I have used Vanguard’s Adoption Assistance Program twice. My wife and I had adopted our oldest daughter as a baby when I first joined Vanguard, and we also had a biological son, but felt we had room in our family for one more.
We knew there were some children who were older or had special needs and were still waiting to have a family of their own. Last year, we adopted our seven-year-old daughter from China.
She didn’t speak English at the time of her adoption, but the orphanage caretakers told us through translators how happy she was to hear the news: “…she looks so excited, she keeps saying, I have a mom and dad!” Can you imagine being seven, without a mom and dad, then finding out you do have a family, and they are coming to take you home?
We spent two weeks in China and took our older two children, then 10 and 11, along with us to meet our daughter and bring her home. Our new “mèimei” (younger sister) was shy at first, but quickly showed that she had a size 10 personality in a size 7 body. I can still picture her marching through the busy city of Guangzhou cheerily calling out to hotel staff, “Nǐhǎo!” (hello) with her family struggling to keep up with her. Spotting a moth on a window, she shouts to her new family, “Ji
ě jie! Guò lái! Nǐ kàn!” (Sister, come here, look!)
The process was challenging, requiring a lot of trust and faith from her, us, and others, that somehow it will all work out right. In many ways, we pursue things in life that are difficult, and they often end up being worth the effort more than anything else. This is one of them.