certainly pales in comparison to what our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, did on our behalf. Moreover, our Lord is faithful and true. Each time we have stepped out in faith, He has been with us and provided all that weâ€™ve needed – in abundance.
There are many children on waiting lists; especially boys. Again it is my prayer that if you are even thinking about adoption that you would consider one of these children. It is clear that our heavenly Father cares deeply for the fatherless and as Christians, we are called to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). Even if you do not believe you are being led to adopt (not every couple is), there are many ways that you can support those who are â€“ materially through financial gifts, babysitting, counseling and other support though churches and certainly with your prayers. Please prayerfully consider how you can help.
For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. Psalm 33:4
Right now there are children in China who daily dream of having a family of their own. Our Storyteller Missions teams visit these children and bring home their stories to share so we can advocate for them to help them find their forever families. Many families can be home with a child who is currently waiting for a family in as little as 12 months–especially those wanting to adopt a son!
If you are considering adoption from China we would love to help make that possible. Visit our Waiting Child webpage, attend a free “Adopting From China” webinar, or contact our China staff at China@awaa.org or 800-429-3369.