Family Story: How a Mission Trip Led Me to My Son
The following was written by America World mom to two children from China, Jennifer Rohrer. Being a Storyteller is all about taking those steps of faith when God say “go”. For Jennifer and her family, a new chapter in all of their stories began with an America World Mission Trip to China.
Our adoption journey started in November of 2010 when I turned 30 years old (the age that China allows you to start the adoption process). Getting through miles and miles of paperwork was not easy. It was hard to imagine a “child” behind all of that paperwork. It took over a year to get logged into China's system (our log in date was May 8th of 2012). At the nine-month mark of being logged into China's system we received the phone call that we felt like we had waited an eternity for. Finally, our daughter was introduced to us through an email. A cute little brown eyed girl with short black hair stole our hearts the moment we set eyes on her. Months later (August of 2013) we were flying out of the country for the first time ever to meet our dear daughter, Ella Joy. We knew we would adopt again. We had always talked about having two daughters.
Six months after we brought Ella Joy home we were on the adoption journey once again. While I was working on our dossier, it was brought to my attention, through America World's Missions Team, that there was a team being sent to Gansu, China. Well, there were TWO teams being sent to Gansu (Ella is from Gansu Province). One team was heading out in May of 2014 and the other team was leaving in October of 2014.
I have always wanted to go on a missions trip. I felt God tugging at my heart strings and found myself contacting Becki Carlson about the trip in May. Becki was helping Amy Tobin (the missions team leader) build her team for the trip in May. In order for this trip to happen, Amy needed 6 team members. I had no idea how God was going to provide for this trip since we were in the middle of building our dossier at the time, but I felt God leading me to say yes.
After I had signed up I found out some amazing information. Our team would be serving at an orphanage in the exact city which was my daughter's birth place! I was totally in shock. I was simply amazed on how things worked out for this trip. In a matter of just a few months I was able to work on building our dossier (in hopes to send it to China in May) and raise funds for the missions trip as well.
So fast forward to the trip in May. It was an amazing experience to set foot on the same soil that my daughter had once called home. Not only was I able to meet her foster mom (totally not planned.. yet another God thing!) but I was also able to share some photos of our daughter and let her foster mom know that I had appreciated all that she had done for Ella. I never, ever thought I would have the chance to visit Ella's orphanage, much less meet her foster mom! Wow!
So here's where the story gets even more amazing. We had spent a week in the orphanage serving and working along side the nannies. We met so many amazing children. I noticed that most of the children in the orphanage were boys. China is known for their girls, but here we were surrounded by at least 80% boys. I felt God speaking to me once again, “Why not a boy?” Well, when I arrived home from China my heart was broken for all of the children in need of families. I knew God was about to do something amazing, even though we had just submitted our dossier and it was almost ready to be logged into China's system. I approached my husband, Phil, with this question, “Are you open to adding a boy to our request?” He had to think about it. I mean we had already gone through the whole adoption process in hopes to adopt another girl. We had already paid the price to send our dossier to China. I told Phil to pray about it and that I would be praying as well.
I reached out to our Family Coordinator asking her what we would need to do in order to request a boy. I also asked her about the wait time for a match. Her reply was, ”The current wait for a boy with the special needs that you are open to is 0-6 months from your LID date (when dossier is officially logged in with China authorities). We currently have a boy on our Waiting Child website, “Benjamin”, who has cleft lip and palate that we don’t have a family for.” (referral photo below)
So I find myself logging into the Waiting Children website to find this boy that they are referring to as “Benjamin.” Let's just say that I had seen this handsome boys profile before. Even after we brought Ella home, I was always looking at the Waiting List that our agency had listed online. “Benjamin” was, of course, the most adorable little boy in the entire world.
Since Phil was at work during the email exchanges, I decided to send him “Benjamin's” profile information. I told him that he did not have to reply to my email. I totally didn't mean that though. I waited and waited and then, wrote yet another email to Phil. And of course, he replied. He wanted to know more information about Bennett (“Benjamin”). Once again I was amazed at how God was bringing this all together.
Our Family Coordinator mentioned to me that they had sent a team to “Benjamin's” orphanage in June and that I could contact the team leader for more information about him. I reached out to the team leader almost immediately. I was surprised at how quickly I received a response. I received the following email:
“I leave tomorrow to lead a team to SWI (Social Welfare Institute) and will be loving and observing children with this orphanage partnership of AWAA.”
“Woah, they are leaving tomorrow?”, I thought to myself. “How awesome is that?” Since the team had not left yet we were able to contact the team leader with questions about “Benjamin” that she could ask the staff at his orphanage. After praying and praying and praying during the week.. we were able to not only obtain updated photos of “Benjamin”, but we were also able to learn more about his personality, medical needs, and know that he was well taken care of.
So, of course, we felt God opening the doors for this adoption. And, of course, we said “YES!”. Five months after saying “yes” we were headed to China to meet our sweet little boy, Bennett Elijah.
When I said “yes” to serving on a missions team in May of 2014 God opened so many doors. If I had not served, Bennett Elijah would not be a part of our family today.
– by Jennifer Rohrer
America World mom
You can visit the China Waiting Child pages to learn more about children who are currently waiting for a forever family.
America World Mission Trips are scheduled for 2015 to China, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Haiti. Visit the Trips page to see a full list of trips and their dates.
#BeAStoryteller for orphans in 2015!