by Jennifer Smith
After the birth of our third child, my husband and I decided that our family was complete. We were content and didn’t plan to have any more children; however, God had other plans. During the summer of 2006 we began to think about adding to our family, discussed adoption and prayed for God’s guidance. We both felt a tugging towards adoption, but we wanted to make sure it was the right path for our family. We were looking for some sort of “big” sign, and that’s exactly what we got when we attended Winter Jam in 2007 in Mobile. It was our first time to attend a Winter Jam concert, so imagine our surprise when we discovered that Holt International sponsored it. As a video presentation of orphanages in China played, we watched as tears rolled down our cheeks. When it was over, we looked at each other and said: “we’re adopting…we’re going to China.” We requested an application packet from Holt the next week.
Like most people, we experienced both miracles and challenges during our adoption journey, but we forged ahead and claimed 2 Corinthians 5:7 as our adoption verse. It states: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That verse came to mean so much to us during both the joyful and difficult times of our adoption journey.
We started out in the standard process but then switched to the China Child of Promise option. After only a few weeks in this program, we received our referral for a beautiful little girl named Shang Nan. She was listed as having vision problems. We read over the information and looked at her pictures, and we knew that she was the one. We fell in love with her instantly.
Rinnah Shangnan is doing very well now. She’s had an eye examination, and it was confirmed that she is completely blind in her right eye. She wears glasses now, and we can tell that using them is definitely helping her. She is trying to stand up now and even does somersaults! She is a good-natured and happy little girl.
Before we met Rinnah Shangnan, we anticipated that attachment would be her biggest challenge; however, she has attached and bonded remarkably well. Now our biggest challenge is helping her with the vision problem and developmental delays. She has regularly scheduled appointments with a vision therapist, as well as both a physical and an occupational therapist. Rinnah Shangnan has made a great deal of progress already, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
To those of you in process now, just remember that waiting provides you the opportunity to grow and to prepare for the changes and the challenges ahead. Even then, you will experience surprises along the way. Some things you just can’t prepare for but when you hold your child for the first time, the difficulty of waiting just fades away. The love that you feel is indescribable. We are so blessed to have Rinnah Shangan in our family, and we continue our journey – walking by faith each day.