Our Adoption Story

Early in the evening on the 2nd day of November 1999, I received a phone call that spun our lives around in ways we never expected. The voice on the other line posed a question, “Would you like to have a daughter?” Stunned and in the middle of taking the puppy out to the grass, I asked her to tell me more.

The woman replied, “She has a cleft palate but we have a surgeon willing to fix that. The doctors think she is deaf but we really believe she can hear. There is a heart murmur but so many kids grow out of those and they said she has a club foot but we don’t think so.”

It is among the rarest of moments in my life when I am rendered speechless. I told her I would talk to my husband and let her know. His reaction to the look on my face when I entered his office is imprinted in my memory. He was packing up his satchel to go to a training. I told him about the call, we stopped and prayed. When he returned that night we agreed, this was our baby.

A week later we found ourselves holding our precious child. So tiny and frail in our arms. She didn’t have the typical Chinese face I had expected. It took every ounce of energy she had to eat. One of the volunteers had bought what she thought was a bottle for cleft palates but it wasn’t. Looking back we were so fortunate that she didn’t get very sick. We hadn’t been told everything about her condition.

The day before we were to leave with her a volunteer blurted out over the phone, “You do realize she’ll be mentally retarded don’t you?” At that moment it couldn’t have been clearer that I was fully her mother. Through anger with tears burning my face I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about. Quickly hanging up I held on to my heart with everything I had and turned to my husband. I knew the minute I told him, there would have to be a decision made. Fear that he would say it was too much, the ache that he might tell me we couldn’t handle this pulsated through my veins.

“They say she is going to be mentally retarded. What if their right?” I squeezed out of my tightened throat. “So what? What if she is? She is still our daughter. Don’t you remember the story of David and Mephibosheth?” That wasn’t a story I had been told in Sunday School. He went on to explain how David was brought the son of his dear friend Jonathan who was “lame in both feet”. He was taken into David’s family. Thats what we were going to do. She would sit at our table the rest of her days. The next day, we left the area and headed closer to home holding our miracle that God had so graciously chosen to place in our lives.

For three weeks I stayed with my parents just two hours from the state line. Our paperwork had to be cleared before we could take her home to her waiting father and sister. My Dad became her second caretaker. Nights were so difficult so the minute she would make a sound in the morning, he would slip into the room to scoop her out of the cradle so I could sleep.

Exactly a month from the day I received the first call, I answered the phone to hear my adoption counselor say that our paperwork had cleared. We were in the car a half an hour later to take the winding tree lined interstate home. We arrived to chinese takeout and excited neighbors waiting to welcome us home.

This of course is only the beginning of the story. You are welcome to pull up a chair as you sip your beverage of choice and browse our stories. My desire is that you will find encouragement and peace through our lives filled of joy, peace and always hope.

Here is an outdated but heartfelt slideshow.

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  1. Oh, Jemelene….I saw your photos on Facebook about Allison and came back to find out more…The scenes with she and Mickey and Minnie…wow. Those got me. You are blessed.

    1. Thank you Jody! She is really amazing and she has brought so much beauty into our lives. Being her parents has certainly shaped us in ways we never expected. Maybe that’s the best part of it!

  2. Hi Jemelene,
    Thank You for sharing your daughter’s story.I was touched deeply by the slide show.
    We have a newborn son diagnosed with Emmanuel Syndrome. He probably won’t make it out of the hospital .We are struggling to let go. Especially me. I need more infomation.Where can I get some? His situation is very critical because his stomach and intestines are twisted.Have you heard of any one with ES that severe and servived?
    Blessings!
    Terri-Ann

  3. Hi Jemelene,
    Thank You for sharing your daughter’s story.I was touched deeply by the slide show.
    We have a newborn son diagnosed with Emmanuel Syndrome. He probably won’t make it out of the hospital .We are struggling to let go. Especially me. I need more infomation.Where can I get some? His situation is very critical because his stomach and intestines are twisted.Have you heard of any one with ES that severe and servived?
    Blessings!
    Terri-Ann

    1. Terri-Ann,

      I’m sorry for not getting to you sooner. I’ve been on vacation.

      Have you checked out emnuelsyndrome.org? Also, there is a Facebook group I can add you to if you wish. There is an entire army of parents who have walked this path and will want to share the journey with you.

      Thank you for reaching out. You are loved.

      Jemelene

      1. I would love to be added to that FB page.Thanks for your response.Since I wrote last our baby boy has been doing better.He is needing surgery ASAP on his stomach and intestines.We need prayers for that and I would love to link up with more parents like myself.
        Terri

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