How far will God go to redeem just ONE? I’ll show you!
On Nov 7, 2005 a precious little girl was born to a family that could not or would not choose to parent her. Only God knows the reasons why that family chose to leave her in the clinic of the hospital that day when she was just 8 months old…. Was it because she was a girl? Or had they discovered that she had been born with Down Syndrome and almost every medical problem associated with it. Her heart was broken…. Her intestines partly blocked… Her vision weak. Not a dream come true by any stretch of the imagination. Discarded to be found by officials that ultimately decided that her life was not worth saving… She was cast aside and over the course of the next 20 months would be left to slowly die. She needed heart repair…. Not something you do for a child no one wants. Unadoptable. That’s what they called her. Unwanted. She would die and no one would notice….
But the God who created her just as she was, noticed… He whispered into the heart of one of His children and sent her to be His hands and feet to the fatherless; to the least of the least; the unwanted and the unadoptable. Melinda arrived at the orphanage and was presented 2 children from among the “normal” population of orphans to consider for fostering… They were surrounded by toys and bright colors, and their sparkling smiles warmed Melinda’s heart…. She could do this!!! There was one other child left for Melinda to consider, but she was on another floor, specifically reserved for children with mental disabilities. Melinda was led there and was instantly struck by the cold and lifeless feel in the air. What a stark contrast to the bright colors surrounding the children downstairs. Her eyes laid upon a child, so sick, so malnourished, so in need of love and hope… Add to that a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and a laundry list of other medical issues and Melinda knew she was witnessing one of the most heartbreaking stories in her lifetime. The orphanage claimed the child was 28 months old. You would have never guessed it by looking at the shell of a body laying there so lifelessly, malnourished and dying.
Melinda asked that she might foster all 3 of the children she’d met that day… No- only one. She would have a week to complete the required paperwork and to choose. How is one to choose, she wondered, when they all desperately needed to be wanted? She cried out to God to point out the ONE He had in mind… There was no mistaking His choice.
“I’ll take that ONE!” Melinda said, as she pointed toward the little one so sick and so near death… The orphanage staff looked at her with disbelief. Did she not know that this child was destined to die “unwanted”? Undaunted, Melinda insisted that THIS was the child she had been sent to find.
|I know this is hard to see- but this is the reality of so many of the fatherless around the world tonight!
Within a few hours, she would return to her apartment with the dying child she discovered beneath the layers of oversized clothing… It was a girl! She would name her Abigail! A bath would be her first order of business… And the smile that first warm bath brought confirmed that she had selected the ONE child God had in mind for her…. “Unwanted” no more. She was wanted deeply, not only by the God who had so perfectly fashioned her, but by the earth’s angel He had sent to rescue her too.
Melinda didn’t have much to offer her, but she had love and she would give her that! And through that love, little Abigail discovered what it meant to be wanted! And she was taught before she could even fully understand, about the God who would send hope to the darkest and the most hopeless of places to find her. All to redeem just ONE!
One of Abigail’s first words would be “Bible” and she delighted in saying it! It seemed she somehow knew something most of us miss… The God of the universe loved her! And He would do whatever it took to show her!!! Why is it that those of us without the challenges that Abigail faces every single day, can not seem to wrap our arms around a God so big? It appears that maybe He fashioned children just like her, through which to show us! One hug from a child who loves nothing more than to spread His love through hug, after hug, after hug, and you know you’ve encountered something special from the unseen!
The open-heart surgery that Abigail so desperately needed would be Melinda’s second order of business. But money for such an expense is not something she had! And yet, God had rescued her to provide for her, and that He did! He would send the help she needed through His people and Abigail would come through surgery with a heart to last a lifetime!
Then, a year later, intestinal surgery…. Where they would go to the hospital only to wait…day, after day, after day, not allowing Abigail to eat for 10 full days before it would finally be done! How do you explain to a precious child that nearly died of starvation, that she cannot eat, though her tummy rumbles with hunger and her mouth longs for anything to fill it? But through that surgery, God would bring healing to her intestines and the ability to finally be nourished and grow.
Life was good… Abigail was loved and healthy… and growing in Her knowledge of the One who had made her and rescued her for that very reason! Foster siblings would be added to her home. Some almost as desperate as she had once been! But Melinda knew that she was not the forever family God had in mind for Abigail. What would be years and years of pleading for a forever family for the child she loved so much had begun. The orphanage had threatened once already to force all foster children to return to the government’s care again, and Melinda could hardly bear the thought...
She prayed with more ferver than she had ever prayed before. She prayed together with Abigail for God to find a forever Mommy and Daddy far away willing to make her their own. But the unthinkable happened. A fire in a foster home far away had caused the death of several orphans and the government would put their heavy foot down. All children would be returned to their orphanages, without exception.
It was probably the hardest day of Melinda’s lifetime. She dressed Abigail and packed a few of her things… How could she prepare this 7 year old girl whom she had loved for over 5 years for what was ahead? She would have to return her there, to the very place she had been found, and walk away. The orphanage director was there to witness Melinda’s emotional good-bye. And surprisingly, she found herself in tears too, as she saw with her own eyes, the deep love Melinda shared with this child no one wanted.
Melinda would return a week later to visit Abigail and to see if she was struggling as deeply as she had been with the separation. Would Abigail suddenly question all the things she had taught her about the God that loved her so much that He had redeemed her from this very place, only to return her there again? She shuttered at the thought. But, as it is so often with our Lord… He had a sweet surprise waiting for Melinda when she arrived for the visit. The orphanage director had been deeply moved and decided that she would make an exception where there had not been one… “Take her back home!” she told Melinda. And the day she thought would be a difficult visit with another painful goodbye, turned into a beautiful homecoming! But, with that week of separation and one of the most difficult experiences of her life now behind Melinda, she felt an increasing burden for Abigail to finally find a forever home. She knew the answers would only come through the Father that knew best, and she cried out to Him to move on behalf of her precious little girl.
Emails were sent, and blogs posted, in search of a family far away that would open their hearts to love this ONE child God had gone to such extremes to redeem! An email would arrive only weeks later from a Mommy in Florida. God had captured her heart for precious Abigail, and if He would only speak to her husband, she would willingly take her as her own! Her file had been located on a list that contained almost 2000 other “unwanted” children. That file was pulled from the list and “locked” for two weeks while the family was given a chance to consider her adoption. Two weeks to cry out to God on her behalf, and cry out Melinda and that Mommy did! God heard those cries and, though they did not know it, He was moving mightily in that husband/Daddy’s heart for the fatherless girl He loved so much! With only days to spare before the file would be released, that Daddy would confess with tears that God’s plan was made abundantly clear to him… Abby was his daughter! It was time to bring her HOME!
It would take more than $30,000 to complete her adoption. Money the family did not have. But who would be foolish enough to question whether or not the God who loved this child so much, would provide everything needed to redeem her? And He did! Every single penny of it…. On behalf of just ONE “unadoptable”, unwanted, little girl!
The next chapter of that ONE life is about to begin. On November 10th, in a hotel room in Shenyang, China, Melinda will deliver Abby into the arms of the Mommy they have both prayed for, and within only days Abby would no longer be an orphan, but the precious daughter of Doug and Lori McCary; sister to Russ, Steph, Sarah, Ryan, Kate, Rachel, and Ellie; and to Abby’s delight, friend and companion for the puppy she can hardly wait to meet!
We’re thrilled to invite you along for the journey and to marvel along with us, at the unthinkable, immeasurable things our Lord will do to redeem just ONE!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think… to Him be the glory!”