This is the story of Tom & Kelly Doctor when they adopted their precious daughter, Avery.
Our journey to adoption was absolutely faith based! People are always asking me what made us want to adopt. My answer to that is simple. Jesus died on the cross for us. There is NOTHING we could ever do to even come close to repaying Him for that sacrifice (not that it is even expected of us!). So what could we do as a family to honor that ultimate sacrifice? We could absolutely give a child a family and a home (i.e. the least of my brethren)!
We prayed about it a lot. It had to be something that everyone was on board with. It was in 2003 that we began the process of international adoption. Some folks ask why we did not choose to adopt domestically. At the time, there were so many news reports about children who were put up for adoption in the U.S. and then 3-5 years later some relative or baby daddy who wasn't properly notified would go to court to get the child back. I would watch as these children were torn from their adoptive parents' arms and knew that I could not bear that. Plus, EVERY child deserves a family, no matter what. But really, when people do ask me that, the first thing I say is, "Oh, are you asking because you are thinking of adopting?" The answer is always, "No" but it's my snarky way of calling them out.
So, it took over a year of paperwork, background checks, reference letters, financial disclosures, home study by a social worker, etc. Our paperwork went to China in August of 2004. We didn't get to pick out our daughter, God (and China) did that for us. In late Sept. of 2004 our social worker called us and said that she had a FedEx envelope with our daughter's picture in it. We met with her immediately and there are no words to describe holding that picture (attached) and knowing that this is your child. Our social worker told us that we had 24 hours to review her medical history with a physician if we wanted to. There was really no reason. This was our child, no matter what. So we signed right then and there. In late October 2004, Tom and I and our two girls (who were in kindergarten and 9th grade at the time) took a trip of a lifetime to go get our Avery in China. She had been abandoned in a box on the steps of a hostel and found by her orphanage director of all people. She was found on Sept. 25 of 2003 so they gave her the birthdate of Sept. 21 because she still had her umbilical cord attached. Avery was actually 13 months old when we got her.
We started this journey in the hopes of giving a family to a child who had none and hopefully being a blessing to that child. But in the end, it is that child who has blessed OUR lives BEYOND MEASURE. In China, people would pat Avery's head when we were out with her and say 'Lucky Baby'. Little did they know that it is we, who are the lucky ones.