Skip to content

Why Can’t We Be His Family? The Gividen’s Story


We are Mark and Elizabeth Gividen from Tehachapi, CA. We adopted our daughter Linsey, from Hunan, China in Dec 2004. She was 17 months old and the most beautiful thing we'd ever laid eyes on. Our family of 4 traveled to China and returned a family of 5. We couldn’t have been happier. Lifelong friendships were made on this trip. It was an incredible experience to travel with other like-minded Christians that had answered God's call to care for orphans through adoption. I’ll never forget the conversation my husband, Mark and I had while in China. We shared with each other a confidence we had that the Lord would call us back to China to adopt again. At that time, we had no idea what that would look like.

As we began our second adoption journey, I felt like a pro with the paperwork. It was so much easier the second time! I couldn’t wait to bring home a little sister for our daughter, Linsey. Having not considered special needs the first time around, (I had lots of excuses like, being an older parent, not being in the medical field, being too far away from doctors and hospitals, etc.) I’m not sure why I was on the AWAA’s Waiting Child website. I certainly didn’t feel called to special needs adoption, and we’d always talked about “another healthy infant girl.” As I was looking through the pictures of waiting children, I realized so many of them were boys. I felt led to pray for families for these sweet boys. I clicked, prayed, clicked, prayed, and then suddenly, I stopped. Look at those eyes! A little boy AWAA had named Luke, stood there all alone wearing his pink jelly shoes and holding a big truck. 


He stared back at me. I saw a face of innocence, not special needs. Luke was 2 years old, 7 weeks older than our Linsey, born with a cleft lip and palate. Linsey had been home with us just over 6 months. I couldn’t imagine her spending another day in an institution without the love of a family. He’d been without a family for 2.5 years. I did what I thought the Lord would have me do. I shared his picture with our then 14-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, as well as my husband. I told them I thought our family should commit to praying for this little boy to find a family. There had to be someone out there that could be his family. Without missing a beat, my teenagers said, “Why can’t we be his family?” Mark agreed. I stumbled and stammered, and came up with my go to answers on why we couldn’t adopt a special needs child. I even added one. “He is too close to Linsey’s age.” And then I added the profound words, “Because he’s a boy and we have a closet full of girl clothes.” 

What followed was many, many, sleepless nights and dreams that had Luke in them. A week later Mark and I called AWAA and asked for his file. Who was I kidding….he was our son. Mark and the kids were thrilled.

Luke Heritage Trip

In May 2006, while Mark stayed home with our 3 children, I returned to China with my dad to bring home our son, Luke. He had just turned 3 in Hainan, China. The Lord matched us with the most incredibly loving, sweet, funny, smart, athletic little guy you could ever imagine. Luke has turned our family upside down, bringing incredible joy and laughter to everyone he meets.

We are about 3 hours from the UCLA craniofacial team where Luke has received surgeries and orthodontics care. We are older parents. We have a special needs son. Our kids are 7 weeks apart. Oh, and we passed our pink clothes on to friends. We are blessed. 

God is Good!
Our family urges you to consider adopting a boy from China. 

Gividen AWAA Heritage Trip

Did you know that most families can complete the adoption process of a little boy through the China waiting children program in 12-16 months? Families who are open to boys and commonly seen medical needs can be matched while working on their dossier or almost immediately after. We currently have many boys available for adoption and have recently matched all but one of our families who have their dossier logged in and are open to boys, so the need is great! Please pray and consider if God is calling you to adopt a boy through China’s waiting children program. You can view boys and girls who are currently waiting for a family on our Waiting Children website. Please contact our staff at or by calling 800-429-3369 with any questions or if you are interested in reviewing a waiting child.


Leave a Comment