回家的同时，中国的领养规范突然有了⼀个改变 —- 单身的⼈也可以领养了！潘蜜
Anna is a beautiful little girl born with a deformed leg. She was abandoned a day or so after birth and was sent to the government welfare institute in Inner Mongolia. Desperately needing a mother, she would hold tightly to one particular nanny and never let go, which made everyone who saw her feel so heartbroken.
Lily (the director of Lily’s House, formerly known as Harmony House) had a great relationship with the orphan welfare institute, so she asked to bring Anna back to her small group home where it was easier to find her an adoptive family. One day the two-year-old’s picture was seen by Mr. and Mrs. L on their adoption agency’s website. Mr. L fell in love immediately, thinking this is a gift from God after many years of struggling with infertility. Mrs. L, on the other hand, was hesitant. Mrs. L’s mother previously had strongly opposed the idea of adopting a disabled child because of her own leg disabilities. Even though Mrs. L felt confident about caring for a special needs child, she was afraid of her mother’s reaction. It took Mrs. L sometime to finally show her mother Anna’s picture. Much to her surprise her grandma accepted the child right away, and even said a leg disability was no problem at all — she herself was proof that disabled people could live a great life!
Anna came home shortly after she turned two. She had leg surgery and a prosthetic leg was fitted for her. Now years later, this smart six-year-old is not only good at activities that are sedentary like reading and piano, she has also done ballet, ice skating, gymnastics and cheerleading. What she loves the most is swimming and is often called “The Little Mermaid”! (The extended version of Anna’s story is here http://www.nohandsbutours.com/2016/06/28/part-world-mermaid-tale/
Because of Anna, Mr. and Mrs. L have become great friends with Lily. Later they adopted another child under Lily’s care, Timothy, who had a form of hereditary anemia and was also language delayed. Today the five year-old boy is a healthy, happy and stout child who expresses himself well. Mr. and Mrs. L have made every effort to support Lily’s House and continue to advocate for the children to find them forever families.
Around the same time that Anna was at Lily’s group home, Wills, a child with spina bifida and hydrocephalus was also spending part of his early life there where he was an extroverted little handsome guy who loved to talk. Mr. and Mrs. G had three biological children at the time and also had a big heart from God to care for vulnerable children. They decided to expand their family through adopting special needs children. Thus, Wills entered this warm and beautiful household and became a blessed son.
When Mr. and Mrs. G went to China to adopt Wills, they met Ruth, another child at Lily’s House. Ruth was also diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, which caused her to be paraplegic. Mrs. G felt so heartbroken for this girl that once she returned to America, she became very active in advocating for Ruth in social media and adoption groups. She hoped there would be parents who would feel connected with Ruth and touched by her beautiful smile and big eyes, and would be willing to bring her home. After two or three years, under Lily’s care, a notification came saying Ruth had to be sent back to the orphan welfare institute where she originally came from. Mrs. G knew that the state institute could not compare to Lily’s House of which Lily had poured so much love, labor and time into Ruth. She was anxious and sad for she knew Ruth would have a hard time adjusting back to the institute after being in Lily’s House for so long. After contemplating on the matter, she suddenly realized that she, herself, was to be Ruth’s mother, since she felt such a connection with her and was touched by her bright spirit.
When other parents who had adopted from Lily’s House learned about Mr. and Mrs. G’s intention of adopting Ruth, they were all willing to jump in and help. One person shared in her own church group and quickly raised a considerable amount of money that was needed to start the adoption process. Not long after, Ruth joined the G family, becoming a precious daughter of a loving mom and dad.
Today, Wills is a boy who loves his family, outdoor activities and swimming. His sister Ruth can move around easily with her wheelchair at home and in school. She loves to learn, but loves even more to be around her mommy. They both love their warm and lively family of seven children!
Ms. Sarah H is a hard-working school teacher who lives in Texas who owns a small house, a little veggie garden and a few dogs, living a nice and fulfilled single life. She has always been passionate about children. Other than pouring out her talents in teaching her own students, she often browsed the websites of charity organizations and adoption agencies praying for those children in need. One day she saw an eleven-year-old wheel-chair bound girl who had spina bifida. Her heart was deeply touched. She started to pray earnestly for the girl that God would bring her a family. Unexpectedly a thought came to her, as if God was speaking to her, maybe she could become the mother of this lovely girl?
This girl was Audrey, who was living in Lily’s House at the time. Being a smart girl and very good at drawing, Lily would even bring her to art classes to develop her talents. Because of her intelligence and mature interaction with the adults, she often left a great impression with many visitors to Lily’s House, including Mrs. S and Mrs. M. It was these two ladies who advocated for Audrey on the adoption agency’s website, and shared her photos that eventually would touch Sarah’s heart.
Sarah’s salary as a school teacher was sufficient for her, but she would not be able to afford the high cost of adoption. At the same time Hurricane Harvey devastated her area, affecting her house, her job and even the adoption process. However, she decided to proceed despite the setbacks and hardships. Other parents, who are supporters of Lily’s House, again stepped in to help, and she herself also worked very hard to fundraise. Slowly yet steadily she raised enough funds, and was finally able to start her adoption journey to China eventually bringing the girl of her dreams home.
Audrey now lives with her loving mother and grandmother. She loves taking care of their little farm and garden, and because of Sarah’s expertise in education, Audrey is able to be homeschooled and is steadily catching up with school work. She still draws a lot and loves to make lively cartoon characters. She also goes to Chinese school to keep the language and culture of her origin.
Among the first group of kids who were sent to be cared for by Lily, Annabelle was one of the youngest. She suffered from severe cerebral palsy, seizures, muscle spasms, and mental retardation. In many people’s eyes, survival was almost impossible. She spent most of the day lying in bed relatively expressionless. The other children at Lily’s house were slowly being adopted one by one, except for Annabelle. She stayed at Lily’s House for seven years, and there was little hope of her being adopted.
Ms. Pamela B was a widow and had raised four children to almost adulthood. When her youngest were finally graduating from high school, she started to have a restless yearning to adopt a special needs child. This could be related to her job in which she is a bus driver for disabled adults. She prayed to God, “If adoption is your will, you have to open the door for me.”
One day while on the computer and viewing pictures of a relative who had recently adopted from China, she came across a picture of Annabelle. As soon as she saw this picture, deep in her heart she knew Annabelle was to be her daughter. However, she was not even qualified for China adoption because of her single marital status. In the days that followed, while contemplating on how she could adopt, China’s rules suddenly changed to allow singles to adopt! Pamela was greatly encouraged and started to actively fundraise. Before she was due to travel, she received a huge anonymous donation, and thus started her adoption journey.
Pamela picked up her daughter from Lily’s House, where she was very impressed by how well the girl was cared for. However, for the rest of her trip, she was bombarded by the Chinese tour guide who was trying to persuade her not to bring Annabelle home because of her severe disabilities. But over the course of the journey the tour guide had a change of heart and was touched by Pamela’s enduring love for this precious child. At the end both Annabelle and Pamela were treated as VIPs, and even the tour guide bid them a tearful goodbye for the incredible love she had witnessed.
Now after six years Pamela is still grateful for Lily’s loving and wholesome care for Annabelle, who has become a funny, opinionated and happy child. With the excellent medical resources available, Annabelle can operate computers with her eyes to play simple games. She has many friends in church and Girl Scouts who adore her and loves to push her around in her wheelchair. She even had the opportunities to try horseback riding and jet skiing with a special team’s help, although that nearly gave her mother a heart attack despite that she was having a blast! Who can say that Annabelle doesn’t have an abundant life that’s worth living?
Pamela is the one of those in the big extended family of Lily’s House’s support parents that cares about the most vulnerable and needy children. That is how baby Frank caught her eyes and her heart, because he had the condition very similar to Annabelle’s.
Frank’s condition was extremely severe and fragile. When he was first sent to Lily’s House, both Lily and the nannies had already mentally prepared themselves that this child’s life would be short. However, Lily’s love and care was not deterred by his condition. A huge amount of money was allocated to buy a breathing machine for Frank, and Lily also assigned a specific nanny to care for him, periodically changing his position in bed, picking him up, holding him and comforting him.
Pamela, on the other side of world, was praying fervently for him. She was hoping to adopt Frank one day and bring this precious child home to receive a family’s love and good medical care. Sadly, however, Frank did not have the good fortune to come home. Even if someone could go to China to adopt him, his body was too weak to make the long flight home, and in the loving care of Lily and the nannies and the prayers of many people (especially Pamela), baby Frank gained his angel wings and departed this world.
It was a sad time for Lily and all the people in this extended family. Pamela’s heart was broken to pieces, and she could only hope that one day in heaven she would be able to give Frank a big hug. She wants him to know that in her heart he was never an orphan, but was her son! (The full version of Frank’s story is here https://www.nohandsbutours.com/2017/04/30/love-stories-beautiful-thing/
Frank’s short life seemed to be sad and meaningless, but because of him another child’s life was dramatically changed.
When Benjamin was sent to Lily’s House to receive foster care, he was already thirteen years old. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and had never stood or walked in his whole life. He belonged to the “hardest to place” categories among all the Chinese orphans waiting to be adopted because of his age, gender and special needs, and when he turned fourteen, he would no longer be eligible for adoption. It was hard enough to find him an adoptive family in such a short time, not to mention the nearly insurmountable adoption paperwork that also needed to be accomplished before the deadline. It was almost “mission impossible”!
Many people had tried to convince Lily not to receive this child and to send him back to his orphanage, but Lily did not want to give him up. She told Mrs. L who was visiting her at the time, “Just like baby Frank, even if there is little hope for this child, if he was sent to me, I would try my best to care for him and to help him…” They both shed tears when they talked about Frank, but it was this conversation about Frank that gave Mrs. L an idea. She thought of Pamela, and in her heart Pamela was a heroine who was full of passion and love, and who was also capable of giving good care to severely disabled children. Maybe she would be willing to provide Benjamin with a family? Mrs. L promised Lily to advocate for him, and would also contact Pamela to find out if she was willing to adopt him.
The advocacy post for Benjamin was shared among adoption groups on social media over seventy times in just a few days. Everyone felt so heartbroken to hear Benjamin’s tearful plea “I just want a mommy!” Not having heard from Pamela, Mrs. L finally mustered her courage to contact Pamela, and to politely ask her if she would consider either adopting Benjamin or advocating for him. Although Pamela did not feel led to adopt Benjamin, she promised to share Benjamin’s advocacy post to her own social media circle. Little did they know, the turning point would come quickly the next day.
Mrs. Rhonda C was a friend of Pamela. They knew each other because of a commonality of having a child with cerebral palsy. Rhonda saw the advocacy post that Pamela shared, and her heart was broken for this boy who had the same condition and was about the same age as her son. She couldn’t imagine this child being an orphan forever, and never knowing the love of a mother and father or receiving good medical care. She had never thought of adoption before, but now she started to lose sleep over Benjamin. At first her husband thought she had lost her mind, but eventually he changed and was desiring to adopt him as well. Thus, the adoption paperwork began and surprisingly advanced rapidly. Finally, just before Benjamin’s 14th birthday they signed the last adoption document. Benjamin C celebrated his 14th birthday in China with his forever mommy and daddy!
Benjamin came back home to California and was welcomed by his four siblings and many friends and family. He has an easygoing personality and is very grateful for his parents. Now he is able to walk with a walker, and interacts well with his brother who also has cerebral palsy. He also loves to hang out with his three other very active and athletic siblings. He is excited about going to school, but just like any other teenager, he enjoys even more spending time outdoors and eating American desserts! The C family really treasures this gift from God, and the adoption not only changed Benjamin’s life, it also blessed the whole family tremendously.
These stories are just a sample among many stories that have occurred in Lily’s career of caring for orphans. Over one hundred thirty children who were under her care have found their forever families, and Lily is still tirelessly working to care for orphans and support children with special needs as well as their families. It is hard to forget all that Lily has done, and her remarkable work has truly changed many children and families’ lives. Lily’s continuing hope is to change the lives of many more children not only providing so many more wonderful and miraculous stories but ultimately giving children love, hope and a future!