I do. I believe, as Shakespeare wrote, that there is a “Divinity that shapes our ends”. This story is a prime example of Divine intervention. This is a personal experience I rarely share. It is how my daughter came to us almost twenty years ago.
It was a Summer afternoon. I was driving home from work when I suddenly felt a prompting (by prompting I mean an unusually strong thought that felt external) to turn on my car radio.
I turned the radio on to catch the last part of an NPR program about the growing number of abandoned girls in China. I listened for just a few minutes when I felt another prompting, this one even stronger than the first.
One of those children is yours. Go get her.
Adoption was not something my wife, Keri, or I were thinking about. Still I picked up my cellphone. “I think we’re supposed to adopt a Chinese girl,” I said to Keri, feeling a little crazy as the words came out of my mouth. To my surprise she said, “Okay,” as casually as if I’d just asked if we could have chicken for dinner.
This was completely out of character for my wife as Keri tends to take her time before making most decisions, but especially the big ones. For instance, while looking for the home where we were then residing, Keri had burned through three very annoyed real estate agents before deciding on a place. And adding a child to a family is one of the biggest decisions anyone can make.
That night, at dinner, I asked Keri, “Were you serious about adopting a Chinese baby?”
She nodded. “Yes. I am.”
Suddenly Jenna, our nine-year-old daughter, said, “Mom, my dream.”
Keri’s jaw dropped. “Oh my. Yesterday, Jenna told me that she dreamt that we adopted a Chinese baby.”
The next morning my agent called from New York. “I had the strangest dream last night,” she said. “I went with your family to Disneyworld. But every time I turned around there was a little Chinese girl following us.”
My heart skipped a beat. I told her about the day before.
“What are you going to do?” my agent asked.
“I don’t know. But it feels like it’s pursuing us, so I guess we’ll find out.”
That weekend I went to a family reunion where I ran into a cousin, a lawyer, I hadn’t seen for a few years. “How’s the practice?” I asked.
“Good,” he said. “But lately I’ve been doing something a little different. I’ve been specializing in foreign adoptions.”
I told him about what had happened to us over the last few days and he smiled knowingly. “I hear these kinds of stories all the time,” he said. “Things will work out. But, in the meantime, batten down the hatches.”
“What do you mean?”
“Once you make up your mind, all hell will break loose trying to stop you. But hang in there and things will work out.”
I thought it was a peculiar, if not ominous, remark but Keri and I moved forward, locating a Portland agency that specialized in Chinese adoptions. My cousin’s words proved prophetic. Almost immediately after signing the agency contract everything seemed to go wrong with the process. At one point we were delayed for several months because a report came back that I was a convicted felon.
“How did you clear that up?” I asked the woman at the agency.
“The other Richard Paul Evans is in prison. You’re not.”
After more than a year and nearly $20,000 we still had no child. We began to question our decision.
Then, unexpectedly, Keri got pregnant. Our last child had taken years of emotionally painful infertility treatments. This time we hadn’t even been trying. We began to wonder if we were really supposed to adopt this child after all. Still we persevered. Nearly two years into the process the biggest problem we now faced was that time was running out. To begin the process we had to file for a special adoption application with China–one that was about to expire. If it expired before we got our child we would have to start the entire process all over again, something I knew that, after all we had been through, would be too much.
Before becoming a writer I had been a political advertising consultant and I personally knew most of Utah’s congressional delegation. I contacted both of our U.S. Senators who agreed to help. But nothing came from their efforts.
Then Keri gave birth to our first son. Six days later she experienced complications that nearly took her life. I think it was then that we hit the wall. We were wrong. Adopting a Chinese child wasn’t meant to be.
Then, with just a few weeks before our Chinese application was to expire, Keri said something profound. “We’ve relied on money and political clout to make this happen, not God. We believed that God wanted us to adopt this baby. Now it doesn’t seem like He wants us to. I think we need to surrender it to Him. If God doesn’t want us to adopt we need to accept that too.”
“You’re saying we should give up?” I said.
“No,” she said. “You know how much I want this baby. I’m saying we should give it up to God.”
She was right. We had started the adoption process because we felt we had been Divinely inspired. It was time to prove that we had been.
The next day we fasted to increase our spirituality, then, that evening, we went to our church and prayed. As we drove home I said to Keri. “I feel at peace.” She nodded. “So do I.”
Less than an hour later we received a phone call from the adoption agency. “We have a baby for you,” the woman said. “You need to make your travel plans immediately and go get her before your certificate expires.”
A week later I was on a plane to China. Keri was unable to go because of our infant son, but I’ll never forget the joy I felt calling Keri and telling her I was holding our little girl. Keri wept. She wept again when I got off the plane and put McKenna in her arms.
McKenna came from a tiny, impoverished farming village in the countryside south of Guangzhou province. Her life would likely have been one of extreme poverty with few opportunities. Today, McKenna is an intelligent, beautiful young woman who has brought light and joy to our home. (And just received the Presidential Scholarship at a local university.)
Shakespeare was right. There is a “Divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will”. Especially in a realm as important as the course of a child’s life. If God can align the workings of the universe is it so difficult to believe that He can do the same with our lives?
Please share. There may be someone you don’t know who needs to read this.
Our daughter, McKenna, graduates from High school this year and Keri and I will be taking her back to China for the first time. We are taking a few of my readers with us. If you would like information on how you can join us CLICK HERE.
Richard Paul Evans is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Box and the Michael Vey series. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling The Walk series, the story of a man who, upon losing his wife, home and business, decides to walk across America.