A Heartwarming Adoption Story
February is American Heart Month, so we’d like to share a heartwarming adoption story involving a child with a heart condition. Children available for international adoption may have special needs or medical needs, which can feel daunting to prospective parents. However, we have seen many successful adoptions of children with these challenges.
If God is calling you to adopt, we feel certain he will carry you through the process, just as he did for David and Amy Horner, who adopted their daughter, Cara Mei, in 2018. Keep reading to be inspired!
Called to Adopt
God first put adoption on Amy Horner’s heart when she was in high school. She babysat for a family that had adopted, which made her dream of adopting one day. When she and David were dating, she talked openly about it. Then, after they got married, they spent time together in an orphanage as part of a mission trip. God used that experience to unite their hearts in a desire to grow their family through adoption.
After they had two biological sons, their church issued a challenge to “outlive your life.” Amy and David decided to begin the adoption process, so they adopted Grace through our China program in 2013. Five years later, they felt the Lord moving in their hearts to adopt again. They thought a heart diagnosis was something they could care for in their season of life, so they included it in their list of special needs.
Amy says, “Of course, there was some uncertainty with stepping into a heart condition. We were not sure what that would mean for our family, but we trusted the Lord was leading us.”
Adopting Cara Mei
Cara Mei had not matched with anyone on the waiting list because of her age and special needs. She was listed in an email as a child who needed a match. As soon as David and Amy saw her photo, they were drawn to her and began to discuss with the home study agent how to amend their age request. They were approved quickly for an older child and found themselves traveling to China within 6 months to bring Cara Mei home.
Cara Mei was five years old when she came home. She had been born with an atrial septal defect (ASD) and a ventricular septal defect (VSD). An ASD is a hole in the wall between the heart’s two upper chambers. A VSD is a hole in the wall between the heart’s two lower chambers. These issues were repaired beautifully in China. However, she also had a narrowed artery leading to her lungs that caused issues with her left lung and other health issues that required attention.
David says, “God was faithful to lead us to each doctor with the help of our amazing pediatrician. Cara Mei was so trusting, and we took each step in God’s timing. We have 3 older children, and none of them have special health needs, so this was new for us as parents, but God gave us the strength and wisdom as we made each decision.”
Cara Mei had surgery on her spine within the first year of coming home. She had to get x-rays and an MRI, all of which David and Amy had never done with a child. They learned she was lactose intolerant, which helped explain her weight gain issues. She began physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
Now, five years after her adoption, Cara Mei is thriving. She still has checkups for her heart, back, lungs and GI issues, but she continues to get reports that don’t require any more action.
Amy says Cara Mei’s vibrant personality blesses all who encounter her. “All who meet Cara Mei say she is marked by JOY. Whether at church, school, ball fields, or doctor’s offices, she loves meeting and talking to people. She will brighten your day, make you feel so special, and try to make you laugh. She is so trusting of us and has allowed us to graciously care for her, lead her, and love her. She blesses us with her kind words, sweet notes, and funny sayings.”
We asked David and Amy what they would say to someone considering adoption for their family.
David says, “Adoption has been a true gift for our family. Parents stepping into the adoption process need to understand that their children will not necessarily fit a specific mold. Our privilege as parents is to guide them toward understanding who God has made them to be. This has been our experience as parents for both our biological and adopted children.
“I would encourage anyone to step forward in faith to do whatever God’s leading you to do, especially if it is in adopting, even though the process can be intimidating. God revealed his care for our family and daughters in real and specific ways throughout our adoption journey. This came in tangible ways like finances, the community support we received, medical needs being met, and seeing our daughters become a part of our family. Our journey has grown our faith in who God is in real and mighty ways.”
Step Forward in Faith
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk with us about your next step.