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A Blessing from China

Her infant daughter was on the other side of the world. Who would watch over her?

By Stacie Chambers, Davenport, Iowa

As appeared in

Twenty-plus hours on a plane would make anyone fidgety, but this was the most important trip of my life. My husband, Doug, and I were on our way to China to meet our new daughter and take her home to Kansas.

I pulled a handful of photos out of my purse. I had already given her a name: Hannah. She was two years old—older than many adoptees because Chinese authorities considered Doug and me too young to take an infant out of the country.

To increase our chances for success—full adoption—we were open to caring for special needs. We just wanted a child! For months I’d held onto this paltry collection of pictures wishing I could hold the little girl in them.

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She was a tiny thing with big brown eyes and curling wisps of dark hair. I re-read for the hundredth time the brief paragraph of information the orphanage had sent.

“The baby was born in the village of Wuzhou and has no family,” it said. She had no family in China, but she had me. I already loved her, and I longed to know more about her. She appeared to be healthy, but I worried about her first two years.

Her first smile, her first word, her first steps. Had she ever been sick with no one to comfort her? Had she cried too many tears, even for an infant? There was so much I would never know, and Hannah would never be able to tell me.

I closed my eyes and prayed the prayer I’d been praying since the agency matched us up: God, send Hannah an angel to watch over her until I get there. She’s all alone in the world.

“Almost there,” Doug said. It was hard to believe our journey was almost over. We’d started trying to have children a few years before. When it didn’t happen I had some fertility treatments.

“It comes down to this,” I said to Doug when that didn’t work. “Do we want to be parents or do we want to be pregnant?”

A TV report about poor conditions for little girls in Chinese orphanages had sealed the deal for us. What could I do now but trust God to care for Hannah until we could?

Above my head the Fasten Seat Belt sign chimed. We were beginning our descent into Hong Kong. From there Doug and I and the other new parents would go on to China. “We’ll arrive as a couple,” Doug said. “We’ll leave as a family.”

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It seemed like forever before we got to our base hotel in Nanning. A representative escorted the group to a building where we would meet our children.

An interpreter explained the procedure. Every few minutes someone would shout out the name of a baby and a couple would make their way out of the crowd.

Finally our Hannah! Doug put his arm around me and we followed the interpreter to a little room. As if by some fairy-tale magic, there she was, so small and delicate. Our daughter! I loved her even more.

“She has traveled ten hours on a bus from her village of Wuzhou,” the interpreter explained. “She’s tired. Give her time to rest.” Hannah cried most of the way back to the hotel, but Doug and I had never been happier.

Back in our room, I rocked Hannah to sleep in my arms, wondering if she’d ever been rocked before, if she’d ever been loved.