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Celebrating a Milestone Birthday: Hook Family Story

There are many adoption stories that captivate you and make a lasting imprint on your heart and mind- for me, one of these is the story of Lily. I (Leah Rockey) remember the first day I met “Lily” in a very rural city of China, where she had lived in an orphanage for nine years. I remember watching her sit in the floor with our team as we worked with her and other children. As she sat working on a craft in the hallway with us, she would try to mimic our English words. Lily was so tiny and we were all surprised when we learned her actual age; yet, even more shocking was the realization of how long this little one’s file had been prepared and just sitting at the CCCWA waiting for a family to adopt her. Her file had been passed over time and again by families and agencies, but as you will read below, this next time would be different. God had been preparing the Hook family for little Lily and while their adoption road would not be easy, God would be there every step of the way as they navigated medical needs, emotional needs, and worked hard to make sure Lily knew she was loved, valued, accepted, and could learn to trust her new family.

Fast forward 9 1/2 years –Lily turned 19 this month and now has lived longer with a family than she did without one. Happy Birthday, Lily! It has been a joy watching your journey and we wish you many more years of wonderful memories with your family. Lily’s mom, Renee Hook, shares a portion of Lily’s beautiful story below and the significance of this year’s birthday and all that God has done in her life:

Lily is 19! For years Lily and I have been so excited about her 19th birthday because it marks a very special time in her life! Lily was an orphan in China for 9 and a half years. Turning 19 marks the day when she has been a HOOK longer than an orphan!  I cannot say enough what a miracle Lily is. When I met her, she was 9 and as small as a 3-year-old with some medical problems. Her records, as well as the doctor in China, told us that she had an underdeveloped brain and hearing and vision problems. Every child adopted from China must pass through a medical screening when leaving. The doctor tried his hardest to CONVINCE my husband that Lily could not see. My husband kindly told him she could. The doctor argued again. He just smiled and said she could see and then proceeded to test Lily in front of him. The doctor was amazed. The enemy wants to keep us down! He doesn’t want us to break free from his chains!

We adopted Lily thinking she may not ever talk or think clearly. She couldn’t even draw a circle. At 9 years old, she didn’t draw, jump, run, or even know how to speak Chinese. Our guide told us she only spoke baby jibberish, no distinguishable words.

Lily became a part of our family late one night in Langzhou. We were all tired from traveling all day. The moment we shut the door in our hotel room and it was just our family together when Lily became alive! There is no other way to describe it, but to say it was a supernatural miracle! She began to smile and laugh and jibber jabber with our son. We looked at each other and knew this wasn’t the same girl we thought we were adopting. God breathed new life into her! She learned English so fast, starting K-4 at 10 years old, and has progressed to the next school grade every year. She speaks exceptional English now!

The first few years with Lily were the hardest of my life. Constant teaching, correcting, disciplining, and loving unconditionally even when she couldn’t stand me. The next few years after that were better, but still rough. We don’t believe Lily had brain damage from birth like the orphanage said. We believe her brain was neglected so greatly and she wasn’t nurtured at all her entire first 9 years, so her brain had become trained to not trust, to not love, and to not care.

However, the last few years with Lily have been breakthrough years- Lily is a miracle! She is a fighter. She is creative and resourceful. She is ambitious and persistent. She is gentle and helpful. She is gifted and precious. And she is VERY, VERY SMART!!!!

Adoption has touched our family in such a profound way. Only other adoptive families can truly understand how continual sacrifice and hard times can bring so much blessing and joy. Most of you know that my husband and I never intended to adopt two girls (as this was back when China still allowed two children to be adopted together) and we only wanted “as young as possible” to make the transition with our family easiest. Ha! God knew better and led us to adopt Lily. I’m so thankful His Spirit speaks and guides us. I’m so thankful to be able to hear his voice. I’m so thankful for the supernatural grace He bestows on those who do what He says!

So today we celebrate that LILY HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN A HOOK LONGER THAN AN ORPHAN! We declare with her that all things and thoughts from the orphan years are no longer greater than her time with us!! We celebrate that the chains of the enemy will never return to her mind in Jesus’ Name. We thank God that He makes all things new and that we are born again into His family. His children have the mind of Christ- we thank God for freedom from fear and death and disease of the body and mind.

I am so grateful for Lily’s precious life. I share all of this with you to encourage you that God still performs MIRACLES! God cares about each one of us no matter how far gone or lost we may feel. He will COME FIND US AND RESCUE US!!!!  And for all the hard things in life He directs us to, He will provide the GRACE we need to do them.

Yay for Lily-what a beautiful precious girl. Look at this video of some of the friends that God has given her.

I prayed for years for just TWO friends that would be trustworthy and good to Lily and understand where she came from. God has blessed her with more than two. Why did I limit Him to two? Thank you, God!

May you be encouraged by this today. God is with you. Listen to Him and press on. Miracles abound!


You can learn more about the process of adopting from China on our China overview page as well as learn about eligibility requirements for a China adoption.

If you are interested in learning more about  adopting a child from China, please email our China team at or you can reach us by phone at  800-429-3369 for more information.


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