Columnists > Soul Food

Gotcha Day, at last

How God opened doors to bring Corrie Yang Bao home

Issue: "Walk the Talk," Nov. 15, 1997

Two years ago, we began a process that brought Corrie Yang Bao into our family. Here is how it happened. We had seen many news programs about orphaned and abandoned children over the years, and though the scenes often moved us, this time our response was different. The faces of those infants and toddlers in the Chinese orphanage would not go away. God spoke to us, saying, "You have a daughter in China." We both sensed an urgency to move quickly. We found an agency and completed our homestudy and all the paperwork in record time. In November 1995 we sent our dossier to the Chinese government. We had been told to expect a wait of three or four months, so we cleared our calendars for March 1996. Yang Bao was found on April 10 at the gates to Heng Yang City by some civil affairs officers during their morning rounds. They took her to the HengYang Welfare Institute where she was placed in the orphanage. Her birth certificate lists her birth date as March 21, 1996. Then began the long wait. In Beijing the government agencies and departments that had been handling the three-year-old international adoption program were going through a major reorganization. When the dust settled, our dossier was sitting in the wrong place. Though our agency had worked successfully with the Ministry of Justice for two years, the Ministry no longer had direct responsibility for adoptions. Late in the summer of 1996, our dossier was finally transferred to the new Chinese Committee on Adoption. We began to hear reports of a change in policy concerning adoptive families who already had children. The Chinese adoption law had always stated that only childless couples over 35 could adopt healthy infants. We had been prepared to adopt a child with "medical needs," knowing that in practice the medical needs had almost always been relatively minor. But word came from China that "minor" health problems would no longer be considered medical needs. In addition, our agency advised us that it would be very difficult for us to be approved by the Chinese government because of our other children. We had seven children when we initially applied to adopt, and we learned that Cyndy was pregnant just as we sent in our adoption application. While we waited for word from Beijing, our eighth child, Emily Joy, was born in August, 1996. Convinced that God had promised us a daughter from China, we continued to wait, though the news from our agency was not good. A letter came, saying, "China has rejected families with three or more children; you need to be prepared for the possibility that you will not be assigned a child." Through September, then October, then November and December, we waited. On December 31, 1996, we received a phone call that we had been approved for adoption and should be ready to travel on January 19th. Our adoption agency was as flabbergasted as we were. But we all rejoiced in God's sovereignty. Rob flew to Beijing with our 13-year-old daughter, Micah. Cyndy stayed home with the new baby. On January 22, Rob held our daughter, Corrie Yang Bao, for the first time. "Gotcha Day" at last! Ten days later mom and brothers and sisters and many of the folks who had helped pray her home celebrated at the airport. What many had called impossible, God had brought to pass. As one friend put it, God had walked us right through a closed door. Even in the People's Republic of China, God is sovereign. And now we have nine children. Corrie has adopted us just as much as we have adopted her. God selected her for us and entrusted her to us every bit as much as he has selected and entrusted to us each of our nine children-three sons and six daughters-and each one is a special blessing to us from God. As we've reflected on the events of the past two years and the tremendous blessing that Corrie has been to our family, we've been continually awed by God's faithful provision for us and for Corrie. But as we have learned more about adoption, what puzzles and saddens us is how few adoptions actually take place. In the United States, there are approximately 130,000 adoptions each year. About 50,000 of those children are adopted by a step-parent or other relative. About 50,000 adoptions are arranged by private agencies, 20,000 by state agencies, and about 10,000 are international. Four thousand of those 10,000 are from China. We expected the numbers to be higher, and we pray that they will increase as Christians become more aware of the need. We'd encourage all Christian families to prayerfully consider adoption. Historically, the early church was known for its care for the abandoned children of the Roman Empire. Christians have a special reason to be willing to adopt. Adoption is, after all, a picture of what God did for us as Gentile believers. Paul says in Romans 8:15: "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" November is National Adoption Month.

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