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An Adoption Story: Liam & Elijah—Best Friends Reunited

Andy and Carolyn Stell adopted their son in April 2017. We’d like to share their story and how God lead them to their son through the advocacy efforts of another adoptive family, David & Megan Rathbone. These 2 families connected in a special way—not only through sharing in their adoption journeys but also through a special connection their sons shared in China. Please take a few minutes to read their sweet story:

Carolyn shares, “We had wanted to adopt from China since we were dating, but then life happened. In April 2016, we decided that we should either pursue adopting or give up on that dream. After much prayer, we filled out the paperwork and turned it in to America World in May 2016. We promptly received a link to the blog. That same day America World posted a video of our Liam (formerly Joseph on AWAA’s WC advocacy page), but we were so new to the idea of adopting that we didn’t pay too much attention to the post.

About a month later, I woke up at three o’clock in the morning and felt that God was telling me I needed to go look at the blog and that my child was on there. I got up and looked and there he was–I knew he was my little boy in China. I woke my husband up and said, “Wake up! Don’t you want to see a video of our little boy?” We inquired about him the next day and found out that another adoptive parent, Megan Rathbone, had helped advocate by sharing Liam’s story and his need for a family. Their hearts where specifically burdened for him as she and her husband, David, had recently adopted Liam’s best friend Elijah (formerly Cade on AWAA’s WC advocacy page). From that point on, our stories were forever connected by these 2 little boys.

Megan helped encourage us through the waiting period and all the paperwork. She would periodically ask how the whole process was going. It was always at a time when we needed a little encouragement. Eleven months after we started the process, we were able to bring Liam home in April 2017. We met him the day before his birthday, and our adoption was finalized the day he turned five. Our families have stayed in contact with each other, texting pictures so the boys can see each other and even connecting through Skype.

Fast forward to September 2018 when we visited my sister who lives in the same city as the Rathbone family. Our families got together and it was amazing to see the boys’ reunion! Elijah and Liam gave each other a quick hug and ran off to play as if no time had passed for them at all. Liam doesn’t have much from his past, but to him, Elijah is his “family from China.”

We always love how God weaves adoptive families together and yet, each story is unique. As we enter a new year, have you been considering adoption like the Stell family? Have you been putting off that dream of adoption or starting your adoption application? Now is the perfect time to get started!

How to Adopt

If your family is interested in learning more about adoption or considering adoption in China, please contact our China staff at for more information. Families can view our China Adoption page for more information on children who are currently available and waiting for families.

Are you considering another adoptive country? Email or call us at 800-429-3369 with questions about our Haiti or India programs. Great information is available about all our programs on our Programs Page too.

PRE-APPLY FOR FREE for assistance in qualifying or fill out our full APPLICATION now to begin your adoption process.

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