December 24th, 1997 marks the most exciting Christmas for my family. It was on that evening when Xiao Qing (pronounced "sthew ching") was placed in my parents' arms for the very first time. The tears, smiles, hugs and kisses all flowed freely. I've never seen larger smiles in my entire life. She was ours. My parents had their first daughter. And I won the lottery and inherited a little sister.
When my parents began the adoption process through China in the mid-90’s, the wait time was fairly short. However, the journey to bring our newest family member home turned out to be longer and harder than our family ever expected. Misplaced papers in China caused our wait to nearly double in length. Through all the unexpected waiting and the unknown, I watched my parents cry out to God for faith, patience and obedience time and time again.
When little Mao Xiao Qing’s referral finally came, God’s sovereign hand over the entire situation became perfectly clear. This little girl, born in China, yet who had been in my parents’ hearts and dreams and prayers for years, was only 6 months old. Had my parents received a referral when they had wanted it, Kathryn (as we named her) would not be a part of our lives. Had God operated around our timeframe and what we thought was best for us, Kathryn wouldn’t be loved by or be a blessing to our family.
Kathryn is one of the most precious people in the world to me. By the time that she was 1, she was forming full sentences. By the time she was 2, we couldn’t get her to stop talking. (No, seriously, I timed her once. She went 1 minute 27 seconds without taking a single breath, only to stop mid-sentence to gasp hungrily for oxygen before picking up right where she left off.) When she turned 4, she became obsessed with babies and childbirth and would proudly declare that when she grew up she was going to be “a nanny and an obstetrician.” Around the time she turned 5, she built her first “house” made entirely out of toothpicks, paper clips, Scotch tape, bed sheets and a jump rope (making my grandfather, a retired architect, beam with pride). By the time she turned 8, she could do more push-ups in 2 minutes than I could.
Fast forward to 2010: Kathryn is 13, a loving (and truth be told, at times, bossy) older sister to 3 siblings (all adopted from China), loves to watch the original Star Wars (I’ve taught her well), can demolish a burrito at Chipotle, is a fierce competitor in any game that anyone is foolish enough to challenge her in, and is quick to belt out her contagious laughter as we poke fun at each other over weekend dinners or as she retells a story for the eighteen-millionth time.
Although not the perfect child, Kathryn is the perfect fit for our family. God had just the right plan for our family through the extended wait period. I’m excited to further see his plans for Kathryn’s life unfold as she enters womanhood. He certainly has the very best plan for your family and your adoption journey, as well. Though you may not yet be able to see it, He is at work. God’s ways are not our own (Isaiah 55:8 – 9); His plans are not always what we expect or even desire in our limited perspectives, but they are infinitely better than anything we could ever ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Jason West, Director of Development