But there was one little girl I advocated for who held a very special place in my heart--she was the shy, smiling photo right next to Lan Lan's on the waiting child listing. Beautiful Girl.
Beautiful Girl was a child that stayed on that photo listing long after other children's faced heralded the banner "I have a family!"
It broke my heart that hers didn't.
In fact, nearly two years after we first saw her photo, with newly adopted Lan Lan adding exuberant light to our own family, I still saw Beautiful Girl's incredibly lovely face on our agency's waiting child page.
We talked about whether or not Beautiful Girl might be meant for our family. We felt God leading us to adopt two children all along. We even talked to our agency about the possibility, but in the end we all agreed Lan Lan would do best with a younger sister.
And yet . . . I could not get Beautiful Girl out of my mind.
One day I received updated photos from someone who was advocating for Beautiful Girl. With her face lighting up my laptop, newly adopted Lan Lan caught a glimpse.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Lan Lan knew Beautiful Girl!
Lan Lan immediately said her name and recalled times together at orphanage sponsored events. Lan Lan laughed when recalling some of Beautiful Girl's humorous antics. She said she was a sharing girl and wanted her to come and play at our house! She even pieced together her limited English with gestures to convey that they could have a sleepover, with Beautiful Girl sleeping on the top bunk.
I was ready to fly to China that very day and make sleepovers permanent.
The conversations about possibly adopting Beautiful Girl began once again--in earnest. And yet, somewhere deep down inside, we didn't feel God saying yes. We really believed Lan Lan would struggle with an usurp in birth order. It was a confusing time. Our hearts ached for Beautiful Girl.
I e-mailed every family I knew who I thought might be a match. I posted her info on an adoptive forum. Hubby asked a couple of families he knows. And of course, I advocated for her on my blog.
There was silence.
Until one glorious day.
My phone rang and I saw a close friend's caller ID come up. Smiling I picked up, expecting to have a conversation about scheduling a playdate for Lan Lan and their daughter S. (Lan Lan and S. are the best of friends). Instead, I was surprised when asked if a particular name meant anything to me. It was Beautiful Girl's Chinese name. They were asking for her file!
I was stunned! I thought this family was "done" adding kids (some people actually do reach that point you know!). I hadn't even considered asking them about Beautiful Girl. It was through that blog post they first saw their daughter's face, but finding it again proved challenging. It was discovered that Beautiful Girl had been removed from China's shared list (China's database of waiting children).
It seemed Beautiful Girl had vanished into thin air! There was no way to find which agency (if any) she had been released to. Perhaps her file had been pulled for good! It was a distressing time!
But a few days later, God wowed us again when He unexpectedly led me to her picture on another agency's photolisting. I was awed that God would use little me to help bring one of His precious children home, and I was even more overwhelmed that He would bring her to friends who live just blocks away!
Yes, Beautiful Girl is now the daughter of our dear family friends! Yes, Beautiful Girl is now the sister of Lan Lan's close friend S.! Yes, Beautiful Girl is now reunited with Lan Lan, her friend from China!
Our friends began their adoption process not knowing how they would finance it, not knowing how they could ever possibly complete the daunting dossier, not knowing how it would feel to attach to a teenager.
It was only through faith.
And God answered big time.
And shortly after Beautiful Girl was matched, we found our Mei Mei. God's perfect plan.
Beautiful Girl just came home. HOME! She has an amazing FOREVER family. And the first time Lan Lan met her at the park, and they began to shyly reconnect, all I could do was stare, and hold back tears, and marvel at God's perfect plan.
A miracle. Truly, a miracle.
S., Beautiful Girl, Lan Lan, and Mei Mei
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!